Ideal of Happiness

This house is in a great location, but it was dated and lacked heart or any personality. Full of generic features, it felt like a house constructed by a builder as a speculative venture. Windows were stacked on top of each other from the floor to the top of the 14-foot-ceilings, soffits hung in the middle of rooms that made no sense, and the floor plan was so open, it robbed the home of any sense of discovery or unfolding revelations. The owners, who traveled extensively and collected objects on their journeys, asked Judy Fox, of Judy Fox Interiors, in Scottsdale, Arizona, to work her magic to transform the shell of a house into a beautifully custom-designed home. And so the reworking of this problem house with huge potential began.

Written By: Catriona Tudor Erler

Fox started by moving and adding walls and doors, removing soffits, and closing up some of the superfluous, huger-up windows. The entire house was rewired for a Lutron system for home lighting control. From central keypads, the owners now can control the lights throughout the entire house. She also added recessed lighting with cognac-colored filters to bring out the warmth in the wood. This particular color also gives a warm glow to women’s complexions that is particularly flattering.

Visitors entering the front door first enjoy the sound of falling water from the tiered fountain in the front courtyard. The newly made door has an ancient look, large and heavy with bold hardware. Antique seeded glass fills the sidelights. They let in light but maintain privacy with a lightly blurred transparency that gives an impressionistic feel to the view through the glass.

The slightly distressed floor has a basket-weave pattern of wood with travertine insets. The edges of the wood are beveled to give the illusion that the strips are weaving over and under each other. The wall niche was built and sized to accommodate the chest and the beautiful landscape painting that hangs over it.

The entryway flows into the living room. Here Fox added a wall to separate the living room from the dining room. With large-scale crown and base molding and fluted trim between the bookcase sections, this wall gives the room a rich, warm feeling. The bookcase houses many of the pieces collected by the family. Old books also line the shelves. To counterbalance the dark wood, onyx surrounds the fireplace, which is set on an able to the room. At her client’s request, Fox used a color palette of purples and greens for the fabrics.

The living room drapes, which break on the floor, are luxurious but simple. They are made of silk with a striped edgeband that matches the striped chairs that face each other opposite an antique chess table set nearby. In the same color palette, couches are upholstered with tapestry chenille with silk throw pillows. Fox designed the large coffee table with the beautiful burl wood inset center.

The kitchen is an elegant work space, superbly equipped with stainless steel appliances that are softened by the granite countertops and beautiful stained wood cabinets with oil-rubbed bronze pulls. On top of the main wall cupboards is a row of smaller cabinets with glazed doors and inside lighting. These smaller units help reduce the heaviness of the stained wood and provide an opportunity to display special objects. To add variety to the composition, the island has a contrasting cabinet door style from the wall cabinets, and the wood is painted an elegant hunter green. The thick granite countertop has an especially routed edge detail and corners that wind out to break up the straight lines in the room.

Tumbled stones on the wall behind the stove are set in a rotated basket-weave pattern with bronze dots set in the stone as accents. A spreading tree, hand painted by a local artist, decorates the hood above the cooktop.

A glazed door in the kitchen leads to the thermostatically controlled wine cellar. Centered on the wall opposite the door to the cellar is a downlit stone bas-relief of Bacchus. Because the door is glass, this striking sculputral feature can be enjoyed from the kitchen.

Like the dining room, the family room had a lot of clerestory windows that were visually busy and robbed the room of any sense of cozy nesting possibilities. Fox removed the upper windows and instead designed tall built-in bookcases. Here the owners display their collection of steins, plates, and other crockery. As in the living room. the fireplace is angled in the corner, opening its radius of focus in the room. A multicolored marble called “Santiago on the fireplace surround echoes the colors in the landscape painting that hangs over the mantle. The large, comfortable sectional sofa is upholstered in an antique chenille with a beautiful, textured warp and woof and accented with velvet throw pillows that also echo the color palette found in the painting over the fireplace.

Providing a restful center to the rooms is the custom coffee table designed by Fox. The ebonized finish is sandblasted to give it texture, making the surface very forgiving in terms of use. The table is a visual island of calm in this room designed as a haven from the hectic roil of everyday life.

Through the collaboration of the homeowners and Judy Fox, this house has been transformed into a home with a good floor plan; exquisitely proportioned, decorated, and furnished rooms that meet the needs and lifestyle of the owners; and the latest in modern “smart home” management technology.