DW-designed project Above and Beyond was featured in the May 2019 issue of Phoenix Home and Garden. Thank you to PH&G magazine for featuring the project, writer Ben Ikenson for a beautiful article, and photographer Scott Sandler who brought the architecture to life on the page. Enjoy!

Sleek Simplicity

Modern and elegant with organic touches, a Scottsdale abode is designed for laid-back living.

Written by Ben Ikenson
Photography by Scott Sandler

It’s no surprise that Chip Spellman and his 17-year-old daughter, Kate, make plenty of use out of the kitchen in their new Paradise Valley digs. The room’s centerpiece — a handmade translucent quartz waterfall-edge island counter illuminated from below with sheet LED lighting — makes for a popular conversation piece.

“I like to entertain, and people just naturally gravitate toward the island, especially at night when it’s lit from below,” says Chip. “It definitely delivers the wow factor.”

A Phoenix native who runs a family-owned lumber and plywood distribution company, Chip had a good idea of what his new abode should be like. “We wanted clean lines, no clutter and lots of open space,” he says.

Architect C.P. Drewett did not disappoint. He notes, “The house has strong midcentury DNA, but it is a little more updated, with a sophisticated, urban vibe inside.”

Drewett designed the graceful 5,800-square-foot contemporary home, which includes a swimming pool, guest casita and five-car garage. It’s just one of four houses the architect completed on a 6-acre development that had been the site of an old school building. “All of the homes were focused toward a singular cul-de-sac, so they each had pie-shaped lots and much of the design emanated from this,” Drewett explains. As such, he had to be very strategic about where to put rooms in each of the homes. To ensure that the master bedroom in the Spellmans’ house didn’t overlook the neighbors garage, he designed a feature wall on the outside of the property to provide privacy and maximize southern exposure. The project was a success, he says, because “there was a remarkable amount of collaboration between the design team and the homeowner from the get-go, which ultimately created this amazing sense of cohesion when it was all finished.”

Builder Rich Brock turned Drewett’s design concepts into three-dimensional reality. “The home is very warm, modern and organic, with lots of stone accents,” he says. “And the sandblasted granite on the exterior looks fantastic – luxurious but also very natural.”

In addition to stone, the residence also featured plenty of rolled cold steel, I-beams and large glass panels. “The materials used and the quality of construction are such that this house will last for many generations to come,” notes Brock. And, together with the more natural components, the structure cuts a sleek profile against the Sonoran Desert backdrop — in fact, it was oriented to provide optimal views of both Camelback and Mummy mountains in the distance.

As if competing with the panoramic vistas furnished by plenty of windows, the interior is itself spectacular, a geometry of clean lines, airy rooms suffused in natural light, and plenty of inviting, open spaces.

“We were involved from the beginning blueprint stage, designing the interior architectural elements, such as the fireplace, kitchen and finishes throughout,” says interior designer Tony Sutton, a Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest award winner. “A year before the home was even constructed, we started working on the cosmetic architectural details and finishes.

“Chip requested a clean and simple design that is more masculine, so the secret to making it warm and inviting was to include natural and organic elements in the process, whether in fixed materials or furniture and accessories,” he continues.

Capitalizing on the home’s inherent visceral appeal, Sutton’s associate, interior designer Maria Zambrano, elaborates: “The house has beautiful vertical lines emphasized by floor-to-ceiling windows. The neutral color palette allows every pop of color and change of texture to become a focal point. The details of the design were in the materials selected. The inside-outside stone selection, the lighted kitchen island and the stainless steel backsplash, with its three-dimensional scale, are a few examples of such details.”

Indeed, the efficacy of the team’s design strategy is evident in the ever-popular gathering space of the kitchen where “the subtle wood tones and white lacquer cabinets set the stage, and the island is a showstopper,” says fellow interior designer Jelena Martic, who also worked on the project. “Subtle touches of color are added through the accessories, bringing everything together into perfect balance.”

The harmony between the minimalist architectural style and the design flourishes is apparent upon first stepping into the home. A glass wall of wine storage connects the welcoming great room, which is accented in basalt walls and a commanding, monolithic fireplace, to the kitchen. Further inside, the masculine master bedroom is adorned with handcrafted wall coverings featuring textured brushstrokes and gold accents that play perfectly off the furnishings.

The outdoor areas are similarly imbued with a sense of detail and efficiency. “Our biggest priority was to create spaces that are functional and comfortable for the owner, who, in this case, likes to entertain guests,” says landscape designer Dennis Cannedy. In the backyard, Cannedy added a rectangular swimming pool adorned with a series of fountains, a jacuzzi and a sound system. The pool is neatly bordered by a 6-inch-wide strip of grass embedded within a beautiful silver travertine deck. Surrounding the lawn are multiple seating areas, an outdoor dining room that seats 12, fire pits and a bocce court, making the landscape suitable for both intimate gatherings and large soirees. The front yard features an orderly array of succulents and other plants — a welcoming sight for the Spellmans after a long day.

Chip, along with Kate, helped in putting some of the finishing touches in place. “One of the highlights,” he says, “was getting to work with my daughter on some of the interior design elements before the home was finished. And, of course, getting to enjoy the place together before she goes off to college.”

Read more about Above and Beyond here: