DW-designed project Desert Retreat was featured in the May 2015 issue of Phoenix Home and Garden. Thank you to PH&G magazine for featuring the project, writer Roberta Landman for a beautiful article, and photographer David B. Moore who brought the architecture to life on the page. Enjoy!
Golf Enthusiast Christie Austin Earns Top Scores on the Home Front
Written by Roberta Landman
Photography by David B. Moore
Many know Christie Austin as a highly accomplished golfer and for her association with the U.S. Golf Association (USGA). But there is more to the vivacious Colorado woman than her encyclopedic knowledge of the rules fo the game or her ability to swing a club with finesse.
For example, ask her about a fabric, a room’s color scheme or a configuration of pretty tiles, and she can talk to you like a pro. But, relatively few likely know that Christie has a creative side. Forged in her early college years, it was put on the back burner as her career goals changed, but it still reappears from time to time. This is one of those times.
The exemplary North Scottsdale getaway home that belongs to Christie and her husband, Bob, shows her strong guiding role in its design and livability. The goals: that it be family friendly — the couple has two grown children and visiting parents — as well as an inviting place for entertaining and open to the outdoors. It does all that and more.
Christie’s background is as intriguing as her lovely home. Her first college degree is in fashion merchandising. That accounts for her passion for design. She went on to complete dual majors in accounting and finance at the University of Colorado, and became a certified public accountant and then chief financial officer of a money management firm. Golf happened along the way.
Her avid and award-winning golfer husband introduced her to the game when she married him at age 26. “I took up golf with a vengeance,” she remembers, and four years later, “I started playing competitive golf.” Bob began acting as her caddie, she recalls with a chuckle. Many golf kudos for Christie would follow, among them, on a much-shortened list: She played in 14 USGA national championships. She served on the board of USGA and volunteered as a rules official at many of the top tournaments all over the world, including multiple Masters and U.S. Opens. She also is one of a select few American women who have officiated at The Open in Great Britain. Today, she and her husband both volunteer as rules officials at golf tournaments across the U.S.
In recognition of her service to the USGA, her work in volunteer golf-related positions and her success as an amateur player, Christie will be inducted into the Colorado Golf Hall of Fame in May. “I am very honored and humbled,” she says.
Also with humility, she is quick to praise a cadre of professionals for the quality and livability, both indoors and out, of her and Bob’s ranch hacienda-style residence. Design team members were architect C.P. Drewett, builder Scott Pfeiffer, interior designer Laura Marlier and landscape architect Elizabeth Blackburn.
As an escape from the cold Colorado winters, the couple had owned a condo in Scottsdale for seven years and enjoyed it before the notion of building a house there hit them. When their now-college-age daughter was in middle school, they began considering their options. They started asking themselves, “Where do we want to be in the winters when she goes to college?”
Foreseeing family gatherings over years to come, the couple decided to go big — they designed a house with 6,500-square-feet of space.
Christie threw herself into the project with characteristic enthusiasm and attention to detail, according to designer Marlier, choosing sophisticated high-end finishes, fine fabrics and engaging art. A friend of 20 years, Marlier had collaborated with the homeowner on previous home-building and decorating projects.
“Christie and I worked like design partners,” she says. “We wanted this to be a home in which every room is comfortable and inviting.” Furniture had to “call to you to have a seat and relax,” she adds, and fabrics were chosen with an eye toward comfort and casual living.
There is a lot to like about this house, Christie says. For example, “We love the great room space, which opens to the fabulous views of the McDowell Mountains. We enjoy the outdoor living areas for relaxing in the evenings in front of the fireplace and TV. We put in patio heaters so we can enjoy the space even when it’s chilly at night.”
The residence has been perfect for entertaining — mostly intimate gatherings where easy yet delicious fare, including pasta, her daughter’s favorite, and grilled steaks, prevails, Christie points out.
“Our family and guests love the home’s floor plan, the warmth of the decor and the amazing outdoor living space,” she says, “And, those who stay in the two-bedroom casita never want to leave.” Just as the Austins envisioned it.