Mix together home styles from northern Italy, the need to capture both mountain and cityscape views, step limitations, a high-end community with strict guidelines, and a builder and architect who had never worked together. These were the main ingredients in this home - the Goven Residence - located in the SilverLeaf community in Scottsdale, Ariz. Needless to say, this project included plenty of challenges and obstacles at the onset, but turned out to be one that both the architect and builder are extremely proud of.
"It's a vacation home in a high-end community called SilverLeaf. It's a very prestigious neighborhood that wraps around a golf course," says Scott Edwards, vice president, Calvis Wyant Luxury Homes, also located in Scottsdale.
"It's on a higher lot on a mountain, and the homeowners wanted to capture the city lights below and the mountain view. But they were insistent on not wanting a lot of steps in the home."
After traveling through northern Italy, the homeowners wanted this house to replicate the designs from that region. To do this effectively, they presented photos from their trip to the project architect, Erik Peterson, AIA, president, Peterson Architecture & Associates in Scottsdale. The home features a rural Mediterranean style - one of only a few styles SilverLeaf accepts.
"We love it when clients provide photos. The more information, the better," Peterson says. "Sometimes a client gives us stuff that doesn't make sense together. But this client gave us images that were all in the same family. The rural Mediterranean style led to something cozy and warm." (See photos to right.)
The homeowners wanted to minimize the amount of stairs in this house for when they get older or have older visitors. "Although it is a two-story house, most of that space is where guests won't go - office space and kids' bedrooms," Edwards says. "Retaining walls were used to allow the house and the pool area to be on the same level."
Edwards notes it's common in the area to see step-downs to the pool with another step down to other parts of outdoor living areas.
In addition, the SilverLeaf community only allows builders to disturb a certain amount of a site's lot. "With the development allowing us to disturb only so much of the lot, it was a challenge to stock material," Edwards says. "You can only deliver to the jobsite as much as you can use. You can't store it there. So you have to concentrate on how to stage material. You can't take roof tile all at once - it has to be in small bites."
The site also included an arroyo - a water runoff from the mountain - that the builder, architect and homeowners didn't want to disturb. To do this, a bridge was created over which the driveway spans.
One of Peterson's goals in his work is to capture as much natural light as possible. This was also the case with the Goven Residence - especially since the homeowners wanted views of the neighboring mountain and cityscape.
"The entire house was set up in a u-shape pattern that allowed every room to have a view," Peterson says. "It was the major force in the design."
The front of the house faces the mountain, whereas the back of the house offers views down the valley to the city below. The varying views changed the design. "There are more intimate settings off the front of the house - small courtyards with intimate views up the mountain," Peterson adds. "The broader entertainment areas have expansive views [of the cityscape]."
Peterson also considered entertaining in relation to time of day. "It is difficult to sit on the back patio when the sun is setting, but the mountains really light up. Therefore, the home-owners can enjoy the changing colors on the mountain by sitting on the front courtyard," Peterson says. "Then they can move to the back after the sun sets."
To capture the Italian rural Mediterranean feel the homeowners were looking for, stone and courtyards were major design factors in this house. "We used a lot of stone veneer that was quarried locally, stone massings, decorative iron and large outdoor spaces," Edwards says. "In addition, there is a detached casita that helps to give the home a village feel." The casita was designed as a smaller version of the home, set aside from it to not overpower the design of the main house.
Peterson emphasizes the courtyards' role in making the homeowners' pictures of Italy come to life. "The front courtyard is a big deal. The house extends around it. You are always passing the courtyard when inside the house," Peterson adds.
Competitors to Peers
Calvis Wyant is a design/build company with an in-house design team, though it does partner with outside architects for 10 percent of projects. Edwards knew of Peterson's local and national reputation, and referred him to the homeowners.
Because Peterson and Calvis Wyant had no previous work history, the start of this project was a bit of challenge.
"We were past competitors and here we were as a team. At first, we were apprehensive," Peterson says. "We did our own thing at first. But once we sat down, learned from each other and accepted how each other does things, it was great. Initially, we didn't embrace the design/build right off the bat because we weren't use to it.
"It was a great process. They have been doing this for 20 years and have a unique process," Peterson adds. "It became a very collaborative effort. They shared some of their in-house secrets on construction, and we shared ours on design."
Consistency to the End
Neither Edwards nor Peterson would change the end result, and both are extremely proud of its outcome. Ironically, both find the outdoor spaces to be their favorites. "The outdoor spaces turned out wonderfully. They capture the owners' rural Mediterranean vision, and gives them a space that is perfectly suited for outdoor entertaining," Edwards says.
"The outdoor sitting area with its views of the mountains and city is a space that really turned out to be magical," Peterson says.
The end result was a Calvis Wyant signature home, the Goven Residence. "We had good clients who made quick decisions, were a pleasure to work with and accessible," Edwards adds. "It was one of our most enjoyable projects - it turned out to be a gorgeous home."