Sleek, efficient decor caters to a modern and athletically minded couple.
It might have been a challenge for most people to decorate a 13,000-square-foot home. And it could have been nearly impossible when the window for completion was only eight weeks from proposal to the move-in date of December 2012.
Yet for Ownby Design owner Claire Ownby, tackling the magnificent, modern mansion on Mummy Mountain in Paradise Valley was a slam dunk. And the sports analogy is appropriate, given the clients are a professional athlete and his girlfriend (who prefer to maintain their privacy), with much of the decor fashioned around his love of athletic games.
The bottom section of the split-level home boasts a full, indoor sport court outfitted with a basketball court, a motorized batting cage that drops down from the double-height ceiling and a tricked-out, rubber floor gym complete with lockers. So to dress it up, Ownby looked to the client’s extensive collection of baseballs and lined them up under a thick acrylic glass floor.
“We only had a quarter of the time it usually takes to pull together a design,” says Ownby, whose Scottsdale-based firm specializes in ultraluxury homes across Arizona and the Hawaiian Islands. “But the owners knew exactly what they wanted, were very consistent and had a great gallery of inspirations.”
The five-bedroom home, conceived by architect Luis Bonilla of Peoria’s Antigua Home Designs Inc., is certainly a salute to recreation and includes a spacious movie theater finished with a full wall of glass wine cabinets and a wet bar, plus a fire pit-trimmed swimming pool, a spa, wraparound terraces, a four-car garage with specialized bicycle storage and a guest casita. The master suite even has its own built-in coffee bar, trimmed in Cosentino Silestone quartz with Moen and Kohler fixtures. The highlight, though, is what builder Brett Brimley of Phoenix’s Brimley Development calls the man cave.
“Every room is a wow,” Brimley says. “But the cave is like a personal sports bar, overlooking the basketball court, with a pool table, a bar, multiple TVs and a hidden, high-def golf simulator room. It’s truly one of the most spectacular homes I’ve ever been involved with.”
It’s another example, too, of efficient decor, courtesy of the homeowner. Two walls shimmer with backlit, clear mannequin torsos dressed with jerseys from legendary baseball players like Ken Griffey Jr. and Félix José Hernández. The bar is framed with baseball bats and glittering bottles of quality spirits on three walls. Soundproofing comes from upholstered walls and ceilings. “The owners love monochromatic,” Ownby says of the athlete and his live-in girlfriend. “They wanted charcoals, browns and whites. But there are great punches of color from the sports memorabilia.”
With all the crisp, clean lines and minimalistic decor combined sparingly with dramatic pendant lights and chandeliers, the home might seem cold on paper. But in person, it’s warm, welcoming and even relaxed. The kitchen, for example, opens to an inviting great room plus a dining nook, so guests can gather around while meals are prepared on the stainless steel Wolf range and grab a cold one from the Marvel built-in Kegerator beer dispenser.
“The couple is young,” says Ownby, “and they didn’t want a museum. I call it transitional modern, with lots of livable shapes and materials, and great natural light.” Much of that light comes from giant windows, plus pocket walls and doors that slide back to disappear since Brimley also loves the addition of light. Getting that to come together was a challenge, he admits, since the master suite features a 20-by-25-foot section that vanishes, opening to a terrace, and there is no central support for the wall. All the glass called for inventive shade screens too, but a solution was found by attaching McNichols grating to the exterior trusses—the metal platforms are normally used as catwalks in commercial buildings.
The sleek home was designed with the couple’s kids in mind as well; though these kids are of the four-legged, furry variety. Floors are Indian black limestone tile and wide-plank oak, and fabrics are durable weaves and leathers, even in the master bedroom, since the pups sleep with their family. There are outdoor dog runs, turf areas, a courtyard and a custom tiled dog shower. All together, the personal touches soften the modern structure, cementing what it ultimately is: a family home for a contemporary, active couple. “There’s actually a huge demand for modern architecture in the Valley,” reiterates Ownby. “It’s so stunning in the desert—it can be warm, and there’s not a lot of it out there.”