Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays - December 2011

Happy Holidays to you all! We close out 2011 and look back at a busy year and we look ahead to what 2012 will bring.

2011 was a busy year for all of us at Candelaria Design. We saw several great projects begin and several complete. We’ve had our ups and our downs but we continue moving forward in always doing our best to design beautiful homes that hopefully “Enhance our Clients’ Lifestyles.”
Casa Candelaria

First, thank you for all the goodies and bottles of wine. It is always appreciated but definitely not necessary. We are so blessed and really, we have enough popcorn balls and peanut brittle to last till July. This year instead of sending gifts to all of the current and past clients, vendors, builders, subs, etc…. we are donating a day at St. Mary’s Food Bank as we did during our first years whereby we will sort and package food for them which in turn feeds hundreds of families just from our one day effort. We will let you all know the date and we encourage you to come join us. It is a very fun and especially rewarding day.

Zona Verde - 2011 Gold Nugget Award

A few highlights from 2011 include receiving the Gold Nuggett Award for 2011 for the Best Custom Home over 6500 sf at the Pacific Coast Builder’s Conference in San Francisco in June of this year. This award was given to our Zona Verde home in Paradise Valley that we designed for two lovely clients who have been so appreciative and gracious. We again want to thank our great team, Builder Desert Start Construction; Landscape Architects, Berghoff Design Group; Lighting Designer Walter Spitz and Creative Design in Lighting, and Interior Designer, Vallone Design. I also must thank two special people on this project, Jim Smith of Serve the Nation who ran the show and kept us all heading down the right design direction; and my project architect, Jeff Kramer, who made it all happen!
Extreme Home Tour Entry Courtyard
Extreme Home Tour Living Room

Extreme Home Tour BunkHouse

We were featured on the Extreme Home Tour by Phoenix Home and Garden Magazine in November for our lovely Spanish Colonial Estate in Paradise Valley again for two wonderful clients who offered their home for the tour to raise money for the Heard Museum. Yet another fabulous dream team, Builder Greg Hunt of GM Hunt Construction, Landscape Greg Trutza of New Directions in Landscaping, Lighting by Creative Designs in Lighting and Interiors by Patty Burdick of Wiseman and Gale. This is the fourth home we have had on this tour over the last five years!

We were fortunate to be featured in Phoenix Home and Garden Magazine several times including three covers this year alone and also received nice coverage in LUXE Magazine for a number of our homes. We greatly appreciate their continued coverage of our work.

The year saw several wonderful projects completed which is always so rewarding for us to see our clients’ live in their dream home. What a joy it is to hear their stories and as many of you know, I love the opportunity to then come in and cook for you or with you in that new kitchen! From homes in Idaho to homes here in Arizona we saw a lot of projects wrap up and had some really good times at those open house celebrations!

Parlor Interior of Yuma Farm house

MRA Custom Homes Open House Event

Yuma Farm Estate House

Framing underway in Silverleaf Home
Paradise Valley Estate Home
Arcadia French Country Manor House
We also have started some great projects this year and we are very excited about what we have on the boards. The years have been lean and we are fortunate to keep it all going. We currently have two exciting projects underway or just ready to break ground in California, a fabulous home under construction in Idaho, and some renovations going in New Mexico, Tucson, and Colorado – not to mention several amazing projects here in Arizona. We are designing homes for clients from Chicago, Ohio, New England, New York, Texas, and Canada. It is so much fun to see them all get excited about their new homes.

Candelaria Design also had a lot happening with our staff. We had a member of our staff get married and then welcome a new baby! We have a member of our staff with a baby on the way! We added a new member to our team in November, Damon Wake, and brought back an original member, Meara Perrin. They have been great additions as we head into 2012. Damon comes to us via Cornell University and is the nephew of one of our clients. He has already brought a lot of energy and enthusiasm to our team. Many of you remember Meara who came on board this Fall and is running the front desk and directing our Marketing. She has several great ideas going forward into 2012 including a revamped website and some apps forthcoming that I think clients and fans will find useful, creative, interactive and fun. Overall, I love my team and thanks to all of you for putting up with me! Every day is definitely an adventure.

St. James Tavern London

Picadilly Circus - London

London at Night

Santa Fe

Espanola, New Mexico

Glacier National Park
Our last ski trip with our late friend Dave Reinsch (center) in Park City 
Dukes Hotel - London
Santa Fe

This year we had trips to London, New York, LA, Park City, Montana, Colorado, Houston, Santa Fe, Albuquerque, LaJolla, and Idaho just to name a few. The Italy Trip 2012 is set for May 30th – June 11th with an extension option to Paris for three days and three nights…..More details to follow. The response for the trip has been overwhelming so we are now potentially planning a fall trip too!
My girls at the Farmer's Market - Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Getting ready for the Parada del Sol - Scottsdale.
Meanwhile, we keep working and drawing away. I manage to put in my 60-80 hours a week, I attempt to keep up with my two younger daughters, Sophia 6 and Isabella 9, and my oldest daughter, Tiffany, who just was awarded the Trailblazer of the month at the Westin Kierland Resort! And then there was Dancing with the Stars for the Arizona Kidney Foundation last February, and also my time with the Scottsdale Charros and our rides and San Francico Giant spring training. So we are always busy.
Dancing with the Stars

Finally, I want to thank my lovely Isabel who has really helped me through this year that included back surgery at the end of April, moving several times, and just always being there for me during this crazy year. She truly is my angel.
Isabel and I at the Ivy in LA

Well, that’s a quick rundown. I’m exhausted and ready to get a little rest before we kick it in gear and get ready for 2012. I wish everyone the best – we are always there for you whether as your architect or as your friend. God bless you all.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

October 2011 Blog - MRA Custom Home Events

Candelaria Design Blog
October 2011

Welcome to October!!! I think we all breathe a sign of relief from the long summer when the calendar flips to October. It’s my favorite month of the year – cooler weather for sure, fall, football, World Series, and winter visitors falling in love with Arizona!

Thank you for your readership of our Candelaria Design Lifestyle blog. Over 12,000 readers thus far with over 1050 viewers last month.  So thank you for checking in and we will do our best to add some great material in the months ahead.
MRA Morning Glory Estate Lot 2

This month we have two wonderful events coming up – both having to do with our client MRA Custom Homes . Construction is nearing completion on these two $10 million homes we have recently designed for MRA on their beautiful subdivision located on Morning Glory just north of Mockingbird in Paradise Valley. On October 16th we are proud to have these two homes included on the AIA Phoenix Metro Home Tour The tour is a self guided tour and will feature several homes of all different styles throughout the Valley and runs from 10am – 5pm and costs only $25.00 and benefits the American Institute of Architects.
MRA Morning Glory Estate Lot 3

The second event includes an exclusive invite only party at the homes on the evening of October 21st followed by an open-to-the-public Open House weekend on October 22nd and 23rd from 12 noon to 5 pm.
MRA Morning Glory Lot 2 Kitchen

My relationship with MRA started in 1999 when they approached me while I was still at CCBG Architects to design their new spec home on Desert Fairways Drive in Paradise Valley. When I decided to start Candelaria Design later that year, they chose to follow me and were one of my first clients. We both fondly reminisce many times of our first meetings at my dining table in my condo and working out the design details all by hand on my drafting table. The home we designed with them drew wonderful attention for both of our companies and profitably sold allowing them to have Candelaria Design create two more homes followed by three more homes, and now these two homes all over a course of the last 12 years. Both of our companies have a great respect for each other and a commitment to quality and creativity in design and construction that clearly shows in these homes.
Aerial View of MRA Morning Glory Estates

The two homes on Morning Glory represent a culmination of the 12 years of our collaboration and both homes are on the one hand very similar in execution and quality but very different in style. One home is a formal Mediterranean Estate the other a French Country Chateau. Beautiful materials adorn both homes, from carved limestone to custom roof tiles, and both are landscaped impeccably by Berghoff Design Group who has also been a key component in the execution of these homes over the last 12 years. The homes are also green in that they are constructed with insulated concrete block, foam spray insulation at the roofs, double insulated windows, and solar panels discreetly positioned on the homes to reduce the overall energy consumption.
MRA Morning Glory Estate Lot 2 

The MRA quality is clearly shown in these homes and I encourage you to attend these events. You will be rewarded with a visual experience that I hope will inspire you and  give you a fabulous sneak peek of these homes that will surely be marquis homes in
Paradise Valley.

PR & Press

October is turning out to be another great month for PR and Press. Check out the newly released issue of LUXE Magazine and the beautiful home featured that was designed by my associate, Vivian Ayala. This is a beautiful project she spearheaded and we appreciate the attention this home is receiving. More to follow on this feature!
Mountain Residence - Flagstaff, Arizona

We just received word that we have been included on the 2011 list of Top Mountain Architects and Designers in Mountain Living Magazine . This is our sixth consecutive year to receive this honor.
Dream Home to be featured on Phx Home and Garden Tour - Nov 6th

As noted last month stay tuned also for the November issue of Phoenix Home and Garden Magazine, as one of our homes will be featured in the Dream Homes Extreme Tour to be held on November 6th. Tickets are limited and can be purchased on line at

Tapas at Twilight - Earth & Images

I want to thank all of you who attended the Tapas at Twilight event at Isabel's store, Earth and Images , last month and the launch of her new website. With the Holidays coming check out her site for unique gifts for clients, friends, and family.

Italy Trip 2012

The Candelaria Design Italy Trip is a go for 2012! We have had great interest thanks to our Candelaria Design Italy Trip 2010 Facebook Page (800 fans and counting) and we are excited for our 9th trip which will depart Phoenix on May 30, 2012 and return on June 12th. See our Facebook Page at for more details on the cost and itinerary. Prior blog postings also go into more detail from our 2010 Trip. I’m taking 12-14 travelers and I know this will fill up fast – so call Meara and book your reservation. We will have a great group going, and in addition to Florence, Tuscany and Umbria, we will be hitting the coast and Portofino.  I am looking forward to the adventure once again.

October Recipe of the Month

Many of you have asked that I provide the recipes to some of our Facebook cooking postings so here we go…..

Cioppino Pasta

We had a great time putting this little dish together last month. My girls were watching Anthony Bourdain – yes the acorn does not fall far from the tree - and were inspired by his visit of the seafood market in Seoul, Korea whereat Anthony and his host were eating fresh squid and baby octopus. They asked if there was a market like that here in Phoenix. Well we don’t quite have the venue they saw on his show, but I did tell them there was a pretty good fresh fish market at the Ranch Market at the Chinese Cultural Center . Well they got very excited and we were off to find some baby octopus and squid. I was curious to see how this one was going to play out. My two youngest are age 9 and 6 so tentacles and fish heads although interesting may not be appealing once sitting on the dinner plate.

We made our purchases and headed home to clean the squid and octopus and de-vein the shrimp. That was fun and was like science class. With a little garlic, butter and pasta we whipped together a dinner that not only was fun to shop for, but was inexpensive to make and was a lot of fun to prepare and was only outdone with how great it tasted. My girls loved it and you will too.


1 lb of Baby Squid
1 lb of Baby Octopus
1 lb of Shrimp
4 tablespoons of butter and 1/4 cup of olive oil
6 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper – don’t add if serving the kids!
The squeeze of two lemons
1/4 to 1/3 cup of white wine
2 cans of diced tomatoes with the juice
3 scallions diced
2 teaspoons of thyme or Italian seasonings to taste
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
1 box of pasta – fettucine, angel hair, spaghetti – whatever!

Clean the seafood – go to google to find very simple directions! Chop up the cleaned seafood as you like. Get your pasta cooking and cook el dente. Melt your butter and olive oil in a large pan – I love using my paella pan. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper – sauté and add the lemon juice and white wine. Add the seafood and cook until the shrimp change color and appear cooked through. Add the diced tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper. Drain the pasta adding two ladles of pasta water to the seafood. Add the pasta to the seafood and toss everything together. Let this concoction cook for 3 minutes or so so all of the flavors combine. Add more salt and pepper to taste. Add the diced scallions for color and flavor and serve it up! You can always add clams or mussles also – we didn’t see any fresh supply the day we went to the market but they are great in this dish!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

September 2011 Blog - Candelaria Design Update

London - Picadilly Circus
September 2011 - Candelaria Design Update

Rendering - New Residence in Arcadia on the boards!
Well by my lack of blogging I guess you can tell we’re getting busier! I’m still cautiously optimistic that this blip in activity will take hold and possibly the ship is slowly turning in the right direction despite some of our politicians best efforts to sink the ship.

We have been blessed with some wonderful new projects consisting of a number of new homes both here in Arizona, as well as California and Idaho and many renovations and remodels. We are also seeing a lot of our good friends from Canada and we are really enjoying working with them. So hopefully, the pendulum is starting to swing back in the positive direction. It’s amazing how far the pendulum swung both ways over the last ten years. It would sure be nice to see some slow, steady growth without the mass exuberance in one direction or the utter despair in the other.
Interior framing details on house underway in

New Home under construction on Hayden Lake, ID

PR & Press

In terms of Candelaria Design, there are some great things happening! We have had several projects published in the last few months including the cover feature in the June 2011 issue of Phoenix Home & Garden Magazine. This project spearheaded by Project Manager, Lisa Mallas Matthews, features an amazing renovation / remodel of a tract home in McCormick Ranch into and eclectic Old World casa showcasing the amazing antiques and treasures collected through the years by our client. I love this project and especially the clients we worked with – I have worked with them for years on a number of projects and they are truly amazing people. I was then excited to see the project featured again in the September issue and once again it made the cover!

Stay tuned also for the November issue of Phoenix Home and Garden Magazine, as one of our homes will be featured in the Dream Homes Extreme Tour to be held on November 6th. Tickets are limited and can be purchased on line at
Check this home out on the Extreme Tour - Nov 6!

LEED Certifications 

Zona Verde Residence, Paradise Valley

We also have received LEED Certification on two of our projects both constructed by Desert Star Construction . The first is the El Chorro Renovation in Paradise Valley which received a Gold Certification and is the first restaurant in Arizona to receive a LEED certification. Then the Zona Verde Residence which consisted of several structures, the Main Residence is Certified LEED, the Guest House received Gold, and the Caretaker’s home received Platinum. Furthermore, both projects have now been awarded finalists in the National Gold Nugget Awards for 2011 and we ultimately received the 2011 National Gold Nugget Grand Award for the Zona Verde Residence for the Best Custom Home over 6500 sf. Great job by Project Architect, Jeffrey Kramer, AIA on both of these projects along with Vallone Design, Berghoff Design  and Creative Designs in Lighting
El Chorro
Team CDA
Speaking of my staff, I am so proud of how my team has stuck together during these trying times in our industry. The national unemployment rate for architects reached a peak of 70% during this recession. I am proud to say we are still a ten person firm with what I am sure is the best, most qualified team out there. Three members have been with me over ten years and everyone has been with me at least if not close to five years. I’m also fortunate to have a very capable and hard working administrative support team including Evelyn Jung, who runs the show, Meara McHugh Perrin – who runs the front desk and is handling our marketing, and Dianne Kleber who is our utility player and does whatever we need to help get the job done! All of us are committed to our adage of “Inspiring Excellence”.

I also want to congratulate my associate, Braden Santarcangelo and his new wife Linda Giordano on the birth of their new little girl who came into the world on September 8th.  We are very happy for them and wish them all the best.

Italy Trip 2012

Villa Piazzano - Tuscany
Brunch at Villa Piazzano - Candelaria Design Italy Trip
The Candelaria Design Italy Trip is a go for 2012! We have had great interest thanks to our Candelaria Design Italy Trip 2010 Facebook Page (800 fans and counting) and we are excited for our 9th trip which will depart Phoenix on May 30, 2012 and return on June 12th. See our Facebook Page at for more details on the cost and itinerary. Prior blog postings also go into more detail from our 2010 Trip. I’m taking 12-14 travelers and I know this will fill up fast – so call Meara and book your reservation. We will have a great group going, and in addition to Florence, Tuscany and Umbria, we will be hitting the coast and Portofino.  I am looking forward to the adventure once again.

Wrap Up

Hope's Window and Door Factory
Jamestown. NY
Speaking of traveling, in June made a trip to Jamestown, New York and the Hope’s Window and Door Company,  to learn more about their product and review several projects we have underway with them. It was a very informative trip coordinated by our good friends at Sienna Custom Windows and Doors . Later that same month I was off to visit the Crittal Window and Door Company,  in the UK to check out their product along with my client and builder, John Schultz of Schultz Development Company, . This was a wonderful trip coordinated by our friends at Roadrunner Glass . As they say, its all in the details and when striving for a great look and unique finish there is only one way to do it and that’s to engage the entire team in the process including the vendors and craftsmen executing the work. I love this process and the pride everyone brings to the table.
Crittal Window & Door Co. - England

South bank of the Thames - London

Well that’s the latest. So be looking for more blogs, more updates, and more postings. Plenty brewing and some wonderful projects on the boards and under construction – we thank you ALL for the support and referrals and thanks for following us on Facebook

St. Paul's  Cathedral - London