Saturday, July 25, 2015

Earth and Images - Welcome to our New Home In Downtown Scottsdale

Congratulations to my Isabel on the relocation and opening of her new boutique and interior design studio, Earth and Images , in Downtown Scottsdale! I am so proud of her and I invite everyone to stop in and check it out.

Last month she packed up the old store and studio that had been in the Scottsdale Design Center located in North Scottsdale for 23 years, downsized, and rebranded her look for her new location on the southwest corner of 5th Avenue and Marshall Way in Downtown Scottsdale. What is most exciting is that instead of being in the dark and dreary Scottsdale Design Center, she now has a beautiful display window facing 5th Avenue and all the retail and tourism traffic that the Art and Cultural center of Old Town Scottsdale brings.

She has downsized the retail area to now where it is an absolute jewel box of treasures and finds from our travels around the country and Europe. All of the items are arranged in beautiful compositions and feature items as small as candles and toiletries to specialty patio furniture and home accessories, to even works of art by artists and architects. Stay tuned - I plan on having some of my new paintings currently underway in her studio!

Isabel is also working with Candelaria Design and other builders and architects in providing interior design and decorating services throughout the Valley. From projects in Arcadia, PV, Verrado, Silverleaf and Desert Mountain, Isabel and her team are busy! It's fun for me to work with her on some of our projects. Now - interior designers out there don't worry, I'm fortunate to have some great projects and we are so happy to be working with many of our favorites from Vallone Design, David Michael Miller, Wiseman Gale, Clair Ownby Design, April Lozevski, Matthew Boland, Anita Lang, Tony Sutton, Paula Den Boer, and Nelson Barnum just to name a few. What is so nice is how these same designers all support each other and Earth and Images! I know Isabel thanks everyone for their continued friendship, support, and patronage.

Stop on by and say hello and do a little shopping - you will love it. Her boutique is open Monday - Saturday from 10-6pm and stay tuned for some fun Thursday evening art walk events and get togethers this fall including her grand opening celebration. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Escape to Kingston - One final trip.

I love the West. I don’t mean the West we experience every day living in Phoenix and Scottsdale. I mean what is left of the real West we still see in Westerns. It’s still out there but you do have to get way out to still see a part of it. Luckily, living here in Arizona it is not that far away and if you really venture on a road trip to New Mexico or Wyoming or Montana you can really find some places that time has just passed by.

I know some of you shudder at the thought of a road trip and many of you never will even dare to do this. But I personally love road trips and getting off the beaten path. Today's blog comes from the passenger seat while Isabel drives down New Mexico highway 90 southwest of Silver City, NM. Its exactly what we do on the Candelaria Design Tour Italy – get off the beaten path. I have been trying to figure out why and I think I know – it’s real. It is what it is, there is no pretense. People do what they do, they farm, they ranch, they mine, they timber, they railroad. That’s about all there is to do. They work hard and are one with the land. There is a connection. They gather at the local diner for super – not dinner. They talk about their day, their families, their horses, and their crops……not quite what we talk about when we meet for cocktails at Houston’s.

This weekend, Isabel and I are on the road to Kingston. Not Kingston, Jamaica! Kingston, New Mexico. It’s by Silver City…..ok that didn’t help you any did it. Ok about 2 hours northeast of Lordsburg…..still didn’t help you. Ok try about an hour Southwest of Truth of Consequences, New Mexico! Ok you get the point. Google Map it and it may show up. It’s a long drive out here, about 6 hours from Phoenix. Kingston, New Mexico is an old silver and gold mining town established in the late 1800’s and grew to over 7000 inhabitants before the silver crash of the late 1880’s. It’s at the foot of the Mimbres Mountains and is beautiful and reminds me of the country and terrain around Prescott. Now there are probably more wild turkeys and buzzards than there are people here. – but this is a place that time has forgotten.

Isabel’s family bought a summer home that was built in 1885 built by Mr. Dawson who was the town pharmacist. Isabel’s family used the home as an escape and summer retreat from the heat of central New Mexico. Well the home was passed down to Isabel’s mom, Alette, who has been tending to it and using it as her Arizona escape since 1996 but this week she received a cash offer for the property and with her getting older she felt it was time to sell. So we are here sorting through the old items, furniture, nick knacks, and sharing the memories.

I remember coming here for the first time in July 2012 with my girls and loved this aspect of Isabel, her mom, and her family. Simple, honest, hard working people who have no pretense. Here family were loggers and lumber mill people and my family were railroaders. Few people know that my great grandfather, grandfather, father and even I all worked on the Durango~Silverton Narrow Gauge train in Durango. The old West is in my psyche. It is a big part of what makes me tick. I think it is why I love being a part of the Scottsdale Charros – getting on a horse and riding and camping in remote parts of the Old West. At the same time I design amazing homes from Rural Mediterranean estates, to contemporary hillside homes, to mountain ranches but no matter the style, I always try to infuse that spirit of the West.

In the next 60 days I will be everywhere from LaJolla, CA next week to start on a new home on the beach, to Sedona and Flagstaff to check out some lots for a new project, then a 22 hour road trip with Isabel to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho to film three of our homes for the fall premier of SKETCH. From there Isabel and I will head to Manhattan NYC in August for the fall Market – probably run out to the Hamptons to check on our project there – so coast to coast. Then of course we will fly off to Italy for our 2015 Candelaria Tour Italy. Quite a journey from the homestead here in Kingston…….

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Candelaria Chicken Cacciatore

Thanks for all the likes and comments on my cooking adventures we post on Facebook! I love to cook and I love how it relaxes me and takes my mind off my real work for a while. But what I really love is the immediate satisfaction it gives me feeding and nourishing my family and friends. After all, architecture takes some time!

Let's add the fact I am a Food Network groupie. I love the Food Network - no one ever gets hurt or cries, or gets killed. Every show ends on a happy note and everyone is eating great food in a beautiful setting. I love having the Food Network on while I catch up on work on Saturday and Sunday mornings. A recipe or idea always catches my eye and by noon I'm thinking of some fun and savory thing to make and who Isabel and I can have over. Sometimes it's a romantic dinner for just Isabel and I, and on the other hand sometimes I'm cooking for two or three dozen. I did both this week! My favorite though is cooking for Isabel and my girls  One of my girls' favorite is my chicken cacciatore.

It's a simple recipe and really based on my paella recipe which I also made this week for a party of 12 who won my dinner for 12 as a silent auction item benefitting my client's organization, Asian Pacific Community in Action. Yes it was a busy week;-)!

So here it is - I urge you to make it for the family. It's delicious and easy. Let me know if you give it a try!

Candelaria Cacciatore

3 Chicken Legs
3 Chicken Thighs
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 tablespoons of paprika
Kosher Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
1 large sausage of your choice - I like a spicy andouille sausage.
4 garlic cloves, diced
1 Spanish onion - diced
4 stalks of celery - sliced into 1/2" pieces
4 carrots - sliced into 1/2" pieces
8 ounce box of white or cremini mushrooms sliced.
1-1/2 cups of wine - dry white wine like a Pinot Gregio or you can go red like a Baraolo
1 - 16 ounce can of diced tomatoes
1 -1/2 cups of Arborio Rice
2-3 cans of chicken broth
1 teaspoon of Herbs de Provence
2 Bay Leaves
Fresh chopped basil or Italian Parsley for garnish along with wedges of lemon.

Start with a nice width pan with a lid. Season your chicken with the oregano, paprika, salt and pepper. Heat up the olive oil with medium to medium high heat and brown the chicken and sausage. Once browned remove and set on a platter with paper towels.

Pour off the excess fat, reduce the heat to medium, and then add the onions, garlic, celery and carrots and let them cook down and soften. You can add the wine now and deglaze the pan. Let this all cook down and soften but don't over cook - you want the veggies to stay crunchy and firm. Then add the mushrooms and let them cook down. Then add the tomatoes and let them heat up and blend in with the veggies.

Create a well in the center and add the rice. Let the rice fry and then gradually stir it into the veggies. Start adding the chicken broth - you can also add more wine if you like! As the rice absorbs the broth keep adding the broth. You can also heat the broth in a separate pan before you add so its at the same temperature as your main dish. Keep this process going for 10 minutes until the rice and then add back the chicken and sausage and tuck it into the mixture. Keep adding broth as needed so the rice doesn't get dry but not to much to make it soupy. Add some salt and pepper to taste and some herbs de Provence and toss in a couple Bay Leaves. Now reduce the heat to simmer and let simmer 30 minutes or so.

Serve in a nice bowl and garnish with chopped fresh basil or chopped Italian parsley and a wedge of lemon. You can always zest some lemon peel over the top and of course some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


Saturday, July 11, 2015

Rural Mediterranean Estate Featured in Luxe Magazine

We are so proud to have one of my favorite projects featured in the summer issue of LUXE Magazine. This home is very special to me for many reasons. Enjoy the pictures and story in the LUXE feature - but I would like to share the creation and some of the real story behind this house and how special these clients are.

Flash back to October of 2008....  I'm sure everyone remembers how tough things were then. Actually, at that juncture we had just all been kicked in the gut but no one knew how long the healing and recovery would be. Everything had come to a halt, our industry was getting hammered, and there were really few projects out there.  The stock market had just fallen 6000 points and we were gearing up for the election - no one knew what to expect! A $27 million dollar project I was attempting to develop with a number of partners had the funding dry up as the Feds shut down the bank we were working with on the day we were supposed to sign the that turned out I know now that was a fortunate turn of events! Add to that my marriage at the time was falling apart. Those of you who know me well, know what I was going through - these were pretty dark days.

Well this client called me in the midst of all this and I went and met them on a Saturday I remember well. We walked the lot and I went through my presentation. Then after the meeting I remember going to the McCormick Ranch Railroad Park and just sitting there praying this project would come our way. I was sure he was interviewing everyone he could given the economic situation so I knew this would be a real blessing if we got this way. I remember him calling while I was still at the park saying we got the job. It was one of several rays of sunshine I received during those dark days that kept me engaged in my work and kept me going.

The client wanted an authentic Rural Mediterranean  home and the lot was good but not great...that is until we got on a ladder and stepped up about 5' - wow - the view exploded. Now it was up to us to capture as many of these views as we could. We worked collaboratively in the design as I do with all my clients and as I look back at the first sketches - the essence of the original layout and orientation did not change much. Courtyards, gardens, a pool and spa - even a bridge across a garden below all were incorporated.  By raising the house the 5 feet we had room below for a basement so we added a 20 x 40 gym, pilates room, guest bedroom, game room ... oh and a 12 car garage under the 6 car garage above! I love our clients and projects!!!

To give you  an idea of how special this client is back in the Christmas of 2008 I was attempting to fly  my girls and I up to Coeur d'Alene. Idaho for Christmas - I was pretty sure this might be our last Christmas in our home up there given the economic situation and everything that was happening with marriage. A huge storm was hitting the northwest and every flight we attempted got cancelled starting on the 21st of December all the way up to the 23rd of  December....Christmas was fast approaching and every attempt was being thwarted by flight cancellations. We even made it as far as Salt Lake City but had to come back as the flight to Spokane had been cancelled. Well, as written in my December 27, 2008 Blog this client came to our rescue flying us up in his private jet. What a way to go and what a journey that was - you can check our our landing right here - Miracle Landing.

To top that off when the project was completed he hired the PR firm of MMPR Marketing to represent Candelaria Design, the Interior Designer David Michael Miller and builder Anthony Salcito of Salcito Custom Homes and then through an open house whereat we could invite anyone we wanted. Many clients, friends, and followers made it that day which was a wonderful opportunity to show of our work.

Such an amazing client and now friend! Enjoy the Luxe feature and some wonderful footage of the home in our Season 1 of Sketch - Jet Setters on The Design Network and we will be featuring the whole story of the creation of this home in Season 2 of Sketch premiering this Fall!  So it's 7 years later and the times have sure changed.....this project has a special place in my heart and history and will always remind me of the lesson to carry on no matter how dark the clouds might be. I hope you enjoy!