Sunday, May 29, 2016

Celebration Of A Candelaria Design - Earth And Images Collaboration

I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend and enjoying the fantastic weather! Thanks for all the views of our premiere Episode 1 of Season 2 of SKETCH this week on ! This Thursday on May 26th the Design Network will release Episode 2 Chateau de Scottsdale which will feature our French Chateau design in Arcadia and the story of its creation and execution. 

So today we will be busy, blogging this morning, then drawing, then it’s off to the market as Isabel and I along with Damon Wake from our office and Kim Schroeder from Isabel’s studio will be assisting us as we make paella for 20 as we christen a beautiful Transitional Style collaboration of Candelaria Design and Earth and Images. We are so excited about this evening and this project because of the special clients and family that this is the home for – Matt and Jennifer Gage! 
The design of this home started with Matt and Jennifer coming in to see me and discuss their project. Their lot was pie shaped, a wedge, but was the first lot and home you would see as you came into Arcadia Silverleaf. They wanted a family home and so we placed the master wing on one side of the wedge and the children’s rooms, Kitchen, and family spaces on the other side of the wedge with a courtyard between that then transitions to the pool once you pass a portal and then after the cabana you finish with a small play yard – all on axis through the center of the wedge! 

The design basically allowed us to create a village wrapped around the center courtyard all on axis with the Entry. The Entry brings you in and takes your right back out into the courtyard. The stair tower takes you up and crosses the axis to the Office and Exercise Room on the second level. 

Isabel inspired by this initial design, and working with Jennifer, took the Spanish Colonial exterior and brought in a modern, Transitional style interior that gives the home a crisp freshness combined with sophistication. I love it and it totally captures the vibe and feel of the client and their family. It is a family home for sure but yet allows Matt and Jennifer to entertain in style. What fun Isabel and I had working together on this home including a drywall picnic we shared when the two of us took a Saturday and laid out all of the wall paneling.

Of course the design of this home is just part of this story…. Our friendship that has come from this project is the real story. Matt and Jennifer are amazing people and inspire Isabel and I every day! Last year we were blessed to work with Jennifer on her personal project and charity, Gigi’s Playhouse

While during the course of the same year Matt and Jennifer joined us on our Candelaria Design Tour Italy where our friendship just furthered. We have so much fun with these two and of course as always, life is busy and there is never enough time between family and work to spend as much time with these two as we would like to. 

Tonight however, Isabel and I will have a chance to say thank you for the this wonderful project, but more importantly for the creation of our new friendship, as we prepare paella for their friends and family along with the editors of LUXE Magazine and Scottsdale Modern Luxury Magazine who will be joining us for the evening! We will have the SKETCH film crew on board as this entire story will be featured in Season 3!  I LOVE designing homes and living well!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Season 2 of SKETCH Premieres May 19th

This Thursday, May 19th, we will premiere Episode 1 of Season 2 of our show SKETCH on ! To kick it off we invite you all to a happy hour celebration at our offices starting at 5pm. Please RSVP to Stacey at if you will be stopping by!

We are excited to share our second season with you all and to be a part of the amazing lineup on The Design Network. Our Season 1 was a big success and with the production team of Ken “Spanky” Moskowitz and his talented team at I think you are going to see how he has taken our show to a higher level.

So what is SKETCH about and why are we doing it? First and foremost, video is such a wonderful medium to share our work. The typical method of capturing a project in a half dozen photos that appear on your website or in a magazine never quite capture all the details, the story, or the team that shares and collaborates in the creation of these homes. I wanted a way to do this to really celebrate these homes and the memories that they capture. As I say over and over, “it’s not just about getting a set of plans.” We are creating your home and the place you experience life virtually every day and night of your life. It is such an honor and responsibility to help create a home that truly embodies a clients’ dreams, wishes, and aspirations for living life as fully as possible. Our show SKETCH will hopefully demonstrate our commitment to that experience.

So in Season 2 we have eight episodes! Our first episode premiering on May 19th will feature a beautiful home currently on the cover of  Southwest Style Magazine.  I originally designed the Texas Hill Country inspired home in 2006 which was constructed by Schultz Development Group and landscaped by Well one of my clients who we just completed a remodel-renovation in LaJolla, CA purchased the home and the Candelaria-Schultz team gave it a make over. Along with a dinner celebration where I was co-chef at  where we raised $5k for to Chef Marcellino cooking right in the finished home this episode will show you a wonderful makeover of one of my original homes with one of my favorite clients and and the fun we had along the way.

Episode 2 debuting on May 26th will feature probably one of my all-time marquis homes, the French Chateau on Exeter in Arcadia. Built in 2005 by and landscaped impeccably by you will be mesmerized by the footage, including drone footage by Wedgie Creative and the story behind the creation of this home.

Episode 3 debuting on June 2nd, will feature a spectacular hillside European inspired villa we designed in . This home was designed to celebrate the views spanning from 4 peaks and the fountain in Fountain Hills to the Cardinal Stadium in the west. At the same time we were minimizing walls for the views, we needed walls for the beautiful artwork by the client who is an accomplished artist! This home was just completed by and furnished by Paula Den Boer of

Episode 4 debuting on June 9th, while I’m in Italy on our 13th Candelaria Design Tour Italy, will feature a 20,000+ sf Italian Farmhouse estate we completed a couple of years ago in . Inspired from my journeys to Italy this home has a beautiful elegance masterfully choreographed by Interior Designer David Michael Miller, landscaped by, and constructed by .

Episode 5 then moves north for the summer for a three part episode featuring three homes over a span of 12 years I designed in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho! Our first home will debut on June 16th and is in fact the first Candelaria Design Project ever. Started in September 1999 this true log home built by is a special home with a special story for me. Anyone who spends time in Coeur d’Alene knows the magic of the Stancraft Boats and we will feature a ride on one of these floating pieces of art on the water along with a tour of the factory by owner Robb Bloem including John Elway’s boat!

Episode 6 debuting on June 23rd will feature another European inspired home but this time in the mountains overlooking Lake Coeur d’Alene in the beautiful development of This home will tell the story of yet another unique relationship with my clients who actually will be on our June 2016 Candelaria Design Tour Italy trip and will just be returning in time to view this episode.

Episode 7 debuting on June 30th will be the last home in our three piece series of the Candelaria Design homes of Coeur d’Alene. This home is mountain elegance at its finest. On the shores of Hayden Lake this home built by with custom lighting design by  my good friend Walter Spitz at takes living on the lake to a whole new level. We finish this episode with dinner at where I bring all three Coeur d’Alene clients over a span of 12 years together for a fabulous celebration and dinner!

Finally, Episode 8 will debut on July 7th. This episode will recap Season 2 and give you a peek at Season 3!  From blasting away on Camelback Mountain, to making pizzas in a 10,000 sf villa in the middle of a farm field in Yuma,  to going subterranean with the new 35,000 square foot Colten Cowell Crime Fighting Cave we will tease you with some of the spectacular homes and stories that will delight you in Season 3.

Ok – so how is that for Season 2?!?! Catch up on Season 1 right here at . Season 3 is in production  along with a series we will film this fall of our 14th Candelaria Design Tour Italy as the crew of Wedgie Creative will follow and film the entire tour from Florence, through Umbria and Tuscany, finishing on Positano and Capri and the Amalfi Coast. Follow our 13th Candelaria Design Tour Italy as we depart on June 1st. More to come on that trip next week! Have a great week everyone and let me know what you think of SKETCH!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mother's Day from Arcadia

Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there and a special prayer to all of you who no longer have your mother. I have several friends this year spending this day without their mother on Mother’s Day for the first time….I cannot even imagine life without the one person on earth who loves you unconditionally. I love you Mom – it was her love of homes and architecture that compelled her to drag me around model homes when I was a kid and I’m sure had a great influence on me becoming an architect. She always loved my drawings and my Lego models and today I’m still drawings away and the Lego models are actual homes that people live, cook and celebrate life in.

And with that I segue to a fun blog for Mother’s Day written by one of my associates who is an amazing architect, Meredith Thomson. She has been with me now for several years and is most definitely a rising star in our firm. Exceptionally talented, a true artist, and a delightful and articulate, Meredith embodies our philosophy and values here at Candelaria Design. Her blog is about a home designed by the team of Candelaria Design and Berghoff Design and being built by Vista General all orchestrated by the talents of Meredith Thomson. I hope you enjoy this story – and Happy Mother’s Day!

My family moved to the Arcadia area in 1982 when I was 2 years old.  I grew up climbing the citrus trees, riding my bike through the ranch house lined streets and visiting the snack shop at Kaibab during t-ball games.  I loved it. It was the perfect environment for a child to grow up in.  

Since then there has been a lot of change.  I can still remember as an 8 year old threatening to chain myself to the orange trees they eventually removed from the last standing orchard to make way for a new development. How could they do this to my playground!  When I moved away in 1998 I continued to watch the change from afar; seeing something new in the neighborhood with every visit back.  Most people when they return home as adults comment on how small everything is compared to what they remember but I had the opposite reaction- everything was bigger. Especially the homes!  But what had not changed was the sense of community. As some families moved away, new ones moved in. New kids were riding their bikes in the streets, community parades were still being organized over the holidays, family barbeques were being had. It was still the much loved neighborhood I remembered as child- just with a facelift.

What I gained from my time working New York and San Francisco as an architect was a respect for proportion, symmetry, flow, attention to detail, use of light in space and a love for traditional precedents that can incorporate a modern vision.  When I moved back to Arizona I was so excited to apply this practice to a place I still feel deeply connected to and love. I was so excited to join the Candelaria team because I know they applied the same goals and values to their projects .

When I was asked to help design a new house at 56th and Exeter I was thrilled. The property has a special place in my heart since I grew up only a few blocks away. I used to steal tangerines from the trees in the yard and the lit up star raised on the property's flagpole always marked the beginning of the holiday season. To add to it,  I would be working with Vista General and Berghoff Design Group. Not only are they both a dream team to work with but they share the same respect for design as we do. The attention to detail, thoughtfulness when laying out the plan, and overall teamwork that went into this house is something I am proud to be a part of. Plus the design is very cool and something fresh for Arcadia!  We were inspired by what Im calling "modern farmhouse". Details are refined and traditional in nature, but with a nod to modern.  Each room gets a lot of natural light. The "U" shape plan creates an intimate backyard for the residents.  And the massing was situated in such a way as to buffer the property from the traffic on 56th street.  We even plan to keep as many original orange trees as possible. Something the 8 year old in me appreciates.  The home is nearly complete and I know it will be a timeless and gorgeous home. A home I would have loved to have grown up in.

It took me some time to accept the change happening in Arcadia and I’ve grown to recognize change isn't always bad. And as sad as I am to see some of the old ranch homes go, I’m happy to be part of a team that responds to change with well thought out, beautiful design.  I’m happy to help support and be involved in a community that I will always lovingly and nostalgically call my home.

By the way Happy Mother’s Day Mom and thank you!!!

Meredith Thomson, Architect
Candelaria Design