January 22, 2017
Northwest of Tucson, Ariz., an exclusive golf course community boasts views of both the city and the craggy mountain range in the distance. According to designer Lori Carroll, homeowners are drawn to this community because of the peace and tranquility only a desert setting can offer.
“To make the most of its beautiful vantage point, we designed this home to embrace nature’s simplicity,” said Carroll, who is the founder of Tucson, Ariz.-based Lori Carroll and Associates. “We also created elements that harmonize with the natural wonders of the Sonoran desert.”
Tucson-based architect Marc Soloway of Soloway Designs, Inc. helped inspire this vision with his architectural design of the home.
“Soloway was definitely in tune with the serenity of this particular location,” said Carroll, adding that the landscaping includes cacti, boulders and other desert foliage. “He flawlessly blended structure and materials so that they seemed to disappear into the breathtaking scenery.”
The architect’s signature sloped ceilings and geometric angles made the home particularly special, but they also created an interior design challenge in the kitchen.
“I wanted to take full advantage of the ceiling height while maintaining the open appeal of the architecture,” said Carroll, explaining that the clients envisioned a bright space that would work well for entertaining. “Without compromising functionality, lighting in the kitchen needed to be unobtrusive and follow the sculptural details of the ceiling.”
The lighting is a combination of LED track lighting installed on an S-shaped T-trak system over the prep area, a spun–metal pendant above the island on a two-circuit monorail – which works well in large rooms – and a cluster of cast–glass spheres over the dining table. These three items provide clear visual distinction between each area without distracting from the architecture.
Along with its distinctive touches and architecture, sharp lines and corners and neutral tones also give the kitchen a modern vibe. Gray countertops pair with white oak veneer and glass-front cabinets, both of which have a flat-panel style. A clay backsplash tile from Japan ties the colors together with its gray palette. The slightly porous material also absorbs kitchen odors and excess moisture.
In the spirit of out-of-the-box designs, Carroll decided to make the island different from the standard look. This kitchen island needed to offer more than just counter space and storage –it needed to cater to an entertaining space with an already unusual slant as well.
“My idea was to construct a dining–height niche along the peninsula, turning an ordinary island into an intimate nook,” said Carroll, explaining that the little round table off of the peninsula offers a central focal point under the metal pendant.
The designer used AutoCAD Architecture 2015 for the project. She explained that her studio has been using the program since its inception and has found that this software produces the most logical and accurate drawings for their firm.
“Having an in-house team of CAD professionals allows me to improve the quality of my designs and client presentations, which translate into a better understanding for clients, greater productivity and shorter project completion times,” said Carroll.
An Uncommon Bathroom
The detailed software was also essential in designing the master bath, which had as many curves and complications as the kitchen.
“Once again, Mr. Soloway’s architectural elements in this master bath were purposefully modern, and the interior design needed to be tastefully neutral,” said Carroll, explaining that the clients were used to a contemporary urban living environment. “They wanted a master suite bathroom with an expression of fresh, innovative ideas that also prove that contemporary could be warm and inviting.”
The layout of the bathroom featured a long rounded floor plan with high ceilings, and designing in conjunction with those architectural elements was challenging. Instead of specifying standard fixtures and materials, most of the essential pieces had to be custom made.
The first were identical, block-shaped vanities set back to back. Made with engineered white oak veneer, these vanities, the open shelving on either side of them and their unique suspended sinks provided a focal point. For the innovative style the client was looking for, Carroll included features like a suspended, dual-sided mirror between the vanities – which serves as a room partition before the tub and shower area – and joystick faucets.
“Characterized by gleaming surfaces, modest fixtures and minimalist décor, this master bathroom delivers a mix of modern and casual style,” said Carroll. “We incorporated many of the materials that define modern design like glass, tile and wood, which emphasize a clean simplicity.”
Designer: Lori Carroll, Lori Carroll and Associates
Photographer: Jon Mancuso
Backsplash: Inax-Ecocarat Takehigo
Air Showerhead: Hansgrohe
Sink Faucet: Hansgrohe
Shower Thermostat: Hansgrohe
Tile: Mola Ceramics