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A Desert Dream: Q&A with Designers of Mountainside Arizona Estate

by | Nov 23, 2022

It’s not an oasis, it’s Solace. Set within Arizona’s Desert Mountain community, this 6,963-square-foot desert retreat has been meticulously reimagined by Jeffrey and Roger Florentine, the acclaimed power couple who lead premier Scottsdale-based design firm, JSF Design Inc. Known for their impeccable taste and armed with a background in luxury hospitality design—they recently completed a $20 million spa renovation for the Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa—Jeffrey and Roger’s talents have been featured on major television networks and shows, including HGTV, A&E and Property Brothers

Solace (also known as Lot 126) is perhaps the team’s most jaw-dropping venture to date. Slated for completion in December 2022, Solace is one of three new JSF-designed estates within Desert Mountain’s exclusive Apache Peak enclave. The home’s interiors are imbued with distinct, boutique hotel-inspired luxuries, next-level amenities and magnificent materials handpicked from around the globe—all paired with stunning Paradise Valley views and access to the Desert Mountain Club, one of the most elite private clubs in the nation. The estate is represented by Managing Director of The Agency Scottsdale Wendy Walker, Kirstin Oas and Mauricio Umansky, the brokerage’s Founder and CEO. 

We spoke with Jeffrey about what makes Solace a modern desert retreat that’s reached a new level of sophistication.

What can you tell us about Solace’s location? 

This home is actually on Apache Peak Mountain, and the views are just unparalleled. You can see beyond Fountain Hills all the way to Cave Creek—really vast views. Solace is one of three homes we’re designing within Desert Mountain and is the only home that we are renovating—and I use the word “renovating” very loosely because the home is completely new. The only existing part of the home that we’re not redoing is the actual foundation and footprint. Otherwise, we’ve redone the exterior, all the plumbing, the HVAC, the electrical—you name it, we’ve done it.  

What stands out to you about this home’s setting?

One thing that’s really unique about its location on the mountainside is that there’s always a light breeze blowing. You can open up both the backside of the home and the front side of the home and birds can literally fly through the house. I haven’t designed or been in a home that maximizes indoor-outdoor living more than this house. The lines are so blurred, it makes the house feel even larger. The layout also allows you to absorb and appreciate all the reasons why people move here—views of the saguaro cacti, the mountain, the red rocks. It’s breathtaking.

Solace’s entry and living room.

How would you describe the overall feel of the home’s interiors? 

Timeless and elegant. The palette of the home is very soft, very soothing and comforting. And that’s where the name “Solace” came from. We wanted to bring in materials that were sophisticated, luxurious and relaxing—tones and materials that would lower your heart rate and make you feel calm. We curated artwork in very soothing, soft palettes—pieces that you might see in a spa resort. The goal was not to steal away from the views. We didn’t want to bring a lot of bold color into the interiors because we wanted to let the view be the canvas for the home’s interiors and blend into the mountainside itself.

What makes your firm’s approach to home design different? 

We have exceptional buying power and access to things that the public and even some designers don’t have access to—that’s what makes our properties so unique. We’re bringing in materials that no one has seen before, making the home a curated art piece with incredible finishes, furniture and lighting sculpture. 

We also enhanced the exterior square footage of the home to just about 6,000 square feet of outdoor entertaining space. Originally, this home was well built and well positioned; it just wasn’t well utilized. So we were able to bring in really beautiful high-quality luxury finishes that you’re not going to see in any spec home. 

The main kitchen and dining room.

What are some standout interior elements of this home? 

Everywhere you look, you’ll see incredible materials that help bring this home to life and make it inviting and elegant, all at once. Our history and connections within the hotel design realm mean we were able to access amazing materials for this project. We had all of the lighting and fixtures custom crafted by designers who specifically do pieces for hotels to highlight all of its unique features.

The wood flooring is 10-inch wide European oak that is 87 inches long, which is so rare. We also have some beautiful, subtly luminous stone called “silver roots marble” sourced from Turkey in the al fresco dining room, as well as Italian Paonazzo marble on the kitchen’s counters and walls. Paonazzo marble is truly iconic—it’s basically art in itself. It’s sourced from the Apuan Alps from a quarry that was mined for stone used at the Vatican. I cannot tell you how beautiful the stone is, you have to see it in person. There are veins of gold and rust hues within it; it’s gorgeous. 

Can you tell us more about the primary suite and the inspiration for its closets?

Coming from a hotel background, the best way I can describe the primary bedroom is presidential. It’s completely open concept, and the closets are divine. One of the closets was inspired by (UK-based design house) Ted Baker and has lovely, luxurious European influences in neutral tones that work well with the desert color palette. The other two-level closet was inspired by the (now closed) Barneys on New York’s Upper East Side. I really wanted it to feel like when you’re getting dressed each day that you were shopping in a Barneys. There’s a place for your handbags, shoes and jewelry—we even installed a small laundry unit so the owner has access to their delicates in the privacy of their own closet. The spiral staircase leads up to a champagne deck with lounges, glass railings and views of the city. It’s absolutely stunning.

The primary suite’s Barneys-inspired, two-level closet.

The primary suite’s Ted Baker-inspired closet.

What do you think makes this home unlike any other?

The quality of finishes and the level of detail that was put into this house architecturally all just make it so exceptional. This is not your basic white box. I’ve never seen a home like this—ever. 

For more information about Solace, call 602.888.4162 or visit WendyWalkerFineProperties.com

 

Solace Home Features

6,963 Square Feet

Triple-gated within Desert Mountain community

Chef’s Kitchen with Wolf & Sub-Zero appliances

Wine Cellar & Tasting Room 

Negative-edge Pool

3 Outdoor Bars

Al Fresco Dining Room

Primary Suite with Dual Closets & Rooftop Patio

Control4 Automation

Design by Brissette Architects with interiors by JSF Designs

 

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