Soothing Spaces

“There are some clients who are so intent on squeezing every penny from you,” says Scottsdale, Ariz.-based builder Ken Madden, “that, while they do end up with a beautiful home, they are just getting exactly what they paid for.

August 01, 2002


I consider the retreat spaces in the homes that I build as retreat-to areas that offer the homeowner a place for quiet, beauty, privacy and relaxation. - Ken Madden, Shiloh Custom Homes

“There are some clients who are so intent on squeezing every penny from you,” says Scottsdale, Ariz.-based builder Ken Madden, “that, while they do end up with a beautiful home, they are just getting exactly what they paid for.

“On the other hand, there are clients who by their very nature demonstrate such support and excitement for a project that it makes both the builder and the trades working on the home want to do more for them. They get that extra attention to detail that you just can’t buy.”

That was definitely the case for this European-influenced mansion in Paradise Valley, Ariz., says Madden. The homeowners, a successful executive couple, were determined that this 9,217-square-foot custom home, their primary residence, reflect their continental background and serve as a place to welcome visitors in comfort and style.


“My custom clients are actually looking for two distinct kinds of living space,” Madden says. “They want the social spaces, designed to be used when entertaining business associates, guests and neighbors.” These include high-impact foyers, formal living and dining rooms, and great rooms.

Separate from these but no less important, says Madden, are the retreat spaces. In this home these include the office, wine cellar and outdoor dining room. “While the homeowners may invite guests into these areas, these specialty spaces are really reserved for their own personal use,” Madden says. These areas provide the homeowners with a spot that has been set aside to provide them with a peaceful setting that will help them relax. They are actually retreating to a place of beauty rather than retreating from the rest of the house.”

A Leisurely Retreat

• Although the entry door to this wine cellar is new, it features an aged finish and a wrought-iron accent grate that lend it the old-world appearance the client desired.

• The railing and balusters of the balcony entrance that overlooks the sunken space are handcrafted of distinctive cantera stone.

• An independently controlled sound system sets the mood in the room, depending on whether the space is being used for entertaining or quiet reflection.

• A separate ventilation system prevents odors from permeating any other area of the house. Temperature, humidity and light must be carefully controlled in any wine cellar so the wines will age properly.

• Redwood, used here for the cabinets and countertops, is well-suited for use in wine cellars because it will not warp or rot and does not require staining.

• Curved beams accentuate the shape of the cellar’s barrel-vaulted ceiling, while custom sconces provide indirect lighting. The ceiling features a hand-painted block design sealed with a glaze.

• Diamond-shaped bins provide storage for cases of wine. There also are bins for individual bottles. The open design of the wood dividers promotes air circulation between the bottles and prevents mold.

• The slate floor will withstand a humid environment and will not absorb odors.

One of this home’s most striking examples of retreat space is the lower-level wine cellar. “The sunken wine cellar is a place for the homeowner, a busy executive, to find a quiet space in the home to enjoy a glass of wine in a nice, comfortable setting,” Madden says.

“Livability was very important to this well-traveled couple,” Madden adds. “They wanted their home to reflect their life experiences by bringing them home to their ‘nest.’”

The home’s formal appearance, reflected by groin-vaulted ceilings, hand-plastered walls and cantera stone columns and trim, is softened by the floor plan’s exceptionally large and comfortable entertaining spaces.

Style of Home| Old World European

Location| Paradise Valley, Ariz.

Total Square Footage| 9,217 (air-conditioned), 11,700 (under roof)

Market Value| $3 million-plus

Hard Costs| $260 per square foot (excluding land)

Builder| Shiloh Custom Homes, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Architect| Urban Design Associates, Scottsdale

Interior Designer| Paula Interior Design, Scottsdale

Custom Client| Primary residence for executive, empty-nester couple

Major Products Used| Appliances: U-Line, Asko, Viking (outdoor kitchen) | Cabinetry: redwood (wine cellar), alder (office) | Countertops: redwood, granite | Exterior Finish: stone, synthetic stucco | Fireplace: limestone | Flooring: limestone (wine cellar), hickory (office), flagstone (outdoor dining room) | Home Controls/Automation: LiteTouch | HVAC: Lennox | Roofing: slate | Windows: Pella | Doors: custom knotty alder by Craftsmen in Wood

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