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By Riki Altman-Yee | Photo: Courtesy images | October 17, 2016
To be surrounded by natural beauty and man-made masterpieces, Ingrid and Robert Wimmer need only return home.
Though having an open-concept floor plan might be a top priority for many of today’s home buyers, Ingrid and Robert Wimmer knew the more walls they had, the happier they would be. With 40 mostly museum-quality artworks in their possession, the retired couple wanted a comfortable space flooded with natural light that resembles a gallery.
After the Wimmers found a perfect 1-acre plot inside North Scottsdale’s Mirabel, a private golf and country club community, they enlisted luxury home builder Patrick O’Brien to carry out their vision. The architectural designer, who also dabbles as an artist, began work on their three-bedroom, five-bath sanctuary. Fortunately for O’Brien, the couple’s lofty expectations were met. “I needed it to be contemporary, but I wanted it homey,” Ingrid explains; then jokes, “We told Patrick there better be a wall for every work of art or he’d be buying the place.”
Within a matter of months, O’Brien had created a 3-D computer model of the 4,700-square-foot future residence and its snaking 3,000-square-foot courtyard, complete with miniature versions of each work of art positioned in its proper place. (It should be noted that not all of the Wimmers’ prized possessions hang on walls. Their inventory also includes large sculptures, including a granite “Trojan” horse by Ron Lyons; three bronze bunnies by Jim Budish; a Dino Martens glass vase; and “Ludwig,” a life-sized mountain goat that greets visitors from just inside the front door.) To highlight the pieces, O’Brien ensured the entire L-shaped home had high ceilings, copious glass features and long, clear sightlines, all housed within an exterior design that complements the dynamic desert environs.
Ingrid took over the interior design responsibilities herself, sourcing many of the home’s large furnishings from La Maison Interiors, repurposing others and unearthing exotic light fixtures from Thingz. To the right of the entrance is Robert’s office, which Ingrid jokes is the only room where her husband was permitted to provide design direction. With O’Brien’s contributions— namely exposed steel beams with a rust finish and steel-framed glass doors by Sonoran Doors—“Bob’s Cowboy Room,” with its green walls and live-edge wood desk, is a striking tribute to the Southwest. In stark contrast to the office’s vibrancy, the Wimmers’ master bedroom a few footsteps away is a silvery Zen palace, highlighted with dove-gray carpet and elegant custom bedding. Their master bathroom, which also leads directly to a spa outdoors, is tinged with a bit more color as blue opalescent strips of mosaic tile lead eyes along. Lilac and periwinkle veins run throughout the beautiful Brazilian granite slab on the countertop and inside the shower. Just beyond this vignette is Ingrid’s closet, entirely customized with frosted glass cabinets. O’Brien wisely insisted on square windows around the perimeter to allow for sunlight.
A tour of the other leg of the home starts with a rectangular-shaped formal dining room, kept simple and clean with a glass-topped table and Chaddock azure leather tuxedo chairs. The color was selected to compliment “Flying,” a large painting by Joan Brown that centers the room. Next is the great room, which Ingrid considers “the heart of the home,” with “arteries” leading to guest rooms. Anchored by “The Concert,” a painting from American Lynne Mapp Drexler, the space opens to an enormous, modular kitchen with lighted firetruck-red Starphire backsplashes. Clusters of colored pendant lights, an 8-foot-tall stainless steel vent and vivid artwork (natch) add vertical interest and contrast with linear cabinetry designed to conceal countertop appliances.
Adjoining a kitchen nook is a 3,000-square-foot outdoor living area that, though lacking many collectable creations and prismatic hues, is a showstopper. O’Brien created an environment that marries all the Earth’s elements, uniting a cantilevered fireplace encased in industrial steel, cool stone walls and flooring, flowing water from numerous lit scuppers, and pine ceilings.
Blending seamlessly into the desert environment, the place where so many amazing masterpieces dwell is also, in and of itself, a work of art.
Patrick O’Brien from O’Brien Luxury Homes
Beth Webster from Native Landscape Development
Azadi Fine Rugs
Wool Oushak Turkish rugs
Cornerstone Cabinet Company
European full overlay door, custom kitchen cabinetry
Emerald Pools and Spas
La Maison Interiors
Great room sofa, chairs, coffee table
“The Concert” by Lynne Mapp Drexler
“Blue Nude” by Chuck Close
Juliska pendant lights, Corbett Graffiti chandelier