First Resort

Scottsdale architect Mark Sever designs an amenity-filled house for easy living.

The home’s auto court includes a porte cochére entry and a bridged water feature. Quartzite-clad walls and copper detailing are repeated inside.

A North Scottsdale home designed by architect Mark Sever makes it easy to think you’re relaxing in one of Arizona’s fabled resorts. There are water features, fire pits, a swimming pool that looks like it belongs in a David Hockney painting, a comfy home theater, a lounge conveniently placed between the bar and the glass-walled wine cellar and a putting green. And then there are the boundless views that are clear to Bartlett Dam, Four Peaks and beyond.

For Sever, the mission was to design a personal resort for the homeowners, a couple who like to entertain and recently relocated from Indiana.

“We’ve been coming to the Scottsdale area for 25 years,” says the wife, “so it seemed natural for us to build a house here when we retired. I’ve had my eye on Mark Sever’s work because I kept bumping into his designs when we looked at homes.”

For Sever, who also served as the builder, the 2 ½-acre lot was a dream site—a flat, high desert and 360-degree views. “I’m used to designing for difficult hillside lots,” says Sever, a member of AIA. “This was a blank canvas, so I stretched it out to get the views and the interior spaces.”

Sliding, pocketing glass walls blur the line between the living room and patio in the foreground.Outdoor furniture by Brown Jordan.

Collaborating with interior designer Anita Lang and landscape firm Greey Pickett, both of Scottsdale, Sever designed a 6,400-square-foot floor plan for the main house that unfolds off a porte-cochere entryway leading to the central living room, lounge, bar and dining area, all anchored by an open fireplace. To one side is the master suite and his office. The other side includes her office, two guest suites and a capacious home theater.

“I wanted a room where I could play my drums,” jokes the husband about the dual purpose of his office. “In exchange, my wife got a home theater, where, I admit, we watch TV every night.”

Sever picked up on the couple’s sophisticated, minimalist tastes and used materials such as quartzite cladding for the walls, copper and steel detailing, Douglas fir ceilings , limestone flooring, and mahogany and wenge millwork. He designed soaring ceilings for the home’s central living spaces to pick up on views. There, floor-to-ceiling window walls open at the touch of a button to blur the line between indoors and out. In the master suite, a skylit master bath opens up to an outdoor shower. On the other side of the living room, the kitchen’s generously proportioned island is anchored by a dramatic, wedge-shaped breakfast bar.

The couple worked with interior designer Lang to incorporate pieces and artwork from their previous residences and to custom-design furnishings like the living-room sofa and coffee table, both of which reflect the home’s architecture and complement the neutral brown, cream and black color scheme. “We wanted less stuff and more space,” says the wife of the approach to choosing furniture.

Outdoors, the home’s front is marked by a large auto court and a bridge over a water feature that leads to the front door. In back, deep overhangs shade a patio large enough for multiple furniture groupings and a pool table. A one-bedroom casita anchors one side of the pool.

Completed earlier this year, the home has worked well for the owners, who have hosted several sit-down dinners indoors and out, as well as visits from adult children, grandchildren and friends. And Sever, too, is a welcome guest.

“I love this house,” says the wife. “I don’t even want to go on vacation. Why leave?”