Real Modern

Debbie and Scott Jarson’s real estate firm offers an impressive portfolio of architectural masterpieces.

One of the couple’s recent listings is a modernist house by Steven Holl.


Since 1990, Debbie and Scott Jarson, of Scottsdale-based real estate firm azarchitecture/Jarson & Jarson, started specializing in architecturally unique homes, including those designed by significant architects and midcentury-modern styles.

Their life expresses a passion for architecture both at home in their modernist Paradise Valley home and from their office, where they and their staff represent design-savvy buyers and sellers.

“We’ve enjoyed working with some of the established names in architecture but also the talent here that quietly strives to make this a better place, including the younger architects who are making a mark for the future,” says Scott, who grew up in the Valley, graduating from Arizona State University with a degree in ceramics.

Debbie and Scott Jarson at their Will Bruder-designed home in Paradise Valley

A short list of notable architects whose projects they have represented includes Al Beadle, Lake|Flato, Eddie M. Jones, Steven Holl, Wendell Burnette, Ralph Haver, Cal Straub, Ned Sawyer, George Christensen, Darren Petrucci, John Kane, Bennie Gonzales, Paolo Soleri, Brent Kendle, John Douglas, Rich Fairbourn, Hugh Knoell, Charles Montooth and Paul Christian Yaeger, as well as Will Bruder, who designed the Jarsons’ own hillside home.

“I love that we can share every aspect of our day. It’s very special and, frankly, a gift,” says Debbie, a Pennsylvania, native who studied and worked in New York for three years in the fashion industry and briefly as an actress before moving to Arizona in 1981. Married for 36 years, they have two sons, both in Arizona—the elder, a writer; and the younger, a photographer.

As they built their family, they built the company, with Debbie entering real estate first. Scott had been working in the family agricultural business and came to real estate later. Sharing responsibilities, Debbie directs the brokerage, and Scott handles marketing, while both remain engaged in sales.

By 1990, they had attained substantial success and a good number of sales awards, Scott recalls. But, four years or so into the career change, he thought he needed another.

“I was beginning to feel challenged in dealing with traditional real estate,” he says. “I had begun to feel I was just ‘part of the problem’ when it came to design and development issues here in the Valley.”

Abandoning cookie-cutter, traditional home sales in sprawling suburbs, the Jarsons discovered their niche. “We found we enjoyed working with unique homes, from vintage ranch homes and historic adobes to cutting-edge modern designs,” Debbie explains.

The choice was a pioneering one for Valley real estate. At first, many in the local real estate industry jeered rather than cheered. “No one at the time liked modern designs or houses by pioneer architects like Haver, which were getting stuccoed over,” Scott explains.

The switch to architecturally unique homes, though, has paid off for the Jarsons. Now they hear cheers—in sales and salutes. The firm supports a full-time staff of three, including a marketing director and photographer, plus 13 agents, including the Jarsons. Typically, the firm carries an inventory comprising 50 to 75 unique-property listings with an average price of $1.25 million.

“The Jarsons are a unique resource for our community,” says architect Will Bruder, who first sketched their steel, copper and glass home nestled into the rocks along the site’s wash.

“They combine a passion for quality design and architecture; a richly informed awareness of the history of Phoenix; and a keen ability to bring to this conversation to buyers, colleagues and community members.”

“We have built an incredible team of knowledgeable agents, all of whom share our passions for local history, architecture and design, as well as eco-sensitive living and construction,” says Scott, noting that they plan to double the firm’s size by the end of this year. “In many ways, we are caretakers of this information and that legacy. Teaching it to others is really part of our mission.”