Desert Modern Indoor-Outdoor Living With a Twist
Fast-forward past the remodel, which included a full landscape renovation and interior redesign down to the walls and beams, and the property has the best of both worlds. Contemporary low-water plantings blend seamlessly with the surrounding desert, while details such as hanging outdoor daybeds and colorful textiles inside and out make the home feel fresh, free-spirited and inviting. Take a look around the home and garden that helped this couple fall in love with easy indoor-outdoor living in the Sonoran desert.
House at a Glance
Who lives here: A French couple from Paris; she’s an interior designer and he works in irrigation
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Size: 2,200 square feet (204 square meters); three bedrooms, two bathrooms
Design team: Landscape design: Elizabeth Przygoda-Montgomery of Boxhill Design; interior design: homeowner
Although the home had great original details, such as high ceilings and stonework, the outside needed a lot of help. The front yard consisted of nothing but gravel and concrete, and while the backyard had a pool, the landscape felt barren and uninviting.
The couple brought in landscape designer Elizabeth Przygoda-Montgomery to help them reimagine the outdoor space. “What is now the front courtyard was once was a driveway and parking lot,” the designer says. “Guests would literally pull up to the front door, and you looked out from the kitchen window to a parking lot.” Przygoda-Montgomery proposed enclosing the entrance with a low wall to change the feeling of arrival at the home.
Now, guests are greeted with a welcoming outdoor room, and the couple enjoy more privacy inside. Next to the front door, a teardrop-shaped Papasan chair piled with colorful pillows provides a spot to pause before entering the home. Low-water plantings include desert-friendly species such as Aloe ferox, ‘Blue Elf’ aloe, Artemisia spp., slipper plants (Pedilanthus macrocarpus) and Yucca thompsoniana.
Papasan chair: Wayfair; wood stool: Shop Boxhill; pillows: Amazon; see more midcentury-style outdoor furniture
Vesta fire pit: Shop Boxhill; pillows: CB2; outdoor lamp: Fatboy; carved wood stools: African Art Village at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show; see similar outdoor sofas
Continuing with the theme of the front courtyard, Przygoda-Montgomery enhanced what was just a pool and pavers by creating multiple destinations to encourage indoor-outdoor living. Here, chaise lounges offer a place to take in the sun, half-submerged pool loungers create an ideal spot for cooling off in the newly added shallow lagoon, and an outdoor dining table offers a place to host outdoor meals. Additionally, the homeowners replaced the pool’s tile and added a hot tub.
Chaise lounges: CB2; submerged pool lounges: Shop Boxhill
On the weekends, the couple enjoy taking an early morning swim, followed by sipping tea and coffee on the daybeds while admiring the view. Colorful butterfly-style chairs provide additional seating for guests.
Hanging daybeds: Shop Boxhill; butterfly chairs: Wayfair; stools: World Market; Turkish pillows: eBay; see similar kilim pillows
Inside, the homeowners preserved the 1967 home’s original high ceilings and stone walls. As an interior designer, the wife knew that the chunky caramel-colored stone would add warmth and texture to the space and root the home in a midcentury aesthetic. She further drew attention to the stonework by painting adjacent walls a complementary charcoal gray. To bring more light to the interior, she added large new windows to look out on the backyard. The floors throughout the home are polished concrete.
She picked up the unusual horned chair at a Tucson furniture store before the couple had purchased the house, knowing she’d make room for it wherever they ended up. Now, it sits alongside a new white acrylic side table with funky hoof details.
Turkish pillows: eBay; horn chair: Tom’s Fine Furniture and Collectables, Tucson
Wall paint: Gravel Gray, Benjamin Moore
Black-and-white prints: Art.com
Painting: Art.com; rug: eBay
Chevron cabinet: Deny Designs; curtains: Overstock; see more velvet curtains
All in all, the French couple have fully embraced their move to the Arizona desert and the indoor-outdoor lifestyle of their home and garden. Their long-term plans are to retire in Tucson, rather than Paris, balancing their time with trips back to France in the summer.