Design Bar extended

The plaque on their kitchen wall not only captures John Lewis’ and Cheryl Walsh’s philosophy on life — it was also what guided them in transforming their house into a work of contemporary architectural art.

The inscription: “Family Is A Love Team.”

As Cheryl gazes around their home, she reflects: “When I look around here, I see us, our family.” John is quick to agree, because their “remodeling” project has truly been a family affair.

When Cheryl and John began looking for a house, it was all about location. They wanted to be close to the airport live near the Arizona Country Club where John is a member. So they focused on the Sherwood Heights area. However, because of the low number of homes that were for sale in the neighborhood, there were not a lot of homes from which to choose. They finally found one in the Fairway neighborhood adjacent to Sherwood Heights.

The 2,900 square-foot house was built in 1958. Over the years, the owners had added rooms to the house — and, as they did, they failed to keep the floors level from one room to the next. Consequently, there were dangerous step-downs and step-ups throughout the home. It also had low ceilings and only a few windows that made the interior of the house dark. Maggie, Cheryl’s daughter, described it as “scary.”

Cheryl and John knew their work was cut out for them.

As a tax attorney, Certified Public Accountant and public relations specialist, Cheryl says her true love is architecture. She lived in renowned Mid-Century architect Al Beadle’s former Phoenix residence for 19 years and oversaw 17 different design revisions to the house. The influences of some of the design features from that house are evident in the home she and John remodeled and now share in Southern Scottsdale.

The horseshoe-shaped house is nothing short of stunning. It shows the thoughtfulness and caring that went into the home’s reincarnation after “we tore down everything,” Cheryl says. She describes it as “industrial” because of the exposed steel beams, burnished cement floors and the raw wood panels inset in several walls. Yet the home still has a warm and friendly feel.

It’s the spectacular stone and sculptural work scattered around on the home’s exterior that creates the strongest impression – which John says is his favorite feature of the home. He admits that it’s because he and his son, Jake, designed and built all of it together.  Jake is an environmental sculptor who, when he isn’t working with his dad, has his own business called Scrub Dog that creates custom metal sculptures.

The three-bedroom home’s kitchen/living room has a big bank of windows and stretches across the width of the large backyard patio. The centerpiece of the patio is a fountain that shoots up from dozens of small portals embedded in the cement. Through the mist of the fountain Camelback Mountain can be seen in the distance.

One of the most unique features of Cheryl and John’s home is the antique train that runs around on a track hidden behind the soffit on all four sides of the ceiling in the guest bedroom … something you don’t see every day or find on any tour … except the Southern Scottsdale Home Tour.

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