Design Bar extended

Russell and Sue Moore’s home is an example of what is possible when a civil engineer’s attention to detail is blended with an artist’s eye for aesthetics.

Russell, an engineer, and Sue, a designer, have converted the first house ever built in Sherwood Heights 60 years ago into a contemporary modern masterpiece.   What began with 1,500 square-feet constructed by D.D. Castleberry, has been expanded by Russell and Sue into a 3,600 square-foot home that sits on the border between Southern Scottsdale and the eastern edge of Phoenix.

The Moores are told that because their house is so distinctive and is located at one of the primary gateways into Sherwood Heights, it is frequently used as a landmark when their neighbors give visitors directions into the neighborhood.

As a graduate from the University of Alaska, Russell designed everything from roadways to residences.  Because of the harsh weather conditions and 100-degree swing in temperatures between seasons, he says:  “Whenever I designed a building, I had to worry about heat retention and energy consumption.  Those were the two biggest priorities.”  Russell adds that “Those are the same priorities for designing buildings in Arizona, including this house.”

Sue graduated from Mary Mount College in Salina, Kansas where she studied art and design.  While at Mary Mount she became involved in Wes Jackson’s Land Institute Project which put her on the leading edge of what she jokes was “the Green Movement before it was called the ‘Green Movement.’”

The Moore’s are all about sustainability.

Not only was Russell and Sue’s house the first built in Sherwood Heights back in 1956, there is evidence that gives them reason to believe it was the model home for the housing development – which makes sense.  They are absolutely certain, however, that their home was one of the first “all-electric” homes in Scottsdale.

The marketing materials for Sherwood Heights that feature the original home the Moores now own, tout it as “The Electri-living Home” that “combines indoor-outdoor living the contemporary Arizona way!” And, according to the advertising, that includes “push-button television, remote-control lighting, music in every room and an all-electric kitchen and laundry center.”

While living in Arcadia, the Moore’s purchased their house in Sherwood Heights in 2005 and spent more than two years remodeling it before moving in.  Today, two Castleberry constructed homes could fit into Russell and Sue’s floor plan.

The centerpiece of the home, both literally and visually, is a 360-degree gas-burning fireplace that is open on all four sides.   Russell, who designed the one-of-a-kind feature, proudly says: “I can see the fireplace from just about anywhere, from the front room, the dining room or the kitchen.”

A 30-foot hallway leads off the central area of the house and features a floor to ceiling chalkboard wall on which Sue has etched erasable adages and aphorisms.  She also has a spacious art studio where the original home’s carport once stood.  The master bedroom connects with a large open bath that includes an ultra-modern soaking tub.

“This is not a fussy house,” Sue says. “It’s an extremely comfortable home that’s inviting and inspiring for us as well as anyone who visits us.”

And, if he were still around, D.D. Castleberry would probably agree.

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