Design Bar extended

When visitors step across the threshold into Shannon and Neal Van Zutphen’s home, they are greeted with an almost immediate sense of tranquility.

Shannon and Neal purchased their home in Fairway Park 30 years ago. It has a view of Papago Buttes to the south and Camelback Mountain to the north.  The home was built in 1953 as a 1,927-square foot three-bedroom house with a carport.

The Fairway neighborhood is nestled between Thomas Road and Oak Street just east of 56th Street.  Most of the area, including the adjacent Sherwood Heights area, was developed in the 1950’s.

The couple chose their home like so many residents of Southern Scottsdale because of its central location.  Neal calculates, “We can be downtown in five minutes and at the airport in seven minutes.”  They both also liked that the neighborhood didn’t have streetlights or sidewalks – which it still doesn’t.

Shannon winces slightly as she remembers when they moved into the home in 1987. “We started work on the house by removing the popcorn-textured ceilings and the plastic-coated paneling.  And then we got rid of the doors. There were lots of them and plenty of walls that interrupted the flow.”

That “flow” is what creates a feeling of calm throughout the home — which they have expanded to about 2,300-square feet by adding rooms to each end of the house.  What started as a traditional rectangular-shaped footprint is now “U-shaped.” On the eastern end sits Neal’s spacious office and on the other end the original carport has been converted into an enclosed garage, plus a significantly-sized laundry area.

Shannon is an interior designer who works from home … and it shows throughout their house.

“The first thing I encourage people to do is get rid of the clutter,” she points out.  “I like to recommend that they stay away from anything ‘trendy,’ too.”

It’s apparent that Shannon has followed her own advice.

The interior of the home is tasteful and thoughtful.  Everything from the art to the furnishings feels like it’s perfectly placed.  The order obviously contributes to the calming aura of their home. “When we have guests,” Shannon seems pleased to describe, “they say they can’t wait to get home and begin getting rid of their clutter.”

Shannon and Neal’s home is all about subtleties.  Especially textures.  An original rustic brick wall runs the length of the entryway inside the front door.  When they were renovating the kitchen they uncovered the same brick motif that had been hidden by a wall.  The flooring throughout the home features different types of tile that Shannon has artfully combined to be compatible.

Shannon and Neal say they haven’t done anything significant to their home in about 10 years.  And, after all, why would they?

It feels like Shannon and Neal Van Zutphen have created their own nirvana in one of Southern Scottsdale’s most classic neighborhoods.

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