Candelaria Design Creates Over the Top Outdoor Spaces

Article by Staci Hauk

Photography by Pearl Blossom Photography / Werner Segarra

Originally published in Scottsdale Lifestyle

Candelaria Design was founded in 1999 and is a well known name in designing spectacular homes throughout Arizona and coast to coast. Collaboration with a client is key at Candelaria Design, as the dedicated team of architects, designers and support staff share a common goal; to offer superior customer service, quality design, and to build friendships along the way. Principal Mark Candelaria takes pride in his innate ability to envision each client's wants, needs and passion for their personal spaces. He credits his path to success with gaining the insight and knowledge to have found a prestigious place among high end design firms. 

"I've been in the industry for 40 years, with our business founded over 20 years ago, so we're in a unique category of experience. Due to that, we work in all different styles. We love to give our clients what they envision and offer them the best in the style they desire. We have a diverse portfolio, from contemporary to traditional, as we are proud to be a larger firm with an array of talents. While you are getting a team when you choose Candelaria, we are very systemized, and personally get to know each client, each project and each detail, so when you need something, we are all here for you."

Candelaria has enjoyed architecture and design since he was a small child, taking drafting in high school and later gaining acceptance to ASU's Architecture Program. Personal matters meant redirecting that path, and Candelaria took an exciting opportunity to work for an Architecture Firm instead, later becoming a partner and getting his degree in Business.

"I now had a strong business foundation, and at age 39, I went out on my own. I started slow, but quickly grew to a five person team in six months."

Candelaria Design creates homes that enhance the way people live. Rather than design, build, and move on, Candelaria Design's team works with each client, and is heavily invested in what is produced.

"Building and designing a home is a very personal experience. Our clients become friends with the iron guy, the stucco guy -- your house is special and you want the people working on it to feel it is special as well. It's that synergistic effort -- the workers in turn will help you if something goes wrong because they are part of the family. Especially with what is going on in the world right now, we really appreciate our homes that much more."

Water adds so much to the aesthetic of a home, especially in the dry and rocky environment of the desert. Candelaria travels often to delve into worldwide design concepts, and, on a visit to Spain, he learned they add water in courtyards as a cooling element. Courtyards are often wrapped in water to create a vacuum effect; it's an evaporative process that feels cool and comforting, giving visitors a connection to the earth in a dry environment. Water also lends itself to meditative purposes. The sound of water is soothing on a subconscious level, even when you aren't honed in on it. 

"We try to do that with these houses we design. We're all in a hurry to get through life, but with Covid-19, homeowners are now telling me they can stop and appreciate all the little touches we've added in their homes -- they read in the garden, they take in specifics."

The Silverleaf estate featured was created for a couple who owns several cats. It is over 20,000 square feet and was a collaborative effort with Landscape Architect Jeff Berghoff and Builder Schultz Development Corporation. Water features abound on this expansive property including the focal point; a moat. 

MOAT: The owners of this estate didn’t want their cats to escape or be in danger from local wild animals. During a meeting to discuss options, Candelaria proposed a moat. This moat extends the entire backyard at different levels. The negative edge pool is at house level and spills into the moat three feet down. The moat wall then descends another six feet into the desert and is six feet wide. The moat acts as an organic element amidst a formal setting, as it meanders along the desert.

FIREPIT: It is truly magical to engage with and experience the moat, (instead of simply looking down on it), from the gathering spot around the firepit. The view is spectacular, overlooking the golf course. Guests will have water all around them and the fire in front, feeling a keen sense of seclusion. 

POOL: The pool is accessible through the home's main level, and spills into the moat. When you enter the home, you look straight out onto the negative edge pool, with a large cactus acting as a natural compass leading your eyes to the breathtaking backdrop. The home itself is very formal, modeled much like an Italian villa, so the linear and formal reflecting pool mirrors the architecture and layout of the home.

CAT COURTYARD: Off of the master bedroom wing is a courtyard, created as a safe haven and tranquil outdoor space for the owners' cats. This courtyard adds depth and light to the house, with its sparkling reflection pool and trellis for safety and ambiance. Fragrant greenery, and the old world detail of the trellis ceiling, is what Candelaria calls 'the heaven of architecture.'

SPA: Off the master bedroom, the spa integrates with the far left end of the moat, and Candelaria notes that all the home's water elements connect or are engaged with each other.

FOUNTAINS: These were added to bring the sound of water along the property. Each are formal and hand carved.

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