By Kelsey Murrietta| February 20th, 2020
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Nestled amidst horse property on the Paradise Valley-Scottsdale border is a quintessential Southwest, Scottsdale-of-old home. Built in 1968, the house has the original Saltillo tile floors, hand-painted tiles on the fireplace and a flat roof. A previous owner had expanded the house, taking it to approximately 3,200 square feet.

Homeowner Sheila Collison had the whole house redone, including the roof and pool. The four-bedroom and 3½ bath house has been a labor of love for Collison, who is now in a maintenance phase. 

The entrance feels elegant and rustic, with a walled-in courtyard, a red-tile-roof porch and ornate metal gate. Climbing roses drape the front wall and gate, which Collison also planted around the garden walls and pergola. 

Metal insets placed into the wall of the courtyard match the main gate. A fountain, wood-burning fireplace and sitting area create a special place for Sheila and her guests to dine and socialize.

Recycling the old barn

On her 1¼-acre property, Collison didn’t have a use for the old horse barn in the backyard, so someone took it apart piece by piece and rebuilt it in Marana, just north of Tucson.

In its place, Collison built a brand new “barn” which she originally used as a place for extended family to gather. Now that the kids have grown, she uses it as an event venue, Table2Soul Collective.

Michael Miller and Associates were the architects for the barn. “Finley Itsell, general contractor extraordinaire and now close friend, helped line up sub-contractors to beautify my demo, especially the barn,” she said.

A beautiful tree with a rope swing and chandelier hanging from the branches greets guest as they enter the back patio. The tree sits in front of the new barn, which has beautiful windows and glass doors that open up to the outside.

“The wood wall and baseboard in the new barn is real barn wood from Porter Barn wood.  Each piece was hand-picked,” Collison said.

The new space is used for large family gatherings, bridal and baby showers, book clubs and networking events. It is the manifestation of Collison's desire to share her home. 

With large dining tables inside and out, Sheila created a space with a sense of community and togetherness.

Room to grow

The backyard has raised garden beds, which at various times of the year houses all kinds of fruits and vegetables, rosemary, grapevines, mint, herbs, flowers and climbing roses. Collison used a piece of the original horse fence for her plants.

A lounge area sits outside of the master suite with a view of the yard, adding additional seating.  A side-yard also has a sitting area off of a guest room with thriving citrus trees. 

By taking out a half-wall and old barn, they were able to extend the patio. The backyard also has a sport court.

Mix of old and new

When repurposing the pool, Collison didn’t want to throw away an existing statue of Archangel Michael, so Ian Itsell of Standard Pools AZ moved it to another area. The kitchen had a tile mosaic of the patron saint of cooks, San Pasquale, so when she remodeled, she moved it to the grill area in the backyard.

Collison brought pieces of the old barn into her design for the inside of the house, as well as various items with sentimental value from her previous homes.

Light fixtures in her family room were the original gate from the front courtyard. “The shelf was a piece of the 12-foot high gate that went to the original horse barn and is the original color,” she said. 

Collison left the original Saltillo tile floors but updated some spaces with durable and rustic-looking laminate flooring. She used seltzer bottle light fixtures from a previous property in her updated kitchen and used cactus door pulls from her old home in the laundry room.

When entering the home, a beautiful set of wood doors opens to a library.  Horse head sconces flank each side, which were from Mexico and left by the previous owner. “They were one of the things I loved about the house on the first visit with the realtor; nothing cookie cutter,” she said.

Collison designed a bookcase for the library and commissioned Finley Itsell to build it. The knobs for the bookcase were from the old kitchen cabinets. 

Gourmet kitchen

Collison loves to cook, so she splurged on a Viking oven and gas range and a Sub-Zero refrigerator. The large center island has ivory, distressed cabinetry which contrasts nicely with the warm wood tones of the surrounding cabinets.

The farmhouse sink and artwork give the space warmth and an instant feeling of nostalgia. She brought in antique French butcher block originally from France, which she purchased from an antique dealer on Coronado Island. The large piece adds more counter and serving space.

Collection over curation

Sheila’s eclectic style and habit of moving and repurposing items creates a unique design style.

“I prefer to collect rather than curate my spaces. My Instagram tagline is ‘romancing the ordinary’ and hopefully that translates to making my home feel comfy for those that live and visit here,” she said.

Guests can find pieces of art all throughout her home and property. Her brothers both contributed their artistic talents. Gregg Collison created large metal artwork for the garden called “Spirit Mother” and a hummingbird welcome sign in front of the garden. Guy Collison painted a Caballero painting in the library.

Leandro Puca (@leandro_puca_official on Instagram) is the artist of the “Tres Madonna” painting in the library. 

“It was a fun collaboration of our ideas,” she said. 

Labor of love

Collison's heart and creativity comes through in her design. A black and white Don Quixote painting on the wall was a gift she’d given her mother. One of the bedrooms is used as a little art studio where she paints. 

Her guestroom themes are a reflection of places she loves, with one having a vintage sailing theme and the old master bedroom reflecting the home's equine history. 

She added French doors to each of the guest rooms, giving them direct access to the lush backyard.  From the rustic yet feminine new master bedroom to the nesting chair on her front courtyard patio, Collison's heart and soul were poured into the property.

“The horse heads and gates and arches and St. Pasquale and decorative Mexican tile, all convinced me to make an offer that day (Monday), and I closed on Wednesday and moved in on Thursday (Thanksgiving),” Collison said. 

Welcoming guests into her home and barn, she is a gracious host and budding entrepreneur.  The project is one of her favorite accomplishments, and with bathrooms to be remodeled and light fixtures to be hung, it is an ongoing labor of love.

THANK YOU!!
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