Pennsylvania residents Nancy and George Bitto were drawn to the Scottsdale Waterfront Residences when they searched Scottsdale and northeast Phoenix for a second home.
With valet parking, 24-hour concierge, rooftop pool areas, a gym and meeting spaces for private events, the complex stood out from other properties.
“We just felt the combination of location, high-rise living, amenities and building and staff quality made this the right place for us,” Nancy said.
The active couple purchased a condo in the complex, started renovations in the summer of 2018 and moved in after a full renovation in April 2019.
“Pre-COVID, the Waterfront would hold festivals and our community would host happy hour. I was in a book club,” Nancy said. Even during a pandemic, the couple is thankful for their modern retreat.
“We are able to exercise outside on the canal, and we can walk to outdoor dining options,” she said. “We are able to golf. It’s still great to be in Arizona,” Nancy said.
After purchasing the condo, the Bittos sought the expertise of interior design firm Est Est Incorporated.
“We worked with Elaine Alexander, who really captured the design we wanted,” Nancy said.
Est Est introduced them to Todd Curtis Custom Homes to do the renovation. “Todd and his son have phenomenal attention to detail,” Nancy said.
Condo renovations often are challenging due to restrictions in making changes to the floorplan.
“We made good use of odd corners and pillars by adding closets and storage into little nooks that we couldn’t move,” she said.
As for the design, Alexander did not hold back.
“The difficulty was the limited square footage of the great room and the low ceiling height. My recommendation is to design a condo unit fully and without reservation about size. This purpose creates highlights and atmosphere at every view point and visually expands the space,” Alexander said.
The couple’s home in Pennsylvania is traditional in design with a big green lawn. With their children grown, they wanted to create something completely different in their desert escape.
Along with Alexander, the Bittos transformed the 2,350-square-foot condo into a modern space that is livable and low-maintenance, yet visually striking.
One of the two bedrooms, with an ensuite bathroom, is reserved for guests. A colorful den is a multiuse media space with a sleeper sofa that allows additional space for guests. Nancy loves the room's modern, colorful artwork. A modern, six-panel barn door with frosted glass panes adds a modern element while still proving privacy for guests.
The main living space in the condo is the show-stopper.
“The bar is my favorite part of the condo,” George said.
The space is useful when entertaining, and has an eye-catching design. A wine cooler was custom designed at Heritage Vine Custom Wine Cellars and holds 120 bottles.
Alexander designed the living room feature wall next to the bar with a gas fireplace and wooden mantle. Built-in bookshelves add warmth and comfort to the space.
Alexander described the Bittos' style as “contemporary with a little sparkle.” The couple used gray and taupe for their neutral paint and furniture.
“Nancy and George like color, and we chose teal and blues to contrast neutrals,” Alexander said.
The use of mixed-metal and glass accessories add elegance to the modern design.
“Contemporary paintings, prints, gold metallic wall hangings and dramatic wall coverings offered each area a clever and memorable background and the furniture selection was a mix of linear and curvilinear pieces. I felt this blend offered comfort from a modern, right-angled approach,” she said.
Alexander wanted to ensure that she added personality and dimension while balancing multiple layers and finishes.
“The upholstered linear pieces help define a space and its function and the table curves encourage flow and ability to move about with ease,” Alexander said.
The flat-front kitchen cabinets are modern, but add warmth to the space due to the warm gray-brown color and pattern. The kitchen boasts views of the city, the fireplace feature wall and bar.
“We have a gorgeous eastern view and a large patio,” Nancy said.
A large island with waterfall quartz countertop provides ample seating along with the dining area adjacent to it, which is formal and functional.
The couple kept the Wolf appliances that were in the condo when they purchased it. They decided on tile floors throughout the condo. Nancy is happy with her choice for the durability and easy maintenance.
Wallpaper, chandeliers and plush furniture add traditional touches to the condo. Nancy had the idea to add the wallpaper to the ceiling in the entry hallway.
“I knew I wanted to set off the existing ceiling tray and suggested the snake skin paper. Alexander jumped on board and found the perfect chandeliers to complete the look,” Nancy said.
The master bath is a masterpiece with an Oyster polished marble feature wall behind a free-standing bathtub. The marble, from Cactus Stone, also is used for the countertops. The space is bright and elegant, with a large walk-in shower.
The ability for the couple to have a completely different design aesthetic from their traditional home back east makes their Arizona condo a true escape during the winter months.
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