A Chicago couple turn to a local designer to help create their ideal Southwestern-inspired retreat at the Residences at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain.

When Jeff and Karen Holway began searching for a second home to escape the cold winters of Deerfield, Illinois, three years ago, they knew they were interested in one specific region: the West. “I went to Arizona State University and was a geologist, and we’d always had an attraction to the West,” says Jeff, now an investment professional. “And from our perspective, Phoenix and Scottsdale had been built up. We’d spent some time in Palm Springs and Santa Fe, and The Ritz-Carlton resort and spa, Dove Mountain had been recommended to us.”

The Holways spent a week at the Dove Mountain residences in Marana, Arizona, 25 miles northwest of Tucson. Situated within walking distance of the resort and spa and adjacent to Tortolita Mountain Park, the community of about 100 homes checked all the boxes. “For us, it had a blend of things that we were looking for: nice open space, hiking areas, architecture, and a little quieter area than some of the other places, but yet, we thought it had a nice mix of urban and more open-space areas,” Jeff says. While on-site, the Holways, who have three sons, toured the residences but chose not to make an immediate decision.

“The more we thought about it, we liked the design of the houses a lot, and we liked the concept for the location and the community a lot, and we went back and we visited some more. The more we visited Tucson and [Dove Mountain], the more we liked The Ritz-Carlton concept. We like to hike, and there’s nice hiking right there. We like to be able to walk to the hotel, and we use their health club and spa. And we like to be able to walk to the golf course.” Twenty-five miles of hiking trails in nearby Tortolita Mountain Park (tortolita is Spanish for “little turtle dove”), several different floor plans with lots of customizable options, and access to the 17,000-square-foot spa and fitness center sealed the deal.

Building and finishing out the home was a nine-month undertaking. For help achieving a polished look for their 3,200-square-foot three-bedroom (plus den) home, the Holways were referred to local interior designer Liz Ryan, who had also worked on five other residences the couple had toured. To flesh out an overall design concept, Karen tore pages out of magazines for inspiration, including a favorite one of a Southwestern-style adobe fireplace. “They wanted a casual elegance, with a sense of rustic, regional influence,” Ryan says. They chose a calm palette of sand tones and hints of rich reds, a mix of custom-designed furniture, wall coverings and window treatments, and hand-selected artwork and sculpture culled from local galleries Wilde Meyer Gallery and Jane Hamilton Fine Art.

“You see some of the more historical references with the Native American images, ranchlike feel, and equestrian,” Ryan says. “All of that was tied together by the selection of the art. And that was fun because we did it after all of the furniture was in place. The artwork was the icing on the cake, and they really went outside their comfort zone and selected some great pieces that pulled it together. Each piece just stood on its own, but it all works together.”

Throughout the space, artwork ranges from a whimsical oil painting of a spotted cow entitled Clyde by artist Bill Colt to a vibrant painting of saguaros called Up in Arms by Arizona native Diane Barbee to a pair of metal cactus sculptures by Kansas-based company Desert Steel initially spotted by the Holways in the lobby of the resort.

“It’s been fun for us, but we spent a lot of time on the design, and there’s not much I would change about it, and we’re happy with it,” says Jeff, who also explains they enjoy entertaining and hosting dinner parties by the pool. “It certainly met expectations in terms of the whole thing. Frankly, I wish we could use it more, and I’m envious of the people who are out there more.”


Desert Steel, Wichita, Kansas, 316.282.2244
Jane Hamilton Fine Art, Tucson, Arizona, 520.529.4886
Liz Ryan Interior Design, Tucson, Arizona, 520.299.2123
Wilde Meyer Gallery, Tucson, Arizona, 520.615.5222

From the August/September 2016 issue.

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