French Countryside Arizona Kitchen

french countryside Beautiful Kitchens & Baths - Karen Rapp Interiors - French Provence Residence Arizona Interior Designer

AS A CUSTOM HOME BUILDER FOR MORE THAN 40 YEARS, Jerry Meek has helped many clients create their ideal kitchens. Usually, however, they want to start from scratch with a new space—not model it after one they were leaving behind.

“I think this may have been a first for us,” says Meek, president of Desert Star Construction in Arizona.

french countryside kitchen - butchen butcher block counter island

He explains that his clients loved their old home, which he and his team had also built. But with their children now older and on their own, they were ready to downsize to a more manageable space.

Their previous house pulled its themes from 17th-century Europe and could have passed for an old villa in the South of France.

“They wanted that same feel on a smaller scale,” Meek says, “so that defined the whole project, and it’s how we approached the kitchen.”

Indeed, says interior designer Karen Rapp, the new kitchen—like the home itself—is “just like something you’d find in Provence.”

terra cotta ceiling stove hood butcher block counters

French Countryside Home in Arizona

The walls, for example, are hand-chipped limestone, while the weathered wood beams spanning the 11-foot ceiling came from an aging house in Belgium.

The flooring is antique terra-cotta ceiling tiles reclaimed from a home in France, and old-world details like an arched Dutch door make the room seem transported from another time.

antique bonnetiere french wardrobe karen rapp interiors

Carefully carved, dark-stained oak shelves sit on stone corbels next to a plaster hood. And in a corner stands an antique bonnetiere (an 18th-century French wardrobe)—a monument worthy of the desert mountain visible through the kitchen windows.

“That piece is truly beautiful,” says Rapp, who also worked with Meek on the clients’ previous home. “When they bought it, it was in total disrepair, but a master craftsman we like to work with restored it and refinished it.”

The space doesn’t sacrifice function for beauty, however. That bonnetiere holds glassware and dishes, and the range, sink, and refrigerator form a perfect work triangle.


Then there’s the kitchen’s substantial centerpiece: an island the homeowners brought with them from their previous home and had trimmed down to fit the smaller space.

“It has a 2½-inch-thick butcher block countertop,” Meek says. “Like everything in there, it’s meant to be used every day.”The kitchen was put to the test early on when the homeowners threw a party for everyone involved in the home’s construction.

“You could tell they were happy with how it turned out,” Meek
says. “It’s just what they wanted—it feels like home.”


View the original article as featured in the Spring 2019 issue of Beautiful Kitchens and Baths by Meredith Publishing.

WRITER Chris Hayhurst
PHOTOS Laura Moss
FIELD EDITOR Jessica Brinkert Holtam

farmhouse sink curtain skirt


sink faucet

floor plan

open shelving french countryside kitchen

Mixing it Up for an Eclectic Feel

Phoenix Home and Garden Feb 2019 cover

Phoenix Home and Garden Magazine, February 2019

Combining design styles can create an eclectic and elegant look in your home.

By Ben Ikenson

A good rule of thumb in interior design is to choose a favorite style that guides you in making consistent, cohesive choices of individual decorating elements.

If you’re drawn to two disparate styles, such as traditional and contemporary or Southwest and midcentury, however, this approach simply doesn’t apply. But don’t despair—with the help of professional interior designers, you can enlist well-honed strategies to create the perfect mix-and-match look.

“You have to be careful not to end up with a mishmash, and there is a fine line between eclectic and hodgepodge,” explains interior designer and Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest award winner Susan Hersker.

“Eclectic is a successful blending of designs, lines, materials and other considerations with a great deal of thought given to the process.” The designer’s rooms frequently include furnishings from different continents, periods and cultures, but commonalities in texture, color and form provide the necessary visual synergies.

Introducing a single, unique item to an existing interior can also take a special touch. Hersker relays an anecdote about a client whose home and furnishings were contemporary.

When the woman inherited a precious heirloom cabinet from her mother—a traditional-style item that was out of sync aesthetically with her sleek interiors—Hersker embraced the piece’s ornateness. Instead of banishing the casegood to a back hallway, she created a custom space for it in the homeowner’s office.

Now set between modern-style built-in cabinets, “it looks like it belongs exactly where it is, as if it was meant to be there all along.”


Dining Room by Karen Rapp Interiors - Phoenix Arizona
A contemporary Moroccan tribal rug anchors this dining room by interior designer Karen Rapp. The serene space seamlessly integrates a traditional table with contemporary chairs, a 400-year-old oil painting above the fireplace and an antique French side table.

Interior designer Karen Rapp, also a Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest award winner, shares her primary trade secret for orchestrating cohesion while combining contrasting styles: Focus on scale, proportion and style sensibilities.

For example, she pairs a No. 14 bistro chair designed by Michael Thonet in 1857 with an Eero Saarinen Tulip table created by its namesake Finnish designer in 1957. “The scale and proportions of the chair and the table are the same, so that’s complementary.

Both pieces have curved design elements, and while they’re from different centuries, they have a similar timeless grace and elegance,” says Rapp.

Interior designers often deliberately choose seemingly discordant elements to enhance the personality of a space.

“Mixing styles can add charm as well as change the entire look of a room,” says interior designer Michelle Pierce. To create a hierarchy of styles and keep the ensemble balanced, she follows a 75/25 rule.

She notes, “If 75 percent of your existing furnishings and accessories are one style, say, traditional, you can add in 25 percent of another, such as midcentury, and your space will have a creative vibe but still be cohesive.”

Karen Rapp Interiors eclectic living room
To enhance the large scale of this sitting room dressed with mostly traditional furnishings, Rapp incorporated large pieces of contemporary artwork from the homeowner’s collection. The size of the painting above the sofa table is proportionate to the size of the antique Chinese foo dog collection.

LUXE Arizona – Feat. Karen Rapp Quote


LUXE Arizona Magazine

January/February 2017

Luxe Arizona featured its Design 2017 list of interior designers, architects and inspiration in its first publication of 2017.

Editors asked Karen Rapp, ASID, for her philosophy on kitchen design. Her answer is found on page 265:

“The kitchen is the heart of the home, so when it comes to design, I like to select neutral, timeless materials for their warmth, form and function.”

LUXE Arizona - Feat. Karen Rapp Quote | Karen Rapp Interiors



Scottsdale Historic Revival

luxe arizona - a scottsdale revival

luxe arizona - a scottsdale revival

Scottsdale Historic Revival

Luxe Interiors + Design Arizona, November 2011


Change often requires giving up the old, familiar and comfortable in order for something new to take its place.

But the owners of this Scottsdale residence, who got the opportunity in 1998 to acquire an acre next to their existing lot in the Paradise Valley country club they call home, jumped at the chance to switch it up.

The couple wanted to build a new residence in the center of both lots that had the look and feel of their Coronado, California, pied-à-terre—a renovated Mediterranean-style carriage house.

“We wanted it to look like it had originally been a much smaller house that was slowly added onto over the decades,” says the wife.

To get a better sense of the vibe the homeowners were after, architect Don Karen Rapp Interiors - Scottsdale Historic Revival - Master Bath

Ziebell flew out to California to look at the house and, in particular, a loggia the couple had added to the structure. Along with Ziebell, the couple assembled a supporting team that included interior designer Karen Rapp, builder Jerry Meek and design consultant Jim Smith of Serving the Nation.


Karen Rapp Interiors Luxe Scottsdale Historic Revival outdoor living

Together, they tackled the challenge of making this new home appear as though its stucco walls and tiled roof had been there for centuries. To accomplish that, the couple traveled with Ziebell and Smith on a buying trip to the south of France to select authentic materials to be used in the building process, such as reclaimed roof tiles, stone fireplaces, antique terra-cotta floor tiles and ancient wood ceiling beams.


November 2011 article by Rebecca Sherman, Photography by Dominique Vorillon

To view the full article in PDF, please click here.





























Mediterranean Residence


phoenix-home-garden-cover-march-2008Mediterranean Residence

Phoenix Home & Garden, March 2008


The residence would be equally at home in a Mediterranean setting.

The builder of this Arizona home, Jerry Meek, considers its architect, Don Ziebell, an artist, in large measure because of his constant attention to detail. The living room’s complex ceiling trusses, for example, were fabricated on-site using antique beams, says Meek.

“Every beam was individually template and handcrafted to honor the materials and to duplicate the Old World craftsmanship of where they were originally used.”


mediterranean residence living room



Designer Karen Rapp, who fashioned the interiors of this Mediterranean residence, calls Don Ziebell “a visionary,” praising his play with “scale and proportion from room to room” and harmonious use of finish materials.

Ziebell’s backdrop for her design of the family room and adjacent kitchen included wide archways, vintage crisscross ceiling beams and flooring of antique French terracotta pavers that once served as ceiling tiles.

mediterranean residence family room

Overlooking the Ziebell-designed pool is a guest casita with private patio.


mediterranean residence pool and guest casita


The lipstick-hued reading room, with its handsomely decorated beams, opens to a media and billards area.



Working with the design team, the homeowners chose elements that contribute to the kitchen’s old-time look, such as butcher-block-topped center island, countertops and sink of soapstone, antique terracotta tile stove backsplash, and rustic antique beams.

High-tech appliances and energy efficiency used here do not detract from the mood of the space, said Ziebell, for even when a house is meant to look old, “it must have the conveniences a modern home should have.”

mediterranean residence kitchen


Trimmed in wood, this partial opens to the stone-walled dining room.

mediterranean residence dining room


Sitting areas from which to enjoy the outdoors include this wide patio at the bath of the house. French doors defined by tall European-style shutters make for easy access to the space. The stairway (far right) leads to a second-story loggia.

outdoor sitting areas


Soft light shines through French doors in the book-lined home office.

A vintage French bathtub commands attention in the sunshine-yellow master bath. As in other Don Ziebell-designed rooms, the configuration of tiny view-catching windows and the mood-evoking ambience hold special appeal for interior designer Karen Rapp.

“When experiencing his spaces you are engaged and enchanted,” she says. “They are classic, ageless and soulful.”

With bases of brick, tree-trunk posts hold up a lush vine-covered arbor at a loggia off the dining room. A vegetable garden lies beyond.


library, bath, outdoor space


Shaded by a beam-and-tile overhang, this poolside loggia is a serene spot for entertaining or personal relaxation.



Spanning a wash and accented with a network of beams, this narrow hallway acts as an enclosed bridge.

narrow hallway acts as a bridge


Ample stonework and wooden trusses were crafted of very old beams, but the fireplace mantel, of burled wood from a French chateau, is even older, about 800 years old, says Ziebell.

second story loggia ample stoneword


See the original article here.








Spanish Colonial Style

Spanish Colonial Style home - PHX Cover Jan 2002

phx-mag-cover-jan-2002Spanish Colonial Style

Phoenix Home & Garden, January 2002


This house is built in the Paradise Valley Farms area, a rural enclave of two-acre lots in the heart of Scottsdale.

This home was the first one to be rebuilt and the intimate scale of the home addressed the context of 1960 ranch style homes originally found in this neighborhood.

The house has a comfortable, historically correct scale to it and is articulated with restrained detail to evoke the best of what Spanish Colonial design is all about.

Dubbed the house of a hundred arches the arcades that protect the home from the harsh phoenix sun were inspired from the Royal Palms Hotel that the owner loves so much.

Read the full article here.















Showhouse Entry Court

PHG Nov 1989 Cover Designers Showhouse

PHG Nov 1989 Cover Designers Showhouse - entry courtDesigners Showhouse Entry Court

Phoenix Home & Garden, November 1989


Pasenla Bien

After crossing a stone bridge spanning a deep arroyo, guests to the home are drawn to the shaded archway entry court, a cool contrast to the surrounding desert.

Setting the mood for a peaceful retreat are antique “santos” offering welcome and, perhaps, benediction.

A tall cacti echoes the ceiling height and adds a sense of drama, while the antique wood bench and table and rebar chair repeat the materials in the massive entry doors, while still offering an intimate seating area.

The French fabric, through its pattern and colors, complements the desert landscape and Moroccan style of the home.

Designers pictured: Jeninifer Beresfor, Casa el Encanto, and Karen Rapp, Karen Rapp Interiors.


To view the Entry Court article, please click here.









The Drama of Granite

PHG 1986 Cover - Drama of Granite feat Karen Rapp

PHG 1986 Cover - Drama of Granite feat Karen RappThe Drama of Granite

Phoenix Home & Garden, August 1986


Interior Designers Don Brady and Karen Rapp were featured in the “Best of the West” Kitchens 1986 article called “The Drama of Granite.”


Article by Nora Burba; Photography by Larry Pacilio


To view the article, please click here.