Story written by Kimberly Hutchings /Photos provided by Stephanie Larsen Interiors and PHX Architecture
From the imposed stillness of the pandemic to the new opportunities presented by remote work, many have begun to consider a more thoughtful pace of living in locations beyond the traditional big cities they once called home. And it’s not hard to understand why.
Smaller towns and cities like Flagstaff and Sedona offer a fresh start for those previously confined to urban settings without compromising the amenities that make larger cities so appealing.
Moving to Northern Arizona, new residents discover an opportunity to indulge in the best of both worlds, unearthing a truly unique alternative to the non-stop pace of city living where the balance of quiet community and bustle of tourism make this region restful without ever being sleepy.
In fact, this is exactly what caught the attention of award-winning interior designer Stephanie Larsen when she first decided to make a move from Orange County, California, to Sedona over twenty years ago. Seeking balance in both life and art, Stephanie relocated to Northern Arizona looking for a place to put down more solid roots, continuing to build her career while living day-to-day at a more mindful pace.
“It was the sense of connection that really drew me to Northern Arizona,” Larsen shared. “And it’s something that I hear more and more from clients who are making the move here. “People are seeking a more connected sense of living, especially as we move through this global pandemic, and you can find that here in so many ways, whether it’s a connection to others in the community, to nature, or more inwardly through a deeper connection to your own spirituality.”
Now over twenty years later, Larsen maintains this deep sense of connection in her personal life and professionally. She has asserted herself as a mainstay in the interior design community, building long-standing relationships with her clients as she crafts extraordinary interiors locally and nationally.
“Whether it’s crafting a space that reflects the tranquility of nature or surrounding ourselves with the everyday pleasures that allow us to be our best selves and connect with our loved ones, the spaces we create have a deep, and often overlooked, impact on the ways we live our lives.”
This mentality is something that Larsen shares with a colleague, friend, and close collaborator Erik B. Peterson, award-winning architect and President of PHX Architecture.
Peterson, having won numerous awards for his design excellence, boasts a highly buzzed-about portfolio. His work—including projects from upscale residential spaces to bespoke hospitality projects—has gained him wide recognition from Scottsdale to Beverly Hills and other states throughout the Southwest.
Independently, Peterson and Larsen are known for their thoughtfully designed, luxurious spaces. Together, they provide Northern Arizona residents with a truly unique opportunity to take a full-service approach to create a home they love.
It all began last summer. The pair connected over a shared passion for great design and mutual appreciation for the deep sense of community that Northern Arizona offers its residents. Quickly recognizing the recent influx in migration to the region, it wasn’t long before their discussion turned to the gaps this shift was creating for newcomers looking to access a more streamlined approach to home design. An idea was born, and together Larsen and Peterson formed something of a dream team, offering homeowners a one-stop solution to procuring personalized design services in Northern Arizona and beyond.
Together, the pair offers an expert approach to creating spaces from start to finish, conceptualizing a plan of action that reflects how a client wants to live, move, and interact with their space. Peterson takes the lead on architecture while Larsen takes the principal role in orchestrating the home’s interiors. From countertops to bedroom linens, Larsen offers her trademark turnkey approach in creating a finished product that is deeply personalized and move-in ready.
“There is nothing more valuable than creating a space that you truly feel at home in,” Larsen shared. “With this mass migration to quieter communities like the ones here in Northern Arizona, it’s important that your home reflects that lifestyle shift and really makes you feel welcomed in your new surroundings.”
So, where do you start in creating a home you love? For Peterson, it’s about taking a tailored approach to the design process, understanding the client’s unique needs and desires before customizing a plan that captures these bespoke requests in aesthetics and function. Taking a comprehensive approach to ensure that no detail is overlooked, Peterson’s work offers clients the comforts they’re looking for today with the flexibility and forward-thinking planning that allows homeowners to evolve with their space over time.
For Larsen, the process is no less meticulous. Each of her projects takes an artful approach in looking beyond finishes and color palettes, diving deeper into how best to tell a client’s story through design innovation. Larsen focuses on creating a balance between luxury and the simple joys of everyday living. Her spaces are instantly recognizable; beauty and function are brought together with rich, organic materials, calming tones, and textures deeply reminiscent of Northern Arizona’s tranquil landscape.
The perfect home means something different to all of us. In some instances, it’s about celebrating our personal histories through collected artifacts and treasured memories. For others, it’s about designing a space that allows us to live the type of life we’ve been dreaming of, surrounded by the tools that enable us to do so. And for many of us? It’s a little bit of both.
Perhaps that’s where the magic lies. As an integral part of our lives, our homes help us define who we are, ground us and offer sanctuary to recharge, come together and grow. It may look a little different to everyone, but no two homes, like no two stories, are ever really the same. One thing, however, is certain, no matter what your ideal home looks like, there is a design dream team waiting right here in Northern Arizona to help make that vision a reality. EF