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The Scottsdale architectural firm of Candelaria Design Associates is one of the premier luxury residential architecture firms in the country. Enjoy our blog which features our work, our travel, our recipes, wines, tips on design and decorating, and the lives of our clients and employees, etc.....its all the ingredients for the Candelaria Design Lifestyle. Contact Candelaria Design to start your dream residence 602-604-2001!

Opening the Doors on this Super Bowl Sunday

I hope everyone enjoy’s the big game today! I grew up in Denver so I am rooting for my Broncos but boy, Carolina looks really good. I guess that’s why they play the game….anything can happen!


Speaking how anything can happen….It’s always interesting to see how one comment, idea, or suggestion can be just like tossing a rock in still water and then watching the waves that then can virtually go on forever…..Such is the experience with my now sixteen year relationship with Lacole’ and the Belli family from Umbria Italy. This week, Gabriele Belli and his assistant, Luca, are here from Italy measuring the opening for the doors they will be manufacturing in Italy for a Candelaria Design home we have under construction in Desert Mountain.


Flash back to 1999. I was still working at CCBG Architects. I had set up a meeting with a new client who was coming in to talk about having me design a new home for them in Paradise Valley.My now good friends, Drue and Cathy Engels came in and sat down in my conference room. As I start every meeting, I asked them if I could get them anything. Drue responded with, “Anything?” I said, “Sure what would you like?” Of course in true Drue fashion he asked for the tallest Bloody Mary you can make me. I followed with, “No Problem”. Always our answer!

Well I had no idea where I was going to get a Bloody Mary fast, so I excused myself, grabbed my office assistant, and told him to go and get the tallest Bloody Mary he could and get right back. I returned to the room and assured them that is was on it’s way.


WelI I don’t know where my assistant went, but he returned with not just one, but two amazing Bloody Mary’s garnished in style. Drue said, “You are hired!” And that’s how we got the job and started our friendship that still goes to this day!

So how does this all tie into the doors…??? Well as we started the design of the home, Drue and Cathy said they wanted the home to be a true, Tuscan style home. So I casually suggested we should go to Tuscany. Drue loved the idea and like the Bloody Mary he said, “Let’s do it”. Well I was one for one and I had to keep my streak alive! It so happened that at the same time I was designing a home for a travel agent, and I told her the story and she jumped at the opportunity to set up the trip and in fact she and her husband would join us. The first Candelaria Design Tour Italy journey was born!


Well during this trip, the owner of the farmhouses we were staying in while in Umbria told us of a place where we could see wonderful artifacts for the homes. We jumped at the opportunity and so our introduction to Lacole’ and the Belli family had begun.


We purchased a container of reclaimed doors, beams, stone arches, window grates, etc. Through the years the Belli family has supplied roof tiles, and more doors to several of my Candelaria Design homes across Arizona. From Yuma to Paradise Valley and now to North Scottsdale in Desert Mountain!


On our most recent Candelaria Design Tour Italy this past September, my beloved client, Phyllis Lerner, enjoyed a day at Lacole’ and their other business Porte del Passato where she discovered their marvelous treasures. The Belli family has supplied items for the likes of George Lucas and Dolce and Gabbana.


Nearly every trip since this first trip in 2000 we have made the visit to Lacole’ and Porte del Passato and a quick hello to Gabriele Belli. It is exciting to have him and his assistant here and their first visit to America. They arrived on Wednesday and they leave today, Super Bowl Sunday. Although this is a work trip they did work in a little fun and luckily the weather has been fantastic. From Harold’s in Cave Creek to the Rokerij to the night life in Old Town Scottsdale, I think they did get a little fun in to.


I’m looking forward to seeing these beautiful doors in this amazing Candelaria Design home. The work and follow through by my long time Associate, Vivian Ayala, in the creation of this home is beyond words. This home will be a Candelaria Design masterpiece.


Little did I know some 17 years ago, getting that Bloody Mary for Drue Engels would lead to the Candelaria Design Tour Italy, and the importing of these doors into the Lerner Residence among many other homes, and my long lasting friendship with the amazing and talented Belli family of Lacole' and Porte del Passato in Italy.