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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!

Alaska - Cusacks on the Kenai

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I love to travel. With today’s technology and the great team I have with me at Candelaria Design, I can virtually work wherever I go. And as my team knows, that’s what I do – I work from everywhere during all times of the day and night. From my office and studio at home, from Italy to the Kenai River in Alaska! I love it and I have found the constant change of scenery and experiences serves as a springboard for endless inspiration in design and in life.


This week I took my first visit to Alaska, at the gracious invitation of Dr. Tony and Jenny Hedley, clients and now good friends of mine whose home my team is designing in Arcadia back in Phoenix. My daughter, Isabella is good friends with their daughter, Alexis so Bella came up a couple weeks ago and my youngest daughter, Sophia and I came up this weekend to bring her home.

What a great trip and now another door of exploration has been opened. Alaska is simply amazing. I know many of you have been here and know words cannot describe it as it is boundless and endless – it is truly the last frontier. We spent our time, four days – albeit long days as the sun never seems to set – with the Hedleys at their amazing lodge on the Kenai River!

Such a beautiful spot set right in the middle of the Kenai peninsula. Their lodge is majestic with direct access right to the river with everything you need to snag some beautiful salmon.  We had a wonderful time just fishing and relaxing and taking in the fresh air and 60º temperatures…..not a bad place to unwind from the 115º heat of Arizona in July. Jenny Hedley and her sisters make the whole experience feel like home.

With the sun virtually setting at midnight and twilight at the end of the day merging into twilight of the next morning the kids wind things down at about 4am with tales being spun around the firepit and fishing ongoing day and night. I would wind things down around 1am and get up around 8am to complete silence as no one but the hardy fishermen would not move until about 2 or 3 pm. Perfect!

I would fish for a few hours, then come back and enjoy my coffee and get a couple hours of work, fish some more, then work for a bit, then squeeze in a nap before anyone even woke up! We even worked in some time to review their plans!

Then to top it all off they invited me into the kitchen where we made reindeer raviolis, fettuccini and spaghetti with my new Candelaria Collection pasta machine which has now traveled with me to Italy and Alaska. Yes most people bring their fishing and hunting gear….I brought my new Pasta Machine which we will be selling soon on our website. Making pasta is always an undertaking and tonight we went big as we had about 30 people here so after starting at about 5pm we wrapped the pasta making up at about midnight - but boy was it good. Add a delicious reindeer sausage ragu and the crew here at the lodge were in for a treat.

The fishing is amazing and there is nothing better than eating fresh salmon. But the time to sit and reflect and refresh was the best. My girls loved it and it and I know I am coming back with the whole Candelaria clan next summer as we start to explore more of this spectacular place. 

Special thank you to Dr. Hedley and his lovely wife Jenny and their entire family who made us feel like we were a part of their family!