One key to successful remodels is finding a way to make unusual elements of the space work to its advantage. That’s just what Jacque Bethke of Pure Design Environments did with a three-room remodel in Scottsdale, Ariz., which previously belonged to a former professional wrestler, suitable for a young family.

(Photo courtesy of Pure Design Environments)
(Photo courtesy of Pure Design Environments)

The home initially had “very tall ceilings, but the room sizes weren’t very large, and the house was very compartmentalized,” Bethke says. She wanted to open up the spaces to create a symbiotic relationship between each room and “create an aesthetic that evoked a more modern residence.”

The high ceilings—all at least 12 feet—were instrumental in that goal. Bethke used a curvilinear grid system and recessed panels that light and shadow could bounce off of, providing definition in the living and dining areas. She removed drapery in the living room that had tunneled its great views and weighed down the space, and added interest to the kitchen’s flat ceiling with elegant light fixtures. “The importance of an architectural feeling is actually making the ceiling be as beautiful as other things … like the necklace of a dress,” Bethke says.

Putting a focus overhead also paid off in the master bedroom, which was boxy and relatively small at 12-by-12 feet. “It was a very uninteresting space,” Bethke says. “I came up with the idea of creating dropped ceiling forms that I could attach to the existing ceiling and then change the color.” She added LED lights to enhance the space and make it feel more intimate. As a final whimsical touch to pay homage to the client’s love of skull and crossbones, Bethke decided to include velvety wallpaper in the ceiling form adorned with the pattern.