There are more beautiful homes in Sedona than there are ordinary ones, but it’s our local artists who really understand creative spaces. Go inside the homes of Douglas Edward Andrews, Curt Walters and Beatrice Welles to see how these artists turned four walls into a live-in canvas.
Douglas Edward Andrews
When painter and furniture sculptor Douglas Edward Andrews set out to design and build his 2,800-square-foot Munds Canyon home 15 years ago, it wasn’t his first rodeo. Douglas had already built two other homes plus his original gallery, which was located at the mouth of Oak Creek Canyon where Therapy on the Rocks now stands. (The gallery, Point of Sedona, relocated to Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village in 1990.) But this home, which Douglas calls Nature’s Inn, presented a bit of a challenge: As circumstance would have it, the home had to be designed and built in one year. Douglas met that challenge and says he’s done little work to the home, which is currently on the market, since it was finished.
Nature’s Inn was designed (on a paper bag nonetheless) around a log that Douglas found in the forest; it measures 20.5 feet long and 38 inches in diameter. But it is only one of scores of red cedar, alligator juniper, saguaro, alder, ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, Arizona cypress, manzanita and sycamore logs that can be found in the home. The front door opens up to a large atrium with river-rock pillars, a koi pond, terra-cotta pots suspended from the ceiling by chains, and dozens of ferns and succulents. (Douglas grows the succulents and, at his gallery, he sells the small plants in rock planters that he carves.) The atrium immediately catches your eye, but take a few more steps and it’s the woodwork that sets this house apart. Douglas placed all the beams by hand, and each piece of wood has its own story. He points to a hunk of sycamore that supports the staircase leading to the loft and says it reminds him of a reclining woman. The alder beams of the staircase were harvested from Tlaquepaque after a flood. A fish tank in the living room is recessed into Kaibab limestone, and the pulls on the bathroom and kitchen cabinets are elk knuckles Douglas collected from the forest. Lights crafted from saguaro cactuses hang in the kitchen, and if you look carefully at the concrete floors, you’ll see leaf patterns that Douglas made using figs, sumacs and irises as stencils.
Nature’s Inn sits on 1.5 acres, but Douglas owns four acres in the canyon. His land was originally homesteaded by Abe and Mabel Thompson, hence Thompson Point that looms over the back of the property. Douglas, who paints southwestern landscapes, is clearly more at home outdoors than in, and even when you’re inside the house, you have the impression of exploring a vast treehouse complete with vines that climb the walls and creep along the wood ceiling. “I’m outside 90 percent of the time – I’d rather be outside,” says Douglas as he leads us up a concrete path inlaid with glass bottles from the Jerome landfill and to his rooftop living space. On the roof, you’ll find a hot tub, horseshoe pits and jaw-dropping views of tree-studded canyon walls and exposed red rock. Douglas’ studio is separate from the house. The walls are lined with his paintings and drawings as well as skeletons and bones that he’s found while out hiking. Mobiles made from seashells, sand dollars, starfish and seahorses hang from the ceiling.
But aren’t Douglas and his wife, Robin, and daughter, Morgan, going to miss Nature’s Inn when it sells? Douglas doesn’t seem too attached. In fact, he’s already started building his next house adjacent to Nature’s Inn – it has a koi pond outside that doubles as a swimming pool with a bridge that leads to a raised hot tub in the middle. If anything, it’s obvious he’s looking forward to embarking on the new project.
“I’ve always been into building stuff with logs and trees,” he says. “It’s part of my creative instinct.”
Curt Walters may be known for his landscape paintings of locales such as Paris, Venice, Taos and the Grand Canyon, but it’s his West Sedona home filled with antiques that inspires him most. Walk into the 3,600-square-foot sprawling ranch house, and you’re greeted by a garuda – a mythical bird-like creature – from Bali. Curt’s studio is located just beyond the sculpture. “He protects my studio from evil spirits,” says Curt who grew up in New Mexico and has lived full time in his Sedona house since 1986. He shares the home with his partner, Tom Dailey, owner of Chic Hair Salon.
Visitors basically walk right into Curt’s studio when they enter the house, something that used to bother Curt, though he’s grown accustomed to it. These days, the Sedona Arts Center member exhibits his oil paintings in Scottsdale and Santa Fe. (His work is also part of the permanent collection of several prominent Southwest museums including the Autry National Center of the American West and the Gilcrease Museum.) The focal point of the studio, which is lined with bookshelves, is the adjustable Hughes easel, which can accommodate canvases as large as 60 inches by 96 inches. On at least one occasion, Curt broke the wooden shutters on the skylight in the studio while adjusting the easel. Tom smiles when he looks around his partner’s space. “There aren’t too many artists who paint on an Oriental rug,” he says.