Home Is Where the Artist Is

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The rug in Curt’s studio is one of many found throughout the home; textiles from the 1940s that Tom and Curt purchased at an estate sale adorn the Saltillo-tiled floors in the living room and formal dining room. Curt and Tom have amassed a collection of antiques that include an Italian side chest from the 16th century; fragile Zuni bowls and Hopi katsina dolls; wooden chairs from a Catholic church in Italy; a French Louis XVI settee with matching chairs; a five-foot-tall temple jar from China; African skeleton dolls; and a monumental bronze Richard Greeves sculpture depicting two Native Americans, which can be found in the sunroom. And while Curt is known for his landscapes, his antiques have a way of winding up in Curt’s paintings from time to time, as evidenced by a painting featuring a katsina that hangs in the living room.

The massive wood bed in the master bedroom is part Italian credenza and part pew from an old church. Walls in the hallway and guest bedroom are lined with paintings from Rod Goebel, Emil Bisttram and Clementine Hunter. (You’ll even find original paintings in the guest bathroom.) The majority of the collection comes from extensive travels, auctions and antique shops. The duo has managed to collect so much they now rotate their treasures. “We’re at capacity,” says Tom.

Curt and Tom’s backyard hosts garden parties for up to 150 people. The space features a rose garden, a large treehouse for the grandkids and a collection of metates, stones used by Native Americans to grind grain and seeds. All totaled, Curt has about one acre of land.

“It’s really important to me to be comfortable and happy in my environment,” he says. “This space makes me happy. Each piece in this house has a memory, and when I see something, I smile and think about that memory. I go into the guest room each day just to look at the art. I think your surroundings set your mood for the day.”

Beatrice Welles

Beatrice Welles calls her Uptown Sedona home the House of Dragons and Resting Buddhas; you don’t have to look carefully to find dragon and Buddha sculptures tucked into niches, hidden in the garden and even embedded in the backsplash in the master bathroom. Beatrice, the daughter of filmmaker Orson Welles, designs high-end leather handbags and has lived in Sedona for more than 35 years. She purchased her current home in 1994 and has since added 1,000 square feet onto the original 1,700-square-foot structure (it was built in 1962). She says the home is constantly a work in progress (thanks to Dwell Well Remodeling, LLC), giving us a tour of her new outdoor shower that was built around a pine tree and boasts views of the red rocks from one side and her lush garden from the other.

But despite the name of the house, the heart of Beatrice’s home isn’t a mythical creature or spiritual leader – it’s her feral cat rescue organization, Windsong Trailer Park Cats. In the past three years, WTPC has trapped and neutered more than 600 cats in the Verde Valley (the felines have all been released back into the wild). Beatrice’s home, which sits on one acre of land, has been adopted by a handful of feral cats that find respite in the heated cathouses that can be found under bushes and even up in the trees. A large room at the back of the house is devoted to the rescue operation. “It’s a little sanctuary for the animals,” says Beatrice, but it’s obvious the home is just as much her sanctuary as it is a haven for homeless cats.

Beatrice likes to take advantage of Sedona’s warm weather, so the centerpiece in her garden is a four-post canopy bed. A dining table is located on the patio with a purple crystal chandelier that Beatrice made hanging from a tree branch above the table. “I love to sleep outside in the summer if my friends aren’t already sleeping out there,” she laughs. “It’s camping out in style.”

The back of the house is painted cobalt blue while the interior walls range from soft turquoise to metallic gold and silver. “It’s the first time I’ve had color in a house, and I think that comes from being married to someone who only wanted white walls,” she says. “I wanted to play with color because we live in an amazing place that’s based on color.” Sedona Artist Sherab Khandro painted the ceiling of Beatrice’s studio (the walls of the studio contain paintings of beloved pets who have passed on) and the doors that lead into Beatrice’s master bathroom and master closet. Fashionistas take note: Beatrice converted the entire original master bedroom into a closet complete with a fireplace and a door connecting it to the bathroom.

One entire wall in the home is dedicated to paintings by Beatrice’s mom, Paola Mori Di Gerfalco, depicting Beatrice as a young girl; family pets; and houses the family occupied in Italy, England and Spain (there’s even a painting of a Pekingese in front of Cathedral Rock). Two large Louis Vuitton trunks that the family used to travel act as tables in Beatrice’s bedroom. A sculpture of Quan Yin that her parents purchased in Hong Kong in the 1950s stands guard in the living room. The living room also contains Beatrice’s crystal collection, an Etruscan head that belonged to her mother, a chair made from glass tiles and lit from the inside (purchased in Clarkdale, of all places) and a 15th-century portable desk from Spain.

Beatrice is a reluctant artist, to say the least, but the inspiration behind her handbags can be seen everywhere in the house. She uses antique findings and amulets to adorn her bags, and the same amulets can be found embedded in the wall behind her sunken bathtub. “I enjoy decorating like I enjoy making handbags,” she says. “The house and the bags represent the same energy. I don’t realize what I’m doing; I just do it.”

MORE SEDONA HOMES AND REAL ESTATE: 2005 Art and Architecture Tour, local wine cellars, contemporary home design, 2006 Art and Architecture Tour, new home construction, real estate values, artisan-made furniture, home décor

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