Phoenix-based photographer Michael Duerinckx showcases an 8100-square-foot luxury vacation home in Scottsdale, Arizona for Est Est Interior Design. A leading design firm with over 40 years in the business, Est Est Interior Design commissioned Michael to capture the opulence and originality of this luxe custom property. Michael’s images were later featured in Phoenix Home & Garden magazine and licensed by many of the parties involved in the completion of this oasis in the Sonoran Desert.
The goal was to show off the vision of the space – how the architecture and interior design came together.
As an architectural and interior design photographer, Michael has had the opportunity to work with some of the most highly skilled commercial and residential architects, builders, designers and brands around the country.
Many people from out of state — CEO’s, celebrities, pro athletes — build beautiful homes here in Arizona, often right in the middle of the desert.
Est Est Interior Design is a long-standing and highly valued client of Michael’s and they’ve built a strong business relationship throughout their 10 years of collaboration. The founder of Est Est, Tony Sutton and his son, Blake Sutton, Director of Operations, have trusted that no matter the circumstances Michael always brings their vision to life.
Part of the job is being flexible. Shoots don’t always go in the order you’d planned, and so you have to find a way to make it work.
The project required two full days of shooting, with each day being a month apart. Michael did a scout with Tony and Blake months before the project, discussing angles and any particular details they wanted to highlight. Tony and Blake provided Michael a list of 35-40 shots, but with a property this size he ended up shooting twice that amount.
I like to show the scale of a space, rather than just magazine-style close ups.
Ideally, the photo shoot would have taken place immediately after the home was complete, but as is the case with many large scale projects, some building work was unfinished. On the first day of the shoot, Michael needed to photograph the spaces that were completed, while strategically working around the construction zones. With builders’ tools in various areas, exposed wires, and disassembled patio furniture, he was forced to improvise and work around the conditions to create the desired images.
Because the house was not completely finished, there was a lot of Photoshop work. I had to fix and replace things digitally, such as remove exposed wiring, patch up paint work, and replace bulbs.
The exquisite home belongs to a Canadian couple looking for a “resort style winter retreat,” for themselves and their adult children. The homeowners built the lavish vacation home in Scottsdale as a getaway from the cold winters of their primary residence.
With a modern yet warm design, architectural firm O’Brien Luxury Homes situated the property into the desert of a natural ridge on the 2-plus-acre-site. The homeowners were involved in the customization and intricate details of the home every step of the way. Eager to veer away from the more traditional style of their primary residence, they designed this home with fun, grandeur, and personality in mind. Michael took care to highlight these luxury design features such as the back-light wine cabinet and stone quartz drinking bar.
On large projects like this, scouting is invaluable as it’s vital to know the direction of the sun in all the spaces ahead of time. It’s also good to look at renderings if possible because they give you a great sense of the space and architecture, and the uniqueness of the project.
Est Est showed Michael the many different elements they were proud of, and the architect explained the complexities and engineering challenges they had to overcome to successfully complete a project of this magnitude. It was important for Michael to keep all this in mind when producing images that capture the ornate details of the design while maintaining the overall vision of the home.
My style, whether I’m photographing a home or a hotel, is to use plenty of natural light, shoot in the daytime, and add supplemental light from my battery-operated Profoto light.
Tony, who also received the Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest interior designer award, said “this house was custom-designed to the nth degree,” Tony collaborated on the project with fellow designers Jelena Martic and Liesel Lewter. Michael described Tony’s presence and support as chief collaborator to be a great help in solidifying the vision of the project.
Each room is unique and has many wow factors. The homeowners were involved every step of the way, suggesting ideas and paying attention to all the details. – Tony Sutton
After the article came out for Phoenix Home & Garden magazine, multiple parties got in touch with Michael about licensing his images, including the company that made the 6,000lb marble tub, the kitchen cabinet company, the landscape architect, and more. Michael was proud his photos received such wide recognition from all involved.
It was great to have so many different parties license my shots – I think it shows what an incredible collaboration this project was.