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A Scottsdale, Arizona, interior designer creates an oasis of blue in the dry desert


The meditation room is a captivating lounge experience that helps one forget stress and worries. Soft crushed velvet upholstery on the sofa sectional, which doubles as a guest bed area, is accented with a crystal ball finial. Designer Esther Boivin incorporated her love of underwater fashion photography with a photo by Romi Burianova, which inspired the design of the room. Boivin printed the photo on paper that wraps the walls.

When Esther Boivin began remodeling a dated, 6,000-square-foot home in Scottsdale, Arizona, her clients asked for a unique design that reflected the interest and passion of each family member. After interviewing the parents and their four children, Boivin discovered they all had one thing in common: They love various shades of blue.

The family, who moved from Chicago to the dry desert of Arizona, also wanted to feel like they were surrounded by water, so Boivin, an accomplished opera singer for 20 years, began orchestrating a composition of blue throughout the home. “For me, it always relates to music. I hear a piece of music, and I play off the different intensities,” says Boivin, owner of Esther Boivin Interiors. “The interiors I created were inspired by the beautiful, emotional masterpiece by Ernest Chausson ‘Poème de l’amour et de la mer’ or

‘Poem of Love and the Sea.’ It’s reminiscent of the powerful relationship with water in its different forms, movement and beauty. I feel like we brought the water to the desert with shape and movement in this home.”

The great room of this 6,000-square- foot home in Scottsdale features bold colors that the homeowners enjoy.

Beauty and the Bath

Pops of electric blue now boldly strike through the home, and the spaces where you’ll truly understand Boivin’s gift for capturing the essence of water are the bathrooms. One of the guest baths feels as if you’re walking on water thanks to glass tiles from Villagio Tile & Stone.

Boivin managed to turn the once drab master bath into a wow moment with design elements that are typically overlooked in bathrooms. “It makes you want to pop a bottle of champagne and stay there all day,” she says of the master’s spa-like atmosphere. Old vanities were replaced with the centerpiece of the room, a 25-foot-long wet area anchored by a jaw-dropping, blue onyx-crystalline stone, which the designer backlit for extra drama, along with a soaking tub and his-and-her showers that come with all the bells and whistles. In stark contrast to the blue, Boivin used an opal white countertop and custom-made floating 3-D cabinet faces with translucent crackle glass by Esther Boivin Interiors, along with salt white floors from Arizona Tile. Boivin also added doors and windows, to allow the couple to look outdoors and so that light would flood the room. “I always work with reflection, and I like to use natural light,” explains Boivin. “During the day, as the light moves, the floors change with this pattern that alternates between honed and polished. Even though it’s white, it’s not boring because there’s still texture.” Along with blue LED lighting throughout, a seven-ring horizontal chandelier from Eurofase Lighting in the corner offers something unexpected, as you can see through the rings.

The master bath features a dramatic, 25-foot-long wet area anchored by white marble and a blue onyx-crystalline stone, which the designer backlit for extra drama. Double showers and a center tub feature color-lighted rain/shower heads, a ceiling tub filler and Starfire floating glass dividers to create an open spa environment.

The bath leads to another standout area of the home: the master bedroom closet. Larger than most bedrooms, Boivin once again used crackle glass for the doors, and she filled the closet with custom cabinets for clothing, a beautiful Alyshaan rug in shades of blue and beige, and a five-ring vertical chandelier that mimics the horizontal lighting in the adjoining bathroom. “They have everything they need in the closet, from a washer and dryer to a fridge, so they can literally stay in there,” jokes Boivin.

The homeowners wanted the home to reflect the interests and passion of each family member. The kids’ room lounge features four bunk beds for sleepovers. The design features circle cutouts with sport pendants on one side and gives the illusion of negative space on the other side. Decorative lighting and blues are accented with the punch of red swivel lounge chairs for added character.

Light the Way

The second floor’s master quarters also received an entire makeover, now boasting a custom 25-foot-deep blue bed with matching Europhase chrome light fixtures that dangle above each side. “We’re in the desert, but the room is like a mirage. It feels like an ice cave with chandeliers that remind me of stalactites or icicles,” says Boivin.

A linear stainless steel fireplace, accented with headboard that was drawn by hand. A cluster of lights by Currey & Company creates extra dreaminess, and an Alyshaan custom rug with a spiral Fibonacci sequence adds a special touch.

The clients desired a unique master bedroom to enjoy. A custom bed ensemble visually balances the bedroom and provides a new focal point in the room, with horizontal layers of wood, stainless steel and a blue upholstered top section. The headboard was created using three large, custom light box fixtures 4 inches off the wall, with a decorative niche of metallic textured plaster and LED lighting on each side. The clients’ love of travel and unique beauty is represented in their personal photographs of ice caves that add a relaxed feeling to this bedroom retreat.

Rooms to Grow

Boivin showed off her whimsical side in the children’s bedrooms, using unexpected elements that match each child’s personality and style. “The son has a penchant for natural elements, so I incorporated a rare mahogany root from Malaysia, floating it from the ceiling, with deep blue all over,” explains Boivin of the daring feat.

For the globetrotter daughter, Boivin orchestrated a turquoise headboard surrounded with 3-D mirrors, bohemian hanging lights and cityscape art that relates to her travels.

The youngest children, who share a room, received custom powder blue bunk beds, featuring four circular cutouts, silver wallpaper and a tornado-like cluster of pendants from Zuo Modern. Their room also serves as a guest room and game room, so Boivin created bunk beds with two twin beds on the top and bottom and another queen bed so that the room vertical lighted recesses with sparkling blue mica, brings warmth to the space, and a curved baby blue chair brings movement to the room. “It’s like relaxing in a different world; once again, the curve feels like you’re cozied up in a cave,” she says.

The master also features custom photography LED light boxes that glow in blue. The light boxes are one of Boivin’s signature designs that she often showcases in her projects as conversation pieces. This one had extra meaning to the homeowners. “They work in printing, so I wanted to incorporate their commercial business into their residence with these light boxes,” explains Boivin.

The creative use of color LEDs highlights the many new design details in the master bath, including soffits, backlit slabs, toe kicks, crackled glass tops and sides with jewelry drawers. The custom cabinet design features the use of different widths and depth for playfulness and unexpected beauty.

Meditate on This

Move on to the otherworldly meditation room, which resembles an underwater coral castle fit for a queen. Here, you’ll find another signature feature—the designer loves underwater fashion photography. A photo by Romi Burianova features an underwater queen, which inspired the design of the room, and Boivin printed the photo on paper that now wraps the walls.

Sink into the off-white, crushed velvet sofa (which houses two queen beds) by Esther Boivin Interiors, which is dotted with crystal ball hardware and framed with a wavy custom can sleep up to six; chairs in bright red swivel for easy gaming. “The creative outcome met all objectives and requirements, giving unexpected elements and character for each,” says Boivin. “I never do anything normal.”

The clients wanted a special feature that incorporated a natural organic element in their son’s bedroom.
The parameters: It had to be uniquely sculptural and aesthetically pleasing. Boivin envisioned an artful, large-scale, free-form material that could be hung from the ceiling to simulate nature coming into the interior space. She repurposed a mahogany root sculpture that appears to penetrate the ceiling, kinetically flowing into the room as a “Jumanji-like” art form. Decorative lighting and blue tones continue the overall theme of the house.


There’s still plenty of room to grow. The home will continue to evolve, and Boivin will begin designing a resort-like backyard, with additions such as a spa and a double casita, for the ultimate oasis in the desert.


Angela Caraway-Carlton is a Miami-based freelance writer, travel and lifestyle expert, and television producer. Her works have appeared in Indulge Magazine, Time Out, Elysian, Aventura, South Florida Luxury Guide and Modern Luxury Weddings South Florida & the Caribbean. Caraway-Carlton has covered lifestyle trends in South Florida and beyond  for more than a decade.

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