After spending a week in Arizona over my children's mid-winter break, I admit, I've caught the Southwestern design bug, 'again.' I've always had a love for the look (not to mention the land), but, unfortunately, never been able to bring it successfully into my home here on the East coast. Maybe it's some sort of psychological block due to the 18"+/- of frozen snow on my front yard pretty much from November until March, or simply that my modern traditional home (that's what builders are calling these new cookie cutter homes with the traditional bent now-a-days!) could not pull it off with any sort of credibility. But, the look of cantera stone and exposed-adobe haunts the back of my mind daily. I am still pouring over my Phoenix Home & Garden design magazine and wishing I could take the 6-hour flight to browse through the Scottsdale Design Center or Relics Architectural Home & Garden. I think what draws me most to the Southwestern design style is the constant pulling of the outside environment inside. Being able to not only bring those lush colors of the desert into the design inside the home, but physically being able to incorporate the outside into your entertaining areas, living spaces, and every aspect and 'bring' the outside in, I just love that. Janet Brooks is an amazingly talented interior designer based out of Scottsdale, who understands just that - the need to live a "seamless indoor/outdoor lifestyle." Janet's common thread throughout all her designs is "comfort - creating a warm, comfortable environment" for her client's is key. After viewing Janet's portfolio, I can't think of any other person I'd trust to design the interiors of my home than Janet. I am also now a huge fan of Michael Rockwell, a landscape architect of tremendous talent, who is co-owner of Azul-Verde Design Group Inc. in Arizona. Michael and Gary Orlando's 'livable outdoor spaces' are spectacular! Unfortunately, "no right clicking is allowed" on Azul-Verde's website, so you MUST go visit for yourself and look at their beautiful designs, that will take your breath away! Below are a very few of my favorite pics to put you in the Southwest frame of mind. P.S. - Fun fact, did you know that the Saguaro cactus can live to be two hundred years old? Enjoy!