On paper, it might seem like a disconnect for a world-traveling minimalist like Jess Yescalis to live in a home that was built in the 80s, an era known for excess.
Departing from its decade of origin, less is definitely more in the Yescalis home, a unique two-bedroom house tucked in the historic Yaple Park neighborhood near the Melrose District in Phoenix.
“I knew immediately it was the space I was looking for. I just knew,” Yescalis said of the moment he discovered the home, online, while visiting Africa. “It was a big deal for me to have a house. It had to be architecturally interesting and that’s kind of a hard thing to find.”
Yescalis, a Republican political consultant, purchased the home in 2013 without ever visiting the property. The home’s exterior, a curvaceous shell of vertical redwood planks, is eye-catching and novel, and its interior layout matches that intriguing preview.
Square footage mystery
It’s tough to nail down the square footage of the home, which was renovated with the help of The Ranch Mine, a Phoenix-based architectural firm. What was once a third bedroom is now a three-walled, outdoor entertainment cove that serves as a transitional space between the home’s family room and its master suite. Depending on the definition of “outdoor,” the home’s footprint ranges from 1,800 square feet to 2,500 square feet.
Not included in that measurement is the home’s elevated deck, a dainty perch separated from the main outdoor space by a flight of stairs that offers a lazy hideaway with a top-down view of the property.
A busy traveler turned his Phoenix home into a retreat
“Everything about this house is complicated,” Yescalis said of the two-year renovation, recalling the herculean task of restoring the redwood planks and the time it took to outfit the home with meaningful art and furniture.
“Every piece of furniture has a story,” he said.
The home’s front, block-wall enclosed courtyard is softened by greenery, anchored by an eight-person dining table and finished with a blown glass installation created by Dale Chihuly apprentice Ryan Blythe.
The 43 fixtures, which illuminate at night, mirror the shape of teardrops seemingly reaching for the sky. Yescalis has plans to add 38 more of the fixtures to the property in the coming months.
Once inside, the bare-bones kitchen tells the story of the extensive traveling Yescalis does, while his office, which faces the front courtyard with floor to ceiling glass, punctuates his political and personal escapades.
Red push pins, 139 to be exact, dot a map of the world, reminding Yescalis where he’s been and where he still needs to go. A gallery of black-and-white photos hanging on the wall behind his desk exclusively features political dignitaries, serving as a photographic resume of sorts for Yescalis, who hosted an event at his home for Marco Rubio during his presidential campaign.
“I travel so much that when I came home, I wanted a retreat,” Yescalis said, noting that he lives out of a suitcase more often than not. “It’s a really minimalist vibe.”
The home’s dining room is petite but is the beneficiary of floor to ceiling windows, allowing a view of the home’s U-shaped pool area, complete with a redwood-encased circular hot tub.
The family room, which sits below a loft bedroom and bath, features concrete floors, a brick fireplace and a wall of towering glass like that seen throughout the house.
“The lines are the pure beauty of this house,” Yescalis said of his home, which has been featured by HGTV and Dwell magazine.
That loft, Yescalis said, always tends to attract conversation. An LED-lit, steel staircase leads to the loft, where Yescalis said guests at his parties often congregate, chat and look down on to the family room below.
The home’s coolest, or hottest, feature depending on the season, is its master bedroom. Converted from a series of smaller bedrooms during the remodel, the master bedroom is removed from the main living area, making it feel like an escape.
A fully-retractable wall of glass allows for open-air sleeping when the weather is right, while a steam shower and industrial closet finish the room.
“I knew I wanted to do this when I saw the property,” Yescalis said of the master suite, which is open to the elements about nine months out of the year. “It was non-negotiable for me.”
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