Prescott couple builds their dream home, honoring the richness of their life together
By Hilary Dartt
Ed and Rochelle Reifman have shared many life adventures together. They’ve been married for 42 years—after meeting on a blind date. They raised two beloved daughters, Katie, a regional manager in the cosmetics industry and Carly, an art therapist. They rescued two dogs, Guillermo and Stelly. Before moving to Prescott, they owned three houses and completed several remodel projects. They’ve traveled all over and lived in Europe for a time where Ed practiced dentistry and Rochelle taught English to university students. There’s one thing they hadn’t done, though, until two years ago: build a house from the ground up.
The Reifmans (Ed’s a semi-retired dentist who covers for local dentists when they’re vacationing or need a helping hand, and Rochelle is a retired elementary school teacher) moved to Prescott from Southern California in 2015. At first, they rented a house with the intent to find the perfect place to build. They found it in Stoneridge, on a generous lot overlooking the golf course.
Together, they designed their new home. They wanted to include things they wished to have from past experience: a large kitchen for entertaining, a big bay window in the master bedroom, an open floor plan for perfect flow within, and a north-south-facing exposure. In addition, they wanted to maximize everything they’d come to appreciate about Arizona: views of the open spaces, the bright morning sunlight, breathtaking night skies, and the joy of watching monsoons, sunsets and the cosmos, all from their spacious deck.
The result: a home that is both comfortable and beautiful, that accommodates the Reifmans’ needs and desires, and that reminds them of the richness of the life they’ve built.
“We feel fortunate,” Rochelle said during a recent interview. “We don’t take anything for granted.”
The Reifmans entertain frequently, and therefore, Ed said, “We wanted everything to flow.” The wide entryway of the 3,300-square-foot home leads directly into the main living area. Twelve-foot ceilings and sliding French doors with windows on either side make the living room light and spacious.
On either side of the fireplace, dark wood cabinets show off an impressive collection of books and trinkets the Reifmans have collected over their years together.
The bookcases, Rochelle said, “were a work of love.”
She was undeterred in finding the precise metal inlays for the cabinet doors, so much so that the contractors they worked with told her, “If anyone can find it, you can.”
The far wall of the living room, made up of sliding door and windows, leads to an expansive deck where Ed and Rochelle can sit and watch the world go by.
The Reifmans’ builder, John Benson of Evergreen Construction, told Ed a “typical” deck would be about ten feet deep.
“I asked him how deep we could go,” Ed said, “and he said twelve feet. So we went the whole twelve feet!”
A larger deck allows the Reifmans to grow beautiful potted plants in the spring and summer, and to enjoy the firepit off to one side. Although the space is mostly covered, the deck wraps around and is uncovered on one end, affording Ed, who enjoys astronomy, an unobstructed view of the sky.
The kitchen, bright and welcoming with white cabinets and light-gray Quartzsite countertops (Quartzsite is a natural, non-porous stone), sits to the left of the living room.
“This is my favorite room in the whole house,” Rochelle said. “Every morning when I wake up and walk into the kitchen, it feels like a dream for me. It feels so welcoming.”
Although Ed said he’s seen lots of kitchens with a sink in the island, he and Rochelle chose to put their sink under a big window overlooking the golf course and the Bradshaw mountains.
“I never mind doing the dishes,” Rochelle said, and, although “two ovens sounds indulgent, they come in handy when it’s time to host friends and family for dinner.”
On one side of the short hallway off the end of the kitchen: is the Reifmans’ spacious pantry. And to the other side, a butler’s pantry with glass-fronted cabinets that display treasures from their travels and their history: a Rosenthal vase from Germany, Murano glasses from Italy, and English Bone China that reminds Rochelle of her mom and grandmother.
At the end of the hallway sits another room, where Rochelle has begun storing supplies for her newest venture: baking for a dear friend, Ryan Glass, who just opened The Espresso Barn in Prescott.
The dining room sits just outside the kitchen, separate but easily accessible. The Reifmans built it to fit the beautiful customized Spanish table they’d bought a number of years ago when they lived in California, the same way they built the kitchen’s breakfast nook to fit the round table where family and friends enjoy meals and conversation.
Across the living room, a hallway leads to the three bedrooms—the master and two additional bedrooms set up for Katie and Carly when they come to visit, or vacationing friends.
In the master bedroom, a bay window with a generous window seat offers sunlight and a view—which can also be seen from the shower in the master bathroom. “I thought, ‘If I can take a shower and have a view, why not?’” Ed said. And just opposite the shower, a pedestal tub—a “must” on Rochelle’s list—sits below a set of windows.
Dark hardwood-plank flooring in Johnson English Pub’s Maple Whiskey lends a warm feel, and Persian rugs the Reifmans have collected throughout their marriage add color and character. Light, neutral paint on the walls keeps the home bright, and meaningful pieces—photographs taken in Rochelle’s country of birth, Canada, as well as the family’s college degrees and paintings—adorn the walls.
The experience of building their dream home, the Reifmans said, was even richer thanks to the people with whom they worked, including John and Peter Benson of Evergreen Construction, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen and Lighting, Janet at The Picture Window, Rusty at MCK Woodworks, Dana at Engrained Cabinetry and Countertops, Tim at Artisan Stone, and Sandy from Sandy’s Draperies. “We are in awe of the people in this town,” Rochelle said. “We’re touched by their sincerity and commitment.”
Most importantly, everything in the home comes together to remind the Reifmans of their many past adventures—and to provide a backdrop for those to come.