Beverly Hills architect Arthur Froelich designed racetracks. Phoenix businessman Herbert Owens managed a few racetracks during his wide-ranging career. The two came together for a novel project in the late 1970s that had nothing to do with racetracks and everything to do with Owens’ quest for a standout hillside home.
He wasn’t disappointed.
The midcentury modern-style home at 7550 North 21st Place in Phoenix feels as contemporary now as when it was built. It took five years to complete the more than 7,300-square-foot residence. Local resources contributed to key design elements. For example, pecan and maple wood that dominate interior walls and ceilings came from locally sourced trees. The stonework featured inside and out came from a quarry in Bagdad, Arizona.
The use of natural materials melds with the natural setting. Inside, floor-to-ceiling glass windows set into walls of wood and stone give nature a starring role. The living room and patios face exotic trees and cultivated gardens on the property.
The primary bedroom opens out to patios and a deck that offer wide views of the nearby hills. Rich wood ceilings and a floating wooden staircase over an indoor reflecting pool keep the atmosphere light and airy. The home has six bedrooms and six bathrooms.
The timeless style and detailed craftsmanship make it a one-of-a-kind find. “I love the architecture of the home,” says listing agent Christi Brink of RETSY. “Anyone who buys this home is not going to change the footprint. They won’t need to move any walls or do anything.”
Outside, an expansive flat lawn leads to the main entrance of the building that encircles the hilltop. The grounds were a passion of Owens. He planted tree aloes, Mexican blue palms, boojum trees, a royal king palm and plumeria that line the drive up to the home.
Royal poinciana trees with rich scarlet blooms from Madagascar and doum palms from the Nile region adorn the upper garden. Using specimens on his property, Owens started a 30-acre Mexican blue palm tree farm. Some of the cultivated blue palms stand in the gardens at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.
Owens and Froelich both had success in the world of building and construction.
Owens, who died in February at age 91, started a company in the 1960s that produced prefabricated roof trusses to streamline home and building construction. He later became president of the Turf Paradise racetrack in Phoenix. He had many interests, including being a “pilot, cowboy, rancher, lumber salesman, avid fly fisherman, golfer, gardener, cook, animal lover, business owner, tree farmer and forester,” according to an online obituary.
Froelich and his associates were known for big commercial ventures, such as the recently demolished Hollywood Park Racetrack in Los Angeles, Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky, and Belmont Park and Aqueduct Racetrack, both in New York. He designed other buildings too, such as the modern-style Hanna-Barbera Studio in Los Angeles.
Froelich and architectural partner Morio Kow―working with Owens, who served as his own contractor―designed what’s believed to be the only Froelich and Kow residence in Arizona.
The home’s additional amenities include two full kitchens, a pool and pool house below the main house, four fireplaces (one outside), a below-ground, hand-tiled indoor spa, indoor steam and sauna and ample patios. The property overlooks parts of the nearby Phoenix Mountains Preserve, which features hiking and mountain biking trails.
Christi Brink and Cheryl McDonald, both of RETSY, are the listing agents. The price is $4.25 million.