Two Premier Homes at Desert Highlands

For almost four decades, the luxury golf community of Desert Highlands has garnered praise for its site-sensitive homes and high-quality amenities. “Distinguished,” “Elite,” say home and golf magazines, “Unbeatable,” says one resident.

Centering on landmark 3,100-foot-high Pinnacle Peak, the 850-acre guard-gated community in north Scottsdale features an 18-hole par-72 championship course (Jack Nicklaus’ first Signature design and site of the first Skins Game in 1983); a challenging Gary Panks’ 18-hole putting course; a recently remodeled 30,000-square-foot Southwestern-style clubhouse; and 535 luxury custom homes.

Two of those are highlighted here, offered by the high-performing Private Client Group, Russ Lyon | Sotheby’s International Realty, Scottsdale, led by Frank Aazami, Global Advisor.


“Desert Highlands is a highly sought-after community, not just for its outstanding golf experience but for our incredible range of amenities and services and a lifestyle that is unparalleled even in our area of great desert communities,” says Joan Sykora, the community’s director of relations and sales.

In addition, residents and their guests can play 13 tennis courts on grass, clay and hard surfaces, stay in shape in the 7,700-square-foot fitness center, swim at the community pool, walk their dogs at a dedicated park and take part in regular “yappy hours.” A catch-and-release fish pond is also popular. Children can attend Cave Creek Unified District schools or area charters.

“Our homeowners and their guests have complete peace of mind with our 24/7 guarded and gated entrance and roaming security patrol, and we’re adjacent to the McDowell Mountain Preserve for superlative outdoor recreation,” she adds.


“Desert Highlands is close to the best shopping and restaurants North Scottsdale has to offer and is a short jaunt to Carefree and Cave Creek with their festivals and restaurants,” Aazami notes. “And, the Loop 101 is nearby to easily access other Valley locations and state highways.”

The vision of celebrated developer Lyle Anderson, Desert Highlands has no telephone lines, no rooftop HVAC units and lush desert-only front yards. After moving from Seattle to Scottsdale in 1975, he wanted to acquire property on the south face of Pinnacle Peak. “I found it to be enchanting,” he wrote in the Desert Highlands 25th-anniversary book.

“By 1980, I was ready to develop what I envisioned to be the finest community in the Southwest, where residents would make friendships, renew old acquaintances, enjoy time with their families or in peaceful solitude, host visitors and parties, celebrate milestone events and create a lifetime of memories. Desert Highlands has been a terrific life’s journey for me –– better than I ever could have imagined.”


A Home as Art, Home-Selling as an Art Form: #601

“Home as Art” aptly describes this superb Contemporary/Transitional home: “A prestigious home in a prestigious community!” Aazami says.

Sited on one of the largest Desert Highlands lots at an acre-plus, the 6,564-square-foot custom is next to the 11th fairway with unobstructed views of Pinnacle Peak Mountain indoors and out.


Built in 1994, the four-bedroom, six-bathroom two-level has distinguishing radiused design features inside and out as well as extensive dual-pane glass for those great high desert views the community is known for. Natural light illuminates the massive entertainment area. A three-car garage is attached.

Residents in the home since 2006, the owners invested about $1 million in upgrades during the past few years. This includes a gourmet eat-in kitchen remodel with features such as Miele appliances, gas cooktop, double ovens and a large Sub-Zero wine refrigerator. The area includes a walk-in pantry, breakfast bar and separate breakfast room.

A buffer of mature desert landscaping separates the home from the golf course. The private resort-style backyard has a pool/heated spa, large covered patio, built-in barbecue, a shuffleboard court and a view deck.


One ensuite bedroom/office is upstairs with views of city lights. This master has a walk-in closet, separate shower and jetted tub, double sinks and a private toilet room. A second view deck on the upper level is accessed from inside the home.

An additional master downstairs also has a walk-in closet and a sitting room. Another office is downstairs as well as a library and exercise room.

Other features include skylights, two gas fireplaces, a central vacuum, and 36-inch-wide hallways for accessibility. Green assets are a load controller and multi-zone HVAC.


“This home was on the market for about a year with another agency, and the Private Client Group was able to seal the deal with a few weeks on the market plus multiple interests behind it,” Aazami says. His 14 associates, including Hoffman, work from key areas throughout the state and network with Russ Lyon | Sotheby’s agents in 90 markets worldwide.

“In fact, we just closed escrow on 601 in November.” he adds. “A list of top real estate professionals in other markets across the globe within our Private Client Group Team can be found on our website. You can also find a video clip of each one of us and all of our inventory there.

“We believe our home and lots can all have a voice that needs to be broadcasted in a meaningful way; our investment in creating these home-video stories has gained our sellers both time and money,” he adds. “We welcome learning about and broadcasting your home’s story.”


Making the entire process comfortable and successful is customer service at the highest echelon: “We are efficient, we build quality relationships, we produce results.”

click to watch a video on this home: #601 Video

Re-Engineered, Renovated, Remarkable: #304

Following a to-the-studs renovation, this 5,600-square foot Modern Mediterranean includes a stand-alone 500-square-foot casita on three-quarters of an acre.

Enjoy golf course, city lights, mountain and sunset views as the single-level five-bedroom, five-bathroom home is located on the 5th fairway. The resort-style backyard, with new landscaping and pavers, centers on a completed updated 40,000-gallon custom swimming pool and heated spa. A master retreat with an adjacent home office is secluded from the secondary bedrooms on the other side of the home.

Aazami explains that Desert Highlands does not charge qualified investors an upfront membership fee for purchasing a home in the community with the intention of upgrading/renovating and reselling. Instead, following sale to the eventual resident, the deferred fee is paid.

“This original Desert Highlands home has not just been remodeled; it has been re-engineered,” Hoffman says. “It’s cozy but spacious. It’s ready for new owners.”

The remodel begins at the entry, where a new metal and glass door delivers more street appeal and a clear view through the formal living area to the backyard, says Lolly Mackenzie, owner of reThink Interiors, the Scottsdale-based design firm for the renovation and sales staging. The company worked with consultant Deidre Turley for the timeless, chic, warm design.

Dated features were removed. The floor-to-ceiling windows have been opened up by removing the heavy shutters to celebrate the back yard. The wall between kitchen, dining and great room was eliminated to create a long site line to the new concrete precast fireplace in the great room. And, all but two steps have been eliminated throughout the home, which originally had a sunken great room and master bedroom.

The kitchen, bar, laundry and all baths received new tile, cabinetry and top-of-the-line plumbing and commercial-grade appliances from vendors such as Sub-Zero Wolf. European oak floors have been placed throughout the home. The bar area, with a new marble countertop, includes a wine wall –– a focal point for an entertainer and wine lover.

Also new are wiring, moisture and water sealings, foam and cellulose insulation, metal multi-pane windows; clay tile roof and underlayment, A/C units, water heaters and garage doors. New interior details include raised-panel wood doors, self-closing hardwood cabinetry and premier plumbing fixtures.

The master bedroom has a separate shower, jetted tub, double sinks, a toilet room, and the junior master a separate exit, a walk-in closet and sitting room. The guesthouse was redesigned for better privacy, and a luxurious private bath added. A door for better pool access and a private grill area are also new.

“The entire home has been extensively and dramatically remodeled with the highest quality finishes to meet Desert Highlands community standards,” MacKenzie says. “We are very proud of the outcome.”

The newest addition to Desert Highlands, this home is offered at $2.75 million. For more about the community, see To inquire about these properties or others, email Frank Aazami,, or phone/text, 480.266.0240, and Tanya Hoffman, 480.287.5200,