Don Ziebell’s customers have to be wealthy, inclined to history and jazzed by things like stone stairs that are virtually impossible to drill but worn in the middle anyway by hundreds of years of countless footsteps.
The architect owns Antiquities in north Scottsdale, an import business that caters to designers, developers and home owners who want antique building materials and unique objects, mostly from central and southern Europe. The company’s staff visits the continent several times a year looking for perfect treasures for trophy living spaces.
ROYAL PALMS CONNECTION
Ziebell, founder of Oz Architects, became interested in reclaimed building materials in the mid-1990s when he was part of the remake of the Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Phoenix .
“Because that was a historic building, we wanted to find materials that were truly authentic and had some patina (erosion) of time,” he said. “So I traveled down to Mexico and started the process there, which was appropriate for the Royal Palms because that’s more Spanish-style building. Through time, I just started do other buildings that were traditionally based.”
Materials that are made to look old can be purchased here, but they lack real character, Ziebell said. Five years ago he turned his travels into a business.
EASILY FOUND TREASURES
“There’s just so much old stuff and history there, particularly with the building materials,” Don Ziebell says of Europe. “They’re pretty readily available.”
The biggest challenge is logistics.
It took about 70 shipping containers, each filled with 20 tons of building materials to create the Silverleaf Club, a 2-year-old clubhouse Ziebell designed at the Scottsdale private golf community of the same name. The 55,000 squarefoot structure contains antiquities from the King Louis XIII era, pulled from castles, barns, carriage houses and farms. Depending on weight, it can cost $10,000 to ship a single container. The items for Silverleaf were shipped right after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.