EFA Photo Tour – Sagewood Phase 2

July 26, 2021


Sagewood, a resort-style continuing care retirement community (CCRC) within the Sonoran Desert in Phoenix has completed its Phase 2 renovation and expansion, marking the largest construction project since Sagewood opened in 2010.

Phase 1 was completed in 2018 and included Desert Willow, a two-story, assisted living addition to the existing skilled nursing building, as well as a new fitness center, chapel, activity room, dining room, courtyard, salon, and two separate living rooms for residents. It also included The Oasis, a newly constructed 20,700-square-foot event space featuring a lobby space that acts as a pre-function area before events, as well as a lecture hall. Sagewood was 97 percent occupied in Phase 1, leaving room for additional growth and the desire for more hospitality-like venues.

Phases 2 includes a a four-story, 276,454-square-foot independent living community with an underground parking garage. The community features one- and two-bedroom units with den layouts and scenic patio views. As well as expanding the living options, phase 2 includes new amenity spaces for all Sagewood residents, including activity and game rooms, an art studio, putting green, café, formal dining, and an indoor-outdoor tapas bar and lounge.

The design for the community’s three new restaurants was inspired by Sagewood’s surrounding landscape, which helped weave together the unique dining destinations. Part of the existing Palo Verde dining room and adjacent administrative area became The Sonoran, offering fine dining. The Canyon Café’s renovation allowed for a full kitchen to be added, allowing the café to be open all day by transitioning from morning coffee to evening nightcaps. The Owl’s Nest is a tapas bar that perches on the fourth floor overlooking the McDowell Mountains.

EFA Remodel/Renovation Silver Award – Sagewood Canyon Cafe

July 12, 2021

EFA Remodel/Renovation Silver Award – Sagewood Canyon Cafe

Jury Comments

  • This project really pushed the boundaries of “Senior living” into the commercial retail world. We shouldn’t have to leave behind edgy contemporary design. Very nice integration of the support kitchen to make this bistro successful.


  • Beautiful reinvisioning of a dated café and convenience mart into a hip setting for any time of day. The new venue would be just at home in a resort as it is for the Sagewood community. The new modern industrial aesthetic venue provides many inviting spaces as the easily accessed “booth” and the community table – perfect for groups as well as a lone diner.  Appreciate the attention to materials and to details such as the inclusion of themed restaurant displays.


  • This lively hang-out is created within the existing walls of a once dreary space. An amazing level of detail comprised of regional and industrial materials differentiates a variety of gathering spots. The articulated ceiling including wood and acoustic baffles counterbalances the hard surfaces of tile, brick and metal, adding not only interest, but sound control to the space.  Furniture settings are spaciously arranged to facilitate easy circulation. And the introduction of a complete food service, along with happy hour beverages, assures enjoyment and sociability throughout the day.

Sagewood Phase 2

Spellman Brady Transforms Arizona Senior Living Community

June 30, 2021

St. Louis, MO (June 29, 2021) – Spellman Brady & Company (SBC), an award-winning interior design firm, completed the Phase 2 expansion and renovation of Sagewood Senior Living Community in Phoenix, Arizona for Life Care Services®.  In addition to developing the overall interior design concept for the facility, Spellman Brady was responsible for managing product selections, specifications, procurement and installation for the FF&E package consisting of furniture, window treatments, artwork and accessories.


Sagewood (Phoenix, AZ) is nestled within the Sonoran Desert and boasts impressive resort-style living. Phase 2 of this renovation and addition marks the largest construction project since Sagewood opened in 2010. This phase includes a 4-story, 101-unit independent living building with an underground parking garage. The new 276,454 SF building features impressive one and two-bedroom apartment homes with den layouts and scenic patio views. In addition to expanding the living options, Phase 2 provides a multitude of amenities including activity and game rooms, an art studio, putting course, café, formal dining, an indoor-outdoor tapas bar and lounge.


The community had a clear vision to add a hospitality flair to create a one-of-a-kind senior lifestyle. This came to life best in the three restaurants on site. The design approach was inspired by Sagewood’s surrounding landscape which helped weave together three unique dining destinations: The Sonoran, The Canyon Café, and The Owl’s Nest. Part of the existing Palo Verde Dining Room and adjacent administration area became The Sonoran, an entirely different and separate venue offering fine dining. The Canyon Café’s renovation allowed for a full kitchen to be added in place of a simple convenience counter. This expanded the menu and allowed the café to remain open all day, seamlessly transitioning from morning coffee to an evening nightcap. The Owl’s Nest is a sophisticated tapas bar that perches on the fourth floor overlooking the McDowell Mountains. Each destination has a distinct brand and function, but all bring a restorative lifestyle to the Sagewood community.


Weaving in a distinctive palette of colors & forms unique to the Southwestern landscape, many natural design elements can be found within the community. Spellman incorporated an artisanal window film of a desertscape on the hallway windows at The Canyon Café for privacy and warmth and local artists were commissioned to paint stylized desert plants on the interior brick entrance. A stunning collage of photographs and abstract paintings of flora and fauna were installed at The Owl’s Nest, while The Sonoran boasts a custom mural of a desert super bloom. The connection to nature and eclectic ambience is further emphasized by the placement of colorful glass bottles and ceramics mixed with faux and dried plants throughout the community. Rich textures and sophisticated design details like these create a charming space inviting all to socialize and relax in the comfort of their communal home.


Spellman Brady collaborated on the project with architects Todd & Associates of Phoenix, AZ and general contractor The Weitz Company of Phoenix, AZ. This project team previously worked together on the successful completion of Phase 1, which consisted of the Desert Willow Assisted Living, a two-story, assisted living addition to the existing skilled nursing building, and The Oasis, a multi-purpose venue.


Life Care Services®, An LCS Company, is the second-largest manager of rental senior living communities and Life Plan Communities. Retirement living communities managed by Life Care Services may include residences for independent living, assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing care, or a combination of these living arrangements.


Spellman Brady & Company is an award-winning St. Louis-based interior design firm specializing in senior living, healthcare, higher education and multi-family environments. The firm maintains design excellence by delivering comprehensive interior design, furniture, artwork master planning and procurement services. As a Certified WBE Business, Spellman Brady & Company has completed more than 6,300 projects in 43 states and abroad since its founding 27 years ago.

“Interior Designers Seek Perfect Balance”

June 23, 2021

Senior housing specialists must consider physical and aesthetic needs of many parties, and design choices can even help with infection control.

Senior Housing Business



















Spellman Brady & Company certified as Women-Owned Business Enterprise

June 15, 2021

Spellman Brady & Company has been officially certified as a Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) by the City of St. Louis.

To receive this certification, SBC went through the city’s rigorous and stringent process to confirm that its business is owned, managed and controlled by a woman.

As a woman-owned business since 1994, SBC’s commitment to create opportunities for women has remained at the forefront of its values, as evidenced by women making up 93 percent of its staff. Led by president and founder Diana Brady Spellman (a leader in the interior design industry for more than 40 years), SBC believes providing equal opportunities for women is critical to foster creativity and innovation, as well as utilize the many skills women lend to thriving companies.

“We are truly humbled and honored to be a part of an incredible legacy of minority-owned business leaders in the St. Louis area and we look forward to partnering with other companies that share our commitment to providing equal opportunities to minority populations,” Spellman said.

Diana Spellman, President

EFA Design Showcase – Touchmark at Fairway Village

May 20, 2021

Touchmark at Fairway Village is featured in the Spring 2021 issue of Environments for Aging Magazine. Click here to read more and see all the other amazing communities highlighted in the EFA Design Showcase.

Touchmark wanted to change how residents, their families, and employees gather and socialize at Touchmark at Fairway Village in Vancouver, Wash. With the help of interior design firm Spellman Brady & Company (St. Louis, Mo.), the owner pursued a full interior renovation of 78,580 square feet of public corridors; resident amenities, including a health and fitness club; and operational office areas.

Spellman Brady & Company is an award-winning St. Louis–based interior design firm specializing in senior living, healthcare, and higher education environments. The firm maintains design excellence by delivering comprehensive interior design, furniture, artwork master planning, and procurement services. As a Certified WBE Business, Spellman Brady & Company has completed more than 6,300 projects in 43 states and abroad since its founding in 1994.

Contact us for more info.

Touchmark at Fairway Village

“Senior Spaces”

September 15, 2020

Since early 2020, for most people the words "senior housing" bring to mind ...




















New Senior Living Brand Elevate Blends Neighborhood, Middle-Market Concepts

September 4, 2020

A new senior living brand is marrying small-neighborhood concepts with more compact designs to make assisted living and memory care more affordable for residents.

American Healthcare Management Group is forging ahead with the new assisted living and memory care brand called Elevate. At its core, the concept is meant to be significantly smaller in size than other senior living communities without sacrificing many of the industry’s standard amenities, according to Joseph Jasmon, co-founder, CEO and managing partner of American Healthcare Management Group. Founded in 2004, the St. Johns, Florida-based company specializes in management and consulting in senior living; health care; mental and behavioral health; and the coordination of care.

“[The senior living industry] has designed communities thinking of what is best from a real estate perspective or from a revenue perspective,” Jasmon told Senior Housing News. “All of those things are important, but we’ve forgotten that residents have to live there, too.”

Each Elevate community is slated to have 96 units, divided up into six neighborhoods of 16 private rooms each. The one- and two-story communities are planned to span about 50,000 to 55,000 square feet, with multipurpose common areas that staff can adapt as needed.

“Instead of having that room sit there with a bunch of expensive furniture that no one is using, we shuffle, switch, adjust, and then go from there,” Jasmon said.

Elevate’s partners include St. Louis-based Arco Construction, a general contractor that is able to build the communities for $159 per square foot, he added.

From a staffing standpoint, community leaders will have more responsibility managing daily operations, from caregiving and cleaning to culinary and housekeeping. And the communities will operate on 12- and 14-hour shifts in a staffing model that ebbs and flows around peak times of activity. Elevate communities will also make use of volunteers — family members or young people interested in the senior living industry — to help with non-clinical services such as activities, mealtimes and cleaning.

All of this means the communities can be built at a lower cost than the traditional senior living project, while operating at a cost below the standard model, according to Jasmon.

“We can save $5 million to $8 million in construction costs,” he said. “And we’ve saved about four full-time employees, which is a pretty good amount of money from an operation standpoint.”

And, those are cost savings the company can pass along to residents. For its Elevate brand, American Healthcare Management Group plans to charge about $1,000 to $2,000 less than market rate, depending on the market. Jasmon sees the new Elevate model aimed at both prospective senior living residents who can’t afford what’s on the market now, and current senior living residents who believe they’re paying too much.

The initial plan is to develop 10 Elevate communities in the coming five years, with the first two currently under development in the Florida markets of St. Johns and Clearwater. American Healthcare Management Group currently operates three communities, with 11 others under development with different clients. For its Elevate pipeline, the company is also looking at markets including Overland Park, Kansas; Denver and Boulder, Colorado; and Louisville, Kentucky.

‘Beautiful and practical’

Jasmon originally took inspiration for the Elevate model from several different styles of senior living. He studied small-house communities, such as those that are part of the Green House Project, along with other models that make senior care more affordable for residents.

He was also influenced by his belief that residents shouldn’t be more than 20 steps away from the amenities and spaces they use.

“We knew we could figure out a way to create something that was both beautiful and practical,” he said. “And so, that was the inspiration behind it: how do we get there?”

So, Jasmon got to work seeing if he could create a workable model for his middle-market senior living concept. He recalled hashing out the original idea on a napkin with Bruce Hentges, a vice president at St. Louis-based interior planning firm Spellman Brady & Company.

“What we thought at that point in time was … in order to keep it affordable, we have to be consistent in every aspect of the design, the development, the construction, the management and everything going forward,” Jasmon said.

With the Elevate concept in hand, Jasmon set out to find long-term partners who could get financially involved in the brand.

“We took the show on the road at the NIC conference in Chicago last year and got a lot of interest,” Jasmon said. “And that’s when we knew we had something.”

Although the idea came to fruition before Covid-19 hit earlier this year, the design underwent some light modifications for the new pandemic age thanks to help from Grant Warner, a principal at Dallas-based D2 Architecture. For example, each Elevate community will include mechanical rooms with outside entrances so that workers don’t need to walk through the community to get there. The design also includes family lounges with outdoor access for the same reason.

“We made those adjustments pretty quickly,” Jasmon said. “We also knew that, based upon access control and the design we have, we can lock down any one of our neighborhoods and create a quarantine area with a flip of a switch.”

Today, Elevate has 13 different partners, from architects and technology vendors to general contractors and insurance providers. Doing so has helped streamline the design process while saving a “significant amount of dollars,” Jasmon said.

Each community is planned to have a joint-venture deal structure where Elevate would own 20%, and an equity investor would own 80%, with 3- to 5- and 5- to 10-year investment options. About 35% of a community’s net revenue would be dedicated to staff salary and benefits, with a net operating return of 41%, according to an Elevate investor packet.

“The margins and the net operating returns we’re getting are very similar to what we would get if we built a 100,000 square foot building with high-end rents,” Jasmon said. “We’ve really cut down on what we would have to borrow, because we’re building it for less, and we’ve eliminated unnecessary operating costs by having a creative staffing model.”

Elevate Senior Living
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