During down time, Cardinals safety Adrian Wilson and his family keep things simple
Jake Poiner Republic At Home Week
With his dominating on-field presence, Arizona Cardinals strong safety Adrian Wilson has a habit of making opponents see red - whether you're a wide receiver who gets burned, a quarterback who ends up on his back or, like Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick in Week 4 of this season, the victim of a 99-yard interception returned for a touchdown.
In Wilson's home in Chandler, visitors also see red . . . but in a good way. Throughout the contemporary layout, the color figures prominently in walls and furniture in different shades of primary as well as, you guessed it, Cardinal red. But it's not just his current team that gets the credit.
"I like bright, fun, happy colors," said Wilson's wife Alicia. "Every school Adrian has played for, in high school (T.W. Andrews High School in High Point, N.C.) and college (N.C. State), their uniforms had red in them, too. So it made sense."
As exuberant and talkative as he is on the field, Wilson is soft-spoken and matter-of-fact away from the game. How did they choose this house? "We saw it, I liked it, she liked it, we made it happen," he said. What do they like about this area of the Valley? "Well, it was close to where we were before, so it's close to my daughter's school, and it's close to work for me," he said. "It's a growing area, there's a mall, a movie theater, we've got everything we need."
Adrian fully admits that Alicia was the driving force behind the modern design of the home. Stepping through the front-door entry, guests enter an open tiled foyer with high ceilings and several artistic accessories, including a wire sculpture chandelier and a crystal-adorned mirror. To the right, what was formerly a dining room has been converted into a sitting room with a built-in fish tank that stretches the length of the wall. "We talked about having a pool table, but when we took measurements, we figured out you'd be hitting the walls," said Alicia. She chose a saltwater tank because the bright yellow angelfish would match the dÃ©cor. "So, the designer said, 'what about a fish tank?' Adrian thought it was a great idea because he'd never had one before. I had one growing up, so I knew how much work it was!"
On the opposite side, there's a small playroom to the left for daughter Aubrei, age 4, and Adrian, 11 months. "It's where they're allowed to make a mess," Alicia said about the room, which has a geometric black and gray carpet, photos of the family and a kidney bean-shaped couch from Copenhagen Imports.
The house opens up to a great room with a large-screen TV and an expansive red leather couch. To the right, a spacious kitchen features wood cabinets, a granite-counter island, and a separate eating area. Alicia said that she likes to cook, but things are just too hectic right now with baby Adrian and busy Aubrei, who participates in French, dance and cheerleading in addition to school. "By 6 o'clock at night, I'm done," she said - holding up a decorated collection of takeout menus that a Cardinals player's wife gave to her.
Alicia's favorite piece in the kitchen is the Sub-Zero refrigerator, which has a glass door. She admits to two minor disadvantages, though. "Aubrei opens it and stands there debating what she wants, and I say to her, you can see through it," she said with a laugh. "And you have to make sure it's clean. I did that for a month, but now it's the housekeeper's responsibility."
The master suite features a modern design with a sleek custom bed and a few family photos. Even the 63-inch TV seems part of the scenery, tucked into the wall in a picture frame. The bathroom has an open feel, with a large tiled-in tub and shower. And doors overlook the backyard patio and pool.
For their part, the kids' rooms pack plenty of personality. Aubrei's room is a little girl's dream - saturated in pink from wall to wall. Ditto for little Adrian's room for boys: On the bright red walls, there are several oversize photos of dad in action, and the floor-to-ceiling draperies have footballs on them. But don't wake him up while he's taking a nap in the centerpiece: A custom bed with a huge football on the headboard.
Not surprisingly, it's a Wilson.