Ventana Mountain Estates, Home 502 was completed in 2011 by Kevin B Howard Architects, nestled at the peak of a mountaintop in the Catalina Foothills, Tucson, Arizona. The design uses the natural rock outcroppings to zone the residence from public to private. A void is formed in plan, as the mountaintop becomes the complementing solid. The multi-level home organically forms into the mountain, erasing the distinctions between what is a synthetic wall or a naturally occurring rock formation. Horizontal lines create an architecture that complements the mountain and tries not to take away from the grandeur of the site. The site specific planning hides even its modest size.
The exterior materials consist of exposed steel, rusted metal, exposed masonry, and glass. The exterior palette continued through to the interior detailing as shown in the transparency of the wine room below the stairs. Despite the low profile of the house and slender lines of the roof, the solar panels that surface the roof are hardly visible. The marriage of site and organic architecture complimented with active technology create a home that is complete in its execution.
Photos: William Lesch Photography
The Canyon Residence was designed by Kevin B Howard Architects to make living in the Sonoran Desert an integrated part of daily life in The Canyons, Catalina Foothills, Tuscon, Arizona. This was accomplished by creating architecture that was part of the landscape and allowing the site to influence form. Rock outcroppings and water shed patterns dictated formal responses and anchored the residence. A juxtaposing of horizontals lines and solid masses complement the vertical nature of the saguaro cacti. The entry steps up in time with the hillside meeting the main floor where it rests, bridging the ephemeral wash below.
The residence spans across a wash preserving the existing water shed patterns. The entry walk was designed to raise guests up out of the site along this wash. The main living space is located immediately beyond the entrance, providing a striking mountain panorama from the northeast- facing wall of glass. In addition to the site integration, materials were chosen not to contrast with the site, but instead compliment its beauty.
The entry bridge, looking back over the expansive desert views.
The unique qualities of the site demanded an organically designed residence. The design grew out of site integration and minimal impact. By specifying materials and colors contextual to the southwest, the final design created a home that is both timeless and complimentary to its surroundings.
The living room opens to the edge of the Coronado National Forest. The boundary between interior and exterior is blurred by the continuation of the tongue and groove ceiling finish.
There are 72 Solar PV panels installed on the roof. The first full month of Solar PV production showed 115% above the original estimated amounts. This is due to the slope of the roof being optimized for spring and summer solar orientation.
Photos: Dominique Vorillon Photography
Pass Residence is a stunning contemporary desert home that opens up to incredible views extending 40 miles in the very exclusive area of Desert Mountain, Scottsdale, Arizona, designed by Tate Studio Architects. The home was built as a dream retirement for a couple who loves spending time with family. The home is carefully oriented on a 5-acre lot with overhangs that protect the interiors from the relentless desert sun. Outdoor living was a priority as well, so there’s an outdoor kitchen, a lounging patio, a pool and a hot tub. The interiors are comprised of 5,600 square feet of living space with four bedrooms, four-and-a-half bathrooms and office and exercise room. The home has solar panels that generate electricity the power company buys; the pool is also heated by solar energy.
A small fountain sits between two of the cacti in the middle of this photo. “Javelinas love to come up and drink from the small fountain,” states the architect. “That window you see here is in the dining room, so the family enjoys watching them while they eat dinner.”
The stucco wall here is part of a long, curved wall that extends the length of the house; sandblasted concrete blocks make up the wall on the right. The design of the square openings repeats throughout the house.
“I wanted to create an inviting entry that didn’t show you everything at once,” states the architect. A large steel beam draws you toward the front door, and a small fountain draws you in with a gurgling sound that echoes through the entry.
The front entryway is all glass yet does not reveal the views; one discovers those after entering the house. The bottom two-thirds of it is flow glass, which provides light as well as privacy. “The glass creates a beautiful glow,” states the architect. “It has iridescent dichroic flakes in it that make it shimmer and change color throughout the day.”
Beyond the front door, suspended reclaimed barn beams create a rhythm down the gallery. To the left, the open fireplace is repeated outside on the patio. To the right, the end of the gallery becomes part of the master bedroom; the reclaimed barn doors slide across to enclose it.
Looking back toward the front door, Alpaca limestone continues from indoors to out, as does the Arizona brown schist seen around the fireplace. Large windows bring in the expansive desert views; the bottom windows are operational and let in the breeze from the valley. The open fireplace divides the living room from the hearth room. Snapped-edge limestone makes up the hearth and mantel; copper covers the uplit fireplace.
“We combined some traditional and contemporary touches in the kitchen,” states the architect. White oak Shaker-style cabinets and brown schist stone lend a warm, contemporary feel. Behind the range wall, you can see how the roof floats, providing clerestory windows that let in additional daylight.
“The clients love to have everyone gather in the kitchen; the wife loves to cook, and everyone can gather at the granite bar,” states the architect. Better yet, they can walk right outside to the outdoor kitchen and the TV lounge on the patio.
The master bedroom and the gallery share space; the gallery ends in the view of the cactus when the barn doors are left open.
The master bath combines several beautiful textures. The tile in the shower stall is a mix of stone and shell, the tub surround is concrete and the sandblasted block wall continues from inside to out. Three niches next to the bathtub echo the openings out the window.
The far edge of the pool has an 8-inch-deep area with two lounge chairs. Toward the back is the outdoor kitchen and TV lounge; to the right is the riparian corridor. “You can lean on the infinity edge of the pool and watch the deer and other animals in the wash below,” states the architect.
The patio has a series of outdoor rooms. “My client wanted to be able to sit outside in the shade while the pool was sunny, so all of the overhangs were very carefully designed,” states the architect. The overhangs also protect the house itself from direct sunlight.
A large open fireplace echoes the one indoors; there is another small fire feature at the end of the patio next to the hot tub. If you look closely, you can see the city lights in the distance.
The form of the house follows the terrain, stepping down the hillside. The neighborhood was built in a way that does not deter the natural movement of local deer, javalinas, mountain lions and coyotes.
Photos: Mark Boisclair
Pima Canyon Residence is a spectacular modern interior renovation project that was carried out by John Senhauser Architects, situated in Tucson, Arizona. The client had initially asked the architects to assist them in selecting materials and designing a guest bath for their new home. Yet their scope of work “progressively expanded into interior architecture and detailing, including the kitchen, baths, fireplaces, stair, custom millwork, doors, guardrails, and lighting for the residence – essentially everything except the furniture. The home is loosely defined by a series of thick, parallel walls supporting planar roof elements floating above the desert floor.”
From the architects: Our approach was to not only reinforce the general intentions of the architecture but to more clearly articulate its meaning. We began by adopting a limited palette of desert neutrals, providing continuity to the uniquely differentiated spaces. Much of the detailing shares a common vocabulary, while numerous objects (such as the elements of the master bath – each operating on their own terms) coalesce comfortably in the rich compositional language.
Photos: William Lesch
Many of the materials and building features of the home were selected and acquired in France, in order to create a character and aestheticism not often seen outside of the southern French countryside. The approach to the interiors globally, as well as in the selection and delineation of the interior finishes, millwork designs, etc. was to create a practical family home, and to let the interior finishes recede into a believable and simple backdrop.
The interiors are not wholly historical, but do utilize antiques to harmonize with the building itself. The color palette was created to be muted, and to resist trend. The finishes for all interior features are understated, and perfectly practical for a comfortable family retreat.
Photos: Werner Segarra
Built on the property of a larger home in Phoenix, Arizona, The Construction Zone turned a former horse barn into a modern steel and glass guest suite. Other than some basic structure, though, the home has been done over so thoroughly that it’s hard to tell that it’s not an entirely new construction. Most of the surface of the house is done in glass window walls, leading out onto a large patio with space for entertaining. This allows the house to be used while not occupied as an impromptu living space for hosting guests, with direct access to the property’s amenities. The remaining architecture of the house is mostly concrete in form, dividing each room and providing support for the roof. The photo above shows a path from the main house leading to the guest house.
View of the patio, bocce ball court and guest house. Adaptive reuse of a former horse barn into a modern glass and steel guest suite.
Inside, the floorplan is completely open, with only a single formal interior doorway (leading into the bathroom). The entire house is sectioned into four areas, allowing maximum usage of its 1,425 square feet of floorspace. A combination of built-in features and decor cues define each open-form room within the glass and concrete walls, allowing free flow between areas without a loss of identity for each. The glass wall from the front is limited to half-height at the rear, giving plenty of natural light without compromising on privacy. The home is very open and airy in feel, but still provides practical lodgings for a visiting couple.
View of the interior kitchenette and dining.
View of the bedroom details featuring custom steel windows and doors fabricated by the architects.
View of the open hall between the interior spaces. Cast in place concrete walls from the former stalls separate the living spaces.
View of the bath with marble tile and mirror from Customatic.
View of the exterior fire feature custom fabricated by the architects.
View of the east entry featuring steel entry door custom fabricated by the architects.
Photos: Bill Timmerman
This newly constructed stunning French provincial home in the upscale neighborhood of Paradise Valley, Arizona was designed by Higgins Architects. The residence was meticulously crafted as a spacious single story property with several wings that are weaved harmoniously together. The finger like plan creates intimate courtyards that become the focus of interior spaces. Architectural antiques were incorporated into the home giving it a timeless appearance. Salvaged barn beams were used throughout the French provincial interior and exterior to support the rustic rural look of the architecture. The fixtures, materials and furnishings were carefully selected by Scottsdale-based interior design studio of Bouton and Foley Interiors.
The vanity is a found trough, made of limestone and imported from France. The lighting is also antique, re-purposed from a salvage yard and rewired for use.
Like many of the items in this house, the chandelier was purchased at an antique store and rewired and was not reproduced for the mass market.
The walls of the bedroom are finished with an integral colored plaster. The tone is a warm sand tone that adds a lot of warmth to the room.
The Wood is French Oak and there is not a colorized stain on the flooring. This is the natural look of the wood with a flat urethane finish.
Photos: Courtesy of Higgins Architects
Whisper Rock Residence is a luxury single family property that has been designed by Tate Studio Architects, located in Scottsdale, Arizona. A truly splendid desert home, it features plenty of unique details in its 5,500 square feet of living space and sprawling outdoor areas blending contemporary and southwest styles to create a wonderful masterpiece. Lighting for this project was sourced through Sunlighting, and most of the contemporary art can be found at Horizon Art Gallery. The wooden benches on the outdoor patio are from Costello Childs.
Photos: Mark Boisclair Photography
Set in the Sonoran Desert, Silverleaf Residence was designed by OZ Architects for a young active family in the upscale Silverleaf community of Scottsdale, Arizona. The design of this home encourages family connections while providing private spaces for each family member. Based upon simple rural Mediterranean farmhouse architecture, the various pieces of the home surround a central courtyard, creating a private compound with an authentic scale. Indoor outdoor connections are emphasized, with numerous exterior covered living spaces and fireplaces. The interiors were designed by David Michael Miller Associates, using antique building materials set against modern and contemporary interior features, working together to create a relaxed and sophisticate home. The material language of the home is decidedly livable and relaxed.
The contrasts of materiality and the reinterpretations of traditional millwork and furnishings styles are used in a deliberate way, to affect an interior that is new and old simultaneously. Materials were chosen that have a patina and can age well, while the spaces are purposefully intimate, comfortable and human scaled. The plan avoids large connected rooms, instead incorporating rooms for a specific purpose such as the kitchen which features a cooking fireplace and farm table at the center. A private enclosed swimming grotto can be accessed from both the pool and the master shower.
Photos: Werner Segarra