The Desert House is an organic modern estate that has been designed by Kendrick Bangs Kellogg, situated in Joshua Tree, California. Comprised of 4,643 square feet of living space, work begun on the three bedroom, three-and-a-half bath home started in 1988 and was completed in 1993. The sprawling residence is nestled on 10 acres of desert landscape, sheltered by large boulders. The interiors were meticulously designed by John Vugrin. The end result is a dwelling in concrete, steel, glass, and copper, flawlessly blending in with its rocky landscape.
This spectacular home is currently listed for sale at $3 million, from here.
The most important architectural house you may have never seen. It is physically of the desert, a part of its surroundings. The strength of the hard and rugged protective shell exterior is drawn from the desert. The interior is a warm intimate space of flowing organic shapes wrapping gently around its inhabitants. Light enters through continuous openings that separate the towering concrete panels. The textures provide the touch and feel of the desert as materials were meticulously selected from the desert. The property highlights the masculine and feminine forms that are the hallmark of organic architecture.
This waterfront mid-century modern home features spectacular mountain and lake views, situated in Issaquah, Washington, a suburb east of Seattle. This house was custom built read more
Pine Forest Cabin cantilevers over a hillside offering unobstructed mountain views in Winthrop, Washington, designed by Balance Associates Architects. In order to meet the client’s budget goals, an efficient plan and cost effective selection of building materials reduced construction costs and led to the simple 850 square foot box design. The use of sheet materials both inside and out maximized material efficiency while emphasizing the simplicity of the cabin’s form.
Two concrete walls cradle the box and allow it to cantilever over the hillside, reducing effective site disturbance. Elevating the cabin allowed for unobstructed views down slope and to the mountains beyond, transforming a modest living space from ordinary room to a viewing platform that extends from inside to out.
This project demonstrates Balance Associates Architects’ belief that architecturally interesting solutions can be achieved for budgets of all sizes without sacrificing quality or aesthetics.
Photos: Steve Keating 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
JH Modern is a contemporary mountain retreat for a couple from Texas designed by Pearson Design Group, situated in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The owners, one a physician turned entrepreneur and the other an oncologist, wanted a house that took full advantage of the outdoors. After having visited the area eight years ago, they had decided that this is where they wanted to be. With the Teton Range to the west and the Gros Ventre Range to the east, it’s hard to avoid having a spectacular view. In 2011, the couple purchased a five-acre lot for $1.2 million, turning it over to Montana-based Pearson Design Group whose firm had a 5,400-square-foot home built and furnished for them in just 16 months, for about $4 million. General requests by the homeowners included wanting the home to blend with the outside. “We wanted to be able to leave the doors open, and walk in and out. And have living areas outside,” states the owners.
In place of a formal entry hall, the architects substituted an outdoor room.
The outdoor room features an outdoor fireplace, something that comes in handy when the weather is frigid and the snow is knee-deep, as it is in Wyoming during the winter. There are also sliding barn doors, in case it gets too windy. The entry features the best view of the whole house.
The furnishings were chosen to withstand the elements, but the owners do bring the cushions and the pendant light in when they’re not here.
On the floor below the bison heads on the wall is a panel of chevron-patterned French oak set into poured concrete.
Each of the fireplaces is anchored with a slab of Two Dot stone.
In a corner of the living room is a New York Chair from Alchemy Collections; the vintage arrows were found on Etsy.
In one of the bathrooms, a Siena Tamburo Vessel sink from Stone Forest sits on a counter of Claro walnut.
The solid walnut kitchen cabinetry was custom made, with Shift knobs by Ted Boerner for Rocky Mountain Hardware.
The hand-cut plywood letters in the kitchen are from Gregory Morris’s Etsy shop, SlippinSouthern.
The black walnut slab kitchen table is surrounded by Hans Wegner Wishbone chairs from Design Within Reach. The hanging fixture was made by IronGlass Lighting.
The black walnut staircase has LED lights mounted beneath each riser to illuminate the way at night.
In the master bedroom is a custom-designed Claro walnut bed. Over the shagreen-covered Sorin Dresser from Made Goods hangs “A Calf in Between,” by Craig Spankie. The antler chandelier is by Frank Long.
A fuzzy Cortina chair from Refuge sits beside a Modo desk lamp by Jason Miller for Roll & Hill.
In the master bathroom, Ronbow round ceramic sinks with Purist fixtures from Kohler sit on Calacatta marble counters. The Bella Modern Pendant Light is from Niche.
A custom-made cabinet in the master bedroom has Brut Pendant pulls by Ted Boerner for Rocky Mountain Hardware.
Mr. Pearson said he thought of the house as “an extension of the landscape.” He added, “A mountain home is part of something much grander.”
Leaving behind a world of urban routines, the client commissioned GarciaGerman Arquitectos to design Ex House, to achieve a feeling of retreat and isolation in the rural setting of the Somosierra mountain range of Spain. The client had abandoned their life of living in downtown Madrid and the term “Ex” refers to this process of leaving and the disadvantages of leaving this world behind. The home’s location takes full advantage of its close proximity to the city, with the property at just 1km. distance from the N-1 highway and one-hour drive from Madrid. A way of life in tune with nature but accessible from the city, appropriate for young dwellers.
The 1,453 square foot (135 square meters) house, camouflaged inside a dense forest, manages to face the views of the granite Somosierra and La Pinilla peaks to the south while looking at the same time to the reddish vast sediment plains that extend to the north, sitting in this geological transition and facing both directions. These views are formalized in two large identical 4,50m. openings situated in opposite sides of the central square-plan living area. This living area has a fireplace and is double-heighted to the north, regulating the inside temperature of the house.
Building systems incorporate high-tech devices in construction methods with a predominant concern for sustainability in the processes and materials employed, offering environmental standards that combine a contemporary level of comfort with the recovery of a secluded lifestyle with all of its charms.
The use of wood and its qualities, not only technical (insulation, easiness in handling, waste reduction) but also cultural and somatic (awareness of a sustainable living, warm textures, comfort connotations), determines the entire working process, providing the house with its characteristics natural and friendly finishes.
The working process was drastically reduced from the usual 13-14 months in buildings of this size (120-140m2) to 3 months, allowing for the house completion in about 8 months from the first drawings, lowering the costs by minimizing transport, reducing displacement of all parts involved and minimizing management phases. The quartering of high-strength cross-laminated wood panels is modulated to fit one single truck which is driven from the Austrian factory. The panel are then assembled on-site by skilled labour (3 people) in a 5 day process.
The house is built without earthworks and placed gently in the shade of a group of existing trees, rehearsing an essential lifestyle which mixes contemporary devices with the recovery of basic activities: fireplace, vegetable garden, septic tank and heat generation system through fire-heated water are combined with 18 cm. mineral-wool thermal insulation, triple gas filled anodized aluminium glazing 6 / 6 +12 +4 mm. and green roofs with a multilayer cover. All these devices add up to a drastic reduction in maintenance costs.
Facades are done with 16cm. wide toothed wooden planks manufactured from cheap local Valsaín (Segovia) pine, recovering a XVI Century local tradition from the Austria-dynasty-era and in disuse nowadays. This closes a circle which starts with the high-tech-prefab “pan-European” structure of the house and ends with the reactivation of a beloved local craft in the house’s enclosures.
Photos: Jorge López Conde
Ski Slope Residence is a sensational rustic mountain retreat that just underwent an extensive and exquisite remodel designed by High Camp Home in Truckee, California. The home is comprised of 3,606 square feet of living space, with three bedrooms and three baths plus a bunk loft above the pool table room. This custom home is full of reclaimed barnwood, custom iron work, iron fixtures and stacked stone fireplaces, all with breathtaking and panoramic views of Donner Lake. The residence was featured in the February 2009 cover of Tahoe Quarterly as the Award Winning remodel of the year.
Photos: Courtesy of High Camp Home
Blue Hills House has been designed by la SHED architecture, perched on the edge of a mountainous slope in Morin-Heights, Quebec, Canada. The single story 2,152 square foot (200 square meters) residence is nestled on a large forested property, sitting gracefully between the trees and is only hardly visible from the street. As per the occupants’ and architect’s wishes, the house has a dual relationship with its environment; from the outside, it is camouflaged in its setting and is as discreet as possible.
In order to create an inconspicuous house in the landscape, the house was conceived all on the same level. The exterior is completely covered with natural white cedar siding which will become grey over time so that the residence will be even more unnoticeable behind the bark of the surrounding trees. The simple and elongated volume of the house is punctuated with perforations forming white alcoves in which were installed the windows.
The interior is all organized around the kitchen, which is the center of the house. The kitchen is characterized by the presence of two large kitchen islands which are functional as well as creating a convivial ambiance. The living space (living room and dining room) are located on each side of the kitchen. These spaces also extends to an outdoor veranda, integrated in the volume of the house. Large openings on both sides of the house helps giving a feeling of being outside while creating frames on the landscape. Inside, the polished concrete slab floor extends outside, both in the veranda and in the small alcoves.
From the inside, the house is completely open to its surroundings, and its occupants are met with scenery that is in constant evolution. In both cases, the house gives way to the wild grandeur of the Laurentians.
The Blue Hills House, through its refinement and simplicity, allows for a harmonious coexistence between man and nature. By establishing a comfortable, relaxed and light environment, living in this home is akin to perpetual holiday.
Photos: Maxime Brouillet
Casa no Banzão ll is a contemporary property that has been designed by Frederico Valsassina Arquitectos completed in 2007 in Pinhal do Banzão, Colares, Portugal. The house is siutated in the pine forest Banzão in Sintra, overlooking the mountains and represents the desire of the house designed for rest after many years living in the bustle of the city. There was a pre-existing structure with which the clients had a great connection, so the architects preserved a few of the materials in order to reuse them. In this case the place was already established, it is projected on the basis of some key elements in conjunction with the program.
The living room also had to be a ‘music box’ has been studied as such, becomes the core of the house where everything happens: the entryway, the view of mountains, the pergola, garden, patio with olive trees, the change to the area of rooms or technical areas. The experience of the house focuses on contemplation.
The suite is privileged with a view of the mountains while the remaining quarters live around the pool and its seating area and have direct access to the outside.
Photos: © Courtesy of Frederico Valsassina Arquitectos