Eclectic Homes

A Desert Stunner Highlights Nature

“My clients are parents and grandparents that love spending time with family and enjoy life,” says architect Mark Tate. Thus, they proposed their dream retirement home in Desert Mountain, Arizona, to add three guest rooms so everyone could come live with them.

This magnificent desert home opens to views that stretch 40 miles, whereas cautious orientation and overhangs protect the insides out of the relentless desert sun. Outdoor living has been a priority also, so there’s a lounging patio an outdoor kitchen, a pool and a hot tub.

“I wanted to bring the desert to the house for my clients to appreciate,” says Tate. “We very carefully incorporated the house to the landscape and treated the website as gently as possible.”

at a Glance
Who lives here: A retired couple with a major family who loves to visit
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
Size: 5,600 square feet; 4 bedrooms, 4 1/2 bathrooms, office, workout room
That’s intriguing: The home has solar panels that generate electricity the power company purchases; the pool can also be heated by solar energy.

Tate Studio Architects

The home sits on a 5-acre lot, overlooking. Whenever some grading was required for the house, Tate was able to balance the trim and fill inside the website.

Tate Studio Architects

“I needed to make an inviting entrance that didn’t show you everything at the same time,” Tate says. A large steel beam draws you toward the front door, and a little fountain draws you in with a gurgling noise that echoes throughout the entry. What lies beyond is an enticing mystery.

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 offers mild in addition to privacy. “The glass creates a beautiful glow,” says Tate. “It’s iridescent dichroic flakes in it that allow it to glow and change color through the day.”

Landscape design: Desert Foothills Landscape; entryway glass: Meltdown Glass

Tate Studio Architects

A little fountain sits between two of the cacti in the center of this photo. “Javelinas like to come up and drink out of the little fountain,” he says. “That window you see this is from the dining area, or so the family loves 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 to the right. The plan of this square openings repeats throughout the house.

Tate Studio Architects

The plan reveals the way the curved wall goes throughout the house. Windows frame the vast landscape, while walls conceal views of this street and neighboring houses.

Tate Studio Architects

Beyond the front door, suspended reclaimed barn beams make 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.

Beams: K.P.Holt

Tate Studio Architects

The master bedroom and the gallery discuss distance; the gallery finishes in the view of this cactus when the barn doors have been left open.

Tate Studio Architects

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 out of the valley.

The open fireplace divides the living room from the hearth room. Snapped-edge limestone makes up the hearth and mantel; aluminum covers the uplit fireplace.

Tate Studio Architects

“We combined some traditional and modern touches from the kitchen,” says Tate. White walnut Shaker-style cabinets and brown schist stone give a warm, modern feel. Underneath the stove wall, you can see the way the roof floats, supplying clerestory windows that let in extra daylight.

“The clients love to have everyone gather at the kitchen ; the spouse loves to cook, and everyone is able to gather at the granite bar,” he says. Better yet, they can walk right out to the outdoor kitchen and the TV lounge on the patio.

Cabinets: Cabinetry Essence

Tate Studio Architects

The master bathroom combines several amazing textures. The tile in the shower stall is a mix of shell and stone, the bathtub surround is concrete and the sandblasted block wall proceeds from inside to out. Three niches beside the bathtub echo the openings out the window.

“The bathtub has the live-in view, although the framed view of this mountain leads you to the shower stall,” Tate says.

All tile and stone fabrication and installation: Imperial Tile Imports

Tate Studio Architects

The kind of the house follows the terrain, stepping down the hillside. The area was constructed in a manner that does not deter the natural motion of neighborhood deer, javalinas, mountain lions and coyotes.

Tate Studio Architects

The patio has a series of outdoor rooms. “My client wanted to be able to sit out in the shade while the pool was sunny, so all the overhangs were very carefully made,” Tate says. The overhangs also protect the house out of direct sunlight.

Tate Studio Architects

The far edge of the pool has an 8-inch-deep area with two sofa seats. Toward the back is the outdoor kitchen and TV lounge; into the right would be the riparian corridor. “You can lean onto the infinity edge of the pool and see the deer and other critters in the wash under,” Tate says.

Tate Studio Architects

A big open fireplace echoes the one indoors; there is another little fire feature in the end of the patio next to the hot tub. If you look closely, you can see the city lights in the distance.

“This house has been rather a departure from what my clients were accustomed to, but they adore the modern lifestyle and seeing their children and grandchildren here,” Tate says.

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