Modern desert home set on a rocky hillside with spectacular city views

This impressive modern desert home was custom designed for a family of five by , nestled into a south facing rocky hillside in Paradise Valley, Arizona. The architects design was guided by the clients love for outdoor living and the inherent qualities that the surrounding native desert landscaping has to offer. The deep roof slopes conform to the slope of the mountain and cantilevered terraces help to mitigate the home’s imprint on the property.

The use of desert colors and textures helps to blend the home into the landscape. The municipality would not allow a three-story structure, so the garage was ingeniously tucked underneath the main living floor, while the master suite occupies the top floor. Boulders were applies to the sides of the retaining walls along the driveway to create the appearance that it was carved out of the hillside.

The 19,000 square foot home sits on five acres with four bedrooms, which includes a guest house with one bedroom and one bathroom. The interior living spaces were designed by interior design firm . The interiors take full advantage of the natural light and the surrounding views and blur the boundaries between the interior and exterior. The indoor and outdoor spaces range from soaring and open to small and intimate.

Above: The entry terrace leads from the garage level up to the front door. The guest house is on the right side of this image.

What We Love: This amazing modern desert home is bold and dramatic within its landscape, offering spectacular indoor-outdoor living spaces. The attention to detail throughout the home, exquisite materials and integration of water elements in a desert dwelling makes this design very unique. The water feature in the backyard is beyond awesome! Overall, this home blends beautifully with its surroundings… Readers, is there anything you would change in the design of this home? Would this be your idea of a dream home? Let us know in the comments below!

Note: Have a look at another home tour that we have featured here on Fitflopsale-Singapore from the portfolio of Swaback Partners: Contemporary mountain retreat offers warm living spaces in Martis Camp.

Above: The entry door has been constructed of 5-inch-thick mahogany panels that floats between layers of laminated glass. A grid of 21 panels of onyx appears to float above the entryway.

Above: Large cantilevers offer shade from the Arizona sun, keeping the house cooler and creating terraces.

Above: The wall cladding in the great room is a cut of  Fossil Creek flagstone, sourced from a small quarry in New Mexico.

Above: Comfortable and casual dining room, yet simple and elegant.

Above: The kitchen picks up on a darker desert palette that includes Red Dragon granite and Wingate black cabinetry.

Above: In the media room, if you take a closer look, you will notice what you actually see is a window with a privacy shade looking out to the nearyby mountainside and back patio. There is a hidden blackout screen and roll-down projector contained within the channels along the window.

Above: Cozy, quiet home office. The flooring is wire brushed white oak, no stain.

Above: The master bedroom retreat features an incredible view to the mountains as well as city lights in the distance. To take advantage of the view, a motorized 12-foot x 15-foot door opens to a private terrace with a fire pit.

Above: Upstairs, a sitting area in the master suite makes the top floor its own retreat. The doors are veneered with Sapele, levers were from Paul Decorative, the solid bronze plate behind the levers are custom.

Above: Master bedroom sitting area, with indoor / outdoor appeal, and drastic city views.

Above: A bedroom opens to a mountain terrace and abuts 12-foot by 18-foot boulders. The walls are an integral color plaster by Hopper Finishes, while the ceiling is a custom color to compliment the walls. The flooring is white oak, with a limestone threshold at the sliding doors.

Above: Spa-like bathroom set right up against the mountain.

Above: Well-placed boulders cleverly conceal an outdoor shower, providing privacy yet keeping the open-air feeling.

Above: The hillside was reconstructed to support a waterfall with a geotech mesh for safety, boulders were brought in and moved to cover it.

Above: The designers made sure that the tint of the patio’s concrete matched the landscape.

Above: A waterfall flows down from the top of the hill, giving the illusion that it flows under the back patio, is brought through the house and terminates at this fountain.

Photos: Bill Timmerman

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Beautiful. Would love to know details about the wood flooring. Real? Engineered? Color? Source? It is such a soothing color. Thank you.


‘Comfortable and casual, yet simple and elegant’. Somehow that seems a slight understatement for 19K square feet of house. How many sitting/lliving/family/retreat areas are there? Do they have intercoms so that they can connect with each other sometime during the day?
I will say though that it is tastefully done. Tastefully done opulence. The last photo of all the rooftops shows that the place is just TOO, too much.
Half the square footage would have been more in keeping with the ‘comfortable and casual, yet simple and elegant’ statement.