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Red Rock Roost

Phoenix remodel realizes the full potential of its mountainside location.

On Phoenix’s famed Camelback Mountain sit some of the finest residences in the city. Most, if not all, afford their owners exhilarating vistas of the vast Valley of the Sun. One in particular gives its residents that and more — what its architect calls “an up close and personal view of the red rocks of Camelback.”
Ranch Mine
"We wanted to create an intimate connection with the side of the mountain coming right up to the home," says architect Cavin Costello.
The home wasn’t always a sight to behold. Its previous life as a Spanish Colonial-style residence failed to take full advantage of its plum mountainside setting.
“We wanted to create an intimate connection with the side of the mountain coming right up to the home, and we wanted to create long, panoramic views of the Valley and mountains beyond,” says Cavin Costello, principal architect of The Ranch Mine, the Phoenix-based design firm that led the remodel. “We did this by rearranging the interior of the house and adding a front addition that allows every habitable room to open up to a shaded outdoor patio. And we provided ample glass to take in views from everywhere in the house.”
“We wanted to create long, panoramic views of the Valley and mountains beyond.” Cavin Costello, Principal Architect, The Ranch Mine
Ranch Mine
From most rooms of the home, one gets a view of the Phoenix skyline in the distance.
The result is a lively, striking 4,500-square-foot home with contemporary lines, big glass, and a modern aesthetic.
At first glance, the most eye-catching element of the home is the three-panel second-story window wall in the master bedroom. The massive wall of glass provides amazing views of Phoenix to the south. Says Costello: “In the evening, you can watch the planes fly over the desert into Sky Harbor Airport, which is really fun.”
“We knew that we had to figure out a way to create more shade facing south, but the trick was that we still wanted the homeowners to take in the panoramic views.” Cavin Costello, Principal Architect, The Ranch Mine
Ranch Mine
A 12-foot-wide window wall in one of the second-floor bedrooms frames a picturesque view of Phoenix.
Even with the southern exposure, the 12-by-8-foot wall of low-E glass and aluminum achieved the level of energy efficiency Costello had hoped for. Also in the master bedroom is a stacking sliding glass door that opens to a balcony that runs nearly the length of the second floor and has one truly unique feature: an accordion-style steel shade screen.
“It was the first time we ever designed one,” says Costello. “We knew that we had to figure out a way to create more shade facing south, but the trick was that we still wanted the homeowners to take in the panoramic views. The screen filters the sun during the day, and it can be folded up at night (or when you want to be in the sun) to enjoy the amazing views. The custom pattern is denser at the top and bottom, allowing you to still have a nice view through the screens while seated.”
Ranch Mine
It's not just only big glass in this mountainside residence.
Just below is a covered first-floor patio whose centerpiece is a giant four-panel stacking multi-slide door that opens from the living area to the patio and offers easy access to a covered outdoor entertaining area, complete with barbecue, and a sparkling pool. The 20-foot opening, with its 5-foot-wide panels of glass, seamlessly blurs the boundary between the indoors and outside.
Ranch Mine
What once was a dated Spanish Colonial-style design is now a contemporary, site-specific architectural statement.
Directly over the covered outdoor living space is one of the three second-floor bedrooms. It, too, features a 12-foot-wide window wall as well as a sliding glass door that opens to one of Costello’s favorite parts of the home.
Ranch Mine
Architect Cavin Costello declares this "Juliet balcony" one of his favorite parts of the home.
“I really love the cantilevered ‘Juliet balcony’ off the bedroom,” he says. “It appears to hover over the mountain as it slopes underneath it. It’s an incredible feeling being in that spot, and it has great views of the downtown Phoenix skyline, as well.”
“I really love the cantilevered ‘Juliet balcony’ off the bedroom. It appears to hover over the mountain as it slopes underneath it.” Cavin Costello, Principal Architect, The Ranch Mine
Ranch Mine
At night, Costello says, it's fun to watch to watch planes fly over the desert toward Sky Harbor International Airport to the south.

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