When architect Brent Kendle, founder of Kendle Design Collaborative first walked the empty, three-acre residential site in the heart of Paradise Valley, Arizona, he knew instantly what would drive the design of this new home.
Rammed-earth walls and dark, weathered steel cladding marked with horizontal ribs echo the mountain’s striations, while cast-in-place concrete accent walls repeat the abode’s organic essence
“This lot has a dead-center view of Camelback Mountain,” he says of the dromedary-shaped landmark. “You can see the whole thing, head to tail. For me, the mountain pulled the lid of the house upwards to capture the views, and its geology inspired the choice of materials for this architectural design.”
Kendle designed the 6,200-square-foot house—dubbed “Dancing Light”—for a retired businessman who wanted something large enough for to accommodate visits from family and friends, yet comfortable for times when he was in the house solo.
Along with Brent Kendle, the client put together a Southwestern dream team to create the house, including interior designer David Michael Miller, Desert Star Construction and GBtwo Landscape Architecture. The result? An earthy, modern dwelling with dramatic, gravity-defying rooflines, which begs to be photographed, Instagrammed and Pinterested for years to come.
Kendle’s architectural design for the three-bedroom, light-filled house angles off a central atrium. An owner’s suite and office anchor one part of the residence, while guest spaces were placed on the opposite side. In the center, the home’s piéce de résistance—the great room—opens onto the pool patio and reveals full mountain views, thanks to a tall wall of sliding glass.
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The home’s most defining features are the angled rooflines, which tilt up toward the mountain. “The great room and the master bedroom have trapezoidal roof forms, that overlap,” says Kendle. The roof forms look like they’re floating, thanks to slim steel posts, and are cantilevered to provide shade for south-facing glass and patios through thoughtful architectural design.
The ceilings of those roof forms, inside and out, are clad in Douglas fir, installed with small reveals to create a sense of movement and pattern, created by Linear Fine Woodworking. Other materials in the home are an homage to Camelback’s granite and sandstone forms.
For me, the mountain pulled the lid of the house upwards to capture the views, and its geology inspired the choice of materials for this architectural design.
Rammed-earth walls and dark, weathered steel cladding marked with horizontal ribs echo the mountain’s striations, while cast-in-place concrete accent walls repeat the abode’s organic essence. Glass walls and sandblasted glass touches balance the rugged materials.
“This is my ‘metaphor’ house,” says Brent Kendle. “I channeled the feeling of walking through slot canyons and boulder fields, then coming around to a view with my architectural design. I also went back to historic houses in the Southwest that were built around a central courtyard.”
While the home, which has won numerous design awards, presents itself as a grand architectural gesture, it is, in fact, eminently livable, thanks not only to the architecture, but also to the subtle, comfortable interior created by Miller, a designer in our ICONIC HAUS designer showhouse 2020.
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Using an organic, tactile approach that plays off the earthy walls and keeps the focus on views, the interior designer suggested inviting, upholstered pieces meant for lounging in the great room, keeping lines simple and hues neutral, except for accents of rusty orange.
The bedrooms are also zen-like in their spare elegance, focused instead on luxe materials. Miller helped curate the contemporary art for the home and kept clutter at bay, creating a serene setting.
A Bulthaup kitchen that’s part of the great room is minimalistic by architectural design and virtually disappears into the setting, thanks to hidden appliances and vents. A secondary, back kitchen serves to hide the mess of a dinner party and as a workspace for caterers.
The home’s polished concrete floors extend out to the patios, edged in agaves, aloes and other succulents. In the atrium, a specimen ironwood tree provides a green focal point. Palo verde, ironwood and mesquite trees line the property’s edge, underscoring mountain vistas and providing privacy.
“This is a true Arizona house,” says Kendle. “It’s organic, filled with light. While the architectural design is dramatic, there’s also a sense of intimacy here.”
When asked to explain the “Dancing Light” moniker, Brent Kendle explains, “At certain times of the day, when the light is just right, the reflection of the pool water seems to dance across the walls.”