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Rock Solid | Architect Brent Kendle’s Desert Jewel in Paradise Valley

photography courtesy of KEVIN BROST

Brent Kendle home

Tucked into a boulder-strewn hillside, a Paradise Valley home by architect Brent Kendle celebrates the site.

While the surrounding Paradise Valley, Arizona neighborhood filled in with custom homes, a one-acre hillside parcel remained undeveloped for decades. The reason? The steep lot included a large rock outcropping that took up a big portion of the building envelope.

But when a couple decided to buy the property and build their modernist desert dream home, they turned to Scottsdale architect Brent Kendle, a designer who loves a challenge. 

“I can see why this lot wasn’t ever developed,” Kendle says. “You can’t put a stock house plan on the site, and then you  have to think about what to do about the rocks.”

architect brent kendle desert jewel

Kendle opted to tuck the house up into the hill and at the back of the building site, wrapping the two-level, 6,500-square-foot home around the boulders to celebrate their form. 

“I did what I call an ‘upside-down’ plan for this home,” Kendle said of the four-bedroom abode. “I put the garage, entry, guest bedroom and laundry on the first level. Up a flight of stairs, the main living spaces and the master suite get all the views, with walls of glass.”

Indeed, the LED-illuminated floating glass staircase—itself an architectural highlight—leads up to a lounge and dining room—both of which access the glassed-in wine room. The great room with its black marble monolithic fireplace and a kitchen with double islands and three skylights overlook a wrap-around deck that includes a fire pit and the pool’s still sheet of water, designed to reflect the sky. 

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“I did what I call an ‘upside-down’ plan for this home,” Kendle said of the four-bedroom abode. “I put the garage, entry, guest bedroom and laundry on the first level. Up a flight of stairs, the main living spaces and the master suite get all the views, with walls of glass.”

Paradise Valley home

The owner’s suite of the Paradise Valley home looks straight out into the rocks, which provide privacy from neighbors. With two additional bedrooms upstairs, there’s also an upper-floor office that cantilevers out over the hillside, its cube-like form marked by a protective wall with a notched opening that focuses on views.

Kendle teamed with Phoenix builder Mackos Architecture and Construction, and Scottsdale interior designer Claire Ownby to create the home, each bringing their own considerable talents to the project. 

“This is a solid house,” Kendle points out. “It’s basically a commercial steel and concrete structure that’s very quiet.” In addition to the glass walls, buttressed by vertical glass fins, the home’s materials include stucco walls colored in two shades of gray, an anodized metal fascia and, indoors, polished concrete flooring.

Brent Kendle

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Ownby followed the lead of the Paradise Valley abode’s sleek architecture with a black, white and gray color scheme, minimalist furnishings and pieces that were low enough to keep the emphasis on the views. With luxe materials and a spare approach to accessories, the interior designer’s touch integrates with the lines of the residence. 

“With the decks, the views and the open floor plan, this house was designed for entertaining,” Kendle says, summarizing the project. “However, we didn’t want it to feel big and boomy. It works just as well for two people as it does for a big party.”

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