What do you do when your home has strong bones and an ideal location but its outdated style is keeping you from enjoying it to its fullest potential? Remodel it, of course — even if the end result is virtually unrecognizable from the original. There was never any question that the Red Rocks residence in Phoenix was worth saving, despite the fact that its underutilized formal entryway pushed the common areas to the rear of the home and made them feel stuffy. This dramatic update by The Ranch Mine makes the house a lot more livable while completely changing its exterior from Spanish Colonial Revival style to a cantilevered contemporary wonder.
Formal entryways may have been très chic just a few decades ago, but these days, trends lean in the direction of more casual open spaces that interplay with the outdoors. For Red Rocks, architects Claire and Calvin Costello found a clever way to expand shaded outdoor spaces by as much as 2,000 square feet (186 square meters) while opening up the heart of the home, all without expanding beyond the original footprint to avoid disturbing the natural landscape.
“It was clear very quickly to [us] that although the Spanish Colonial Revival style can be beautiful in the right situations, the style of this home was repressing the potential of the site, or more simply put, the house was style over substance,” they explain.
The Spanish Colonial facade, along with its view-blocking columns, was removed altogether. The architects then stripped the home down to its core: a simple, two-story stucco box. They then stacked a larger volume right on top of it, stretching a Juliet-style balcony over the mountainside, itself adjacent to a brand new master suite. This addition is wrapped in vein-cut Veracruz limestone to mimic the natural calcite veins that often appear in the red rocks of the surrounding landscape.
The interiors got a whole new layout that placed more importance on the connection between the living spaces and views of the city in the distance. Now measuring 4,490 square feet (417 square meters) inside, the home boasts plenty of glazing to open lines of sight in all directions. In the common spaces, these windows look out onto cacti, sage, marigold, and palm trees, while the more intimate spaces gaze directly onto the rocky crags of Camelback Mountain for plenty of natural light and privacy.
Concrete flooring, walnut wood, white walls, quartz counters, marble tiling, and a constrained color palette modernize the interiors and complement the color of the rocks, but it’s the outdoor spaces that really make the new version of the Red Rocks residence shine. The architects created a covered patio on the first level, which gazes down at the shimmering turquoise pool in the stepped backyard, along with a fire pit and a hot tub.
On the second floor, sliding glass doors open the bedrooms to a long elevated terrace that’s shielded from the penetrating Arizona sun by an overhanging roof and the addition of perforated folding metal screens. The residents can close the screens by day to keep the rooms cool and open them at dusk to watch the sun set.
The change may be striking, but the home is now more beautiful than ever before, and more importantly, it’s actually serving the needs of the people who live there.