American firm The Ranch Mine has overhauled and expanded the Red Rocks House, adding limestone cladding and generous terraces, and reorganizing the home so it capitalizes on views of the desert terrain. Text description provided by the architects. Clinging to the side of Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona, a Spanish Colonial Revival style house has been transformed by architecture firm The Ranch Mine into the ‘Red Rocks’ residence, a dwelling that creates and elevates a variety of experiences with both the natural and man-made environment.
When the homeowners approached Claire and Cavin Costello of The Ranch Mine to redesign their mountainside home, they were frustrated by the thick columns that interrupted the views, the heavy clay tile roofs and dark beams, and the floor plan that focused more on a ceremonial entry than the indoor/outdoor lifestyle they craved. It was clear very quickly to the design duo 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.
The first move to remedy this situation was to strip back the additive design features, leaving a simple, 2 story stucco box. Inside the box, The Ranch Mine rearranged the floor plan to prioritize the connection between the living spaces of the house and the primary views, including a new steel, glass and wood stairs to a different location to allow for a view from the rear of the house through the front and to the valley beyond. An additional ensuite bedroom was added via a second story addition clad in unhoned, unfilled vein-cut Veracruz limestone that cantilevers out over the mountain to preserve the maximum amount of outdoor living area and disturb no more space than the existing house footprint. Rather than mimic the red sedimentary sandstone of Camelback Mountain, limestone was chosen to make the addition appear like the calcite veins that often appear in the red rocks marking their moment in time.
Photography by Roehner + Ryan