Lost Canyon Residence

Scottsdale, Arizona
Residential Main house: 6,835 SF | Guest Suite: 639 SF
Interiors David Michael Miller

On the down slope of the desert canyon, a custom home for a family of five is shaped by the local sun and the watershed of the surrounding mountains.

The design respects the natural patterns of the canyon waterways, flora and fauna. Integrating architecture, interiors and landscape—it captures the best qualities of a unique desert site.

Spaces step gently down the land to accommodate family living, home offices, bedrooms for high-schoolers with their own social space, and a guest suite for adult children returning with their own. Interior textures, colors and furnishings are natural, muted and comfortable, meshing with the quiet architecture.

Concrete retaining walls protect the home from storm water flows, and create the south entry courtyard. Like a traditional oasis, the reflecting fountain leads to the front door and through sunlit interiors to the family pool and patios on the north.

Intimate patios provide a variety of outdoor experiences for different seasons and times of day, with the sounds and scents of the desert habitat and changing colors of the canyon. A bridge over one of the desert washes leads to a remote observation deck where family can enjoy their hobby of exploring the clear sky with telescopes stored nearby.

Stucco finished masonry volumes and deeply recessed openings articulate the architecture. Solid east and west walls block the low sun. Large overhangs of the protective roof keep the summer sun out and allow winter sun in to warm the thermal mass of exposed concrete floors, maintaining diurnal temperatures and comfort. Floor, wall and ceiling materials are continuous from inside to out, framing mountain views and reinforcing the close relationship of the home with its setting.

The footprint hugs the high ground at the edge of the site, utilizes only 20% of the approximately four acre property, and leaves the remainder in its natural state as a drainage conserve.

Indigenous native trees were salvaged during construction and replanted for continuity with the terrain of the basin.