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G UA R D E D B Y S E N T R I E S O F C E N T U R I E S - O L D S A G UA R O S I N T H E T U C S O N D E S E R T , A C L A S S I C M O D E R N I S T H O U S E TA K E S I N T H E V I E W . At the front doorstep, it sees the Coronado National Forest

and the Santa Catalina Mountains; to the south, it looks over the Santa Rita range; and, over its stucco shoulder to the west, it casts its eyes on the Tucsons, which are golden-copper at sunset. The new home—built in a gated community for a couple that spends half its time in a Chicago high-rise condo—is a calm, contemplative space defined by straight lines and angles, cubes of floor-to-ceiling glass and an open floor plan.

INTERIOR DESIGN Mary Ann Hesseldenz and Scott Baker,

Baker + Hesseldenz Design, and Jessica Lagrange, Jessica Lagrange Interiors ARCHITECTURE Clayton R. Joyce, AIA, Clayton R. Joyce Architects HOME BUILDER William Diamond, William Diamond Development BEDROOMS 3




This edgy side table, custom made by Henry Royer, is crafted from milled steel with an antique bronze patina. 903 Side Table, price available upon request;

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“It’s a ‘see-through’ house,” says architect Clayton R. Joyce, whose eponymous firm is based in Tucson. “It’s built on an axial plan, so you can see all the way through the house to the outside; it gives the sense of an indoor-outdoor pavilion.” The horizontal mullioned windows accentuate not only the architecture but also the 1-acre landscape. “The 2-by-6-foot panes of glass pixelate the view, but they don’t interrupt it,” Joyce says. “Spatially, it really works.” The wife, for her part, is enamored of the rectangular windows. “They draw your attention,” she says. “They’re like a series of frames around paintings.” EASY SYMMETRY In the great room, a Gennaro Sardella abstract painting hangs over the fireplace, which boasts a tile surround by Chicago’s GraniteFiandre. A Henry Royer sculptural metal and wood side table, which displays books on art and architecture, joins custom end tables and gray ottomans by Baker + Hesseldenz Design, and an Evan Lewis cocktail table atop a Satia Art + Floor rug.

The geometric theme was carried through to the decorative details, which include the 2-foot-square floor tiles and the 1-by-2-foot Italian tiles in the bathrooms. Sited to the southwest to reduce the heat from the


A long, light-filled art gallery, where paintings and wooden sculptures are displayed, connects the guest rooms and front door to the rest of the house. The window wall on the right functions as a proper art piece.

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glaring sun, the house incorporates several other sustainable features, including xeriscaping, overhangs that block the sun at least half the year, solar hot water for utilities and the pool, low-E glass windows and ample insulation. “We wanted the house designed with consideration for water and energy conservation,” the wife says, “but we didn’t want cutting-edge WORLDLY WINDOWS A custom-made table by Sawbridge Studios in Chicago, with a steel base, a trio of spalted maple beams and a sleek glass top, rounds out the dining room with help from the custom area rug from Apollo Flooring, AXO hanging pendants and a colorful contemporary painting, On Horseback, by Tucson artist Joanne Kerrihard.

technology that was complicated to use.” Home builder William Diamond, whose namesake company is based in Tucson, says that getting all the angles to line up was the greatest challenge. “A lot of modern homes feel cold,” he says, “but the minute you walk into


The Ernestomeda kitchen is outfitted with American walnut cabinetry, flamed black granite countertops, Dornbracht faucets, Miele appliances and handblown pendant lamps by Bocci.


The wall in the master bedroom, upholstered in Kvadrat by Maharam wool felt panels, acts as a stunning backdrop to the Glant fabric-covered custom headboard by Baker + Hesseldenz Design, with lines that repeat on the Couristan rug and on the geometric grid of the window wall.

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this one, the architecture gives you a homey, warm feeling.” That feeling begins with the color palette. The earth-tone brown stucco exterior sets the stage for the soft off-white of the interior, which was designed to be a blank canvas for the owners’ collection of brightly colored contemporary artwork. Joyce chose the interior finishes, and two interior designers—one in Tucson and one in Chicago—helped with the furnishings’ purchase and placement. “The house is more about the architecture,” says interior designer Jessica Lagrange, whose eponymous firm is in Chicago. “The furniture is meant to complement, not overpower.” BATHING BEAUTY

Interior designers Mary Ann Hesseldenz and Scott Baker, of Tucson-based Baker + Hesseldenz Design, took a custom approach to the interiors. The duo concepted and fabricated furnishings to keep with the neutral color

The master bathroom suite, with cabinetry, countertops, vessels, bathtub and stainless-steel faucets by Antoniolupi, is a nod to the owners’ love of Italy. A Boffi light fixture graces the top of the mirror, while a floor-standing tub filler from Lacava works double duty as a sculptural element.

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scheme and classic, clean lines of the architecture. “To make the rooms intimate, we layered the textures,” says Hesseldenz. “This is most apparent in the family room, which is one of my favorite spaces. It’s like a cocoon because the glass is so expansive.” The harmonious melding of finishes is also exemplified in the kitchen, the hub of the house, where the dark walnut cabinetry matches doors and trim throughout, and the glass and aluminum accents echo exterior materials. “The simplicity of the house is unique,” the wife says. “We wanted it to be understated, and we wanted it to have a sense of humor and be full of surprises. The idea was to have unexpected views, so that, every time you turn a corner, you see something new.” The house is so perfect that the MAN AND NATURE The mountains in the background take the edge off the home’s right angles, which frame the desert view to create a living work of art. The brown stucco and the low glass wall reinforce the natural look by blending in with the scenery and xeriscaping by Tucson-based Sonoran Gardens.

couple finds it hard to return to the city life of Chicago. “We don’t like to stay away for a long time,” she says. L

Luxe Arizona April 2011  

Guarded by sentries of centuries Old Saguaros in the Tucson desert, a classic modernist house takes in view.