Contemporary Desert Retreat

For our design inspiration today, we have a contemporary design Southwestern home located in Scottsdale Arizona that beautifully merges the indoors with the outdoors creating a perfect get-away for its owners.  The residence was designed to fully embrace the concept of indoor-outdoor living and not only brings elements from the outside in, but also extends the indoors out onto an extensive series of patios and outdoor living areas.  This was a newly constructed custom luxury home when it was originally built several years ago.  I wanted to show it because it still looks like it could have been finished last week.  It’s not at all dated despite how quickly trends come and go.  Good design will stand the test of time.

The owners of the home, a couple from the Midwest who had been visiting the area for years and loved the beauty of the Sonoran Desert and the peace it provided, decided to create a more permanent place there.  They wanted to build a vacation home for themselves and their 4 grown children to be able to come and enjoy anytime they wished.  More than just a vacation home, they desired a place where they could escape the hectic pace of their lives back home.  A contemporary design luxury home that would showcase natural materials and allow them to connect with and enjoy the beauty and peace of the surroundings.

The 7,500 square-foot residence was designed by noted architect Bing Hu, and is situated high on a hill over-looking the 18th hole of a golf course with stunning views of the nearby mountains.  The exterior has been faced with stacked stone, as a nod to the region’s Indian heritage who used to build their dwellings with it, and has been completed with a copper roof.  To perfect the interior design and to give the home a contemporary design that incorporated Southwestern elements, the couple enlisted local interior designer Janet Brooks

The opening photo shows the homes dramatic foyer.  The rounded space echos and reaffirms the overall circularity of the home, and features a unique floor design consisting of a black granite surround and a textured glass center under-lit with LED lighting. Special niches were created here in the dark stained rift-cut oak paneled walls, and throughout the home to display the owner’s collection of art glass pieces.



Beyond the foyer, the space opens wide to the vast open living area.  The glass doors all along the outer walls stack to the side fully opening the space and connecting it with the outdoor area.  The custom curved sofa is backed with a granite-topped console which mirrors its shape and is completed with a custom display, lit from below for the glass collection.  The cocktail table is composed of African mahogany and Macassar ebony with a frosted glass top.  The side table is also mahogany.  All of these custom pieces are of bespoke design, along with most of the furnishings in the home.  The fireplace wall has been faced with polished granite, and conceals a pop up television that lifts up when in use.  The limestone flooring continues from the foyer extending all the way outside onto the patios, while the stacked-stone walls of the exterior architecture are continued inside here and throughout.



For the dining area, custom granite and fossil-topped dining tables of bespoke design were built on casters so they could be spaced apart for intimate meals or placed together for larger gatherings, and paired with plump, leather upholstered chairs by Dakota Jackson.



The sleek, contemporary design kitchen features custom dark-stained oak cabinets with glass panel inserts, paired with charcoal granite counter-tops.  The backsplash provides visual interest with its colors reflecting those around it while its glass components add a little sparkle to the space.  The ceilings have been given a special treatment here as well.  The kitchen is located off of the central living space, where the visuals are focused on the outdoors beyond, so new focal points were created here.  The stainless cooking appliances are by Wolf with refrigeration by Sub-zero.  The bar stools are by Berman Rosetti.




The master bedroom is a dreamy sanctuary.  The bed has been built into a private cove.  Dark oak cabinetry surrounds the leather headboard which continues over the bed creating a solid canopy effect. The chest at the foot of the bed, of course, holds the pop up television.  The room’s warm tones and rich woods make it solid and reassuring, while the addition of silk, velvet, and fur make it inviting and luxurious.  The addition of that shade of blue is the perfect touch that makes this room for me.  The area rug reflects all the colors in the room with its smart geometric pattern. The deep seating the chairs provide add to the cocooning effect.  It’s perfectly cozy right?  The stacked stone is continued in here for the fireplace wall, with that huge fire blazing in it, don’t worry though, its gas logs.  The corner of the room, (which unfortunately we don’t have a view to show you), opens fully in both directions with pocketing doors, so the bedroom becomes part of the pool and patio area as well.  Yes, there is the option to flood this space with natural light too.  This is my favorite room!



The master bath is of contemporary design with a spa like feel.  The oak cabinetry used around the bed has been continued in here around the vanity which is topped with granite.  The two vanities that is.  A separate vanity and dressing room has been created on either side of the central bath area, so both can have their own space.  This is- in my opinion, a big key to a happy marriage.  The large stone soaking tub has been placed in front of the large glass enclosed shower area which includes separate sides and fixtures, as well as a central rain feature in the center.  The back wall has been edge-set with river rock which was also used to create the design feature on the floor which is heated from below, and reflects the skylight above.  Even this room opens up to the outside where an outdoor shower has been placed that can be reached from in here and from the pool area.


The office is the only room in the house on the second floor, and it includes a private deck overlooking the 18th hole. The desk and credenza are by Dakota Jackson.  The walls are finished with black Venetian plaster and the ceiling has been covered in leather tiles.  The artwork is by Max Hammond.


And finally, we have the outdoor area.  The relaxed ambience continues outside.  An intimate alfresco kitchen sports a two-way fireplace and cozy seating area.  Multiple sitting areas have been arranged out here, some covered and some not.  The large serpentine-shape pool features both zero and negative edges, plus a beach entry and a spa. In the center of the pool sits a raised “island” that is accessible from the patio by a series of elevated stepping-stones that rise above the water, which has a miniature cactus garden on one side and an agave-shape fire feature on the other.  The effect created is exactly what was hoped for.  The transition from inside to outside is a very easy one making it all feel like a great open space.  The completed contemporary design desert residence has been made a destination for the whole family to enjoy.  It is warm and welcoming and truly as one with the spectacular natural vistas that surround it.


That concludes our design inspiration for today my friends.  I hope you all have enjoyed this contemporary design desert retreat and have been inspired by the clean lines, nature based design elements, and bespoke design details of this luxury home.

Thank you so much for reading along everyone.  Let me hear from you all in the comments!!  Let me know what you think!  JDK

Architecture:  Bing Hu @

Interior Design:  Janet Brooks Design @

Builder:  Platinum Homes @

Photography: Mark Boisclair

additional sources:

Phoenix Home & Garden

Desert Living

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