This spectacular courtyard style house celebrates beauty of Arizona desert

modern desert house exterior

The Ranch Mine has designed this spectacular low-slung courtyard style house nestled in Paradise Valley, an Arizona town embraced by desert landscapes and mountains. The project team created this house to elevate the spirit of its surroundings while blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor living, crafting a home where the arid beauty of the desert meets the sophistication of modern living.

Upon approach, your attention is immediately drawn to the striking interplay of metal fins that adorn the exterior, whose design is inspired by the resilient ocotillo plants dotting the desert terrain. Beyond their aesthetic appeal, these fins serve practical functions, shielding the interiors from the sun’s intensity and offering privacy from passing vehicles on the street.


modern desert house exterior

The solid travertine masses of the residence pay homage to the rugged mountains that surround the property, anchoring the dwelling to its natural context. The earthy tones and textured surfaces of the travertine not only contribute to the home’s aesthetic appeal but also serve as a grounding element.

modern desert house exterior

Distinguishing itself from many large residences, “Mockingbird” is a modest height, reaching a maximum elevation of just 15 feet. This intentional design choice prioritizes a low profile to preserve the views of the surrounding mountains.

modern desert house exterior

The architectural layout takes the form of a “C,” around a central courtyard with the heart of the home being the great room that features three pocketing multi-slide doors that connect to both the central courtyard and the backyard.

modern desert house exterior courtyard

This ensures a fluid transition between indoor and outdoor living spaces, allowing residents to find sun or shade, social areas, or solitude at any time of day. The backyard is designed as an all-encompassing retreat. An expansive covered patio supported by thin metal fins and anchored by a steel fireplace features a full kitchen with a poured concrete island, dining and living areas.

modern desert house covered patio

Adjacent to this area is a circular sunken fire pit that provides an intimate gathering space under the celestial canvas. The lap pool stretches from this area to the primary suite and contains a Baja shelf and hot tub for relaxation. The interiors are organic and neutral, letting the natural environment shine.

modern desert house patio with a sunken conversation pit

A massive, steel-clad fireplace anchors the great room, as exposed aggregate concrete and wood cabinetry and millwork run through the rest of the house. The primary bathroom is accentuated with skylights and high windows, flooding the space with natural light that changes the color of the white Fireclay tile throughout the day.

modern desert house patio with a sunken conversation pit and pool

Above: A sunken fire pit area aligns with the pool/hot tub and is capped by the owner’s bedroom suite at the end.

modern desert house exterior with a pool

What We Love: This courtyard-style house draws its inspiration from the breathtaking beauty of the surrounding desert. The heavy, travertine masses beautifully contrast with the thin, light steel fins like the solid rock mountains and the desert flora, both bouncing and filtering light for consistently unique experiences inside and outside this jaw-dropping desert home.

Tell Us: What details in the design of this home do you find most appealing? Please share your thoughts in the Comments below!

Note: Have a look at a couple of other incredible home tours that we have showcased here on One Kindesign in the state of Arizona: See inside this stunning Arizona home with Camelback Mountain views and A luxurious mountain retreat surrounded by pine trees in Northern Arizona.

modern dining room and kitchen

modern kitchen with a large island

modern dining room and kitchen

modern kitchen

modern great room

modern living room with a fireplace

modern home office

modern bathroom

modern family room

modern bathroom

modern bedroom

modern bathroom vanity

modern bathroom shower with a bench

modern desert house exterior at dusk

modern desert house exterior wall detail

modern desert house exterior at dusk

modern desert house exterior patio at dusk

modern desert house exterior patio and pool at dusk


Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Robert Sweet
2 months ago

The entire home seems sterile, cold and industrial. As for the outdoor living spaces, having lived in nearby Phoenix for years, they are literally unusable for much of the year due to the extreme heat, even at night. This is just not my preferred living environment.

no comment
2 months ago
Reply to  Robert Sweet

i’m not a fan of this joint either, but “sterile, cold and industrial” are terms which definitely do not describe this house.