Thursday, April 23, 2009

Desert Paradise—and it's for sale!

NOTE: It is not my intention to use my blog posts to pitch real estate, but this home is so unique and different, I just had to tell you about it. I wouldn't want you to miss this one if it happened to be "just what you were looking for."

I am always complaining about the state of architecture out there. Almost ALL of it is boring, sterile, and boxy. Trying to find something different, unique, earthy or curvy is next to impossible but here is an example of just that. This home's rugged, earthy construction and feel is not for everyone, but if you like natural shapes in a natural setting, you may want to take a look...

Talk about unique! This house has been in Architectural Digest THREE times—even making it onto the cover of the Italian Version. Now just being featured in the magazine doesn't necessarily mean it isn't going to be sterile and boxy, but here is an example of something really special.

Located at the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains in Tucson, Arizona and built in 1984 by renowned architect Alex Riley, this one-of-a-kind passive solar gem rises right out of the desert as if it grew there.

It's an architectural wonder designed to emulate the Anasazi and Hopi Indian Kiva dwellings. Just check out this floor plan—Now that's CURVY!

The exterior and interior walls are constructed of foam core re-enforced concrete. The architect used rebar, metal mesh, and foam to form the shell and interior walls and a process known as "gunite" to spray high strength concrete over both sides. He then smoothed them out by hand (this same process is used to form in-ground concrete swimming pools). This resulted in exterior walls of over 13" thick—an average of 6" of concrete on both sides of 2" foam.

With a 3 bedroom/3 bath split bedroom plan, this home is considered on the small side these days coming in at around 2200 sq. ft. (not including a 400 sq. ft. guest house.)

The open and airy design boasts over 20 skylights. Every room has walk-out doors to private decks and floor-to-ceiling windows.

Everything is hand-built including cabinets, doors, shelving, and even sculpted baths/showers.

The thickness of the walls both inside and out, and floors made of rough and beautiful exposed-aggregate concrete make for WOW amounts of thermal mass.

The passive solar design, incredible thermal mass, and two Rumford fireplaces account for very low utility costs.

The desert pond (pool), was done in greens and browns to soak up the natural sunlight helping to heat the water, and also creates a beautiful reflective surface emulating a natural pond you might run into on a hike. (The home is on 3.5 acres and very private.)

Natural desert landscaping (and I mean really natural) brings an abundance of wildlife up close and personal.

Here a bobcat comes for a refreshing drink of water.

Deer on the driveway checking out a noise they heard off in the distance.

A couple small friends outside the dining room window

and a baby bunny lounging in the shade under the deck chairs.

AND look at what you're REALLY close to:

Located at mile post "0" on the Mt. Lemmon Highway, you can just step out the front door and walk to some of the best hiking, biking, and rock climbing in the world.

Well known as one of the best training grounds for bikers,

Mt. Lemmon highway has wide lanes and over 25 miles of 5-8% grade to hone those biking skills.

Walk to world class rock climbing and bouldering

and take in Tucson's famous sunsets.

Alright. That's all pretty awesome, but how much is it? Well, it's not cheap, but it's not millions of dollars either. The owners are moving to experience a new kind of paradise and have just reduced the price from $685,000 to $599,000.

Not bad when you consider what it is, and what's right outside the front door—yet this retreat is only 10 minutes from shopping and 20 minutes from central Tucson.

If you've got the cash...this one's a steal.

For more information, contact:

The Pepper Group Diversified
Real Estate Company

Kristine McCraren

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