You know you are going to have fun when your client pulls out a sample of board form concrete from her “junk” drawer.

“Design me a backyard around this!”

Building a ship in a bottle is one thing, but a pool, fireplace, and roof structure?

I do believe this was one of the most access-challenged sites I have ever worked with. And amazing things can still happen. Cranes. Big cranes. They help. A lot.

The house being rotated 45 degrees on the lot posed quite the challenge visually…and spatially, as well. The elevated terrain in the corner of the lot was directly out from the center view, and created an acute corner where the eye would get stuck. It needed to be rounded out, but without blocking the perfectly situated mountain view just behind.

A sweeping arc of a textured basalt stone water wall did the trick, along with a bonsai-styled ironwood tree, asymmetrical placed to block the two story house beyond, while preserving the mountain view. A senita cactus array finished the frame of the mountain, and served as the focal point from the front door.

The new patio roof tripled the outdoor room, anchored on the one side by a new Ipe wood clad fireplace, and anchored on the other side by a cantilevered steel shade structure over the new outdoor gourmet kitchen.

And of course, the crowning feature, a sensual course of interweaving cast in place forms concrete walls, retaining the earth and dancing through the yard, just like she requested.


Would you like a complimentary copy of Kirk Bianchi’s 32 Design Principles?

This book of principles captures the elusive qualities that separate what is esteemed from the mundane. They elevate even simple projects to an art form.

Those who have studied the arts know these fundamentals; yet the finesse of implementing these insights consistently takes rigorous application few have attained. The masters integrate them intuitively and now you can have them at your fingertips.

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