Contemporary Rammed-Earth House Takes in Camelback Mountain From Every Room


Location: Paradise Valley, Arizona

Price: $15 million

With signatures like floating roof canopies and dramatic geometry, this four-bedroom, five-bathroom home in Paradise Valley, Arizona, was conceived by Scottsdale architects Kendle Design Collective.

“This home is a piece of art,” said Jim Bruske of Engel & Völkers Scottsdale, the listing agent. “Everyone who visits is mesmerized. And it sits at the north base of Camelback Mountain, with absolutely amazing views.”

Built in 2016 for the scion of a transportation-industry family, the home cost nearly $12 million to construct over two-and-a-half years, Mr. Bruske said. The home’s walls alone involved months of painstaking work, he said; they’re constructed in an age-old process called rammed earth, which gradually layers local soil between wooden planks. “Rammed earth uses no chemicals, and it’s good for the environment,” Mr. Bruske said. “And it makes the walls fascinating to look at.”

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A gated driveway leads to the house and its adjacent guest house, which Mr. Bruske called “mini-me” for its twinned design. In the main house, a large, square frosted-glass front door, set within an asymmetrical concrete-and-steel frame, opens to reveal an interior courtyard; just beyond is the home’s expansive great room.

Under angled ceilings of Douglas fir beams, the great room encompasses a sitting area with a fireplace, a dining room and a sleek kitchen outfitted with Bulthaup cabinetry and Gaggenau appliances. Floor-to-ceiling glass doors retract to connect with the home’s pool, with Camelback Mountain as a backdrop. 

With glass doors that retract, the home’s great room and deck are designed to connect for seamless indoor-outdoor living.

Engel & Volkers Scottsdale

“It’s intended as an indoor-outdoor concept,” Mr. Bruske said. “You push a couple of buttons and those big walls of glass go up.” 

The deck, which borders an arch-shaped pool, boasts its own fireplace, barbecue and dining area; landscaped grounds of local flora and cacti surround it.  The pool, Mr. Bruske noted, is placed very close to the house to help cool the property in warmer months. “It’s passive cooling for both interior and exterior spaces,” he said.

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The home’s twin main bedrooms offer their own floor-to-ceiling views of Camelback. Their en-suite bathrooms boast indoor-outdoor showers and enclosed patios. Bathroom fixtures come from Danish maker Vola, Mr. Bruske said. Both bedrooms also feature see-through fireplaces sculpted into walls. A dedicated office, adjacent to the bedrooms, overlooks the home’s courtyard and three-car garage.


Set on 2.8 acres, this 5,631-square-foot home features three bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms.  Its guest house includes one bedroom and one bathroom.  


The home’s technology is “second to none,” said Mr. Bruske.  A Savant home-automation system “means you can control everything from your phone.”  A dedicated, air-conditioned room near the bedrooms houses the home’s “brains” and systems, Mr. Bruske said. 

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Talking Points

An all-star team was recruited to design and build the home, Mr. Bruske said. Along with the architects, Phoenix interior designer David Michael Miller created the home’s look and feel; Paradise Valley custom-home builder Desert Star Construction executed the build.

Neighborhood Notes

Paradise Valley, in Maricopa County, is Arizona’s wealthiest municipality, according to a 2020 study. “It’s a very prestigious area, and especially this particular street,” Mr. Bruske said. “You have affluent people who’ve made it their primary residence, and the ultra-rich and famous who’ve made it one of three or four homes.” 

Nearby amenities suit the neighborhood. “We’re five minutes from the biggest mall in the valley, Scottsdale Fashion Square,” along with high-end eateries like Nobu and steak-seafood joint Ocean 44, the agent said.  A Ritz-Carlton hotel and residences is slated to open in Paradise Valley this year.  Phoenix Sky Harbor airport is about 20 minutes south, and nearby Scottsdale boasts one of the busiest private airports in the country, Mr. Bruske said.

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Agent: Jim Bruske, Engel & Völkers Scottsdale

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