Text description provided by the architects. The Saguaro, a giant cactus that grows only in the Sonoran Desert, is an instantly recognizable figure of the American Southwest. Its incredibly distinctive form is easily identifiable, even shadowed in silhouette, and, for locals, the beauty of this majestic plant goes beyond its form. It is the inspiration of the design of the “Pleats” house by Phoenix based architecture firm The Ranch Mine, renowned for their modern courtyard houses that are ideal for urban, desert living. The story of this house starts over a decade ago and is a shining example of homeowners setting a long-term goal and having the patience and drive to achieve it.
In 2007, the homeowners stumbled upon the perfect property in the perfect “nook” nestled just south of a mountain preserve and north of uptown Phoenix. The property was located less than a mile from the desert and two from Dreamy Draw Mountain Preserve, a perfect place for exploring with their two rescue dogs, Diesel and Buster. There was just one problem– the house. From the day they moved in, their goal was to remodel the house to fit their lifestyle– modern yet warm, functional yet original, minimalist yet inviting. They knew that with the right house, one that they loved as much as the neighborhood, they’d finally make the house their home for many years to come.
According to the homeowners, “We just needed to find the right partner with the vision to see what could be, not what was. We found them.” After a decade of living below their means and surviving the Great Recession saving every penny they could, the homeowners reached out to The Ranch Mine with a modest budget and big dreams. Conceptually, the design is a 3-sided courtyard surrounding a pool. To save money, the foundation of the original house was reused and the space was redesigned to fit the bedrooms, including a master suite that was lacking before.
A new, gabled volume with high ceilings was added to take in mountain views and provide an open, indoor-outdoor great room with a perforated metal patio cover to ease the transition from the strong, sunlit exterior to the interior. The tall roof of the gable adds additional shade to the courtyard from the intense afternoon sun. A 2 car garage and workshop was then tucked all the way behind the house, completing the 3-sided courtyard.
Aesthetically, the exterior of the house adopts elements of the Saguaro Cactus. The house draws its name, “Pleats,” from the corrugated metal that wraps the gabled volume, reminiscent of the pleated exterior of the cactus. The gabled entry features a patterned, wood rainscreen that evokes the forked ribs of the cactus, while the recessed entry is akin to a Saguaro boot, the holes in the giant cacti that many desert animals use as their homes. In the recessed entry, a camouflaged door provides direct entry in the guest suite.
In the interior, the clients wanted "mid-century modern combined with industrial influences with a touch of modern European hardware and design." To meet this request, the hardware, fixtures and appliances were chosen for their clean and European design, while finishes like walnut cabinetry, accent lighting, and furniture added some Mid-century flair. Concrete floors, a stainless steel countertop in the kitchen, and perforated steel patio cover embraced the industrial aesthetic.
The Saguaro cactus only grows about an inch a year, and typically doesn’t sprout the arms that make its iconic form for 75 years. Patience with focus is often rewarded and this home now embraces its community with open arms, welcoming them into the shelter of the boot. The homeowners say ‘Pleats’ is “the first home we’ve opened up to all friends and family because we’re so proud to call it home!”