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Many of the homes found in Paradise Valley are award-winning residences and highly publicized houses that epitomize desert living at its finest, making the residential building scene in Arizona alive and thriving. For those looking to build or remodel a home in this area, we’ve compiled a list of 16 of the best residential architects whose skills and knowledge of the trade are unmatched.
These firms were chosen based on their background, portfolio, and awards, as well as their ability to meet the specific environmental concerns of desert building.
Candelaria Design Associates
6900 East Camelback Rd. Suite #400, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Since being named a “Master of the Southwest” in 2005 by Phoenix Home and Garden magazine, founding principal architect Mark Candelaria and his team at Candelaria Design Associates have been living up to that title everyday through their passion for good design coupled with personalized service. The firm is proficient in a number of architectural styles, from Contemporary to Spanish Colonial, Traditional to Transitional, Rural Mediterranean to Modern Farmhouse, and anything in between designing homes across the country and now the world.
Pictured here is an excellent example of the kind of work the firm can accomplish. This rural Mediterranean-style estate expands horizontally, calling attention to a floor plan that facilitates easy movement from one wing of the house to another. The home’s characteristic low-pitched tile roof and stone exterior, coupled with the vast lawn and various flora overall achieves a rustic feel, as well as an atmosphere of warmth. This was also the first LEED for Home certified property in Paradise Valley.
Carson Architecture and Design, Inc.
7522 E McDonald Dr. Suite C, Scottsdale, AZ 85250
Carson Architecture and Design, Inc. is a custom residential and boutique commercial architecture and design firm led by principal architect Andrew Carson III. Andrew operates his firm with the belief that architecture is the result of a collaborative effort between client and architect, and architect and tradesmen.
The firm is knowledgeable and well-versed in the different architectural styles, and it enjoys bringing to life its clients’ visions for their homes. Pictured is an example of the firm’s work. Carson Architecture and Design describes this Hacienda home as light, airy, warm, and welcoming. These qualities make themselves known through the neutral color palette and low-pitched tile roofs, as well as the home’s long horizontal structure. With marvelous views present both inside and outside the home, the homeowners are able to take advantage of their Sonoran Desert surroundings.
Chen + Suchart Studio
7070 East 3rd Ave., Scottsdale, AZ 85251
While it can be said that many architects concern themselves with style, Chen + Suchart Studio, led by Thamarit Suchart and Patricia Szu-Ping Chen Suchart, has established a practice that transcends that single aspect, focusing on the integrity of design. This means that the firm’s direction when it comes to projects is a reinvention of known ideas, spatial experience, and the quality and craft of construction.
Chen + Suchart Studio is the firm behind the award-winning Staab residence, the recipient of both a Design Excellence Merit Award from the American Institute of Architects Arizona Chapter, and a Custom Residence Over 3,000 SF Award from the Residential Architects Design Awards in 2015. Although the home’s sharp silhouette sets it apart from its desert surroundings, its exterior material of stainless steel and glass is reflective of the nearby mountains and the outdoors, allowing the home to both blend in and stand out from its environment. The home’s arrangement, appearing as one floor floating on top of another, calls to mind the image of order and functionality. The color palette on the other hand, brings all the elements of the home together to achieve what can only be described as a sleek aesthetic.
DesignLink Architecture and Planning
14415 North 73rd St. Suite #109, Scottsdale, AZ 85260
DesignLink Architecture and Planning has been designing single-family custom homes as well as other project types, such as commercial, master planning, institutional, tenant improvement, interiors, and multifamily residences for over 28 years. Led by founding partner Debra Weisberg, the firm works closely with clients to develop strong designs that adhere to the requirements of a project.
As the firm has been practicing for almost three decades, it has refined its use of the different architectural styles, with designs in its portfolio ranging from Mediterranean to Ranch. Shown here is an example of the firm’s work on a custom new build. At first glance, the modern home is a perfect picture of structure, from its boxy skeleton to the way it expands horizontally. This layout suggests that spaces are planned out in a functional manner, which eases the flow of movement from one wing of the house to another. Outside the home, a host of arranged flora decorates the façade, exuding a natural, desert flavor to the otherwise modern and simple exterior.
7144 E Stetson Dr. Suite #204, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
Drewett Works has become one of the most prolific and awarded firms in Scottsdale since its principal, C.P. Drewett, opened an office in the area in 2015. The boutique architectural firm has a focus on luxury, whether through home building or end-user commercial building.
Drewett Works is the firm behind the Tonal Harmony project, which received two Gold Nugget Grand Awards in 2020 for the categories Best Indoor/Outdoor Lifestyle for a Home, and Best Interior Design of a One-of-a-Kind or Custom Home, in collaboration with Ownby Design. The project, aptly named, was about harmony on all fronts: from the interior materials and subterranean structure of the home, all the way to the blend of the modern exterior with the desert plants and fronting flora. Drewett Works paid close attention to the tones and textures of the home’s different materials and brought them all together to create a spectacular indoor-outdoor space, perfect for the Valley lifestyle.
Illini Design Group
Tolleson, AZ 85353
Illini Design Group specializes in custom residential projects, ranging in size from small, one-time projects to large, phased multi-million dollar custom home design projects. Led by Marvin Lunt, the firm treats every project with as much importance as the client does, eagerly taking clients’ visions and turning them into reality.
In the absence of style specifications, the firm designs with luxury and elegance in mind to guide its design process. Illini Design Group is flexible when it comes to architectural styles, and can design a home with anything from a classic look, to a modern or contemporary style. This versatility is what has enabled the firm to grow its practice through the years.
Integrated Design, LLC
7377 E Doubletree Ranch Rd. Suite A-220, Scottsdale, AZ 85258
Integrated Design, LLC, led by founder and principal architect Milos Minic, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional (LEED AP), is an architectural practice specializing in custom residential and commercial design. Milos brings to the firm 20 years of experience in the design and management of commercial office, hospitality, medical office, and luxury custom residential project types, which range from single family luxury custom residential to additions and renovation projects.
The firm’s work is best exemplified by this custom residential build. The 9,000-square foot home, set in the rural Mediterranean style and integrated into the hillside, was completed in 2016. Inspired by the design of Italian Hillside towns, the residence was built using reclaimed materials and native stone culled from the site itself.
Kendle Design Collaborative
6115 N Cattletrack Rd., Scottsdale, AZ 85250
Kendle Design Collaborative designs homes that are inspired by the beauty of their natural environments, whether forest, waterfront, prairie, or desert. The firm, led by Brent Kendle, American Institute of Architects (AIA), LEED AP, believes that architecture itself is alive, and that the firm’s mission is to use it in a way that celebrates the joys of living.
This approach can be observed in the firm’s work on a remodeling project in Paradise Valley. In collaboration with HUB Studio for interior design and GBTwo Landscape Architects for Landscape Design, Kendle Design Collaborative transformed a dated desert Prairie-style estate into a contemporary paradise. New materials, such as soft anigre wood and stone and metal for the hearth, took the place of more dated fixtures. The existing interior and exterior spaces and amenities were completely upgraded, leaving the home with a more modern look and sophisticated feel, with amenities, like the pool, now maximizing the mountain and valley views.
Link Architecture, PC
6501 E Greenway Parkey Suite 103 #579, Scottsdale, AZ 85254
When Susan Link founded Link Architecture, PC almost two decades ago, it was with the goal of creating site-specific buildings tailored to their specific landscapes and contexts. Link Architecture works with a specialty in custom homes, remodels and additions, landscape design, commercial, educational and cultural projects.
Susan is uniquely inspired by the open Arizona landscape, and she finds that the people who choose to build there are equally open-minded too. She considers every project to be “a celebration of the local context,” whether a home carries the energy of an urban neighborhood, or what she terms as the “sculptural beauty of the desert,” both elements of which manifest themselves in one of the firm’s projects.
15990 N Greenway-Hayden Loop, Suite C-100, Scottsdale, AZ 85260
PHX Architecture is one of the leading architecture firms in Scottsdale. In addition to its luxury homes, clubhouses, and hospitality spaces being seen all over Arizona, the firm, led by Erik B. Peterson, AIA, National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), is also considered a “Master of the Southwest,” as declared by Phoenix Home & Garden magazine in 2014.
An example of the firm’s work on a residential project is a collaboration among Erik Peterson for architecture, Salcito Custom Homes for construction, Stephanie Wohlner Designs for interior design, and Berghoff Design for landscaping. The home, which was the first collaboration between PHX Architecture and Stephanie Wohlner Designs, was interior designer Stephanie Wohlner’s personal residence in Scottsdale. The exterior, with its low-pitched tile roof and desert plants and flora, accentuated the home’s desert aesthetic. The home features a colorful, patterned interior, and has amenities such as a guest casita, pool, covered outdoor kitchen, and plenty of backyard relaxation spaces.
Realm Architecture + Design
Phoenix, AZ 85018
When Jacques LeBlanc and Jackson Huggins came together to form Realm Architecture + Design, it was with the philosophy of creating comfortable spaces that offer the most enjoyable experiences. In addition to its full architectural services, the firm also offers interior design services.
Realm Architecture + Design is a firm believer that successful design is comprehensive, from the moment a commitment is made to a client, through interior spaces, all the way to the exterior and outdoor living spaces. This meticulous approach can be seen in the designs featured in the firm’s portfolio, with the homes ranging in all styles. These homes blend well with their desert environments, while simultaneously carving a space for themselves in the hillsides where they stand out, yet reside harmoniously, in their locations.
RJ Bacon Consulting & Design
6735 N. Desert Fairways Drive, Paradise Valley, AZ 85253
Bob Bacon, principal of RJ Bacon Consulting & Design, considers his practice to be an ongoing study of architecture and the built environment. For nearly 50 years, he has been involved in virtually every aspect of architecture, engineering, and construction, taking on roles that allow him to specialize in high-end hotels, luxury resorts, and clubhouses in exclusive developments and golf communities throughout the Southwest, Florida, Canada, and even Japan.
Today, Bob takes this same energy to his firm, which continues to earn attention and accolades from organizations and publications like Phoenix Home and Garden, which declared the firm to be a “Master of the Southwest” in 2001. An example of the firm’s highly lauded work is this Contemporary-style home in Paradise Valley. At first glance, the home’s exterior is decked with a blend of smooth and rough textures, giving the home a rugged feel, while also cluing viewers in to the sophistication to be found inside. Inside the property, the home opens up to a stunning view of the outdoors and the nearby mountain. The views are a reminder of the home’s harmonious location as it simultaneously blends with its environment while standing apart from it.
Soloway Designs Inc.
7230 N La Cañada Dr., Tucson, AZ 85704
With more than 1100 projects ranging from small additions and remodels to $8 million luxury homes comprising its portfolio, Soloway Designs Inc. is proud to say it is a leader among Arizona architects in the fields of architecture and interior design. Although the firm is based in Tucson, its service extends across Arizona to California, Illinois, Colorado and even around the world in Trinidad, Croatia, Kuwait, and Egypt.
When it comes to architectural styles, Soloway Designs is proficient in, but not limited to, Modern or Mediterranean home designs, Southwest contemporary homes, and even sustainable home design. Pictured here is an example of the firm’s work on a Desert Modern project. This home, composed of stucco walls, stacked stone, and metal roof trims, is the epitome of environmental harmony. Natural rock walls and boulders are the backdrop and supporting structures for amenities, such as the pool and patio. Meanwhile, the floor-to-ceiling window walls allow the desert views to flow into the interior of the home.
2730 W Agua Fria Fwy. Suite #100, Phoenix, AZ 85027
Spry Architecture is an Arizona-based firm specializing in new homes, home renovations, and small commercial projects. In addition to these specialties, the firm has also designed churches, prayer gardens, shipping container homes, and cabins. Spry Architecture, led by Eric Spry, was recently named one of the ten best architecture firms in Arizona by BuildDirect.
When it comes to design, the firm is well-versed in ensuring that homes are harmonious with their environment. The desert acts as more than a backdrop for the homes, with some, such as the Prugh home, letting the desert and its views become a part of the home. The south-facing house sits on a lot overlooking Four Peaks, Pinnacle Peak, the Boulders, Black Mountain, Desert Mountain and, on a clear day, Camelback Mountain. Formed around these spectacular views, the home features high clerestory windows that spill as much light as possible into the home. Overall, it is this combination of views and light that gives the residence a luminous character.
7550 E McDonald Dr., Scottsdale, AZ 85250
Founded in 1978, SWABACK set out to establish an organization of sufficient depth to undertake very special projects and develop extraordinary design. This clear focus and dedication, stretching over 40 years, has resulted in a an assembled team of experienced and specialized staff professionals that have acquired a comprehensive understanding of the high demands necessary to accommodate optimum function, efficiencies and operating potential.
Featured here is an example of the firm’s work, by Partner Jon C. Bernhard, AIA, on a hillside home in Paradise Valley, Arizona. The Copper Sky residence was set upon a fairly tricky site. Another home previously occupied the area until its demolition, which left non-natural shaping in its wake. As a solution to these pre-existing site concerns, SWABACK recreated the area’s native shaping and boulder outcroppings through extensive grading. The rest of the home was shaped around the natural landscape, which the firm took care to restore, giving the home its rugged, desert feel, while minimizing its footprint on the area.
The Ranch Mine
4340 E Indian School Rd. Suite #21552, Phoenix, AZ 85018
Forged out of a fascination with the pioneer spirit, The Ranch Mine, led by the husband and wife team of Cavin and Claire Costello, is a firm that pays tribute to the ranchers and miners of the past who paved the way for prosperous lives of the present. For the firm, the pioneers serve as an inspiration in designing spaces, as the pioneer vision enables The Ranch Mine to imagine endless opportunities from the spaces they encounter.
This approach has led The Ranch Mine to complete more than 140 projects in over a decade in the Valley. One of these is the award-winning Red Rocks project, which won an HGTV Designer of the Year award in 2019. The single-family addition and renovation involved stripping the old Spanish Colonial Revival elements into a more basic stucco finish. The indoor plan was designed to maximize the surrounding views, while also facilitating more space for guests and residents. The addition of shaded patios and a bedroom did not impede the outdoor living in any way, contributing instead to the overall feel of a desert lifestyle filled with sun and shade.