At times, the search for a new home can feel hopeless. Such was the case for a bachelor in desire of a modern dwelling. He had toured over 30 properties, but nothing fit his vision. Suddenly though, the stars aligned, and he discovered the work of builder Ben Hawkins and architect Lance Enyart.
Hawkins and Enyart had recently drawn up plans for a new residence. The structure was still in the framing stages when the client drove by the property in Phoenix. Seeing that no one was there, he hopped the fence to give himself a personal tour and, suspecting that this just might be the right house for him, reached out to Hawkins. When the client saw the contemporary lines of the plans, as well as the seamless indoor-outdoor blend, he knew he’d finally found the perfect home. As it was still in the early stages, the team was able to customize the build to fully suit his tastes.
Having already worked on one project together, Enyart and Hawkins were aligned when it came to the overall aesthetic for this residence. “We definitely subscribe to more modernist design principles,” Enyart says. To this end, they chose materials atypical of Arizona architecture, cladding much of the exterior with cedar charred in the traditional Japanese technique of shou sugi ban. “You don’t really see it very often here,” Hawkins explains. “But it helped provide contemporary elements and really soften the steel framing and elastomeric-coated stucco accents we used. It gave it quite a bit of organic warmth.”
Also important, notes Enyart, was creating a feeling of continuity as the design moved inward. “We wanted to connect the exterior and interior environment for a cohesive statement,” the architect says. The ceilings and several interior walls use the same cedar but stained in a rich hue rather than charred. In the living room, the vertical lines of those cedar planks emphasize the soaring double-height ceiling and complement a panel of hot-rolled steel extending upward from the fireplace. Wanting to steer clear of trendy light grays, whites and blacks in the adjoining kitchen, Hawkins mimicked the living room’s palette with brown cabinetry and dark gray countertops. “The idea was to bring the outside in and make it all one, in harmony,” the builder adds.
For the decor and furnishings, the owner turned to designer Kristen Hancock, who took her cues from the architecture. “We kept the materials copacetic with the home’s aesthetic and the hardscape materials, so that it flowed naturally with the architectural elements,” she says. That meant using furnishings with light wood finishes to match the walls, varying tones and incorporating textures such as leather to create more visual interest in the relatively minimalist rooms.
The owner’s passion for entertaining led the team to create easy yet sophisticated gathering spaces. While there is no formal dining room, a large table and a multitude of counter seating form an area for more casual meals. The large sectional encourages visitors to pile on and kick up their feet while still presenting a tailored look with its biscuit tufting.
Hancock and her colleague Maddie Cullen also incorporated geometric prints and sculptural objects inspired by the owner’s collection of African pottery. “He really appreciates travel and we wanted to keep the space interesting to make sure that it spoke to him, but also flowed with the rest of the interior finishes as far as materials go,” Hancock says. “The rug in the family room has subtle abstract shapes that mimic the forms of some of the pottery he showed us.”
Geometric patterns appear again in the wallpaper adorning the guest room, but in the homeowner’s bedroom, the designers kept things as serene as possible. “He wanted a space that he could retreat to and have it cohesive with his adjoining patio,” Hancock explains. “It flowed nicely because he built a steam unit outside that he uses as his space to wake up, work out, relax and get into his groove.”
That sense of relaxation is one that the team worked to weave across all spaces of the abode, both indoors and out. Says the designer, “We just
To harmonize with the modernist architecture and visually soften the steel elements, builder Ben Hawkins used the Japanese technique of sho sugi ban to create the charred cedar siding. Architect Lance Enyart designed the windows to continue the geometry of the home’s elongated form.