Midcentury Ranch Becomes A Modernist Gem


modern exterior entry glass door

At the hands of architect Michael Groves, Kim Alber's house in Paradise Valley was adapted to the surrounding desert and redesigned with a modernist look. As shown in the living room, many of the exterior walls were replaced with glazing, allowing clear site lines throughout.

modern exterior landscape

To reflect the Arizona heat, Groves chose white stucco by Star Plastering Inc. for the exterior façade. The zinc roof is by Metal Works Inc. "The home's finishes, light and views present a good solution for how to live in the desert," the architect says.

modern neutral living area chair

Like the rest of the interior, the living area is furnished with pieces from the owner's existing collection, including Gregorius Pineo's Portofino tea tables. "Kim was an integral part of the interior design," Groves says. from the owner’s existing collection, including Gregorius Pineo’s Portofino tea tables. “Kim was an integral part of the interior design,” Groves says.

modern exterior glass windows

A steel trellis provides shade along the south facade, protecting the dining room from harsh desert sunlight. For a sculptural effect, landscape architect Stephen Bardorf created a linear composition of cardon cacti just outside the dining area, which looks out to the front entryway path.

modern white kitchen white screen

The office is screened from the living area, which features a shelving unit custom-designed by The Construction Zone and built by AK Studio. The gray Daltile flooring serves multiple purposes: It offers a contrast to the white walls, helps combat desert heat and delineates distinct rooms in the largely open-plan layout.

modern white office screen black...

To create an office that was private yet still allowed in natural light and limited views, Groves enclosed the room with walls made of powder-coated steel with a water-jet-cut pattern designed and built by The Construction Zone. Helene Aumont's Negresco Desk occupies the space.

modern white kitchen walnut barstools...

The white tile for the kitchen backsplash was designed by Groves, fabricated by SlabHaus and installed by Rex Tile. "Once we did it, we found other places in the house to use it," says Groves, whose partner, architect Andy Byrnes, served as the builder on the project. Walnut barstools by Cherner Chair Company complement the marble waterfall-style island from RAM Marble & Granite Designs.

modern exterior landscape white wall

What was once a water feature is now a mod fire pit in an outdoor patio, which is defined by an existing courtyard wall. Bardorf selected a range of drought-tolerant plants for the area, including a saguaro, medicinal aloe and Texas sage. The angle of the wooden roof protects the interior from the midday sun and shades the patio all day long.

modern bedroom gray stairs

Stairs descending from the dining room to the guest room, a new addition, line up with the doorway leading to the adjacent outdoor veranda. "The property gently slopes, so we took advantage of that by lowering the guest suite by 2 feet," Groves says.

modern white bathroom white freestanding...

he tile on the walls surrounding the pedestal tub in the master suite is the same one designed for the kitchen backsplash. The space features clerestory windows on two sides to allow in plenty of sunlight.

modern white bathroom steel pattern...

The vanity doors of the guest bathroom repeat the powder-coated steel pattern of the office walls. The Brizo faucet is from Ferguson Plumbing.

The panoramic views of Camelback Mountain is what initially drew homeowner Kim Alber to the 1960s-era ranch house in Paradise Valley. The home’s dated style and chopped up layout, however, left much to be desired. But, after patiently living in the home for four years, the time had come to give it a new lease on life.

Enter architect Michael Groves, who worked with architect Andy Byrnes to gut the house and open up the interior rooms. “The project began as a simple remodel,” Groves explains, “but we ended up rebuilding the entire house.”

Distinct features were added to give the home character, including a custom three-dimensional tile that energizes the minimalist white kitchen and living room fireplace. The pattern casts constantly changing shadows onto the serene white walls and porcelain tile flooring.

The home’s new open interior boasts large floor-to-ceiling windows that frame the desert views and open to a series of beautifully landscaped patios designed by landscape architect Stephen Bardorf.

The homeowner, who regularly hosts gatherings in her new abode, is thrilled with the renovation. “This house went from a typical ranch to an architectural gem,” Alber explains. “I feel humbled that I was part of it.”