The Charms Of A Classic Rambler Infuse A Modern Arizona Home


A contemporary home with desert...

Classic midcentury ranch and rambler homes inspired architect Cavin Costello’s new build of a contemporary family abode in Paradise Valley. The wood on the exterior is a sustainable Thermowood from Finland.

Living room with concrete fireplace.

Homeowner Gina Cooper liked the high-peaked ceilings and wood-and-metal palette of Scandinavian residences. Husband-and-wife team Cavin and Claire Costello of The Ranch Mine helped her bring that aesthetic to her own Paradise Valley abode. The concrete for the living room walls was sourced from Phoenix Concrete while the wide-plank European white oak flooring throughout the home by En Bois Flooring is from Arizona Hardwood Floor Supply.

A minimalist living room with...

Gina’s background in fashion was a significant influence on her choices for the interiors. “If I were to look at how I dress and how I’ve dressed the house, I think it’s very similar,” she says. “Basic neutral colors with a little pop.” In the living room, a Herman Miller Eames lounge chair and ottoman sit alongside a Rove Concepts sectional and a Sunpan three-piece coffee table from Perigold.

A modern kitchen with a...

As the center point of the home, the kitchen needed to feel cozy, hence the lower ceilings and warm wood tones. LEM Piston barstools from Design Within Reach line the Paonazzo porcelain counter, which extends into a custom concrete table from Concrete Interiors. Overhead, Gotham lighting fixtures by Modern Forms add a dash of glamour.

A dining room with an...

In the dining room, the Cattelan Italia dining table and chairs hew to the earthy color palette, with a Moooi pendant from Design Within Reach adding a sculptural touch to the lofty ceilings.

A main bathroom with wood-slatted...

The main bathroom continues the indoor-outdoor theme, with sustainable Lunawood Thermowood paneling lending warmth. Eurofase pendants frame mirrors from Stravitz Glass, and the custom vanity is from Copperstate Cabinetry Company.

An office with a black...

One of Gina’s favorite places in the home is her office, where a carved marble tile wall from Solstice Stone installed by general contractor Mark Kozlowski acts like a piece of artwork. Her workstation is composed of a Herman Miller table and desk chair, both from Design Within Reach, with a Constance Guisset Studio light fixture hanging above.

A main bedroom with a...

The homeowners’ bedroom sits at the very back of the house, a retreat from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Sunken into the landscape, glass doors open onto a private patio shaded by the site’s existing citrus trees. Artwork by Scott Kerr echoes the color palette of the channeled Crate & Barrel headboard, while swivel chairs by the same company create an informal sitting area.

Contemporary architecture often gets a bad rap for being cold and austere, especially when it comes to homes. But while architect Cavin Costello and his wife, designer Claire Costello, might be known for their ultramodern, minimalist designs, an inherent warmth shines through each and every one of them. Their secret lies in a set of core values—but not their own. “We always ask our clients for mission statements for their homes,” explains Cavin.

Gina and Travis Cooper, who were looking to build a new dwelling for themselves and their two daughters on a secluded lot in Paradise Valley, really took to the concept. “I love Cavin’s approach,” Gina says, “because it asks things like ‘how do you live your best life in the house? What’s your ideal morning like? Where do you spend the most time? What’s the motto of your home?’ That was genius.”

The couple’s mission statement for their new abode was a simple one: a place to bring together friends and family to break bread, featuring open and light-filled spaces with a connection to the outdoors. Cavin, Claire and general contractor Mark Kozlowski, quickly realized that what the couple were asking for was similar to midcentury American ranch houses or ramblers. “Those were ultimately about informal indoor-outdoor living, sunshine and family,” Cavin says. “Making that connection really gave us a nice starting point.”

While the end result remains true to the Costellos’ signature contemporary aesthetic, the structure embodies many elements of the traditional rambler. A gabled volume at the home’s center distinguishes the entrance and main living area, flanked by low, linear flat roofs. The bedroom wing is separate from the living areas, while large glass windows and sliding glass doors flood the spaces with daylight and cross ventilation. The expansive, unconventionally sized flag lot allowed the designers to create a dwelling that stretches out into the landscape, drawing visitors into the courtyard’s embrace.

Most important to Gina was that the kitchen be at the heart of the home. “I grew up in a Latin family—my dad is Italian, my mom is Mexican and everyone gathers around the kitchen,” she says. “I love to cook, and I wanted a place where we could all come together.” With this in mind, Cavin positioned the kitchen at the center of the architectural H layout, making it a pivot point between the indoor and outdoor spaces as well as the bedroom and living wings.

“Our previous work really spoke to Gina,” Claire says of their design for the interiors. “She liked the combination of white with some high drama moments of black, wood or exposed concrete.” And that feeling of warmth inherent to The Ranch Mine was brought in via neutral browns, tans and coppers.

With a family in the furniture business and a mother who had worked as an interior designer, Gina had a keen vision for the home. So, while the Costellos gave her advice on the color palette and location of certain pieces, she sourced many of the finishes and furnishings herself. “This was my true time to do it my way and really pick every single piece with a lot of thoughtfulness,” Gina says. When it came time to choose tile, the Costellos assisted with a few guidelines. “Because the midcentury modern aesthetic was something that appealed to Gina, one of our general rules was the use of different geometric shapes as a guiding principle to her tile selection,” Claire explains. “You have the simple palette of neutral color, stone and wood, but you can really differentiate the scale, texture and interest from room to room by changing the geometries.”

While many designers might have felt nervous handing such creative decisions over to the client, the Costellos didn’t stress with Gina. “You never know what the clients will choose,” Cavin says. “But she picked a lot of great things. Once she had the parameters of what we were working with, she really filled in every piece excellently.” Unsurprisingly, the feeling of admiration is mutual. “They really captured my vision,” Gina says. “From what we expected to what we got, it’s just a dream come true.”