Gorgeous Desert Hillside Home in Arizona

When building a house on a gorgeous desert hillside, you have some significant website planning and technology to think about. When designing a house nestled into the side of a rocky hill outside Phoenix, architects Jon Bernhard and Mike Wetzel of Swabuck Partners knew they had to bring in the engineers and the big trucks — large trucks filled with massive boulders. The boulders assured that the hillside was stable and kept its natural beauty, and they enhanced the way the house and its built landscape related to the spectacular surroundings.

The architects have been”guided by the owners’ appreciation for outdoor living as well as the qualities the native desert offers,” says Bernhard. Single-slope, computer-engineered roofs accompany the slope of the hillside. “The deep roof slopes fit and follow the mountain slope, and cantilevered terraces soften the home’s imprint on the property,” says Bernhard. “This light touch on the website is further symbolized with the usage of desert colors, textures and by blurring the line between the indigenous and the man-made by participating boulders and landscaping within the living spaces.” This included integrating water, which cascades down the hill and appears to continue upon the terrace and out beyond the entrance.

All the interior spaces take full advantage of the natural lighting and surrounding views, and it’s hard to understand where the insides end and the outside begins. Both inside and outside, spaces range from towering and receptive to small and intimate.

Since this house transitions so easily from front to rear, side to side, and inside and outside, it’s only fitting that we will be hopping from outside to inside and back out again along this tour.

at a Glance
Who lives here: A family of five
Location: Outside of Phoenix, Arizona
Size: 19,000 square feet; on about 5 acres; 4 bedrooms, including a guest house with 1 bedroom and one bath
That’s intriguing: Some of those boulders added into the website proved so big that they had been brought in singly on their own trucks.

Swaback Partners, pllc

An axis of water ties the front of the house to the back. A waterfall flows down from the top of the hill, and due to this axis, there is an illusion that it flows beneath the rear patio, is brought through the house and terminates at this fountain.

Swaback Partners, pllc

The single-slope roof structures follow the slope of the hillside, making the house seem to be a part of the hill. The municipality didn’t need a three-story structure, so a garage is cleverly tucked underneath the primary living floor (far left side of this picture ), even though a master suite occupies the upper floor over a different portion of the house (toward the ideal side of this picture ). The construction you find on the far right is another guest house.

“We implemented boulders into the sides of the walls along the drive to make it seem like it was carved out of the hillside,” says Wetzel.

Swaback Partners, pllc

The main entryway is an inviting gem box also makes the most of local materials and light. The entrance door consists of 5-inch-thick mahogany panels floating between layers of laminated glass. A grid of 21 panels of onyx appears to float across the entrance. During the day the sun glows through; backlighting provides a warm and inviting glow at night.

Swaback Partners, pllc

The front door is aligned with an expanse of glass that opens out to the backyard and a view of the hillside. The grid of onyx hovering overhead highlights the axis in the front entrance to rear. The water also highlights the link by the hillside waterfall into the fountain in the front.

Swaback Partners, pllc

An individual can follow the water out of the pool and fountain out front into the pools round the rear entrance and up the hill.

“The hillside was reconstructed to stabilize it,” clarifies Wetzel. This meant that the existing hillside was covered in a geotech mesh for security, and boulders were brought in and proceeded to pay for it. The team engineered the waterfall found previously, which offers soothing sound and brings the eye up to the top of the hill.

Swaback Partners, pllc

Through the front door, a gallery-like hallway leads to the fantastic room.

Swaback Partners, pllc

At the excellent room a grid of Fossil Creek flagstone highlights verticality. “The 24-inch by 24-inch grid lines continue up to the swimming pool and the guest house,” says Wetzel. This is one of those design moves that joins the inside and exterior design.

Swaback Partners, pllc

The towering ceiling in the excellent room articulates the hillside-driven incline of the roof.

Swaback Partners, pllc

“The indoor design and the outdoor architecture each speak for themselves, but they also blend together really well,” notes Wetzel.

Swaback Partners, pllc

The entrance terrace leads from the garage level up into the front door. The guest house is located on the ideal side of this image.

Split-face Mesastone adds purple-haze colors in the mountain into the facade and introduces a different feel. Weathered penny copper adds to the glow overhead.

Swaback Partners, pllc

Pocket doors open the fantastic room up to the entrance terrace. Large cantilevers offer shade from the Arizona sun, keep the house cooler and make terraces. In addition they produce a transitional space that continues to blur the lines between inside and outside.

Swaback Partners, pllc

“Substantial lengths of glass and clerestory windows offer natural daylight during every room in the house,” says Bernhard. “Floor-to-ceiling glass and also the avoidance of finish-material changes at exterior wall lines deliver expansive indoor-outdoor living environments.”

Swaback Partners, pllc

The sheets of glass that you see about that breakfast area are pocket doors, which transform the enclosed room to an al fresco dining space with a few straightforward slides.

Swaback Partners, pllc

The kitchen picks up on a darker desert palette that includes Red Dragon granite and Wingate black cabinetry. Smaller-scale components, like the backsplash tiles, make a more intimate feel.

Swaback Partners, pllc

In a house so receptive to the exterior, solitude is essential. Metal mesh sunglasses provide it in this powder room.

Swaback Partners, pllc

A bedroom opens into a mountain patio and abuts 12-foot by 18-foot boulders. “We placed each of the boulders to look natural and not contrived,” says Wetzel.

Swaback Partners, pllc

Constructed up into the hillside, this bath enjoys a grand view of the boulders.

Swaback Partners, pllc

“Anywhere we can monopolize on integrating the natural light to the inside, we did,” says Wetzel. Case in point: The deficiency of risers on such white oak staircase opens up the view to the large window at the landing.

Swaback Partners, pllc

Upstairs, a sitting room in the master suite gets the top floor its own retreat.

Swaback Partners, pllc

“We altered the grid in the master bath to make it more human scale,” explains Wetzel. The 24-inch by 18-inch limestone highlights horizontal lines, while green slate presents a new substance and cooler colors.

Swaback Partners, pllc

“The master bedroom has a to-die-for view,” says Wetzel. “You seem out to the mountains and will see the city lights in the distance.” To take advantage of this opinion, a motorized 12-foot x 15-foot doorway opens into a private patio that has a fire pit.

Added soft light comes in the Sapele mahogany ceiling coffers.

Swaback Partners, pllc

The view from the top of the hill to the backyard is spectacular. An upper patio with its own fire pit provides an intimate, tucked-away outdoor area and a view of the city lights at night.

Swaback Partners, pllc

The designers made certain that the tint of the patio’s cement matched the landscape.

Swaback Partners, pllc

Well-placed boulders cleverly conceal an outdoor shower, providing solitude yet keeping the open-air feeling.

The job took 20 weeks from begin to finish, including all of the extensive site work. “On a job like this, it’s always scary at the start to see how much has to be done. It is an excellent feeling to receive it right, down to the tiniest details, and execute something outstanding,” says Wetzel.

Architect’s Toolbox: Wash the Wall With Sunlight
Gracious Hacienda in Mexico

See related

Mood Makers: Small Rooms, Spacious Feel

Many decorators like to keep their secrets to themselves but I’m not among them. Over the years, I’ve learned lots of secrets for earning a space feel larger. Even the smallest area can seem more spacious if you’re privy to some little empowering information. (Not all of the chambers below are tiny, incidentally, but they show the principles)

Abbe Fenimore Studio Ten 25

The main thing to remember is that the more floor space you can see, the larger the room will look.

MANDARINA STUDIO interior design

Keep areas beneath furniture free and clear to make the region feel larger.

Cornerstone Architects

This distance is not modest, but it shows how keeping the floors color exactly the same from room to room furthers the feeling of spaciousness.

Eleven Interiors

Remove your area rugs and scatter rugs. Unbroken floor space always makes a room look larger.

Frederick + Frederick Architects

This includes tub mats in the toilet — couple of things make a toilet room look smaller than chopping up the flooring with tub mats. There’s a reason you don’t see them in design magazines.

Jump the skirts on upholstered furniture. Incorporate Lucite or glass tables and pieces.

Dream House Studios

Let your light shine! A well-lit room always looks larger. Let from the organic light and include lots of attractive artificial light in the form of hanging light fixtures, sconces and lamps.

CWB Architects

Mirrored furniture and framed mirrors reflect light and distance — use them to your advantage in a small room.

Mary Evelyn Interiors

Install French doors, get rid of heavy window dressings and banish your sheers to make your room feel more spacious and open.

Kristie Barnett, The Decorologist

Tall pieces of furniture from the far corners of a room draw back your eye and make the room look larger, especially if the furniture is light-colored, such as these white armoires (click photo to view full view).

Michael Abrams Limited

This interior exemplifies how the warm, neutral wall color throughout a spacious floor plan, together with lots of different light sources, draws your attention all over the space and expands the sense of size.

Tell us How do you create your space sense larger?Share your tricks from the Remarks section below.

Small Space Trick: A Great Big Mirror
Ideas for a Smaller Bathroom

See related

Renovation Detail: The Eyebrow Dormer

Celebrity fun facts collect, and one of my favorites is that Whoopi Goldberg does not have eyebrows. She goes from eye to hairline. It does not hold Whoopi back at all, but eyebrows are important — they break up the forehead and put in curvaceous interest to somebody’s facial structure. So when a home comes along with a large grand roof, sometimes you’ve just got to add an eyebrow dormer.

Eyebrow dormers have a low profile and raise a wave in the plane of a roof’s shingles. Originally made for medieval thatched roof cottages, the eyebrow dormer was created to welcome light and add ventilation. However, eyebrow dormers were made popular in the United States when shingle-style architecture emerged in the mid to late 1800s. Mainly seen in New England, eyebrow dormers were utilized as an enchanting visual apparatus to break up the extended expansive roofline of beachfront shingle-style homes.

Today, eyebrow dormers are found on houses of all shapes and sizes. And while they’re expensive to install and complex to make, if a gifted craftsman is up for the challenge, they will drastically enhance your home’s look.

TEA2 Architects

Centered above the front entry, an eyebrow dormer breaks up the extended expansive roofline on this lakeside shingle-style house.

CG&S Design-Build

An eyebrow window has been cut to the roofline to flood this converted loft with daylight.

Daniel M Martin

Numerous eyebrows produce an undulating wave effect.

Thomas Rex Hardy, AIA

The eyebrow is treated as a separate roof on this pool home, with all the curve coated in weathered copper.

CG&S Design-Build

The curvaceous lines of the eyebrow dormer offset the sharp summit of the house’s front gable.

Reynolds Architecture- Design & Construction

An eyebrow dormer unites with angled cross balustrades, a cupola and cedar shingles to make an exterior rich with architectural interest.

Asher Associates Architects

Multiple dormer fashions can work superbly together on a home’s exterior. On this particular coastal New Jersey house, an eyebrow and a shed dormer team up.

Asher Associates Architects

Feast your eyes on this superb cathedral ceiling featuring a set of eyebrow dormers.

TEA2 Architects

Centered above the front door, an eyebrow dormer breaks up the wide monotonous roofline on this lakeside home.

Melaragno Design Company, LLC

A eyebrow dormer graces this Arts and Crafts–moved residence and melds beautifully with the home’s knee braces and square feet.

Jeffrey Dungan Architects

Reminiscent of a thatched cabin, this house goes back to its basics.

See related

Bags a French Accent

All grain sack isn’t created equal. There’s linen and burlap, classic and vintage-made-yesterday. You will find tasteful stripes and loud farm-friendly images. And, of course, there is overuse and the ideal touch.

Personally, I like the stuff. But my love isn’t unconditional. I prefer a grain sack accent (it is French, incidentally) to a country-cute, French-cottage-theme room. I like to see it in unexpected places, with unforeseen companions: a contemporary seat, perhaps, or a Craftsman home. Yes, even the white-on-white cottage look is beautiful, but too much of a good thing is, well, you know.

Here are 14 distinct ways to utilize grain sack judiciously to bring a wee French accent. It is the difference between throwing on a stylish necklace and dressing up like Marie Antoinette.

Dreamy Whites

A beautiful white-on-white bedroom with layers of of grain sack pillows and throws. Distinctly cottage but not too cutsie.

Dreamy Whites

Another white-on-white beauty with just some grain sack for color.

Economy Interiors


An easy chair upholstered in burlap grain sack adds a kind of elegant rustic look for this bedroom. This particular seat from Wisteria is discontinued, but it is possible to peruse Etsy for comparable finds or attempt a very simple DIY project with a staple gun and a few upholstery-weight grain sack.

Phoebe Howard

Look! More grain sack upholstery at a non-French-cottage setting. It can be done. Just look at how good it seems in this neutral, modern room.

Pottery Barn

Gramercy Wingback Chair – $699

This neutral grain sack wingback chair could survive nearly anywhere — from the beach to the French countryside to a funky Manhattan attic.

Charles Phillips Antiques and Architecturals

Hemp grain sacks made into pillows in Provence


Pillows are the ideal means to get just a tiny grain sack love in your life. This wonderful big pile of classic allure is powerful inviting.

Christie Thomas

More grain sack pillows, this time along with a lake-cabin type of thing. Very eclectic casual.


Grainsack Basket Black Stripe Vintage Design by jennilyons81 – $39.99

Little Touches

A storage bin. It could hold potatoes, papers, blankets, knitting, toys. And it may look good doing this.

Michelle Hinckley

A burlap grain sack bulletin board. A very simple DIY project.

Kelley & Company Home

Only some grain sack goes a long way. These lampshades do not dictate the design of this room, but everyone seems to get along well.

Classic Grainsack Lampshade by lampshadelady on Etsy – $135

A custom made linen grain bag lampshade out of Etsy.

A dressing table ruffle curtain. It would look great under a kitchen sink too.

Kasey Buick

Living room curtains. You can discover similar types on Etsy or purchase lace by the yard and also have them made.

A table runner classic.

Guide to French Country Style

See related

Decorated Ceilings Are Looking Up

I was saddened to hear of master interior designer Albert Hadley’s passing this week. From the world of interior design, he had been one of the greats. He never took himself or design. Instead, he made for making life comfortable and enjoyable. I had been thinking about him this week, and while scrolling through a list of his best quotes I came across this one:

“Ceilings must always be considered. They are the most neglected surface in a space.”

Unfortunately, this is true. Ceilings are the final frontier. So let us take a peek at 10 ceiling choices that will save yours out of neglect.

Lizette Marie Interior Design

Paint. This is the easiest way to draw eyes up. When it’s just one tone away from the wall colour or it is bright raspberry, lime green or black, or a painted ceiling will make your room seem really decorated and finish.

Check out more ceiling paint ideas

Wallpaper. Covering the ceiling is a great way to put in a massive swath of a print which may otherwise overwhelm the space. If you would like to add some texture into the ceiling, then consider covering it in grass cloth.

Rodriguez Studio Architecture PC

Tin. Tin ceilings have been initially created as a more affordable means to add decoration than plaster. They became popular during the Victorian era. Now tin ceilings overeat a real estate listing. If you would like to get the appearance, you can purchase easy-to-install peel-and-stick tiles.

Whitten Architects

Beadboard. Beadboard adds cabin charm to any area. It seems especially great in kitchens and in attic bedrooms with sloped ceilings.

Watch more beadboard around the Home

Hammer Architects

Wood planks. This ceiling is made of decking planks, however you can pick any type of boards you want. While these work well within this midcentury-modern residence, reclaimed boards are another favourite option of mine.

Check more out wood-plank ceilings


Trays. A tray ceiling adds measurement. This one has a second ceiling part in the middle, ornate molding job within a geometric pattern. Pay attention to the exceptional lighting on and around this particular ceiling.

Watch 12 ways to dress up a tray ceiling

Dillard Pierce Design Associates

Coffered. A coffered ceiling includes a grid of flat panels involving boxed beams.

Carson Poetzl, Inc..

Exposed beams. This appearance is especially well known in Spanish colonial design, but it works in every type of home, from a rustic cottage into a minimalist, modern space.

Echelon Custom Homes

Barrel vaults. A barrel-vault ceiling dates all of the way back to Babylonia. While a single vault is a stunning element to get a long hallway, a bath or a living space, I really like the appearance of a series of barrel vaults in a kitchen. Itreminds me of sitting in my favourite restaurant in Tuscany, complete with comfy candlelight and the very best risotto in the world.

Watch more barrel-vault ceilings

RLH Studio

Fiber optics. Look closely: This ceiling is full of tiny fiber optic lights that recall the night sky when it is dark.

13 Home Remedies to Look Up To

How to Make a Tall Room Feel Right

Great Ideas for Painted Ceilings

See related

Make a Good Sport: Build a Backyard Basketball Court

It is the final week of March 2012, and this weekend will be the NCAA Final Four basketball games in New Orleans. With a son who enjoys nothing more than shooting hoops, I have been hearing brackets, tip-off times and rankings for the past month. We’ve got our DVR set for Saturday’s games, which will determine the teams that will play at the finals on Monday evening.

After doing a little searching, I found additional ers who are large basketball fans too. One of the fantasy courts I discovered, a few are lit for night games, one includes a rock climbing wall and a particular court looks as though it was built in an old barn. Whether or not you have plans to put in a court of your own, you’re bound to love these gorgeous designs.

Land & Water Design

Pickup games can happen at any time of day. Be prepared by lighting up your court for the upcoming nighttime tip-off.

Kaufman Construction Design and Build

Including a basketball court at the cellar ensures that game timing can always be redeemed.

TRG Architects

The scene surrounding this house is amazing. The homeowners get full views of the landscape and the match from the big, open deck.

Designing Solutions

Incorporating a stone wall at the same space as the basketball court doubles the pleasure.

Arterra Landscape Architects

In this wooded backyard, parents can barbecue with friends while maintaining your eye on the match.

Visbeen Architects

Having a carpeted indoor court available to the remainder of the house’s living space, these homeowners can see shooting practice from just about any room.

Slifer Designs

The design of this court practically made my heart stop. The bedrooms that are manicured, the chevron wood floors… it’s all gorgeous.

Werschay Homes

Have you ever considered converting the garage into a basketball court? These homeowners did, and the results are fun and functional. When the match is over, simply pull in the family car and it’s business as normal.

Declutter Today: Lose That Old Sports Equipment
Landscape Trends: Bocce Ball Courts

See related

Inspired Great Room in North Vancouver

When Noor Grewal-Virk and Vincent Virk bought their North Vancouver, British Columbia, residence they had to decide between carrying a full renovation with 2 young daughters or producing effect with decor and paint. They chose the latter. Grewal-Virk considers every space deserves respect and love, whether you spend a third of the time in your living room or in the event that you just pass by it in the hallway. “You should let your space lure all of your senses,” she states. “Make it inspire you!” As principal and interior designer of Noor G.V. Interiors, Grewal-Virk designed each corner of her home to inspire her family.

in a Glance
Who lives here: Noor Grewal-Virk, Vincent Virk and their two daughters, Zehan (4 years) and Ajooni (22 months)
Location: Braemar Park, North Vancouver
Size: 2,450 square feet; 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
That’s interesting: A vertical yellow stripe in the dining room is inspired by a beam of sun.

Megan Buchanan

Grewal-Virk painted the first brick fireplace surround a dark grey to make a neutral background for the room. A large round mirror aids bounce light around, and the round motif is repeated throughout the room. A huge area rug adds texture and pattern, while a modern white round coffee table floats in the middle.

Cedric couch and Strike coffee table: Urban Barn; wall decal and spiral painting: Home Sense; tall red chest: Moe’s Home

Megan Buchanan

Grewal-Virk’s decorating philosophy is to keep things easy and create impact with graphic and daring specifics. “I knew from the start I wanted to include a blend of grey and yellowish. But each time that I take on a job, I let my environment inspire me,” she states. “I believe in being open-minded concerning what I will discover, and I’ve always found bits that help me make something new and out of the box.”

Next to the fireplace, a comfy seating area for 2 rounds outside the living room area.

Megan Buchanan

A huge bay window runs the entire length of the living room. Grewal-Virk states this is only one of her favourite places to unwind at home to enjoy the perspective of their tree-lined neighborhood.

Megan Buchanan

The vibrant fabric used in this upholstered seat speaks to her pursuits. “My courses that focused on architecture and interior design in the early, medieval and modern world were the most interesting to me. These were the classes in which my initial love for layout and curiosity in background came together,” Grewal-Virk explains.

Upholstered Bergere seat: Home Sense

Megan Buchanan

“I’m inspired by history, nature, people and style,” Grewal-Virk states. Some of her favourite books are piled behind the couch.

Megan Buchanan

From the dining room, a fun typography-upholstered seat sits in the head of this table. A floating storage device that is grey and white gives a storage for tableware and anchors the feature wall.

Megan Buchanan

The large dining table seats eight people. Six velvety nail-head seats run along each side of the desk. Each seat includes a pull ring on the trunk, which is something Grewal-Virk thought could be fun for her daughters to interact with.

Megan Buchanan

If something were to happen to the house, Grewal-Virk states the first things she’d grab are her shadow boxes. “One of these has a tiny pillow my grandmother made for my dollhouse when I was a tiny girl, and another box has my dad’s police uniform whistle,” she states. Grewal-Virk considers in paying tribute to things with emotional significance. “When the family sees them every day, especially your children, it will help them understand a small amount of their particular history and where they came from.”

Megan Buchanan

Grewal-Virk says she isn’t reluctant to experiment. “I didn’t plan to put a bar in the living room,” she says, “but I found this gorgeous rustic piece in Urban Barn and knew I had to make a spot for it.” This piece is manufactured from laminated wood, possibly drained cherry trees or damaged ships. The family owns a marina in the Okanagan Valley, and this piece has been made to look like a classic piece used to store life jackets. The funky orange pub stool was a fantastic and surprising find at London Drugs.

Megan Buchanan

This tequila set is placed on a vertical shelf along with other gathered travel bits. A chalkboard wall invites family and friends to write fun notes and happy-hour recipes.

Wall Area: Lack, Ikea

Megan Buchanan

This glass-tile kitchen backsplash has been in place when the family bought the home. Grewal-Virk utilizes glass jars across the surface of the range to make a spice vignette. Her next home project is to reestablish the kitchen. She states, “It truly is the heart of the home, and I enjoy cooking — on most days.”

Megan Buchanan

A more informal eat-in option in the kitchen allows for meal preparation and interaction with kids and guests in the family room outside.

Megan Buchanan

Grewal-Virk’s favorite designer is Candice Olsen. She says, “I like that she’s gutsy and not reluctant to make tension and contrast in a distance.”

The entertainment device in the family room doubles as toy storage as well. Grewal-Virk desired the upper cabinets to be within easy access, making for quick cleanup if the space should change from a kids’ playroom into a fun area.

Karlstad sectional, networking cupboard and art: Ikea; coffee table: Liquidation World

Megan Buchanan

Grewal-Virk’s favorite places to shop for your home include Home Sense, Ikea, Urban Barn, Moe’s and Once Upon a Tree. Her fantasy splurge? “An initial Salvador DalĂ­ painting. That would be my ultimate dream home item.”

Read hundreds of inspiring homes

More Tours:
Eclectic Vancouver Loft

Cozy and Creative Vancouver Apartment

See related

'Hobbit House' in Pennsylvania Countryside

It’s not unusual for homeowners to have a space, or even a small outbuilding, devoted to your hobby or interest. However, Pennsylvania architect Peter Archer and his customers, a Chester County couple with grown children, took that idea way past the norm.

The husband is a significant collector of J.R.R. Tolkien novels, manuscripts and artifacts, and wanted to make a small cabin to home and protect his group a cabin that would bring into life the hobbit dwellings in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. “He had been collecting since the early 1970s and had simply run out of space in the home. A fantastic piece of his collection was in boxes stored across the home,” Archer says.

Although Archer was not especially well versed in Tolkien’s work and background, he immediately brought himself up to speed. “Upon starting the job I read the publication The Hobbit and watched the Lord of the Rings movies, but more importantly, looked at the selection of writings by Tolkien, including excellent sketches he had done to exemplify his job,” he states. “I remember at the beginning saying we’d be happy to design the arrangement but were not going to perform a Hollywood interpretation.”

Pennsylvania architect Mark Avellino collaborated with Archer to bring the strategy to life. He “worked closely with me to interpret Tolkien and make the beautiful details that make this such a special building,” Archer says. “Also there were a host of landscape and builders individuals who put their hearts and souls into the making of what’s been coined a ‘Hobbit House.'”

at a Glance
Who lives here: A couple lives in the main home, a Brief walk from the cabin.
Location: Chester County, Pennsylvania
Size: 600 square feet
That’s intriguing: the plan of a distinctive “blossom” window originated from Tolkien’s own sketches. The semicircular halves of this window open by a center hinge.

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

An 18th-century piled stone wall on the property made this website, a short walk from the primary home, a natural selection for the Hobbit House. From the beginning, Archer pictured a structure built to appear like it had risen in the wall. “Other substances were selected for their colors and textures, timelessness and compatibility with the rock,” Archer says.

A stone path leads from the primary house to the cottage’s front entry.

Stonework: Ted LeMastra, Allentown, Pennsylvania

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

The cottage seen in the back garden — is stepped downward to stick to the grade of this property, enhancing the feeling of having grown organically from the old rock wall.

“The location ultimately selected was ideal in the first rock wall was a retaining wall at the point, with a change in grade of approximately 4 feet,” Archer says. “This enabled the building to have a more human scale at the front, while on both sides and back the roof sits about 4 feet above, giving an amazing scale, nearly a miniature and certainly appropriate to a hobbit.”

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

The 54-inch round hobbit doorway, a detail straight from Tolkien’s text, was crafted of Spanish cedar. Although lots of professionals insisted there wasn’t any way to create a hinge that would work together with the door’s perimeter, a Maryland blacksmith managed to invent a single-pivot model that met the challenge.

Exterior windows and doors: David Thorngate, New Castle, Delaware; ironwork: Michael Coldren, North East, Maryland

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

Handmade French clay tiles give the roof a distinctive profile.

Dimensions: Northern Roof, Montreal

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

Archer’s crew paid careful attention to the stonework through the cabin and grounds to ensure it’d feel suitable to the first 18th-century wall.

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

A low, whimsical rock bridge arches above a drainage ditch. “Once the building was created, the customers fell in love with it and wanted to go farther and make walls and gardens befitting a hobbit, but place in rural Chester County, Pennsylvania,” Archer says.

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

Custom light fixtures in the reception area give period taste; textured stucco inlaid with slivers of roof tile cloaks the fireplace. A arch and rafters made from Douglas fir define the ceiling and add to the air of beautiful craftsmanship.

Timber framing: Summerbeam Woodworking, Oxford, Pennsylvania; inside and exterior millwork: French Creek Woodworking, Elverson, Pennsylvania; lighting: Vintage Lighting, Malvern, Pennsylvania

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

Framed with timber arches, the library area forms the center of the cabin. It provides the owner with a quiet place to read, reflect and research, surrounded by the Tolkien works and mementos he so dearly loves.

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

The cottage’s distinctive butterfly window, made from mahogany and so named because it appears that the wings of a butterfly when open, originated from Tolkien’s sketches, in addition to his descriptions of hobbits preferring windows that showcase views of these woods. The semicircular halves of this window open by a center hinge.

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

As with the doorway, blacksmith Coldren created custom iron hinges for the butterfly window.

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

An eyebrow roof accommodates the curve of this window.

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

In the English country tradition, the cottage’s mahogany windows have diamond-shaped muntins. Shards of roof, put into stucco in a diagonal pattern, arch overhead.

Archer & Buchanan Architecture, Ltd..

A small courtyard frames the stunning stone chimney. The stucco surrounding the windows is studded with the same tile fragments that appear elsewhere in the cabin.

More Tours:
A Writer’s Studio in Hollywood

Modern Cabin Studios in Marin

Nautilus Studio: Creative Living in 600 Square Feet

Private Castle in Austin

See related

Blended Doors for Standout Style

If you want to create a smooth, uninterrupted aesthetic to your space, you might be missing one element that could really complete your look: the blended door. The blended door (not a technical term) is essentially a door that blends directly into the wall application. Visual interruption is prevented by this sense of unity in the aesthetic.

Check out these photos for inspiration. Blink and you might miss these sneaky blended doors.

Sophie Azouaou

Not merely is this bedroom soothing in soft blues and neutrals, but also the blended door prevents any distractions from this tranquil space. Notice the way the designer attained the look by continuing the architectural detailing the door and painting it the same shade as the walls.

LLC, Huestis Tucker Architects

Look very carefully at the corner to the right of the fireplace. Can you make out the door that is blended? Again, since the architectural detailing is continuing over the door, you hardly see the door in any way.

LASC Studio

Slanted walls may make a room feel constricted; the very best way to counterbalance that is using a clean aesthetic that won’t confuse the attention. Here, a fresh door is cut directly from the wooden wall. With no noticeable handle, you might walk clean past it.

A fast glance at this space and you may think, “Oh, what beautiful paneling surrounding the fireplace …”

Garrison Hullinger Interior Design Inc..

… only to be amazed that one of these panels is really a door. Creating the same panel layout on each side of the fireplace accounts the space, regardless of whether the left side opens as a door or not.

Birdseye Design

After the timber paneling used for your door is transported across the space, the eye reads it as a layout element versus a door.

Schwartz and Architecture

Another way to help the door blend in is by extending the material past the door itself. Here, the wood paneling is continuing between the two doors and past their borders.

Narofsky Architecture + ways2design

The track probably gives away this door, but nonetheless, a sliding door in precisely the same material as the wall provides a coordinated appeal.

Farinelli Construction, Inc..

You can disguise your pantry door using a chalkboard in addition to mimic cabinetry on the floor. Visitors will be amazed when they visit compose a note and the door falls open to an additional room.

Amy Jesaitis

Really want to trick your customers? Wallpaper directly over the door. Friends and family will be delighted by your smart design.

Hidden Nooks and Secret Passageways

The First Impression: Cool Doors

See related

Kitchen Workbook: 8 Components of a Cottage Kitchen

Cottage isn’t just a decorating style. Cozy, joyful and unpretentious, it harks back to simpler times and evokes a feeling of simple, carefree living. And since the kitchen is usually one of the busiest spots in the house, it is logical to translate that mindset to your cabinetry, appliances, fixtures and more. If you are arranging a kitchen remodel or remodel, consider these ways to infuse your kitchen with cabin comfort.

More kitchen styles:
Vintage | Conventional | Transitional | Modern | Contemporary | Eclectic | Craftsman | Mediterranean

CapeRace Cultural Adventures

1. Soft colours. The cabin palette is usually light and airy, and kitchens follow suit. It’s difficult to go wrong with crisp, classic white, but soft yellowish, pale turquoise or mild khaki all seem appropriate and fresh also. Or try a mixture of cabinetry colours: one shade on the island with a contrasting hue on the cabinets.

Erotas Building Corporation

2. Open shelving. Installed in place of conventional upper chimney, spacious shelving recalls the days when kitchens were utilitarian than cosmetic. Not just was cabinetry pricey, but open shelves allowed cooks to retrieve tools and dishes quickly. Nowadays open shelves are as much about aesthetics as about design: Their openness helps make a space feel bigger, and they frequently house accessories along with kitchen implements.

You do not need to be obsessively neat and organized for open shelving to seem attractive, but you will want to make an attempt to not allow clutter build. Keeping dishware to one colour, as shown here, creates a dramatic effect.

Group 3

3. Beadboard. Nothing says cabin kitchen clearly than beadboard. This grooved style of paneling warms cabinetry and walls and provides architectural interest with a minimum of fuss. Because it has so much visual impact, you do not require much to make a cabin impact. Go the classic path and then paint it a creamy colour, choose the same hue as your cabinetry or sand it marginally for an obsolete, distressed look.

Garrison Hullinger Interior Design Inc..

4. Farmhouse sinks. Also called apron-front sinks, these beauties have made a comeback in recent decades. They feature a broad, shallow head and an extra-deep bowl which can accommodate large pots or heaps of dishes. Farmhouse sinks create a feeling of country living, yet they’re unfussy enough to work with cleaner-lined spaces. Even though some versions on the market have raised or cosmetic detailing, streamlined styles such as the one displayed here would be the most classic.

The Workshops of David T. Smith

5. Furniture-style cupboard details. Years back, before cupboards since we know them came into fashion, freestanding armoires, pie safes and presses were the guideline. Evoke that time frame with the addition of furniture features to built-ins. Tuck bun feet beneath lower cupboards and corbels beneath upper ones, or paint an integrated hutch a contrasting shade to provide the illusion it isn’t fixed.

Witt Construction

6. Cup pulls. Cup-style drawer pulls, like those that might have been found in an old-fashioned general shop, give an excess dash of time flavor to cabin kitchens. Pick a finish with patina, such as oil-rubbed bronze or brushed nickel.

7. Hardwood flooring. Before carpeting became de rigeur, hardwood floors were the standard, and they match cabin kitchen style. You can either leave the planks bare to demonstrate the natural splendor of the grain or paint them in a solid colour or a pattern like checkerboard. However, hardwoods aren’t the only choice for cabin kitchen flooring — linoleum, vintage-look tile or perhaps slate could work also.

Whitten Architects

8. Pendant lights. Low-hanging pendants help a kitchen feel comfy and also provide all-important task lighting. Select models which have a retro feel, with colors of weathered or weathered glass or brushed nickel. If you prefer, combine the pendants with vintage-inspired sconces and perhaps even a lamp or two to make a gathered feel.

In this show: How to Find Your Kitchen Design | How to Remodel Your Kitchen

So Your Design is: Cottage
10 Reasons To Bring Back the Kitchen Table
How To Insert Cottage Charm to Your Kitchen

See related