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The Phoenix-based founders of The Ranch Mine create sustainable, vibrant and original living experiences in Arizona, continuing to resonate with the pioneering spirit of their home state.

“Honour the past, challenge the norm, and inspire the future.” Such is the catchphrase Cavin and Claire Costello have claimed since the founding of their architecture studio in 2010. What makes The Ranch Mine duo unique? Having explored the history, roots and architectural heritage of their Arizona in a seven-month journey, criss-crossing desert landscapes, rocky mountains, Indian reservations, typical ranches, agricultural production, former mining activities… What they came away with was that eternal “pioneer spirit” of the American West. “It’s still very much alive today in many of US modern pioneers,” the tandem explains, “and serves as inspiration to continue travelling into the unknown to create original and diverse life experiences.” Their projects reflect this perennial vision, such as the O-asis and White Dates designs.


The first is nestled on the north side of the City of Phoenix’s Mountain Reserve, in the heart of an indigenous neighbourhood isolated from urban life. O-asis is a smart, solar-powered home. The founders designed it to capitalise on the timeless beauty of the desert between sun, fauna and flora. The home is surrounded by plants native to Sonora’s arid landscape. The topography has been refined and exaggerated, linking the natural drainage areas and the habitat, while still offering privacy. The house is also protected by a fence “in the shape of a rattlesnake made of rusted steel and finished in white stucco with recessed wooden niches”. At the heart of the house, a central courtyard invites natural light and fresh air, adorned with plants, functioning as an art gallery. In the living space, retractable glazing channels cool breezes, while blurring the boundaries between inside and outside. The great room is composed of walnut, supported by acoustic felt, allowing the owner, a music-loving pianist, to enjoy quality sound. Nearby, a cork-floored yoga shala extends out into the desert. As for the master suite, it is limited to the size of the bedroom bed to make better use of the space for the spa-inspired bathroom. While the entire suite can be controlled wirelessly (lights, speakers, blinds, locks, cameras), the swimming pool completes the beauty of this peaceful Arizonian oasis.


The second is a renovation of White Gates, the iconic Phoenix villa designed by Al Beadle in 1954 and has been vacant for many years. The architects had the challenge of both honouring the heritage and adding a new chapter. The house is named White Dates, after a play about this architectural icon and its white doors. Here, the duo draw on modern midcentury style. The date palm, planted in the middle of the triangular awning, is a reference to the entrance to Albert Frey’s legendary City Hall in Palm Springs.

The interior design was determined by the view of the legendary Camelback Mountain. The great hall, with its glass doors, opens onto different patios for harmonious indoor and outdoor living. The one at the front of the house is the most in keeping with the modern mid-century, with its cinderblocks masking the road and narrowing the view of the mountain. As for the interior design, the architects used the date palm leaf motif, while keeping the palette sober (concrete floors, plaster in the bathroom, walnut and white oak for the furniture) for a true symbiosis with the ancestral desert environment.

Nathalie Dassa

États-Unis – Arizona