Colorado architect Andy White was busy designing a modern home where he could spend Tucson winters with his wife, Kami.
Before his plans were complete, the couple stumbled upon their dream home, one that was on the market in Oro Valley. The home embraced all they love about modern architecture, and shared similarities with the home White was designing.
“The home we would have built for ourselves was oddly similar — a one-bedroom house with a guest house,” said Andy White, who spends the warmer months with his wife in a modern home he designed in Boulder, Colo.
“It’s exactly what we had planned,” Andy White said of the home on Vistoso Pointe Drive in Oro Valley.
With clean lines and windows in virtually every room of the 3,065-square-foot home, the design is a striking example of modern architecture, said the Whites, who nominated their home to be part of the first Tucson Modern Home Tour.
The self-guided tour of five homes on Tucson’s west side and in Marana and Oro Valley is slated 11 a.m.-5 p.m. next Sunday.
The White’s home, designed by FORS Architecture & Interiors in Tucson, incorporates floor-to-ceiling windows to take in breathtaking mountain views. Kami uses the upstairs space as a home office for her corporate travel business.
“It’s hard to find modern homes in Tucson,” Kami said. “It’s a retreat, a relaxing a place where we can recharge ourselves. We are looking to get away from the day-to-day in a home that recharges us.”
While some desert-dwellers might shun a “glass house,” seeking a cave to offer protection from the sun, the Whites embrace the mountain views the home provides.
Among other features: polished concrete floors, design that allows for cross-breezes to flow throughout the home, a front courtyard with a water feature and a 12-foot outdoor fireplace with flames that lick at the window of the living area, providing the illusion of an indoor fireplace.
The well-planned, thoughtful design of modern homes can provide a sense of peace, Andy said.
“People don’t think about their home as a place that changes how you feel every day, but it does,” he said.
In another home on the tour, Allen Denomy, a landscape designer from Solana Outdoor Living, designed the outdoor spaces at a home on Seven Saguaros Circle in the Dove Mountain Resort neighborhood in Marana.
The property was a spec home, and Denomy was in on the ground level, strategizing placement of the house to make the most of mountain, sunset and golf course views.
What developed was a clean, modern design with rustic elements.
“I love the juxtaposition — ultramodern, contemporary lines with some really rustic elements,” he said of the home.
“We carried that outside, with the hardscaping and the swimming pool. We wanted to keep clean lines, nothing too ornate.”
The full perimeter overflow pool mirrors the environment, reflecting the home, sunset and mountains in the smooth surface of the pool. Mexican beach pebbles at the edge of the black Pebble Sheen pool add texture and color.
Belgard concrete pavers mimic the look of natural stone, in clean lines.
While fencing was needed for code, Denomy incorporated steel in rectangular tubes at different heights, providing a sculptural element.
Mass plantings of botanicals with good structure — including agave — were incorporated in this low-maintenance home that was designed by Tucson architect Kevin Howard.
“Modern design is so clean and timeless, if you want to pair it with something else — like we did with rustic touches — it doesn’t compete,” Denomy said. “With modern you can throw in another style and it will still function and be aesthetically pleasing.”
The Tucson Modern Home Tour is one of a couple dozen tours held throughout the United States and Canada, said James Leasure, a co-founder of Modern Home Tours, the Austin, Texas-based company that organizes tours.
Tucson was selected as a venue this year because of its progressive attitude toward architecture and lifestyle, Leasure said.
“Tucson fit our demographic — it’s a city that appreciates modern architecture,” he said.
Tours are popular among those looking for ideas for their own homes and those who wish to learn more about modern architecture, which embraces new construction techniques and materials, Leasure said.
“Modern embodies the change in lifestyle people are beginning to appreciate, and the opportunity for sustainability is there,” Leasure said. “As people have the desire to live a more sustainable lifestyle — as we learn to live in harmony with energy needs — modern architecture is leading the charge.”
He said the style “allows a person to bring their dream to life. They really see it as a way to express themselves as individuals.”