In is Out, Up is Down

The award-winning Sullivan at Adero Canyon makes the most of Arizona’s lifestyle.

A butterfly roof in the optional Modern elevation for the Sullivan intensifies the home’s sense of flight along the hillside at Adero Canyon.  

The efficient second-floor study

Pops of color spark the airy great room with its stacked quartz fireplace.

The master bedroom features a porcelain tile headboard with recessed LED lighting.  

Next to the kitchen, the dining area is highlighted by a live-edge table, made from a single slab of chamcha, an exotic subspecies of acacia. Colorful chairs and swivel bar stools complete this part of the great room, which connects to the balcony and desert views 

Alluring pool beds float from steel I-beams in the zero-edge pool. An outdoor kitchen and full bar complete the setting.  

Inside out and upside down, the Sullivan home design by Toll Brothers was hands down the home of the year at this year’s Gold Nugget Awards in San Diego.

Debuted in February, the 4,000-square-foot two-level is among the homebuilder’s five plans at Adero Canyon, a 30-acre Fountain Hills community in the high desert, near the spectacular McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

With five bedrooms and five bathrooms on a 16,000-plus-square-foot lot, the Sullivan also won the Grand Award for best single family detached home 4,000 to 5,000 square feet from the Gold Nugget program, which recognizes achievements of architects, builders and developers.

“The unique architecture was designed to complement the Sonoran Desert backdrop and take advantage of indoor-outdoor living opportunities and the natural desert views,” says Kevin Rosinski, division vice president for Pennsylvania-based Toll Brothers.

To maximize the many opportunities of the mountains, the Sullivan steps up gradually and comfortably past terraced outdoor living spaces to the second floor. Here, the boldly colored main living spaces provide views and functionality: the master bedroom with a mountain-shadowed outdoor shower and bath; a seamlessly connected great room, dining area and kitchen; and deck areas, including an alfresco dining room on the garage roof. Here, too, generous fenestration, including clerestory windows, provides views of landmark Red Mountain, Four Peaks and the McDowells.

This upside-down concept combines urban style with luxury suburban living. The two guest rooms are conveniently on the first floor as well as the one-bedroom casita, all across from the resort-themed zero-edge pool, with cabana-covered floating beds suspended from I-beams.

“This home redefines the Arizona lifestyle, breaking away from traditional architectural layouts and floor plans, not succumbing to the pressures of just doing it that way, but offering a completely different twist,” says Tony Sutton, principal of Scottsdale-based Est Est Inc, whose sophisticated open-floor interior design celebrates the expansive hillside. His design team included Jelena Martic and Bianca Olson.

The architect describes the style as “desert modern.” “The architecture is a contemporary interpretation of the midcentury architecture that was popular in the Western United States,” says Robert F. Tyler, principal of RFT Design in Irvine, California.

Tyler’s team selected colors and materials to reflect the earth tones of Adero Canyon, such as dry-stack sandstone inside and out. “We used the stone accents where we could get the most impact from a design standpoint,” says Tyler, “and, along with accent colors, to articulate the massing elements of the home.”

The model name celebrates one of America’s great architects, Louis Henry Sullivan, who employed—and fired—Frank Lloyd Wright, another robust influence on the Sullivan, Tyler adds, because of the home’s deep overhangs for sun protection and angular, horizontal massing and roof forms reflecting Adero Canyon.

And, because of Tyler’s many projects in Palm Springs, Calif., a nest for midcentury-modern architecture, the work of two Austrian émigrés, Richard Neutra and Rudolph Schindler, also strongly figures in the Sullivan design.

In turn, the home’s inspired landscaping integrates with the organic architecture, again aligning with a Wright concept. “We wanted to create the outdoor areas to feel as extensions of the home and to embrace the natural surroundings of the canyon and its amazing views,” says Dan Waters, principal of Tempe-based Creative Environments.

The pool area, for instance, has a full bar and an outdoor kitchen to enjoy the Arizona lifestyle year-round. And, there’s even a dog-friendly area by the laundry room with a canine shower and bath, and top-notch lodgings.

“We wanted to evoke emotion and create an experience as you walk up to the front door and interact with water-feature elements that are discreetly designed into the landscape,” Waters adds. “These guide and carry you up to the front outdoor patio space, which has a floating structure overhead that complements the angles of the butterfly roof.”

“The Sullivan lives Arizona. It’s not imposed; it’s not just ‘Arizonesque,’ with a room or two here or there suggestive of our desert lifestyle,” Sutton says. “From the get-go, this home breathes the Arizona lifestyle—inside and out.”

Single-family home

Fountain Hills

Toll Brothers

Bob Tyler, RFT Design

Est Est Inc

Creative Environments

Arizona Tile
Porcelain flooring

Est est Inc

Oakcraft Inc.

Sub-Zero and Wolf