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house guest: mountain dancer.

house guest: mountain dancer.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHAEL SCHMIDT

We still hear, occasionally, from people who aren’t quite sure about contemporary homes. “They’re too cold,” they say. “They feel too institutional,” they say. We’ve been through all the tried-and-true arguments, about the architectural ingenuity and the near-perfect construction methods needed to pull off all those sharp, clean lines and transparent walls, but maybe we were going about it all the wrong way. Our new method is to just not say anything at all. The proof is in the pictures, and happily, we have plenty of those.

This Paradise Valley, Arizona, gem from husband-and-wife, design-build duo Ethan Wessel and Sarah Swartz Wessel, for example, is all the evidence we need. It’s minimal and organic, and makes a strong statement in its desert environment, but it’s also functional and comfortable, and a perfect fit for the owners’ lifestyles, which is, of course, the best measure of a home we can think of.

hgtn1
Sources: Chandelier from Artemide; dining table by Tennen Studio; artwork by Matt Priebe.

hgtn2
Sources: Bed by Tennen Studio.

hgtn3Sources: Faucet by Clyde Hardware; tub from Westar Kitchen & Bath.

hgtn4
Sources: Windows from Arcadia Architectural Products; pool by Phoenician Pool Construction.

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