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Schnabel Family Retreat by Studio AR&D Architects


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Program: Private Residence

Year: 2015

Size: 5,300 sf


Architects: Studio AR&D Architects

Photo Credit: Michal Utterback

The Little Tuscany residence is centered on the idea of bringing family together. The young family of five emphasized their desire to create a home that was meant to be enjoyed by extended family and friends now, and for generations to come. As a result, a dynamic design swept the site leaving the family with a lively vacation home that is underscored by the various nodes of activity.

Fading into the rolling hillside landscape, this retreat absorbs the 360 degrees of captivating mountain, city and valley views. The project becomes fully engrained in these views when the warm colors of the desert’s minerals seem to ignite the corten steel cladding which burns a deep red and orange. Roof gardens allow the home to blend seamlessly with landscape and the guest house dissolves into the sloping landscape in order to optimize mountain views while still maintaining a visual connection to the outdoor play areas.

Transparency throughout the property was an integral part of the design for the home owners. The goal of the plan and the form was to connect the interior to the exterior in order to create a transparency between the terrain and the architecture. The plan had to be transparent in order to connect views from multiple areas of the 4,700 sf. household. A sense of privacy and security was maintained in certain areas through the activation of landscape barriers such as boulders, bedrock, and elevation and grade changes.

With these design moves, it is apparent that the landscape was the driving force between every move made in the plan.

Studio AR&D Architects 


All images courtesy of Studio AR&D Architects

Studio AR&D Architects

Studio AR&D Architects is a national firm based in Los Angeles and Palm Springs, California. The Los Angeles office services clients throughout the area, including Hollywood Hills, Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Brentwood and Malibu. Led by Architect Sean Lockyer, Studio AR&D Architects offers services in architecture design, landscape design, fabrication and construction. AR&D’s work has been featured in many online and print publications, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Dwell Magazine and Houzz.

The Palm Springs office serves clients in Palm Desert, Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage, La Quinta, and elsewhere throughout the area and state.

STUDIO Los Angeles 

STUDIO Palm Springs



Studio AR&D Architects



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