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Brighthawk - Casita

The Wagner Partnership, Inc

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Joanna, The Wagner Partnership, Inc.

Project Name

Brighthawk - Casita


Aravaipa Canyon

Project Status


Year Completed



983 sq. feet


Tom Wagner, AIA & Betty Wagner

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Project Description

The Owners’ brother, living in Connecticut, wanted a one-bedroom, southwest-themed retreat for his second home in Aravaipa Canyon, AZ. The casita is situated at the most-level northeast point within the Owners’ 43-acre canyon property boundaries. It is surrounded by a lush desert landscape that includes undisturbed native vegetation along the hillside, as well as sculpted paths around the home. The casita was purposely orientated so that the windows and patios provided breath-taking views of Brandenburg Mountain, with glimpses of the distant cliffs of Aravaipa Canyon.

The adobe-styled structure was developed using the Integra Wall System for the exterior walls with a stucco finish. The Integra Wall System is an engineered and post-tensioned masonry wall system that is used in either load bearing or non-load bearing conditions. The product was designed to offer all the benefits of the traditional masonry system, while providing superior thermal performance properties. The interior masonry surface also has furring with added batt insulation for further protection against the intense desert summer heat and frosty winter nights. It’s been known to snow in the Canyon a time or two during the winter months, so the additional layering is a welcomed comfort, even to a resident Yankee.

In an effort to extend the living space of the casita, an outdoor covered patio with a beehive fireplace and banco seating was a welcomed design feature. From roasting marshmallows, making a meal or a need to take the chill out of the winter air, the fireplace is a multi-functioning feature of the casita. The covered patio offers Owners and guests the need for a shaded refuge during the summer months, as well as a place to simply enjoy the surroundings of the canyon.

A unique exterior element of the casita is the outdoor shower, which brings function and freedom to enjoy the warm summer evenings.

Exterior colors were selected to blend with the surrounding mountain hues and to tuck itself into the hillside behind. To enhance the desert landscape design, pavers and stabilized granite walkways were chosen to further blend with the desert environment.

All of the interior and exterior lighting is LED energy efficient and is utilized to accent the building, desert formations and plants in the evening.

On the interior, the traditional desert design style continues with easy maintenance exposed polished concrete floors, Navajo rugs and southwestern décor. Natural alder wood cabinetry and quartz countertops complete the theme.
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