Our Wish List

Wish List: (aka Ask for the Moon, and maybe you’ll get half):

  • Serene
    Ideally, when walking into the house you should feel a sense of relaxing, of coming home, the pressure off. Here is where you can be yourself and enjoy life.
  • Beautiful:
    Rustic beauty. Should come from the natural way that it expresses the life of the people that live in it, and not from any preconceived notion of “style”.
  • Stone, Glass and Wood.
    Niles grew up with stucco. That was enough. We see stone floors, lots of glass for the views of Zion, and some interior and exterior wood accents, such as cedar, which is common in the area.
  • Books, Books, Books:
    We read. A lot. Bookshelves by the kitchen for cookbooks, bookshelves underneath window-seats for something to read while
    enjoying the view, bookshelves in the bedroom.
  • The Deck:
    Barbeque on one side, Jacuzzi on the other. The deck is at least partly covered by a long shading roof extending out from the great room. At one place along the shaded part of the deck, there should be at least hooks for a hammock. Another possibility is to have a mist generator on the eaves for hot days, which are many.

  • Views and Light:
    Our lot has almost 360 degree views. We see the deck growing out of the Navaho sandstone with a south-facing view, skylights.
  • Great Room:
    Old houses have all these claustrophobic little boxes called formal dining rooms. We do our own cooking and would like to see and talk to people while we’re cooking. Ideally, it will open out to the deck with the view. The kitchen will have an island which will have the main burners, with suspended hangers for various pots and pans.
  • Master Bedroom with fireplace:
    ideally the fireplace is shared in the stone wall between the bedroom and the great room.
  • Guest Room / library:
    We should be able to accomodate one couple and their kids.
  • Entertainment area
    Occasionally we watch TV or DVD movies. We admit it. Never during the day, though so the best thing would be to have a suspended projection TV with a screen that retracts. Probably can be integrated with the great room.
  • Observatory:
    Nothing fancy. It is probably a good idea to have a simple base on the hard bedrock to avoid vibration of the telescope, with some kind of retractable cover. Could be integrated with the separated studio by the garage.
  • Studio:
    A studio for getting away and studying, reading, writing and what not. A place for Gigi to get away and read, such as a loft.
  • Storage Room / Pantry/ Cellar
    A place to store long-term food, wine and the like. Ideally it would be in an earth-cooled cellar.
  • Laundry/Utility/Mud Room:
    With shower, allowing you to come in after hiking the Zion narrows and not get
    the rest of the house muddied up.


  • On the laundry/mud room: One of my pet peeves is having to carry clean clothes through the kitchen. The laundry room should be near the bedrooms if possible.

  • i think the retractable screen is a good call and can help free some space up given your intentions of quaintness. those high quality projectors can be expensive…also keep in mind that if someone WERE to watch it in the day, the floor to ceiling glass walls i suggested earlier could present a problem. the observatory is a must. its inclusion would require my visiting a few times a year. you need to get furniture that is 100% comfort and 0% style. people are going to be dead tired from hiking or if they are lazy and just want to read all day, they don’t want to be uncomfortable. i think the biggest rooms should be the bedroom (especially with a fireplace), then the kitchen/laundry “chamber lock,” then the living room. i think eliminating the dining room would be a good idea…instead, you can just put a small table in the kitchen for 4-5 people. for dinner, the deck or living room will be more ideal anyway. as i said earlier, DEFINITELY agree with fusing glass and stone exclusively wherever possible (expensive). i would also keep in mind for the deck, the most of the deck sitting will occur moreso in the early morning and late evening than any other time for about 8 months of the year. i think instead of a library and loft, you just build a loft like thing from the living room and use the library space for the other rooms. will need to keep some canvases and paints up there.

  • I was thinking that retractable solar screens would be nice on all the big glass windows or on the edge of the deck, if you have a big enough hangover. You know the kind that drops down when the sun hits the sensor. (I have a friend who has them on the edge of her deck and they really reduce the heat level on her deck. It keeps her house cooler at the same time.)

    Are you thinking of big slabs of stone/slate in the living room? Wood in the kitchen? I just want to add that stone under your feet while cooking is very tiring. I know it sounds weird, but I have personal experience.

    Need an interior decorator? I’m cheap – just a trip out there:)

  • HA !! For you two, there will NEVER be enough book cases. Throw out all the furniture and stack the books on the floor. (As I do).

  • Grew up in the same house as you and can relate to the initial instincts.

    My experience with my own two houses –

    Exterior wood – high maintenance, especially on south and west exposures. The combination of heat, sun, and rain is brutal on wood – even cedar or redwood. As accent material it can work out, so long as the exterior color scheme will continue to work as the wood weathers and perhaps gets some nail rust stains on it. Your architect’s other work reflects a style that would work that way. Maybe your architect is the Jane Goodall type and talks and learn from the gorillas who actually build and maintain this stuff..

    Stucco/stone – low maintenance. No painting, no staining. No warping. Holds up to sun/heat well. Stucco gets an undeserved bad rap. All mom has had to do in 40 years is to paint it once. It can crack or the mortar can loosen if not installed right, then you have a real mess. As Groucho said, “You can even get stucco. Boy, can you get stucco…”

    Glass – make sure you get good low-e glass units. The stuff is like magic for reducing heat gain/losses. For south exposures, use deep exterior overhangs to reduce solar gains. Exterior lowering shades are best for west exposures.

    Stone/tile in kitchens – non-staining and sealed stone/tile/grouts. You can use rugs/pads in front of the sink or anywhere where you might be standing a long time in one space.

    Another bit of hard-earned wisdom – Regardless of your fantasies, always be asking “Is this so unusual it would compromise it’s marketability if, God forbid, we had to sell it?” The average homeowner moves every 7 years. Built-in bookshelves EVERYWHERE might fit that question.

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