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Case Study #4
Stone Court Villa – Stone

At Stone Court Villa, beauty isn’t just skin deep. This 9,400 sq ft. home designed by Marwan Al-Sayed Architects in the foothills of Paradise Valley is a series of low-lying masonry volumes that capture elegant courtyard spaces in-between. Only a few know what delicate artistry lies beneath its monumental exterior.

Like its namesake, the home is largely characterized by its garment of feathery, pale Mexican travertine quarried especially for this home in Durango, Mexico. Its texture becomes the backdrop for the majority of the interior living spaces, which protect an extensive collection of art and antiques.


We retained natural saw cut patterns on the stones to provide an honest and secondary texture across the subtly pocketed surface. Like Egyptian pyramids, the home is supported by larger block and then skinned with the more luxurious limestone. The travertine shroud is periodically anchored to the 8-inch wide insulated masonry inside it, using 1-inch gaps in-between for additional thermal breaks on each side of the structural wall.

Though we knew the masonry team was highly skilled, we didn’t want them trying to interpret how misaligned or aligned the stones should be, so every stone in the batch was coded for exact placement on the site. It cost us $40,000 to be this obsessive and digitally code the stones, but we saved a year’s labor and salary of a stonemason by working smarter, not harder, ultimately saving the client around $30,000. We also found it was easier to set up a stone coring station on site. We saved the client $90,000 from coring them at the factory because they simply weren’t set up to do it.



Ten massive cubes were hand selected from one part of the quarry in Durango Mexico to maintain consistency throughout the house. These cubes were cut into three inch thick slabs which were used in the final components. The home consisted of approximately 24,000 individual pieces of stone. Special shaped stones at water features and switch plates were created by water jet and incorporated into to walls.

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We found it was easier to set up a stone coring station on site. We saved the client $90,000 from coring them at the factory because they simply weren’t set up to do it.

Our goal is to always deliver exceptional build quality, while executing smart, value engineering whenever possible.

The stone cores were upcycled as decorative pavers and utilized for a new Membership Kiosk at the entry to the Desert Botanical Garden.



We broke the house down into seven different zones for construction. As soon as we finished the concrete work in one zone we could call in the masons for the block, zone by zone.

We received 1,800 crates of nonstop stone delivery, all staged in the on-site stone yard so the masons could easily grab what they needed to work on that day.

Pre-cast concrete lintels fabricated in Tucson, Arizona were craned into place and flushed out with the stone veneer at all opening locations.



We love clients who also love art and architecture like we do, and especially those who have the rigor to go through the process with us.

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