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Inside Mega Dream Homes:
Cliffside Castle

This estate, known as Campbell Cliffs, is a monument to human comfort, construction expertise, architectural artistry, and high technology. The estate literally springs from the rock and is sited on 20 acres in the foothills of the Catalina Mountains, at the far end of Cobblestone, Tucson, Arizona's most prestigious address. Built by a real estate developer for his own family, Campbell Cliffs blends effortlessly with the natural landscape; its backyard is the Coronado National Forest and the home sits dominant above the entire Tucson valley. You can see forever from almost every room and the decks — cliffs, canyons, city lights, dramatic rock formations, and stately Saguaro cacti.
ABOVE: The formal living room has a sculptural steel fireplace that divides the living room from the dining room. The fireplace burns black sand instead of logs, giving off a "burning desert" effect. At left, the 65-foot art wall is made of poured-in-place concrete texturized with a hammer and chisel. The extensive art collection shows at its best thanks to skylights and direct lighting. The ceiling is made of C-Select Douglas fir and was produced in a Northwest specialty mill. The wood divider also was constructed of Douglas fir. At right, the wall is made of Coconino sandstone from Northern Arizona. The 80-pound blocks are used extensively in the home's interior and exterior. Master mason Cuong Truong worked on the sandstone projects for seven years.
ABOVE, TOP: The tables in the foreground of the activity room are made of Douglas fir. Master cabinetmaker Elliott Price made the curved wall on the left from Honduran mahogany. The wall on the right was unrolled from a single log of Douglas fir so that it perfectly matches both horizontally and vertically. This wall can be opened to a home theater and has a hidden space for pool cues. Each piece of the custom-made leather couch is articulated so that you can reshape it and twist it like a Slinky. The couch rests on a stainless steel fin.
ABOVE: The master bedroom wing includes three sitting areas, his-and-her lavatories, two-person jetted tub, deluge shower with unlimited hot water, and custom dual closets. This is the "his" side of the master bath. The white maple cabinets were built on a curve to match the curved wall behind them. The floor is heated and, since this home is in the desert, there's a chiller under the sink for instant access to ice-cold water. This wing offers decks off both its north and south side and a hidden stairwell leads to the private, 600-square-foot sundeck.
Campbell Cliffs encompasses more than 31,000 square feet with 24 rooms, including a dining room that can seat 14, a 3,000-square-foot entertainment center, theater, gymnasium, office wing, wine cellar, indoor gun/archery range, multilevel pool area, and tennis court. The home also has two elevators and state-of-the-art lighting, security, and communications systems.

It took 2.5 years to design the home and seven to construct it. The developer was Empire West Companies, the architect was Les Wallach, FAIA, the interior designer was Elizabeth Rosensteel Design Studio, and the landscape architect was... Mother Nature! In fact, the plants that were cleared away when the home was being constructed were saved in a nursery for seven years and then replanted.

The home offers a kaleidoscope of textures, including Coconino sandstone from Northern Arizona, Step-stone tile from California, wood ceiling paneling of vertical grain Douglas fir from the old growth coastal forests of Washington state, and a variety of concrete — broken rib, smooth exposed, and sandblasted.

ABOVE: A marvel of engineering, the pool area, like the home itself, offers spectacular views north to the cliffs and south and west to the city of Tucson. The pool is lined with soft cobalt-blue tile and surrounded by hand-set sandblasted stone finished to reduce heat transfer. Beyond the pool and spillway there's a 12-person jetted spa.
RIGHT: The kitchen features a Labradorite stone countertop with splashes of black, white, silver, and even blue. The kitchen and pantry include two Dacor ovens, five sinks, a Scotsman commercial ice maker, a 40-cubic-foot Sub-Zero refrigerator, 60 cubic feet of freezer space, and an eight-burner Viking stone.
ABOVE: This is the reverse angle of the mahogany wall in the activity room. At right, the sunken bar allows the bartender to be at eye level with the guests. The bar is made of sculptural steel and black granite. The 24x24- inch concrete tiles were cast to the owner's specifications at a Los Angeles plant and make up most of the floor material both in the interior and exterior of the home. In the background you can see some of the estate's 8,000 square feet of dual-pane safety glass that doesn't transfer heat.
RIGHT: Two custom-made wenge wood tables, one that will seat six and the other eight, can be put together for larger dinners. Each drawer in the built-in buffet can hold up to 300 pounds of china and other dinnerware. The soffit above not only has regular lighting but also a tract that will accept heat lamps so the buffet can be used to keep foods warm.
Story by Jacqueline Shannon
Photography by Robert Reck and Thomas Bliss

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