Dream Home Sites Available

It is coming to the end of High Season here in the Valley, and while a deal can always be struck, many of the available lots go off the market for the summer.  We have partnered with a few of the top realtors to come up with preliminary designs for some of the “hidden gem” lots in the best neighborhoods of North Scottsdale.  We are happy to walk lots with potential clients to make sure you find the perfect place to start your dream home.  These plans are a great starting point, but always very customizable!  Give us a call to schedule a site tour!

Desert Mountain


Desert Mountain


Desert Mountain




Desert Mountain





Desert Mountain




Desert Mountain


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In progress. On site!


Here is the latest UDA project going up in Whisper Rock. It was a rainy spring day, perfect for a site visit! The slabs are poured, now the framing is going up – our favorite stage of construction! There is some great boulder work and a huge, gorgeous cactus specimen already in place. The team at R-Net Custom is doing a fantastic job.







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Inspired Artistry You Call Home


Rhino Scottsdale Book Cover UDA

We are so happy to be featured not once but three times on the new coffee table book “Scottsdale, A Great Place to Live”! We have two of Lee’s signature organic pueblo homes that showcase indoor/ outdoor desert living included and one of our favorite ultra-contemporary homes highlighted. No matter your preferred architectural style, Urban Design Associates can create a home of your dreams perfectly suited to your building site in the desert, the mountains, or the city.


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UDA on Houzz

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Property for Sale

There is a great property for sale in Estancia with a great set of plans!  Give Realtor Dave Patterson a call 623-476-5005.

And check out the 3d model here: http://urbandesignassociatesltd.com/boards-estancia-leed/

Back Rendering Carter Res

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Press Update!

Urban Design is happy to update our press page with a new magazine cover.  Lee Hutchison, AIA, and Jessica Hutchison-Rough, AIA, are profiled in the August/ September of locally produced “Cowgirl Magazine”.  The publisher is a former happy UDA client!  Thanks Ken for the great piece and for including our associate Paula DenBoer of Ashley P. Designs.



Cowgirl August 2014-1post sunset view

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New Projects Online!

We have two great new projects featured in our online photo galleries!  Take a look at Organic – Desert Highlands and Traditional – Sagauro Forest.



Courtyard Entry



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Mountain Living – Pine Canyon Style

It is that time of year again, things are heating up in the Valley of the Sun!  The locals are heading north.  Urban Design has done work in the White Mountains, Sedona, Forest Highlands and Pine Canyon, Flagstaff.  We participated in an Open House Event for Pine Canyon to create some imagery for their new phase that is opening up.  There are great new lots available!  We did a fantastic plan for a spectacular golf course view lot.  If you are interested in a tour of our north country work or want to go look at a lot give us a call and we will meet you in cool Flagstaff!

Pine Canyon lot 332

Preliminary Site Plan


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The Pinnacle of Pinnacle Peak


We recently revisited one of our homes, previously published by Phoenix Home and Garden magazine, to see if we could capture some of this extraordinary spring in the context of this home.  This client’s home embodies the true depiction of our desert indoor/outdoor lifestyle.  The home has been sited to have perfectly framed views of Pinnacle Peak from the main living area.  Deep patio overhangs were designed to protect the interior from heat and damaging rays from our almost constant sun.  This home is so inviting to entertaining an intimate group of friends or family to much larger parties. The open layout of the house accommodates any lifestyle.


Please view a sample of our photo shoot of this versatile home.

hertz pictures

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The Gold List

gold list home























gold list home


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Indoor Outdoor Living

One of the joys of living in the Arizona desert is the dry warm weather and the opportunity to move life outside for most of the year.  The indoor/ outdoor lifestyle has brought us many visitors that end up staying here in the Sonoran Desert.  There are a few key design elements that are essential to creating the perfect indoor/ outdoor home that Urban Design has perfected through experience.

The first step is to understand the site and the climate.  This is where Lee Hutchison and the UDA team have excelled.  With over 35 years of practicing architecture and 50 years of living in the Valley of the Sun, there are not many places left unexplored by the adventurous architect.  He spends time out on sites observing the sun, wind, and topography.  Once all this information is gathered, it is expertly translated into the perfect site planning of UDA homes.

After the home is sited to capture the best sun orientation, local breezes, and views the internal rooms can be located within the floor plan to create the perfect flow of space from inside to outside.  The trend to have open floor plans with great rooms that incorporate kitchen, dining, and living has become the standard.  This type of room arrangement works well when creating large open spaces to the outdoors.  Once the relationships between rooms are established these seemingly simple steps should be taken:

  1. Create an opening, preferably a very large opening
  2. Cover the exterior space, taking the ceiling plane outside
  3. Extend the floor surface, using the same material with as little interruption as possible
  4.  Use the view to draw you outside

There is an art to indoor/ outdoor lifestyle design that is best done with careful examination of both the environment and the home owner’s daily routine.  While a well designed house should be remarkably beautiful, the daily functionality is what will make it truly a home.

indoor outdoor photos


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Bathing Beauties

The designs of Lee Hutchison AIA, Urban Design Associates, are featured in the February Issue of Phoenix Home and Garden.  It is the Kitchen and Bath Issue.  UDA has three beautiful bathrooms shown.  Thank you to our wonderful clients with outstanding taste and the great design team with Billie Springer and Jim Manship!  If you would like to see more of this home take a look at our project page: http://urbandesignassociatesltd.com/southwest-contemporary/southwest-desert-highlands/

contemporary powder

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Curve Appeal

The second article in Phoenix Home and Garden is “Curve Appeal”.  This home was completed several years ago for another owner, but it still looks great!  We are delighted the new owners love it just as much as the original couple that worked with Lee Hutchison personally.  To see the updated photos go here: http://www.udaltd.com/press/

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The News in Remodeling


With the housing crisis slowly moving behind us, fingers crossed everyone, thoughts about our homes are changing.  I hear the echo of my Grandmother’s voice; “your house is your home, not an investment.”  And this lady knew an investment when she saw one.   So it is refreshing to hear about people buying and remodeling their forever home.  FORGET RESALE!

Here are some things to think about:

  1. You like red, PAINT IT RED!  Don’t be intimidated by the neutral palette wash on interior design and let the paint fly.  It’s only paint after all.  I declare that bold is back, just check with your home owner association about exterior colors first…knowledge gained by painful personal experiences.  Take a look at this awesome kitchen where only purple would do!
  2. Re-purpose that space with a furniture swap.  Have a breakfast nook with a table and chairs that no one eats breakfast at?  Maybe a comfy couch in that space would encourage your teenager to hang out with you while you make dinner?  Or is there a media room that gets a family movie night once a year?  Getting rid of spaces that appear to be “luxury” on paper might be the best thing for the lifestyle of your home.
  3. If your pets are your babies, let them know it!  Pets are an important part of the family and there is no reason to leave them off the remodel list.  If a safe dog run is more important to you than a dinky patio off the master bedroom, then BUILD IT!  Check out this fabulous doggie enclosure heaven.
  4. If a room doesn’t work for your lifestyle, TEAR DOWN THAT WALL!  If there is a 9×9 “guest bedroom” just for the sake of having another bedroom forget it.  Remove the walls and let the light into your living space.  Or better yet, make it into a walk in closet that you will actually use, instead of piling stuff on a bed that your in-laws might sleep on once in five years.
  5. Make your outdoor space sing your song.  If you are never going to use that patch of grass, plant vegetables instead.  And here is a no, no on every realtors list – if you don’t use that pool – FILL IT IN!  If you crave a comfy fireplace nook to use when it is not 110 in the Phoenix sun, say good bye pool, hello outdoor living room.

What would make your house more your home?

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Top 10 Reasons to Hire an Architect


1.       An Architect can help you create and focus your dream house into a built reality.

 Architects see the big picture.  A skilled architect can help you develop and integrate your list of requirements with the other complex factors to create a unique home just for you by prioritizing your needs.

2.       An Architect is a licensed professional.

 Architects are educated, trained, and tested in large range of areas including aesthetic design, ergonomics, sociology, ecology, law, building codes, construction materials and technology.  This breadth of knowledge allows foresight when evaluating competing requirements and restrictions.

3.       An Architect will solve your problems with creative, elegant solutions.

Architects are trained to make buildings both functional and beautiful.  An architect will be able to show you alternatives that you might not have considered as possible.

4.       An Architect is trained in communication. 

An architect has experience effectively communicating through written word, drawing, and verbally with the key members of project including clients, contractors, engineers, and authorities in the manner best suited to the situation.

5.       An Architect has experience.

Most architects consider architecture a passion more than a vocation.  They draw on past experience.  They are an integral part of the design/construction community with contacts in all the fields.

6.       A skilled architect can make your life easier!

Architects can bring pictorial suggestions to the table and assist in decisions for space planning, materials, and finishes transforming your abstract ideas into a form you can visualize.

7.       An Architect is cost effective.

A well-conceived, designed, and coordinated project is more economical.  Changes made on paper in the design phase are much less expensive than those made during construction.

8.       Architecture is a good investment. 

Great design sells from consumer products to cities.  A well designed home has a higher resale value.

9.       An Architect can make your building project environmentally friendly.

Skilled architects work with the environment to create spaces that are sustainable and comply with ever demanding energy performance requirements.

10.   An Architect can guide you through an entire project as your advocate.

An architect will be able to assist with every aspect of a project from choosing a site, city permitting, design review board submittals, to construction administration.  Whether you choose to start a project from the ground up or remodel an existing space, an architect will be able to help the project run smoothly during each stage avoiding disruptive surprises.


Written for Arizona Residential Architects by Jessica Hutchison-Rough

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Visioning Scottsdale

The City of Scottsdale is inviting residents to take an active role in the new City General Plan.  Public meetings and charettes have been going on for the last two months, but you have a great opportunity to voice your opinion from the comfort of your own computer.  The General Plan went to a public vote last year and was turned down.  This is an important piece of legislature that will direct the future of our community’s development and character for the next 20 years.  Participate in the online workshop through July 12th!  http://www.scottsdaleaz.gov/generalplan/generalplan2014

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ADA and the AIA

My experience at the AIA Convention in Denver was unique for me, a very eye opening adventure into the ADA.  This year I went with a broken foot and the need to do all of those marvelous walking tours from the perspective of a wheel chair.  It was a challenging, frustrating time, eventually evolving into an insightful connection with other architects whose limitations I shared. Tim had come from Oregon with a broken heal, and Margaret came with a torn Achilles’ tendon. Each of us shared our stories and I think we all learned more and developed a new level of compassion for those struggling with the challenges of life. So please, next time you have the opportunity to assist with a door for a person in a wheel chair, on crutches, or a new mom with a stroller, please take it and pause for thought.

Be well, Laurel


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The West is Best

We are thrilled to be featured twice in the July issue of Phoenix Home and Garden!  The first article is “The West is Best”  wonderfully written by Roberta Landman.  The home was completed several years ago for amazing clients.  We are so happy that they allowed us all in to see that it is still as beautiful as the day it was built.  It is a UDA favorite!  Take a look at the complete article here:


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Phoenix Summer Getaways

As the temperatures rise in the Valley the locals head up north to the higher country.  Urban Design as been fortunate to follow our Valley clients up to the mountains.  We have worked in the White Mountains, Pinetop,  Flagstaff and many communities in between!  Check out our Mountain Online Portfolio here http://urbandesignassociatesltd.com/mountain/.  Urban Design is also in the new section “Arizona Mountain Homes and Communities” in the May issues of both Phoenix Magazine and Phoenix Home and Garden.




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UDA on Houzz

Urban Design Associates has joined the Houzz Community.  Houzz is an online collection of images and ideas about architecture, interior decorating, landscape, and residential   design.  It is a great place to get inspired about your next project and ask professionals about their posted work.


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