Happy Boss’s Day!

Happy Boss’s Day!


Happy Boss's Day!

Happy Boss’s Day to the best bosses around! Everyone here at UDA would like to extend a giant, “Thank you,” for everything you two do. You guys truly make this a fantastic place to work. We’re more than work colleagues, we’re family. Here’s to another great year!

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Levi’s GranFondo

Over the weekend, Aaron and Peter completed the Levi’s GranFondo charity bicycle ride in Sonoma County, California. Even though they are avid riders, it’s still impressive they biked 60 miles in four hours and 44 minutes along the edge of the Pacific, through redwood forests, and up Coleman Valley Road. That’s an elevation gain of 3,875 feet! Sponsored by Barndiva Restaurant, they were able to raise money for the King Ridge Foundation’s three charities: Forget me Not Farm, Social Advocates for Youth, and B-Rad Foundation.

You guys did a great job for a great cause! UDA IS SO PROUD OF YOU!

Levi's GranFondo

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Why Hire an Architect?

Why Hire an Architect?

Architect: [ahr-ki-tekt] noun. 1. A person specifically trained and licensed to work on the planning and design of buildings, and in many cases, also supervises their construction.

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In a world of HGTV and DIY projects, it is easy for an individual to think they can design and build their home or spearhead their home’s remodel. Not only does the prospect seem easy, but it looks like a lot of fun. It’s not until you get started do you realize you’re in way over your head. There are more design options then you thought possible, building codes, zoning laws, HOA restrictions, contractors and so forth. In a matter of moments, the whole endeavor can become overwhelming.

This is where an architect can save the day. They have the education, training, experience, and vision to help you navigate through the building process. An architect is not only able to take your dreams and turn them into a reality, but they are able to make sure you stay on budget (even save you money!), help you find building professionals, and have building structures meet all requirements.

Your home isn’t solely about functionality; it’s about celebration and renewal. One shouldn’t ever associate their place of rest with stress and aggravation. There are professions at your disposal to aid you in keeping your project peaceful, who want to make your life easier. The question shouldn’t be, “Why should you hire an architect?” but rather, “Why haven’t you already?”


For more reasons to hire an architect, please visit our, “Top 10 Reasons to Hire an Architect Countdown.” 


Contemporary Living Room

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We Received an Excellence in Masonry Architectural Award!

Masonry Award

We are proud to announce that we received an EXCELLENCE IN MASONRY ARCHITECTURAL AWARD from the Arizona Masonry Guild! A great big thank you to R-Net Custom Homes and Old Mission Masonry for being part of our team, and for helping us bring this design to life.

Masonry AwardMasonry Banquet

The greatest opportunity for this project was the uniqueness of the building site.  There were amazing desert mountain views, and a large wash cutting through the middle of the site.  The solution was to split the house, with the garages and guest house connected by a bridge over the wash to the main house.  The home was dug into the hill at the front and elevated at the rear to keep the finished floor higher to see the mountain view to the rear.  The home was anchored to the site with natural adobe masonry walls and columns growing from the topography.

The choice to use exposed and plastered adobe masonry was a joint decision between the architect and the owner.  Traditional adobe block kept with the southwest style of the home and evoked the warmth of the desert environment. Native materials were naturally the same color and texture as the surrounding site and were used in harmony with CMU construction. The connection between indoor and outdoor living was made by carrying the exposed adobe walls through the house.

This home went through the “green” building permit submittal process.  The adobe used was a zero waste, fully recyclable, local material.  It has a low embodied energy to produce and has a long life cycle as it is rot, termite, and fire resistant.  The home was also solar powdered, with solar panels covering all flat roof areas, hidden with parapet walls.

The heart of this home comes from the warmth and authentic use of masonry adobe giving it a character no other material could have created.



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Moving Day in Pine Canyon!


It’s moving day in Pine Canyon, Flagstaff! This was a fantastic project to be a part of, and we know our clients are thrilled they can finally move in. Nothing makes us happier than seeing the joy on our client’s faces when their homes are complete!


Moving Day


Click here to get a behind-the-scenes look of TWO other projects!

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Goodbye Summer!

 Goodbye Summer!

As summer comes to an end, everyone here at UDA is taking a moment to reflect on all the fun adventures (and UDA BBQ’s) they’ve had. From Californian to Northern Europe, we’ve traversed the globe, and we are now looking forward to what autumn might bring. Hope you enjoy a glimpse into our summers!


Jessica San Diego

Jessica: The whole family vacationed in California this year. They visited beaches, Legoland (of course), and Dex got to ride on his first train!


Lee & Laurel Europe

Lee & Laurel: Over the course of a month, this traveling duo was able to experience London, Iceland, and Northern Europe (Including: Russia, Estonia, Denmark, and Sweden). Can you tell they had a great time?


Lidia Costa Rica

Lidia: Originally from Costa Rica, Lidia and her family decided to visit her homeland this summer. Between hiking and family time, there was never a dull moment. Pura vida indeed!


Caitlin Summer 2017 (2)

Caitlin: Although there were no big trips planned this year, Caitlin and her family were still able to fill the summer with weekend jaunts to Las Vegas, San Diego Comic Con, and Flagstaff.

 Brandon San Diego

 Brandon: What should you do when you’re in California? Go to Knott’s Berry Farm and the beach, of course! As you can tell, Brandon and his family had a blast doing just that.



Aaron:  Over the summer, Aaron and his wife went to see the sites in Washington, D.C., including the Thomas Jefferson Memorial.  This lovely couple gets bonus points because this summer also marked their 15th wedding anniversary. Congratulations you two!

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Behind-the-Scenes Look


“It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home.”


Here is a behind-the-scenes look at a couple of recent projects. Both are at different stages of construction, but both have that UDA je ne sais quoi.


Curry Coming Soon

Desert Mountain: This one is  done, and the clients are excited to be moving in. Can’t say we blame them with a bathroom like that!


Lloyd Framing

Saguaro Forest: Here we are on a site visit. We wanted to see how the framing was coming along. Nothing beats those views though!

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Recent Publications



Recent Publications

Need more UDA in your life? Then check-out these recent publications!


Phoenix Home & Garden August 2017 – This article is not your typical, “New owner updating an Urban Design Associates’ project,” kind of piece. It also pays tribute to Billie Springer; a beloved, design visionary who we lost too soon.

“Billie was always on the top of my list. She was as talented as any interior designer I’ve ever worked with. She could look at what I had on paper and immediately comprehend where to take it. She had a great gift for blurring the lines where architecture ended and interior design began.”

– Lee Hutchison

Luxe September/October 2017  – Notice the UDA home on the front? That’s because Luxe tells the story of  how one of our older projects was given a fresh look. The new owner could tell the home had “good bones,” so the interior was kept minimalistic to highlight them and their specially curated, antique collection.


Phoenix Home & Garden Special Edition 2017 – This one isn’t an article, but we have a beautiful two page image of a recently completed, contemporary home. It’s toward the front; you can’t miss it!



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UDA Summer BBQ 2017


What better way to celebrate a successful summer, than with a UDA BBQ and pool party! Between the good food, good company, silly string, and water balloon fight, it was the perfect way to unwind. Oh, and don’t forget about the giant, inflatable sea turtle and water slide. It’s safe to say the kids definitely stole the show, and that was okay with us!


Summer BBQ 2017

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Bon Voyage!


Greetings from Abroad!


Heading to Northern Europe for inspiration and rejuvenation. See you all in a month!



Lee & Laurel


  P.S. Call Jessica : )


lee and laurel

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Feed My Starving Children 2017


Earlier this month, Urban Design Associates was fortunate enough to, once again, team-up with Facings of America and volunteer at the non-profit, Feed My Starving Children. FMSC’s mission is to feed all starving children, both in body and spirit. They provide nutritionally complete meals specifically formulated for malnourished children, and deliver them around the world.

Since this wasn’t our first “rodeo,” we were able to quickly break-out into our groups. With high-energy and enthusiasm, we expertly completed meal after meal; all to the fun tunes playing through the sound system. The food we packed was going to be shipped to Thailand, and we were able to pack 45,792 meals. This means 125 children will be fed for ONE YEAR!

Volunteering at Feed My Starving Children is always a rewarding experience. To find out more, you can visit their website, or call 480.626.1970



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Pools Are Cool in the Desert Summer

During the Arizona summers, a pool is on the must list!  We have created a Best of UDA Outdoor Living Countdown to showcase some of the top water feature design trends and spectacular pools we have completed over the years.   Check back daily to see some of these top pool trends brought to life by UDA.

Top Pool Trends:

  1. The Negative Edge – Always a traditional favorite, and easy to update to today’s contemporary designs.  Known as an infinity edge or vanishing edge, these pools are best suited for a hillside lot with a spectacular view across the water.
  2. Play pools – Also known as “spools” (spa and pool combined), are great for smaller lots, families with children, and someone wanting less maintenance.  Perfect for the lock and leave property.
  3. Lap pool – For the athlete or aspiring athlete, the inherit geometry of the long, linear pool is a great fit in modern estates.
  4. Baja Shelf, Alligator Bench, or Tanning Ledge – It has many names, but is essentially a large shallow area big enough to lounge or play in a safe spot next to a deeper pool.  Add a trellis above, and you can relax all day!
  5. Reverse Negative Edge – This is where the waterline and the pool deck are at the same level, giving the visual effect of one plain.   The water can be very close, appearing to touch a building. This is very popular in resort pools.
  6. Beach Entry – A continual slope into the water is both practical and dramatic.
  7. Cantilevered Pools with Glass – If there is no budget, this is the rock star of pool design.  Make it float and then make it see through!
  8. Energy Efficient – There is a new generation of “green” mechanical and electrical equipment: Automatic covers, variable speed pumps, automated cleaning, and LED lighting.
  9. ANYTHING but Plaster & Kool Deck – There is a huge new palette of pool materials from glass tiles, natural stone coping, beadcrete, pebbletec, to black bottoms. Different is better.
  10. The Natural Pool – This is the most interesting development in the pool world. Out with the chlorine, the salt, and even the mineral treatments. Natural pools create an ecosystem of aquatic plants to keep the water clean and purified.

Enjoy the Countdown!


Pool Views

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Two Lee Hutchison Homes for Sale at Desert Mountain!


If you have always wanted to be the proud owner of a Lee Hutchison design, there are currently two on the market at Desert Mountain!


Desert Mountain


Description: All the attributes of a true Lee Hutchison design with the creative interiors of Jan Sanders. When you visit the Desert Mountain home, you will be truly impressed with both the outstanding detail and the setting.

Listed By: Scott Biller at HomeSmart

For more information and pictures please visit: phoenixrealestateseeker.com


Desert Mountain II

Description: Striking contemporary mountain ranch style home, nestles high in the Village of Saguaro Forest. Designed by Lee Hutchison and Build by the Phil Nichols Company, this home exhibits the ease of indoor/outdoor living that appeals to Desert Mountain owners. The extensive use of native stone and wood enhance the warmth of this open plan. Stunning golf, mountain, sunset and city views are enjoyed from the multiple patios.

Listed By: The Power of 4

For more information and pictures please visit: tours.tourfactory.com


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Top 100 Urban Planning Blogs

Top 100 Architecture blogs

We are proud to announce Urban Design Associates has been name one of the Top 100 Urban Planning Blogs, AND we are still one of the Top 100 Architecture Blogs!

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3 Steps to a Luxurious Indoor-Outdoor Lifestyle

The joys of living in the Southwest come from the dry, warm weather and the opportunity to move life outside for most of the year. Expanding a living area outdoors, no matter the location, helps everyone connect with nature and fully take advantage of a property’s best features.

Step 1: Know your Site

The first step to indoor-outdoor living is to have a comprehensive understanding of the site. Be sure to take both physical elements (i.e., slope of the land, soil composition, and views) and climactic factors (i.e., sun orientation and local breezes) into consideration when creating the perfect flow of space from inside to outside. This will help you utilize all aspects of the land.

Step 2: Create a Transitional Indoor Floor Plan

Open floor plans work best when creating a seamless indoor-outdoor transition. The unhindered view can then be used to draw people outside. To establish a relationship between rooms, the same flooring should be used without interruption. Extending the floor’s surface and ceiling plane outside unifies all living areas and creates a natural flow.

Step 3: Seclude the Outdoor Living Spaces

Outdoor living spaces should be carefully crafted to protect residents from intrusive weather or neighbors, but still feel open and linked to the surroundings. Vegetation and trellises provide privacy without obstructing views, while the calm bubbling of water features cover any unwanted noise pollution. Sitting areas need to feel secluded and have a fireplace, making the space inviting year-round.

There is an art to the perfect indoor-outdoor design, but it can be achieved with careful examination of the environment and the home owner’s daily routine. It doesn’t need to be filled with grandeur or innovative components to be a success. A well-executed house may be stunning, but its daily functionality is what will make it truly a home.

Indoor-Outdoor Living-600


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We’re Expanding!

We are pleased to announce our newest Marketing and Administrative Assistant: Caitlin Jackson! Between her seven years of administrative background and her multiple degrees (AA in Fine Art from Scottsdale Community College & BS in Sustainability with a minor in Landscape Architecture from Arizona State University), we know she will be a valuable addition to our team.

If you are wanting to be a part of Urban Design Associates, you’re in luck! We are currently looking to fill a full-time architect/project manager position. The ideal candidate will be a licensed architect or architectural graduate with 10+ years of residential construction field experience. This position is responsible for overall project management for a variety of projects including technical design development, construction document production and coordination, consultant scheduling, and budgeting.

Besides working with an award winning firm, we offer competitive hourly wages and generous benefits including health care and continuing education. We strive to provide a fun yet productive environment for our employees to enhance their professional and personal growth. At UDA, we are more than an architecture firm, we are a family.


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Prepare to be Summer-ized!

unsplash-sai-kiran-anagani-209542-375It’s official, summer has arrived! Our days of big jackets and snow are behind us, and the season of swimming and barbeques is here. This is great news for everyone but, if you are a homeowner, there are a few more things you need to do besides buy a new bikini. Between the relentless heat and impending monsoon season, you have to ensure your home is in tip-top shape.

1. Test/Update your AC Unit & Thermostat
Now is the time to test your AC unit, since it is better to fix any issues before the temperature sky rockets. If your unit is 10-15 years old, you should consider upgrading to a more energy-efficient, dependable model.

While you are at it, installing a programmable or smart thermostat is also a great way to save energy and money in the long run.

2. Inspect your Roof & Clean/Repair Your Gutters
You don’t want to be hit with surprise leaks or water damage, so take the time to remove debris and fix anything not in working condition.

3. Seal all Windows & Doors
During the winter, it is common for windows and doors to slightly separate from their frames. Sealing these gaps will keep your cool air in and the hot air OUT.

4. Create a Bug Barrier
A lot of bugs hibernate during the winter months, but are quite active in the summer. Besides making sure there aren’t any gaps or cracks for them to enter, consider spraying your outdoor perimeter with a pesticide or natural repellent.

5. Don’t Forget your Garden!
The sun is also tough on your plants, so do everything you can to keep the soil moist. The best option is to install a drip irrigation system on a timer.

6. Prep your Outdoor Living Spaces
It’s not all about staying cool and saving energy. You also have to get ready for all the summer fun you are about to have. Clean your grill, pool and patio furniture so they are ready-to-go for any spontaneous get-togethers. Maybe even add some bright colored pillows or outdoor rug to bump up the décor. Remember to create outdoor storage to stash decor during desert monsoons and dust storms.

7. Remember the Little Things
There are other little things you can do around your house to help you stay cool and reduce your electricity bill. For instance, changing your air filters monthly prevents the restriction of airflow and changing the direction of your fan causes a cool breeze effect. Now might also be a good time to change any of your older bulbs to CFLs. Since they waste less energy on heat, they help keep your home cooler.

8. Contact your HOA
Check with your Home Owner Association about service companies to take care of your property, while you escape the summer heat.

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The Joy is in the Details

Recently we have noticed the trend toward “right-sizing,” “down-sizing,” and “lock and leave” homes has become more the rule.  Many architects and designers would agree that the more challenging, more engaging project, is not necessarily the seemingly complex larger ones.  I LOVE the smaller projects; we call them “jewel box” architecture.  Every detail counts, every inch counts.  They take both restraint and creativity on a different level.

The key to making the small move extraordinary is balance and contrast in geometry, color, or texture.  Below are some images from our smaller, infill projects, mostly remodels that all have an intimate yet glamorous, important feeling.

So do not think, oh this project is too small, or not interesting enough for an architect or a design.  Propose the challenge and I bet you will LOVE what you get in return.

Living Room Fireplace TV kk Courtyard Trellis kk Bliss Private Patio
Bliss Powder Room 143K7968 143K3480


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Lee is an Icon

We always knew it was true, Lee is an Icon, but it was fantastic to be recognized by the Design and Building Industry leaders to make it official.  Sources for Design is a digital magazine making waves in the Arizona Luxury Construction field.  Each issue features 7 industry Icons: project, architect, interior designer, builder, landscape architect, product, and service.  This fourth issue puts Lee in great company with the architectural Icons: Eddie Jones, Vern Swaback, and Michael Johnson.

Lee was recognized for creating a style of architecture all his own “Organic Pueblo,” a term he also coined.  His deep understanding of the Southwest’s light, landforms, and lifestyle show up in every home.  His compassion for his clients and his passion to create beauty continue to manifest in spaces designed for renewal and joyful celebration.

On April 6, 2017 the design community came together for the launch of issue 4 and to congratulate the new class of Icons.  Larry Lake, the magazine’s publisher and local interior designer, created a warm, entertaining evening of indoor/outdoor festivities at Fergusons in Scottsdale.  Each guest was given an autograph book and the perfect “in” to go meet the Icons while collecting signatures.  Urban Design Associates staff, colleagues, past and present clients all gathered to give Lee some extra love for his long standing, successful, and inspiring body of architectural work.  Take a look at Sources for Design Issue 4: http://sourcesfordesign.com/issue4


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Amazing home


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