We specialize in designing for homeowners and developers with the pioneer spirit, the dreamers and seekers who see home as more than just a house. Our clients see home as a place that roots you in your community, provokes curiosity and exploration, and emboldens you to do more of what you love. Equipped with our national award-winning experience and your desires, we design homes to honor the past, challenge the norm, and inspire the future. Check out our Project Types tab to see the types of projects we specialize in and check out our Services page to see how we can help you.
We are often asked how we came up with our company name, The Ranch Mine. Before we formed our company back in 2010, we spent 7 months traveling around Arizona, exploring the rich history of our state in search of what was authentically Arizonan. During these trips, a common thread started to emerge: the romance of the pioneer spirit. Everywhere we went we heard stories and saw manifestations of the driven, impassioned people in search of a richer life. This spirit is still alive and well today. We chose our name to honor those that have come before us, the humble ranchers and miners, who have paved the way for our opportunities for prosperity today, and to serve as inspiration to continuously push the envelope and lead the way to better living through design.
In 2009, Cavin Costello received his Masters degree in Architecture and made the drive to Phoenix, Arizona sight unseen, inspired by the complexities and opportunities to be had in the rapidly urbanizing southwest. He had not yet been a full day in Phoenix when he met Claire Costello, then Claire Aton, a Phoenix native looking to make the most of her recent move back home. The two quickly bonded over their ideals of the built environment, how to improve upon it and its ability to influence. Not settling for a hard hit economy to dictate their next move, the duo decided to act. So, they bought a fixer upper and experienced first hand the trials and tribulations of a major renovation.
The two continued paving their own path developing the First Phoenix Green Construction Code project, designing for visionary real estate developers, and creating inspired homes for unique homeowners. Recently, Cavin and Claire have been named the Future of Architecture by Houzz and the American Institute of Architects, HGTV’s Designer of the Week, HGTV Fresh Faces of Design Finalist, Phoenix’s Best Emerging Creative Duo, 2 of the 35 Top Arizona Entrepreneurs Under 35, featured on TV nationally on the NBC Today Show, CNBC and The List, and have won 4 consecutive Best of Houzz awards for their design work.
As always, Cavin and Claire are looking forward to the new opportunities and challenges ahead. The Ranch Mine has many more exciting updates so stay tuned by following us on our Facebook page and Instagram where we consistently post progress updates on our current projects and happenings!
Cavin Costello, Principal
Cavin Costello is the son of a civil engineer who endeavored to build his own house in rural Connecticut. It is safe to say that this exposure to building systems mixed with a “go get ’em” attitude laid the foundation for Cavin’s bright future. Cavin pursued his childhood passion at Northeastern University in Boston from which he received a Bachelor of Science in Architecture and a Master of Architecture degree. His enthusiasm for adventure lead him to Phoenix, Arizona where he is a Registered Architect and has become a local leader in the modern architecture community. To date, Cavin has designed over 70 projects in his seven years in the Valley, has won national and local awards, including “The Future of Architecture” by the American Institute of Architects and Houzz, and has been honored as a featured speaker at engagements at Arizona State University, Northeastern University, Phoenix Urban Design Week, Reinvent Phoenix, AIGA, Arizona Historic Preservation Conference and Modern Phoenix Week.
Claire Costello, Chief Executive
Claire Costello is a native Phoenician who received unique exposure to rambling ranches, mid-century modern and desert architecture. Claire was young when she was asked to pick up a shovel and do some dirty work at her aunt and uncles in Tucson. This “dirty work” was digging dirt to build the first rammed earth house Claire had ever known of. Leaving the desert behind, Claire ventured to the University of Colorado at Boulder where she received concurrent Bachelor of Science degrees in English and Communication. Her time away from Arizona led Claire to travel the world, fueling a desire to make real change and igniting a belief in the power of action. Upon returning to her hometown, Claire sought to make a familiar place new, exciting and her own. Emboldened with an entrepreneurial spirit Claire is committed to reclaiming her hometown of Phoenix one home at a time. Today, Claire embraces a hands-on approach to design and development and works toward shaping a more vibrant community.
Project Types we specialize in include:
NEW BUILD HOMES
Infill – An infill home is a home designed on a vacant lot where existing infrastructure and utilities are already in place, typically within an established urban or suburban neighborhood. Our design process for infill lots includes heavy research of the neighborhood to ensure your home respects its surroundings and positively contributes to the character of the community. Our national award-winning and internationally published infill home designs focus on elevating your living experience in an urban environment by incorporating inspiring indoor-outdoor living to make the most of your entire lot, modern open floor plans that are ideal for family living and entertaining, and spaces for privacy and relaxation that are so important for urban living.
Desert – Desert living is often what is pictured when dreaming of living in Arizona. When designing homes in the desert we aim to create homes that feel as if they are of the desert by using local and desert hardy materials and siting the structure to make the most of the natural vegetation. Studying the patterns of the sun and wind allow us to optimize the orientation and layout of the house to limit unwanted solar gain from the hot desert sun, capture cooling breezes, and create spaces that are ideal during different seasons and times of day. We believe that your desert dream home can be accomplished while limiting negative effects on the local flora and fauna of the site with careful planning and creative design.
Mountain / Hillside – Mountain and hillside lots provide fantastic opportunities for unique designs with panoramic views, but also come with increased code restrictions and design complexity. Our mountain / hillside design process focuses on minimizing lot disturbance, designing with the natural topography, optimizing views, and connecting open living spaces with the beautiful scenery.
Rural Ranch – As our company name suggests, we love the ranching history of Arizona. Much of the rich history of our lovely state is due to the numerous cattle, horse, sheep and dude ranches the dot the landscape. Modern ranches don’t usually include the heavy work load of these historic ranches but continue the iconic western lifestyle of semi-wild living in picturesque environments that reconnect us to nature. Designing and building an off the grid ranch has become easier and more obtainable in recent years with the increased efficiency and lower cost of active solar water heating, photo-voltaic panels and wind turbine energy generation. That coupled with increased water efficiency, rain-water harvesting, and smart, passive solar design, and your dream rural ranch home is not far away.
Townhome / Townhouse – Townhomes, or Single-Family Attached (SFA) developments are becoming more and more popular as property values and population density rise in our urban centers. We believe this building typology is well suited for the desert climate and attached homes have been a successful housing solution throughout the history of the southwest. We work with developers to create efficient site plans that contextually integrate with their neighborhoods and design individual units that provide both the privacy and outdoor living opportunities Arizonan’s crave with the added benefit of a more urban environment.
RENOVATIONS AND ADDITIONS
Homes in Historic Districts – We believe strongly in honoring the past when designing for the future. Adding an addition or doing a major interior renovation to a home within an historic district has social, cultural, and construction challenges. Many times these projects need further approval beyond the local building department by, typically, a Historic Preservation Office. Hiring a designer with experience navigating the added design guidelines and having an in-depth knowledge of the local historic architecture is critical in achieving a result that saves and highlights the existing character that made you fall in love with the home while incorporating your modern living needs. We have worked in 8 historic district in Phoenix to date, gathering a wealth of experience and knowledge in the process. They include Willo, Coronado, Pierson Place, Encanto-Palmcroft, North Encanto, Yaple Park, Campus Vista, and Cheery Lynn. We also are recurring invited speakers at the annual Arizona Historic Preservation Conference.
Midcentury Modern Homes – The Greater Phoenix area had an explosion of housing after World War II that shaped much of the design aesthetic prevalent in our cities. Most of these iconic designs broke from the traditional style and construction methods of the past creating homes of unique forms, massing, layouts, and elements. Although a majority of these homes are not protected yet, their contribution to our history is significant. If properly redesigned or added to, they are some of the most valued real estate in the area. We have worked on homes by acclaimed midcentury architects in Greater Phoenix such as Ralph Haver, Al Beadle, Charles and Art Schreiber, Bennie Gonzales, and Paul Christian Yeager, to date, and have won a national award in the process. Understanding the opportunities and limitations of these homes allows us to add to their legacy, creating a new chapter in their history. We are heavily involved in the Midcentury Modern community as we are often involved in Modern Phoenix Week as a speaker or having a project on the tour, and our Chief Executive Claire is a co-founder of the Post-War Architecture Task Force in Phoenix that focuses on preserving significant architecture built between 1945 and 1975.
Awards & Honors
NATIONAL AWARDS & HONORS
The Future of Architecture: Innovation, American Institute of Architects and Houzz – 2015
HGTV Fresh Faces of Design Finalist, HGTV – 2015
HGTV Designer of the Week, HGTV – 2015
Green Remodel of the Year: National Award-Winner, National Association of Home Builders – 2012
Best Homes Across the Country under $250,000, NBC Today Show – 2012
LOCAL AWARDS & HONORS
Big Brain Award Finalist: Design, Phoenix New Times – 2015
35 top Entrepreneurs under 35 , The Arizona Republic – 2013
Best Emerging Creative Duo, Phoenix New Times – 2013
Top 100 Creatives, Phoenix New Times – 2012
In The News
AN AFFORDABLE MODERN PROTOTYPE HOUSE IN PHOENIX, ARIZONA by Architectural Record
WINNER OF THE FUTURE OF ARCHITECTURE COMPETITION by the American Institute of Architects
EXPERT INSIGHT: DISCOVER THE TRICKS OF A PERFECT MIDCENTURY REMODEL by Atomic Ranch Magazine
BEST EMERGING CREATIVE DUO – BEST OF PHOENIX 2013 AWARDS by Phoenix New Times
THE RANCH MINE: 2015 BIG BRAIN AWARDS FINALIST, DESIGN by Phoenix New Times
PHOENIX 100 CREATIVES: CAVIN COSTELLO by Phoenix New Times
TOQUE MODERNISTA EM TERRANO CONSERVADOR by Casa Vogue Brazil
BEST HOMES ACROSS THE COUNTRY FOR UNDER $250,000 on the NBC Today Show
35 UNDER 35 ENTREPRENEURS by The Arizona Republic and AZ Central
‘LINK’ TO TOMORROW by The Arizona Republic
URBAN RENEWAL by The Arizona Republic
A WINDOW ON HISTORY by The Arizona Republic
MODERN RANCH MAKEOVER by The Arizona Republic
THE REA’S MIDCENTURY MODERN IN PHOENIX by AZ Central
STYLISH BATHROOM REMODEL FOR LESS THAN $5,000 by AZ Central
HOUSING MARKET SHIFTS BACK TO METRO PHOENIX’S CORE by AZ Central
HOW TO START FINDING A GREENER HOUSE by Houzz
SOL / THE RANCH MINE by ArchDaily
LINK / THE RANCH MINE by ArchDaily
FUTURE OF ARCHITECTURE COMPETITION WINNERS REVEALED by ArchDaily
LINK HOUSE BY THE RANCH MINE by Design Milk
DWELLING OF THE WEEK: THE CASTAWAY HOUSE by Desert Living Today
LINK HOUSE BY THE RANCH MINE by Contemporist
SPECTACULAR FLYING COLORS PROJECT by Home Stratosphere
LINK HOUSE BY THE RANCH MINE by Highsnobiety
LINK HOUSE BY THE RANCH MINE by The Coolist
FLYING COLORS RESIDENCE IN PHOENIX by e-architect
LINK HOUSE IN ARIZONA by e-architect
AWARD-WINNING ENERGY EFFICIENT G HOME IN PHOENIX by Inhabitat
HISTORIC REVIVAL REHAB IN CENTRAL PHOENIX by Jetson Green
NAHB GREEN REMODEL OF THE YEAR 2012 by Jetson Green
CASTAWAY HOUSE IS A COOL GREEN RENOVATION by Jetson Green
BEFORE AND AFTER: PHOENIX RANCH REMODEL by EcoBuilding Pulse
5 MINUTES WITH CAVIN COSTELLO by Modernize.com
URBAN LIVING AT UPTOWN ROW by Downtown Phoenix Journal
REAL ESTATE VIDEO OF THE CONSTRUCTION AND FINAL WALKTHROUGH OF LINK by Boxwell Southwest and GCTA Tech
RECLAMATION NATION: DEVELOPING A RESIDENTIAL TRANSECT at Phoenix Urban Design Week 2012
CASTAWAY HOUSE AND PHOENIX GREEN CONSTRUCTION CODE on Building Phoenix
Lectures & Presentations
Below are some of the lectures and presentations we have given for schools, conferences and organizations. Interested in having us speak at your event, conference, school, or company? Shoot us an e-mail at email@example.com
MODERN RANCH MAKEOVERS at Modern Phoenix Week 2013
SUSTAINABLE CHOICES FOR YOUR MID-CENTURY MODERN REMODEL at Modern Phoenix Week 2012
NEW LIFE FOR OLD PLACES: SINGLE FAMILY HOUSES AND TOWNHOMES INFILL HISTORIC DISTRICTS at Arizona Historic Preservation Conference 2016
NEW DESIGNS ADDING VALUE TO HISTORIC CENTRAL PHOENIX NEIGHBORHOODS at Arizona Historic Preservation Conference 2014
MID-CENTURY TO MID-CENTURY: ADAPT TO PROSPER at Arizona Historic Preservation Conference 2013
ADDING SPACE & SAVING FACE: THE CARRIAGE HOUSE at Arizona Historic Preservation Conference 2013
DESIGNING FOUNDATIONS FOR SOCIAL CHANGE at PechaKucha Night Phoenix: Design for Good
RECESSION SESSION: DESIGNING YOUR POST-COLLEGIATE CAREER at Northeastern University
I hired The Ranch Mine to designed a new house on a vacant lot in a historic neighborhood in Phoenix. I had been living in the suburbs and was ready to make the leap to a more centralized and urban lifestyle.
Working with The Ranch Mine was a very collaborative process with quick turnaround on design plans. Working with Cavin and The Ranch Mine I would wait mere days, if even that long (in some case hours) to see updates to the design and plans.
Cavin and Claire worked with me on the vision of the house, managing to incorporate some of my fun wish list items as well. I wanted a mud room, remembering them from growing up in the Midwest. They added a mud room. I wanted an outdoor shower to wash off prior to or after using the pool. They added an outdoor show in a very creative manner. I wanted a hidden bedroom behind a shelving display and they added in such a room with such shelving that it feels like it was meant to be. And they worked with me on position of doors and layouts as I attempted to feng shui parts of my house and expanded a spare bedroom office into a full on second master bedroom.
Claire and Cavin met me for a day of picking out designs, colors, and fixtures for the house, from flooring to tile to cabinetry. There was no pressure and they walked me through pros and cons of various materials and looks.
We had to get the City’s Historic Preservation Council’s approval to begin construction. Working with The Ranch Mine this process was smooth without complications. Cavin and Claire joined me at a neighborhood association meeting to present and talk about our plans for this plot of land, and to ease any concerns the neighbors would have. During the meeting with the Historic Preservation Council, they were prepared and organized and could walk the committee members through the aspects of my home design that drew elements from other houses and landscape features within the neighborhood. That my very modern house cleared both hurdles with no criticism and no request for changes says a lot about their capability of working with city and Historic guidelines.
During the build they remained involved as changes needed to be made. The washer and dryer originally spec’ed turned out to be too big for the space and within hours Cavin found new models that would meet all requirements and fit in the space. I made changes to the flooring at the last minute (wood to tile) and The Ranch Mine didn’t miss a beat.
I’m now moved in and catch myself wondering in astonishment “Who lives in a place like this?” knowing that the answer is me and that Cavin and Claire made my dream and dream house become reality.
I highly recommend The Ranch Mine finding them to be organized, focused on details, creative, and responsive. I’m happy to talk more about engagement with them to those contemplating hiring them to bring their own dreams to fruition.
Luxe Ranch Clients
Our 1950’s ranch home was in desperate need of a complete remodel. We wanted a remodel, but were lost. We hired Cavin and Claire to help bring our vision to reality. Everything, and we mean everything, needed renovation and updating. The floor plan was not usable space, the kitchen was a disaster, and the bathrooms just embarrassing. Cavin and Claire gave us vision, design, and continual support in every aspect of the remodel. They never left our side. Not only are they extremely talented, they are beyond patient, supportive, and truly visionary. Now, our tired, old ranch is a show piece that honors the 1950’s ranch design, but with a jaw-dropping contemporary personality. The pool house addition is just spectacular. We are beyond thrilled.
Flying Colors Client
First I will say that I’m impossible to work with. Partly because I’m new at this and of course I was expecting TV style Property Brothers results (cost timeline etc), and partly because I’m maniacally particular, impatient and stubborn by nature. My taste is ultra modern, simple, and unique and the Team at Ranch Mine gobbled up these challenging conditions and PRODUCED without flinching.
We chose Ranch Mine because Cavin and his team seemed to specialize more in reusing as much of the existing materials as possible, building in SMART, SUSTAINABLE solutions while hitting style preference. Their genuine interest in getting our concept and desires right the first time amounted to a pretty involved vetting session that made us feel like they appreciate our job and how it will impact our lives moving forward vs. the “ya ya ya we’ve got this covered..we’ll figure it out” lip service that came from the competition.
Their out of the box green additions were a great surprise and we can’t wait to see them in action.
Furthermore, let me say that Cavin’s Construction Documents (final stage in preparing his design for a contractor to put into place) were consistently celebrated with all 4 building contractors we interviewed. All were impressed at the amount of specific detail he included in the docs, and all seemed to independently agree that his efforts up front would surely help the project get completed as quickly as possible.
It’s been a gift to work with Cavin and his team and I’d highly recommend Ranch Mine to anyone looking for the same experience I’ve described above.
White Sands Client
I worked with The Ranch Mine for my remodel of a recently purchased home in Scottsdale, AZ. It was a complete overhaul of the house and my design tastes are very modern and minimal. I am definitely not a traditionalist when it comes to my home design preferences. I saw on their website (TheRanchMine.com) that The Ranch Mine could produce beautiful designs that were more traditional, but I was curious if they could meet my preferences and budget.
After meeting with them, I knew they were going to be exactly what I was looking for. They were very professional and worked with me from start to finish on my design concept. They did a great job of “walking the fine line” of leading the project, but always putting my needs and choices first. They were very conscientious of my budget and everything they did was to ensure that it was met, from design through final construction.
I can not say enough positive things about this company. The care and professionalism they took for me before, during, and after construction has been awesome. They “nailed” my vision and created my dream home. All of this was done at an incredible value with great service! Thank you for all of your great work guys!
We interviewed several renovation design companies and quickly settled on Cavin and Claire Costello (at the time Claire Aton and Cavin Costello), who constitute The Ranch Mine, to guide the renovation and expansion of our 1927 abandoned brick cottage in an historic district in Phoenix. They listened well but were not hesitant to make their design leanings known. As the project proceeded they continued to carefully guide our thinking and decisions so as to fulfill our vision. The work was collaborative throughout, including the contractor team. We are in the last week of completion and Cavin and Claire have made themselves available at each step. They have been adaptable to required change without letting the team sacrifice the overall outcome. For example, when we suggested that the main material of the addition would be adobe, they quickly educated themselves in its manufacture and use. There was full embrace of this unique and central aspect of the project. It was a professional and personal delight to work with Claire and Cavin and we would recommend them without qualification.
Bennie G Clients
We hired The Ranch Mine to design a VERY budget conscious remodel of an early 1970s condo in Cave Creek, AZ. Almost nothing had been done to it since it was built, and though the bones were good it was dark, chopped up, and uninspired. You can see the open, light-filled, very enjoyable to live in space as redesigned at the link below.
Cavin and Claire listened well, were very prompt in their work, and had great ideas. We did only three concept sketches, and the cost actually went down as we got to the final design. I especially appreciated their help sourcing materials that were key to the look and feel at very very reasonable prices -which actually declined as we spec’d specific materials. As an added bonus, they also did a “modern” landscape design for us which is still in process so no photos yet. And, the plans were very high quality requiring no revisions to pass City review or to allow builders to bid and build – this saved time and money.
We also appreciated their continued help during construction consulting on colors (stained concrete floors) and various other issues.
All in all, a great experience. I highly recommend them for great design ideas, timely high quality work, and responsiveness to Owner concerns. And, they are delightful people and a pleasure to work with!
Sun View Clients
Creative, responsive, cost conscious, The Ranch Mine was a great find for us. With them we were able to create our dream house, we completely remodeled a 50’s ranch into a modern, livable space. When people walk in to our home for the the first time, they say wow!
At Firefly Living we have had the pleasure of working with Cavin and Claire of The Ranch Mine on multiple projects. They have a unique ability to take old outdated floor plans and refresh them so that they make sense in today’s modern world. The projects we have completed with the Ranch Mine have garnered national attention and accolades. Renovations are complex projects and their insights and experience definitely simplify the process. We would recommend anyone considering taking on a big project work with the Ranch Mine team.
Park Paradise Clients
We worked with Cavin and Claire from The Ranch Mine for our full house renovation master plans and just completed the first phase, the kitchen remodel. We are taking a traditional southwestern ranch home and making it more contemporary which they really excel in. They were great to work with. They brought up ideas we would never have thought of and they really listened to what we wanted. They nailed our kitchen materials and finishes on the first try. We are looking forward to continue to work with them on the rest of our place.
Meet Virginia Park Clients
We hired The Ranch Mine to design an addition onto our 1950 single story ranch home. We were looking to expand and remodel our kitchen, and add a dining room and master suite. They were excellent to work with in terms of understanding what we wanted and understanding our style. The addition The Ranch Mine designed made excellent use of the space and flows perfectly, and the transition from the old part of the house to the new is seamless. They also included a wonderful screened in porch off the dining room which is really another living space that we get so much use out of. They were great to work with, very responsive and efficient, and we loved their work. Our day to day lives have been greatly enhanced because of the great job they did with our house.
The Glen Clients
Cavin and Claire are the best! We bought a house that needed a new outdoor living space. Cavin and Claire were great and listening to our vision and turning that into a great design. We appreciated their authenticity, design aesthetic and creativity. We love our outdoor living space! We highly recommend Cavin and Claire!