Back From The Pink

Mature citrus trees and a large faux
lawn create a great space for family fun.

  The previous kitchen was enlarged and completely redesigned to create an open layout for entertaining. 

 The master bath was re-envisioned
with a sleek, modern look.  

 

A view of the courtyard from the patio dining area.

Ashley and Carson Mehl with
their son Jonah and “Pablo.”
 

 

 

 

 

 

A unique C-shaped home in a desirable neighborhood led these homeowners to take on a very detailed renovation.

By Romi Carrell Wittman | Photography by Robin Stancliff (Except where noted)

John Cougar Mellencamp famously sang about pink houses in the 1980s, but Carson and Ashley Mehl had to look past the rosy façade of a Spanish Revival home in Sam Hughes to see its tremendous potential.

“The bones of the house were good,” says Carson, a general contractor, and vice president of Cottonwood Properties, the company spearheading the 6,200-acre Dove Mountain residential development.

Ashley had to be sold on the idea. “I saw an old, choppy house,” she says.

Built in 1924, the 3,600-square-foot, three-bedroom home had fallen victim to years of additions and questionable remodeling choices. It was the walkability of the neighborhood and its location that ultimately sold the Mehls. It also helped that the house was priced so the couple could do a lot with it.

Like many houses of the era, the floorplan was a series of small rooms that lacked a cohesive flow. The kitchen was not very functional and was shut off from the rest of the home. Bedrooms were small and bathrooms a bit outdated. The overall footprint of the home, however, was unique: a C shape with a courtyard at its center.

Given his line of work, Carson knew many contractors and craftsmen who could perform the remodel. They got right to work, with Carson overseeing all aspects of the project.

“In addition to his full-time job, he worked at the house mornings, nights and weekends,” Ashley says.

Enlarging and updating the kitchen was a top priority. Fortunately, the old kitchen abutted an outdoor space, giving the Mehls room to expand it while also opening it up to the rest of the house. They installed a large center island, providing an additional work surface as well as extra seating. The net result is modern functionality coupled with historic appeal.

“We can fit 20 people in the kitchen,” Carson says. “It’s great for entertaining.”

The master bedroom also needed a bit of TLC. The Mehls expanded it, added a spacious master closet with an additional linen closet hidden behind a Holstein-hide-covered sliding door, and installed a luxurious en-suite bathroom. The couple left a cutout in the wall of the bathroom to show off the home’s 12-inch-thick adobe walls.

Although the Mehls wanted to retain some of the home’s flooring, it simply wasn’t practical. The old flooring varied quite a bit from room to room and was worn down. In the kitchen and living spaces, they installed new wood floors over the old, enhancing the home’s charm. In the bathrooms, they chose Nicaraguan cement tile with a subtle pattern that is at once luxurious and practical for daily living.

The home doesn’t have a backyard in the usual sense. Rather, the central courtyard serves not only as outdoor space but also as an extension of the home’s interior. A wraparound brick patio is accessible from virtually anywhere in the home. Brick steps lead down to the courtyard, which is covered with artificial turf, making the space green and livable all-year long, not to mention maintenance-free.

A detached guesthouse also is accessible via the courtyard. The couple suspects it once served as a ballet studio. Currently, they use it as a workout room, but at some point, they hope to renovate it and turn it into a luxurious guest suite.

So what happened to that pink stucco? This was a source of much discussion. Carson wanted to install a pool instead, but Ashley lobbied hard for re-stuccoing. It wasn’t just the color that she found objectionable. “It had been re-stuccoed and added onto many times. It was all different textures,” she says. “It needed to be updated.”

In the end, they opted to re-stucco the home, giving it a smooth, more sophisticated appearance. The new color? A beautiful, warm café au lait.

From start to finish, the project took six months. “From the architects to the subcontractors, we had a great team involved,” Carson says. “Together, we were able to work through issues that came up and avoid any major surprises.”

Two months before they moved in, the Mehls welcomed their first child, a son. Since his birth, Ashley has been a stay-at-home mom and, for her, the neighborhood’s walkability is a huge benefit. “As a new mom, it can be hard to get out,” she says, “but it’s nice to be able to walk through the UA campus and through the neighborhood. It’s really been wonderful.” HG

Sources:

General Contractor: Dove Mountain Homes, www.dmhcustom.com
Architect: Leo R. Katz,
www.leorkatzarchitect.com
Cabinetry: Carlie Korinek, CK Cabinetry and Design; www.ckcabinetryanddesign.com
Landscape Architect: Eddie Muniz, Tanque Verde Farms, (520) 631-4048