Category: Home & Garden

Retro Ranch Remodeled

A spacious center island prep area and wall of windows provide an open feeling.

Retro Ranch Remodeled

This 1961 gem received a much-needed makeover that retained its bones but updated the style.

BY ROMI CARRELL WITTMAN | PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATT VACA

 Floating shelves hold the homeowners’ collections. The entire space lends itself to the mid-century modern aesthetic.
Floating shelves hold the homeowners’ collections. The entire space lends itself to the mid-century modern aesthetic.

How do you know when you’ve found The One?

For one couple, it was all about the feeling they got upon entering a stylish mid-century in the eastside Windsor Park neighborhood.

Tucson couple Billy and Helena had been on the hunt for a home for several months, but they’d had no luck in finding something that suited their growing family. It didn’t help that it was 2007, the very height of the housing boom, when nothing stayed on the market for long. They originally wanted something in midtown, but were priced out of the market. They never considered looking on the eastside until their Realtor suggested it.

Turns out their Realtor was onto something.

“I just knew,” says Billy about discovering the three-bedroom, 1900-square-foot home. “I walked in and saw the wall of windows and that was it. It was an emotional response.”

Built in 1961, this classic mid-century ranch featured sleek, angular lines, large expanses of windows from which to see the Catalina and Rincon Mountains, little to no exterior ornamentation and the liberal use of glass, concrete and wood throughout. Unlike the mid-century residences you might find in Palm Springs, with their turquoise, orange and green accents, the home’s palette is subdued, creating a sophisticated and timeless appeal.

Although the couple loved the house and the friendly neighborhood, there were some aspects they decidedly didn’t love.

First, there was the entryway, which at one point had been an outdoor porch. A previous owner had enclosed it to make a living room, but it was completely at odds with the home’s design style.

Soon after moving in, the couple attacked that problem first, hiring an architect to streamline the house, while maintaining the overall square footage. The next item on the to-do list was the kitchen, but, being a much bigger undertaking, the couple put it off until 2016.

They knew they needed expert help for the job, so they contacted Kathryn Prideaux of Prideaux Design and David Papanikolas of Alta Constructors after seeing ads for their respective businesses during Tucson Modernism Week. The couple had no idea that Prideaux and Papanikolas frequently work together.

The kitchen had been updated over the years and the end result was a cramped, dated U-shape with builder-grade, alder cabinets and green granite countertops. Aside from the problems with functionality, there was a potentially more significant issue with the stove, a commercial-grade restaurant range.

“People raved about it because it was a professional six-burner range,” Helena says. “But restaurant ranges aren’t usually found in home kitchens. It had no insulation around it and I worried it would burn the surrounding cabinets.”

Another issue was the overwhelming smell of natural gas. “The pilot lights on a commercial stove … you could smell gas all the time,” Billy says.

The couple came up with their new kitchen wish list and provided that, along with their budget, to Prideaux and Papanikolas.

“I gave them an idea of what was involved with each wish list item,” Papanikolas says. After three or so visits, the couple decided on a design, then decamped to a friend’s home in Oro Valley for the duration of the four-month-long renovation. “We donated a bunch of our stuff and used it as an opportunity to declutter,” Helena says.

Fortunately for the design team, the home was in pretty good shape from a systems perspective. There was little required in terms of correcting bad wiring, plumbing or other issues. That meant the bulk of the budget could be devoted to the remodel itself, which included the construction of a huge kitchen island, a wall of northeast-facing windows and new cabinetry.

The island, which runs nearly the length of the whole kitchen, draws the eye first. With its white quartz countertop, ample storage and built-in seating, it makes a gorgeous statement while remaining accessible, inviting and imminently usable.

 Deep, full-height wood cabinets provide storage while maintaining a clean look. The flooring is large-format gray porcelain tile with narrow grout lines.
Deep, full-height wood cabinets provide storage while maintaining a clean look.
The flooring is large-format gray porcelain tile with narrow grout lines.
The dining area looks into the living room.
The dining area looks into the living room.
 Rift-cut white oak cabinets supply warmth and contrast to the bright white quartz countertops. Handmade Heath tile on the backsplash pulls in a natural desert color palette.
Rift-cut white oak cabinets supply warmth and contrast to the bright white quartz countertops. Handmade Heath tile on the backsplash pulls in a natural desert color palette.

In addition to the island, J-Swiss & Company custom cabinets (made of straight-grain white oak) were installed, providing both functionality and a form consistent with the home’s style. An understated, hand-made Heath Tile backsplash perfectly complements the white quartz.

The north wall of the kitchen was converted into windows, bathing the space in natural light and amplifying its size. It’s easy to imagine both large parties as well as more intimate gatherings congregating here. To anchor the design, the homeowners selected a 24-inch gray porcelain tile, which was installed throughout the home.

When it came to selecting furnishings, Prideaux directed the couple to newly constructed pieces with a retro feel. “They didn’t have time to hunt for the perfect pieces,” she says, “and vintage pieces often need to be refurbished.”

Black pendant lights over the kitchen island add a punch of contrast to the white painted tongue and groove ceiling.
Black pendant lights over the kitchen island add a punch of contrast to the white painted tongue and groove ceiling.

Prideaux looked toward modern furniture brands like Blu Dot, Room and Board, West Elm and even Ikea to furnish the space. The result is a clean, stylish home that’s not only attractive, but also livable for the couple and their children.

“We really like it, but not necessarily because it’s mid-century modern,” Billy says. “We just like the home overall.” HG

Sources:
Prideaux Design, www.prideaux-design.com
Alta Constructors, Inc., www.altaconstructorsinc.com

Touche Garden

Pansies, Petunias and Panache

This homeowner has a passion for planting colorful annuals to enliven her patios.

BY ROMI CARRELL WITTMAN | PHOTOGRAPHY BY AMY HASKELL

Homeowner Perri Touche takes a moment to enjoy her garden.

Floral displays add splashes of color to this seating area adjacent to the pool. Floral displays add splashes of color to this seating area adjacent to the pool.

Tucked away on a northeast-side cul-de-sac, sitting amid two lush acres, is the home of Perri and Steven Touche. The highlight of the property is Perri’s garden, which bursts into life from winter through spring. An avid gardener, Perri begins prepping her beds each fall, cultivating and nurturing an explosion of colorful, flowering plants that provide the perfect backdrop for get-togethers with family and friends.

The Sonoran Desert is a veritable paradise in wintertime, when mild temps and sunny days mean outdoor activities take center stage. This is especially true when it comes to gardening — with some planning and elbow grease, year-round color and lush gardenscapes can result.

Touche Garden

White wrought-iron patio furniture offers seating among the blooms
White wrought-iron patio furniture offers seating among the blooms.
An étagère in the background holds a collection of terra cotta filled with annuals.
An étagère in the background holds a collection of terra cotta filled with annuals.

Perri has been gardening for 30 of the 33 years they’ve lived in their home, and says that the key to it is understanding the region in which you’re working. “I’ve taken classes to learn what works and what doesn’t,” she says. “I call it ‘Plant Camp.’”

The gardening classes are tailored to Tucson’s specific needs, as well as those focused on the Lake Tahoe region, where the Touches also own a home.

One of the tricks she learned from “Plant Camp” was watering her plants before covering them in advance of a hard freeze. “The plants will never freeze if you do it that way,” she says. “If you don’t water them, they will freeze and probably die.”

Perri has created pretty and tranquil garden spaces in both the front and rear of their home. An array of colorful pots greets you as you approach the front door. This gorgeous display extends to the backyard, where multiple seating areas and relaxing nooks are framed by vibrant plantings. The brick patio area includes an outdoor fireplace with cooking space. Down a dirt path, there is a larger fire pit, perfect for fall nights and s’mores.

“It’s a great place to sit and relax with friends,” Perri says of the backyard garden. “We’ve hosted as many as 300 people here.”

Although Perri hires a landscaper to maintain the “big” areas, like the grass and trees, she is hands-on when it comes to her flowers. Every fall, usually in mid- October, she purchases as many as 50 flats of geraniums, snapdragons, gerbera daisies and other blooms. She gets most of her plants from Harlow Gardens, but also buys a few from Home Depot and Lowe’s. Gardening, she says, isn’t a cheap hobby, “but it’s a pretty one.”

Most days, she’s up at 4:30 a.m. and out in her garden by 5:15, where she spends up to an hour and a half deadheading and pruning. “When it’s dark, I usually start on the front patio where I can turn on lights,” she says with a laugh.

The Touches travel both to their home in Lake Tahoe and to Dallas to visit their daughters, sons-in-law and grandchildren — but Tucson remains home base.

Perri’s flurry of gardening begins in October but ends April, when it’s time to prune, pull and prepare for the next planting season. Still, the high point of the season for her are the gerberas. “I just love gerberas in Spring,” she says with a smile. HG

A large outdoor fireplace is flanked by a variety of annuals
A large outdoor fireplace is flanked by a variety of annuals

Richardson Home

Homeowner Nina Richardson photographed by Amy Haskell.
Homeowner Nina Richardson photographed by Amy Haskell.

Tree-riffic!

Holiday décor enlivens the Richardson home each year, with special help from a local floral designer.

WRITTEN BY DEBBY LARSEN | PHOTOS BY ROBIN STANCLIFF

Nina Richardson’s home portrays their personalities year-round, but this time of year it shines with holiday spirit. She and her husband David, a local anesthesiologist, purchased their place in the Catalina Foothills in 2011. As part of the renovation process, the Richardsons enlisted the expertise of interior designer and artist Kim Coffman of Fine Art Interiors. Her creativity is evident in the elegant décor — especially the formal living room, dining room and master suite.

The elegant formal dining room shimmers in tones of blue. Silver and glass ornaments and table décor complement the room’s ambience.
The elegant formal dining room shimmers in tones of blue.
Silver and glass ornaments and table décor complement the room’s ambience.
 The massive front entry door is framed with garlands of glass balls, ribbons and lights, flanked by toy soldiers. Design by Jacque Askren
The massive front entry door is framed with garlands of glass balls, ribbons and lights, flanked by toy soldiers.
Design by Jacque Askren
Bright red and chartreuse dominate this whimsical themed room, complete with Santa figure. Large-scale candy ornaments adorn this tree.
Bright red and chartreuse dominate this whimsical themed room, complete with Santa figure.
Large-scale candy ornaments adorn this tree.
A large flocked tree glimmers with garlands of brightly colored glass ornaments.
A large flocked tree glimmers with garlands of brightly colored glass ornaments.

“I have been working with Nina for more than four years,” Coffman notes, “and we just finished the complete remodel of the master bedroom. It really was a pleasure to work with Nina because she has a natural inclination toward design and attention to detail. She and I share a love of fabric, so when we were choosing textures for the custom bedding and headboard, we made sure the fabrics had a beautiful texture and aesthetic. It was amazing to see how perfectly Jacque Askren’s Christmas tree design works in the space.” Coffman also has worked with Askren and Nina in putting together vignettes throughout the home for other holidays, as well as everyday décor. Nina’s passion for creating lovely Christmas vignettes began with a prize she won at a Ballet Tucson fundraiser — a fully decorated tree donated by Askren & Sons, Inc. Nina met floral designer Jacque Askren when Jacque delivered the tree, and a friendship grew out of their shared appreciation for the traditions of the season. Every December, with Jacque’s help, the Richardsons’ home is filled with amazing theme trees and all types of décor — from the front entry to the back patio. Nina begins the process of creating her holiday scenes in November. For eight days, she unpacks the carefully categorized and labeled bins and starts her “labor of love.” This process is conveniently coordinated with her husband’s annual hunting trip to Vermont. When Jacque arrives, the duo gets to work adding or subtracting from last year’s collections. After a year in storage, some items need a bit of TLC. Nina’s favorite is a flocked tree she calls the “bubble gum tree” — a 10-footer that glistens with long garlands of glass balls. Jacque explains that when decorating voluminous trees, the use of large ornaments creates depth. “Sometimes when designing a new tree, a particularly beautiful ribbon will catch my eye and dictate a new theme.” On a tall tree, wide ribbons, tucked in and out of the branches, add movement around or down, and clusters of large bows, flowers or ornaments create pockets of interest.

The master bedroom suite shines with subtle tones of gold and taupe.
The master bedroom suite shines with subtle tones of gold and taupe.

In the master bedroom resides what Nina calls her “‘bling’ tree — lots of gold, shimmering ornaments of crowns and stars,” she says with a laugh.

The formal living room echoes the blue tone of the dining room, situated across the entry hall.
The formal living room echoes the blue tone of the dining room, situated across the entry hall.

The latest additions include nine-foot garlands, sporting oversized ornaments, to surround the large front doors. The entry hall chandelier is embellished with strands of LED lights, which hover over a large table display. Decorating is truly a family affair. The Richardsons’ two young daughters, Darya and Natalie, also get into the act by choosing their favorite color theme to coordinate with their bedrooms. Even Nina’s mother Mimi joins the fun. On the last tree, she sewed wide ribbons together to create a custom tree skirt. In the master bedroom resides what Nina calls her “‘bling’ tree — lots of gold, shimmering ornaments of crowns and stars,” she says with a laugh. The media room decorations are the most traditional, in reds and greens, complete with a life-sized figure of Santa. Here, whimsical figures seem to climb among the tree’s branches, with dozens of ornaments fashioned by Darya and Natalie. Giant red and white candies are placed among the chartreuse ribbons. The candy theme is repeated in the kitchen, with gingerbread house-style displays on both the center island and soffits. The collection started with just one house, and years later it has become a village. By the middle of December, each room gets a final nod of approval from Nina and Jacque for the Richardsons’ annual holiday event. “Let the party begin!” HG

Sources:
Askren & Sons Inc., askrenandsons.com
Fine Art Interiors, (520) 975-2947, www.fineartinteriors.com

Letter from the Editor: Home & Garden

Thorn and Bred

Debby Larsen on the photo shoot at the Munic residence. Photo by Amy Haskell.

When we think of the Sonoran Desert, images of cactus immediately spring to mind. And with good reason: with so many varieties that either are native to our region, or have adapted to the terrain, they can be easy to grow. And dur-ing the spring, they produce a lovely payoff: brilliant blossoms in a wide range of hues. Turn to page 24 to see our colorful collection of cacti that thrive and bloom in and around Tucson. Strolling through your neighbors’ gardens (and talking to the designers) can be one of the best sources of inspiration for your own landscaping. Preview the 20th Annual Master Gardeners’ Home Garden Tour —taking place on April 13 — starting on page 13. Another great tour occurs on April 6, sponsored by the Tucson Botanical Gardens. Guests are shuttled to several garden destinations as part of this annu-al fundraiser. Get the details on page 27. Homeowners Mateja de Leonni Stanonik and Andrej Spindler undertook
a very ambitious makeover of their outdoor spaces, with stunning results. Checkout their project, beginning on page 18. We also were captivated by both the outdoor and indoor style of the home owned by Georgann and John Munic. See why beginning on page 32. In the same neighborhood, we met with Jackie Bomberger, a landscape designer who has a special talent for working with desert plants. Enjoy a view of one of her projects on page 28.

A Casa Comes Full Circle

This northwest-side home merges family history with renovated amenities.

By Romi Carrell Wittman Photography by Robin Stancliff

trio of wrought-iron signs greets visitors to the Esparza home on Tucson’s northwest side. One has the family name, Casa Esparza; another says, “Est. 1962,” and yet another says “Re-est. 2016.” In many ways, the home, located in a small subdivision, has made a complete revolution.

A wall was removed to create this open-concept design, which is perfect for family gatherings.

The home has special meaning to Sam Esparza, who grew up there with his parents and five siblings. His parents, Leo and Connie Esparza, built the home 56 years ago and lived there until they passed in 2014 and 2016, respectively. That was when Sam and his wife Jennifer purchased it and began renovations.

“This is the family house,” Sam says. “We’ve been having holidays here with everyone for years. This has been, and will continue to be, a central meeting spot for family gatherings.”

Jennifer is no stranger to the home. She and Sam met while students at Canyon Del Oro High School and, long before they married, she became something of a family member. She loves the history and tradition of the place.

The couple’s primary goal was to update it and make it more functional without obliterating its period charm and elegance.

A classic 1960s ranch-style, the 3,200-square-foot, 5-bedroom, 3-bath home featured the sunken living spaces popular in that era, along with a semi-open layout that fused modernist lines with a casual informality. The Esparzas wanted to maintain the comfortable vibe while remodeling the home and making it more functional.

With Sam serving as the de facto general contractor and Jennifer, a Realtor, serving as the designer, the couple moved into a rental home across the street so they could supervise all aspects of the work.

Homeowners Jennifer and Sam Esparza with their dog Remy.

“That was really lucky,” Sam says, of finding a rental property so close by.

They gutted nearly everything, taking the home down to studs. “We re-plumbed the gas and water lines, replaced septic lines, installed all new systems, A/C, electrical,” says Sam. “And we did all the demo ourselves. I can still feel it in my back!”

They modified the floor plan a little bit, but kept the basic footprint. They also leveled out the floors so there’s no more going up and down as you walk through rooms. They raised the roof lines to match the higher ceilings in the dining room, which brightened the entire house and made it feel even larger. They expanded the kitchen into the space that was once an Arizona room, making a large, well-illuminated and inviting Great Room that easily can accommodate dozens of people. They added an elegant mesquite bar, which hides behind pocket doors when not in use. Skylights — some new, some original — give virtually every corner of the home a sunny warmth.

Columns in the original formal living room were removed, and a large Douglas fir beam was added to support the roof.

The dated Ionic columns on the front and back porches as well as inside the front entry were removed as were two load-bearing walls, which necessitated the installation of a 35-foot steel I-beam to support the roof weight. Sam had a 24-foot Douglas fir specially milled and stained to clad the I-beam so that it perfectly matches the original beams.

One of the biggest changes to the floorplan was the master suite located at the rear of the home. They converted that space into a guest suite with two bedrooms, a fireplace and a kitchenette. Long-term guests can very comfortably reside in this part of the home.

The new master bedroom is located toward the front of the home. They converted the smaller guest rooms into one large, elegant master with a spa-like en suite with outdoor access to a private side patio and hot tub.

To house their vehicles as well as provide a workshop for Sam, they enclosed the original carport and also built another garage. “Yes, we have his and hers garages,” Jennifer jokes. Sam, who often works from home for his education technology business, also has a large office that’s accessible from the backyard.

Two small guest rooms were combined to create an elegant en suite master bath.

One of the property’s distinctive features they kept is a 140-foot-tall Aleppo pine in the backyard. Family lore has it that it was the tree from the family’s first Christmas in the home. Its tree well is original, too. “We built it with rocks we got from the end of Magee,” Sam notes, smiling at the childhood memory.

The end result is a home that wears its history proudly while also providing modern amenities. And the extended family approves. The Esparzas’ three grown children are frequent visitors, as are Sam’s sisters, one of whom said, “You’ve kept enough of the charm, but you’ve put your own stamp on it.”

Jennifer even relocated the dining room chandelier so it hangs above the kitchen island. “I call it rustic formal,” she says with a laugh. “And I love that it’s original and something that’s been part of the family.”

“It was a labor of love for sure,” Sam says of the project, which took roughly nine months to complete. “It feels good to keep the flame going.” HG

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