Part 1: 1940’s Bungalow Renovation, Tucson, AZ

Detail 29

The House, located in the Sam Hughes National Historic District, had not  been lived in for several years when my clients bought it. The kitchen was semi-original and cramped. The bathrooms were far from original and awful. The house needed a new HVAC system, new plumbing, new hook-up to the sewer line and new electrical wiring. All the aforementioned improvements were done, plus insulating the floor over the crawlspace and the ceiling under the attic. A new subfloor was installed under the new oak flooring (the original wood flooring had no subfloor, the strip oak flooring had been nailed to the floor joists).  Since the house is located in a National Historic District, the clients opted to keep the original casement windows, except in the Guest Bathroom. We had every pane of glass in the original steel framed casement windows replaced with “double thickness” tinted glass, with custom made interior swing insect screens.

Kitchen window

The original house was a two bedroom, one bathroom house, built in 1941. A 1970’s addition had been built to create another bathroom. We demolished the kitchen and bathrooms down to the studs, and looked at how to optimize the space for each room.

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Master Bathroom Renovation

The Mission: To renovate an outdated, oppressive, dark bathroom, and add light and warmth.

 The solution: Raise the ceiling, remove all the dropped soffits, open up the shower, and use a mix of colorful wall tiles to “bookend” the space. Add an antique wooden armoire as focal point (and for towel storage).

Bath 4

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Beehive Fireplace Facelift

Fireplace_1Many homes in the Southwest have a “kiva” or “beehive” style fireplace as a feature in one of their rooms. In this house, located in the Fairfield section of Tucson, the fireplace was rather large and imposing. Attached to the left side of the fireplace was a low soffit and sitting bench that separated the Living Room from the Dining Area. The removal of these elements opened up the spaces nicely to each other, but the fireplace was still overwhelming. [Read more…]

Laundry Room Plus…

The Mission: To create a welcoming and comfortable entrance from the Garage and to provide space for laundry activities, a pantry and a “recharge station”.

The Solution: Pull the garage forward, building a new front half of the garage. Convert the back ten feet of the former garage into a gracious family Entry and Laundry Room.

Hall 1

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Sliding Barn Door with a Modern Flair

The door in the open position, with a view to the Kitchen beyond.

The Mission: The client desired acoustic privacy between the Living Room (and the sounds of the television) and the quieter Kitchen.

The Solution: Rather than opting for a conventional solution, such as a swinging door, a sliding barn door was the inspired solution. Custom designed of Philippine mahogany with inlaid aluminum, the door’s features both blend and comfortably contrast, with the surroundings. Inspired design can as simple as a sliding a door. [Read more…]

Master Bathroom Remodel

The new shower takes the place of the former bathtub.

The Mission: Modernize an outdated bathroom – while making the space more beautiful and functional (the old tub was rarely used, while the stall shower was cramped and leaky).

The Solution: A luxurious, walk-in shower replaced the old bathtub. The old shower morphed into a spacious closet. Previously an uncomfortable space, transformed into a place of elegant respite. Frosted glass doors introduced at the openings of the both the closet and toilet room  allow light to filter throughout, while new tile on the walls and floor combine with “floating” mirrors – along with  a new vanity, countertop and lighting – to  offer an entirely new mood to what was an old, inefficient room. [Read more…]

Home Office Expansion










The Mission: Imagine a married couple, both university professors, sharing a single small bedroom as a home office. They needed more space and more sanity. Though their house was surrounded by a desert landscape, they had few views and little light.

The Solution: More space! In both imagination and physical dimensions, the new office provides a place – paradoxically – of both comfort and productivity. The square footage has been doubled and the upwardly-expanding walls expose desert vistas and catch the Eastern light in the morning. Now, there’s expansive desk space for her and a table for his laptop – all while allowing plenty of access to their large book collection. A sliding glass door, repurposed from the original bedroom, now offers access to the patio for breaks (or to simply take in the abundant horizons). The overall design, including a wood ceiling which draws the eye upward, lends that modernist aesthetic which was previously sought out in a coffee shop… only now, they needn’t leave home. Imagine: a space so welcoming that their teenage son now often shares the office with his parents. [Read more…]

Tucson Arizona Home: Exterior Renovation


The Mission: A slump block masonry home from the Seventies – though located in the beautiful foothills of the Tucson Mountains – felt dark, cramped and took little advantage of the surrounding mountain & city views. Could a renovation fix this?

The Solution: The resulting renovation was so successful it was featured in Tucson Lifestyle Home & Garden. Now, the house is open to the lovely horizons which ensconce the home. Seen from within, every vista assuages the eye as a framed vignette, inviting the pleasant contemplation often accorded to paintings. The light throughout is alluring, guiding the eye – and the viewer – into the house, through the house and then back outside again. The centerpiece of the new design might just be the outdoor living area added on the East façade (see photos below). Some of the home’s old features remain (the existing arched elements are still featured prominently in the front facade), while less aesthetically-pleasing features were replaced; for example, new Energy Star windows happily replaced the old aluminum-framed variety. Beneath, a new stucco ledge visually grounded those arched windows, drawing a horizontal connection with the deck and new garden wall.

Front Facade

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Tucson Arizona Home: Interior Renovation

This project featured in the December 2012 issue of Tucson Lifestyle Home & Garden.

 The Mission: The above project also demanded a massive redesign of the interior. Could the results equally impress?

The Solution: Yes! With a great room that truly is great (equal parts panoramic and comfy) as the jewel of this design, this interior sparkles with lovely lines and desert views.

Floor Plan of  renovated house. See also “Tucson Arizona Home: Exterior Renovation” Project.

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Sweetwater Garage Design & Addition


The Mission:  The clients, blessed with an over-sized lot, wanted to expand their garage to accommodate two large vehicles and a work area – but the city’s zoning regulations along with a local homeowner’s association, were standing in the way. How could the clients get the space they desired and deserved?

The Solution:  After a survey was commissioned to figure out all the exact lines and laws, a new garage was created to share a driveway with the original structure. Now, the homeowners love their new space, and neighbors frequently comment on how wonderfully the building integrates with the neighborhood.

New two car garage.

The new garage shares the driveway access with the existing garage. [Read more…]