A dab of black in a sea of pink and white, this Phoenix ranch house stands out from the audience with a decidedly contemporary take on desert style. Cynthia Steinman came across the outdated and termite-infested ranch house and immediately envisioned a contemporary desert home she could market. With the help of architect Eric Spry, it evolved into a robust and clean layout. “We just wanted to clear the dance floor,” says Spry of the house’s new look.
Steinman adored the house so much, she moved right in. “I am not supposed to get emotionally connected,” she says. “But when it had been done, we put it on the market, and a week after I just couldn’t sell it”
in a Glance
Who lives here: Cynthia Steinman
Size: 1,500 square feet; 3 bedrooms
Photography: Christopher Barr Photography
When Steinman and Spry initially saw the house, they knew right away that the website dictated a fresh, contemporary style. The black exterior was motivated by a house Steinman found in a magazine. Rusted steel, including a water-cut address plate, provides the only colour out front.
The renovation began as an exterior makeover, however, the degree of the necessary repairs was so good that it soon turned into a full remodel. Although this house is in a prime area of Phoenix, no other renovators had been prepared to get it. “It just needed some love,” says Steinman.
Spry kept the new house as easy and streamlined as possible. Anything that wasn’t absolutely necessary — including shingles, bulky columns and trimming — was removed. “I stuck with that which wouldn’t dismiss in a hurricane,” says Spry.
The entryway is composed of a single column, a steel beam and a plate at the top to get a portico. Fundamental pavers carve a path to the front door.
The chambers were split from the original design. Spry had four walls knocked down and turned into the main space into this open great room. They redid the ceiling construction, but the majority of the exterior walls are exactly the same — no square footage was inserted, which helped keep the budget in check.
The fireplace wall was already there. A second drywall layer behind it and light in between produce a subtle shine. Originally Spry simply refinished the drywall, but after the project was done Steinman wanted some texture in the space. Natural stone helps brighten up the contemporary lines of this fantastic room.
Fireplace surround: Idaho quartzite; floors: ceramic tile; light fixture: Cost Plus World Market
Every material and merchandise from the house is made from the U.S.. A muted, neutral colour palette reigns in each room. “I’d rather the people who come in be the pops of colour,” Steinman says. “Along with the outdoors: the pool, pool etc.”
Spry gutted the kitchen and put in new windows with a view to the backyard and pool.
The island has a unique seating arrangement that promotes gatherings. Rather than the typical-bar style island where those seated have to appear sideways, this island has seating on all three sides to produce direct conversation simpler.
Countertops: Corian; light fixture: Exeter 16 Jar, Pottery Barn
The pool had been left without water and attention for some time, causing quite a lot of harm. Originally, Steinman didn’t like the form of the pool because it didn’t go with the house’s clean lines. However a complete redesign or fill-in would have put them far over budget, so they refinished it instead.
A brand new Pebbletec surface and concrete decking tie the pool to its slick surroundings. As from the front yard, the backyard landscaping is also minimalist. “We wanted each bush and tree to be its surprise,” says Spry.
Spry designed a sculpture of metal panels and exterior light to hide an unattractive part of a neighboring block wall. The panels also hide an electric transformer and pool equipment.