Friday, October 5, 2007

House Voyeur: An Eclectic Arizona Abode

Lorie Parch has lived in some of the world’s most glamorous cities, including New York, London, and Los Angeles. But it’s Scottsdale, Arizona, that this freelance writer (and former colleague of mine) now calls home.

Seeking a quieter life in a less-harried and less-expensive locale, Lorie bought her first home -- a 1959 brick ranch outside Phoenix -- two years ago. She wasted no time making the house warm and welcoming and filling it with the treasures she gathers during her frequent travels. The results are feminine and pretty, but also laid back and comfortable. There’s nothing overly precious here.

Let’s let Lorie herself give us a virtual tour of her home:

“When I moved to Arizona from L.A., I didn’t want one of the cookie-cutter, fake Mexican/Spanish houses that are everywhere here. The exterior of this house is very Fifties, and some of the original elements -- like the ironwork on the back patio -- are reflective of that time. The interior has been altered too much to retain much of its original look.

My aesthetic is eclectic -- clean, a little ethnic (I especially love Moroccan, Arab, and Turkish decor), and a little Shabby Chic (in the bedrooms, particularly). If I had the money to remodel the kitchen, it would be very white with a farmhouse sink, glass-panel cabinet doors, and butcher block countertops. I’ve tried to keep the house simple, make it personal and colorful, and respect the space -- not try to make it into something it’s not.

I spent three days stripping the paint off the pink tile in the master bathroom to bring back that original element (I also added a chenille bedspread shower curtain and a tissue-box cover that my mom made to further evoke that time). I redid almost every floor in the house: I added Berber carpet to the bedrooms, oak flooring in the living room and hallway, and redid the kitchen and dining room by tearing up the white tile and acid-treating the concrete beneath, adding touches of turquoise here and there.

Virtually everything here is something I’ve collected from a meaningful experience, person, or place in my life. There’s a Josephine Baker print in my living room that I got from a stall on the banks of the Seine in Paris; a pencil drawing of pomegranates from San Gimignano in Italy; two Moroccan lanterns -- one from New York and one from Tamou, a Moroccan store in St. Louis that I love (would you believe that I couldn’t find a single lantern like this in the souks I visited in Morocco?); and huge football scoring numbers in my office that say ‘828,’ since that’s the name of my business. I also just frame stuff that means something to me, like the menu from a restaurant in Maui that I saved from a family vacation or a flyer from the London Underground with a picture of the Tube stop near where I used to live.

I collected my artwork over the years. I take pictures from coffee table books and calendars and frame them -- especially Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, since I love Western images. I have an original picture from 9/11 that is disturbing but a powerful reminder for me. I have an original lithograph from 1960s illustrator David Weidman that I found at the Santa Monica Flea Market.

I got a lot of my stuff -- including the oil portrait in my bedroom, California paintings, old pool balls, Mexican retablos, and a vintage enamel baby bath that I plant geraniums in when it cools off here -- from the Rose Bowl Flea Market, which is held the second Sunday of every month in Pasadena.

A dollar goes a lot further in Arizona than in some of the other places I’ve lived, so I’ve found a lot of great bargains here. My most recent score is the vintage iron bed, already white and wonderfully nicked and scratched, in my guest room. It was $180 at a thrift store; that same bed would go for about $800 elsewhere.

There’s an antiques store in Phoenix called Sage that is my Mecca -- the most beautiful pieces, wonderfully merchandised, and many sourced from Europe. The prices are great: I bought a French articulating table ($45), a French wire hanging basket ($60), a vintage schoolhouse light for the kitchen ($89), a 19th century Italian chandelier that I hung in my bedroom ($189), the ‘222’ window in the kitchen, and much more!

I got my antler chandelier on eBay, but they have similar ones at Antler Attic in Lakeside, Arizona, near my parents’ cabin.

The Indian teak plantation chair, the coffee table -- actually an old wicker card table -- in the living room, and the bench in the yoga room are from a place called the Roost, an antiques store that used to be run out of the Byrd House Inn bed and breakfast in Lakeside.

The throw pillows on the couch are from Pottery Barn and Spitalfields Market in London. (For similar authentic Indian handblocked print pillows, check out Les Indiennes -- not cheap, but really beautiful.) The mirrors above it are from Crate & Barrel.

My colorful Adirondack chairs, purchased from Belleza Gallery in Bisbee, Arizona, were built by women in a center there who are trying to get their lives back on track, so they’ve got good karma.

Maybe my best bargain are the two hand-hewn tree stumps I had made by this guy up in Cottonwood, Arizona -- if you’ve seen the tree stump tables at ABC Carpet & Home in New York, you know what I mean. The ABC tables are $2,000 each. Mine? $150 for both. They’re really beautiful, even if they are so heavy I can’t move them by myself!

I’m not above discount shopping, either: I got four lamps that I love, including the orange mercury glass lamp in the living room, at Target -- two were $10 each and two were $20 each. My tile-top end tables in the living room are actually outdoor tables, also from Target. The living room rocker is from IKEA.

The triptych Venetian mirror in the guest room is from JC Penney -- an untapped resource! The headboard in my bedroom is from JC Penney, too -- it’s just like the padded headboard from Pottery Barn, but for a fraction of the price. And I draped a quilted throw from TJ Maxx over it to give it more color and texture. The glass lamp on my bedside table (nearly identical to the ones Restoration Hardware sells) is from JC Penney as well. They also have a great selection of simple, cotton-duck curtains, and often ship for free.

The art over my bed is just leftover material from the Anthropologie curtains, stretched over three $5 canvases from Big Lots. I hope it gives the illusion of windows and lightness, since the room is quite small and the ceiling is low.

My best advice: Have confidence in your taste. I don’t really care what anyone else thinks, and I don’t need to be super-practical because I don’t have kids. (People go nuts when they see the white couch in the living room!) But it helps to look at magazines and just rip out stuff you like and start to picture it where you are. I totally rip things off from Domino, Blueprint, and the like. They have great ideas!”

Click here to see a captioned slideshow of Lorie’s house. (Psst -- Lorie’s looking for house swaps in the Bay Area in November and Seattle in January. If you’re interested, email her here.)

Thanks for giving us a peek inside you home, Lorie!

5 comments:

Freshly Found said...

Thanks to Lorie for opening up her home! Lovely to see her creative ideas.

Fairfax said...

So many fun things.

Anonymous said...

Great to see eclectic style from Scottsdale. I live in one of the Phoenix historic districts (near Sage!) and agree that you can get some great bargains in AZ.

MaeEast said...

This is so encouraging! I'm living in my parents' home now that they're gone. It's a 40+ year old tract home and this has given me a lot of inspiration about where to go, what to look for, and a great BIG permission slip to do whatever I want! Thanks.

PENNYCLOVER said...

would you please tell me where you got your tree stump tables for 150.00?

Thank you!

 

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