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Dressing the Ranch
By Drew Limsky | Photo: by Daniel Kim | April 12, 2017
Rafterhouse modernizes and enhances Arcadia’s distinctive architecture.
“This is the cool thing about Arcadia,” says Austin King, principal of Rafterhouse, which specializes in homebuilding in the distinctive neighborhood. “Phoenix had a population boom in the postwar era, and with all the GIs returning and wanting a nice climate, all these ranch homes were built.” Arcadia, the setting for the 2011 Will Farrell film, Everything Must Go, is a prime example of postwar suburban paradise. “The land was subdivided from huge farms, and we still have citrus trees and mature pecan trees,” King explains. “Set among them is this postwar ranch architecture.”
Before launching Rafterhouse together, he and his business partner, Chris Liles, were flipping homes, mostly cosmetic projects. But around 2012 and 2013, they grew more ambitious—and visionary. “We wanted to be more intentional,” King says, so they focused on Arcadia and its particular style of ranch home. Now Rafterhouse had an identity and a mission. The business grew: “Instead of remodeling houses for $300,000 to $400,000, we were doing houses for half a million and up,” King recalls. “We did our first teardown, and soon we joked about not saying the F word: flipping.”
King and Liles had reinvented themselves as custom spec home builders of homes ranging from 2,600 square feet to 6,000 square feet, with price tags from $700,000 to $3 million. King says the “craft and artisan approach” is key to Rafterhouse; they design custom furniture, mantles and trim work. “We would rather self-perform than subcontract it out,” he says. “Our mentality is: If you can think it and dream it, we can build it.”
Rafterhouse purchased this spec property in late 2014, and in two years, it had been designed, built, staged and sold for more than $3 million. It is just short of 6,000 square feet. Rafterhouse collaborated with architect Milos Minic of Integrated Design, which has yielded a unique style: ranch houses reborn for modern life, with taller ceiling heights, grander kitchen spaces, added pantries and spacious master suites with walk-in closets. Such modern features are set within exteriors of charm, depth and texture—from gables and hip roofs, to board-and-batten siding, brick veneer and window shutters.
“We like to put the great back in great room,” King says, and with its imposing rafters and split-face mantle, that superlative is warranted. The stained Douglas fir beam work may not be structural, but it is eye-catching: “We love the exposed beam work—it adds to the dimension of the ceiling and the space,” King notes. “This is a little more intricate, with multiple members to the beam, with the ridge running down the spine of the room.” The floors are engineered oak.
Built-in shelving bookends the working gas fireplace on one side of the room, while the other end of the space boasts 16 feet of built-ins. Above the shelving, sconces from Restoration Hardware warm up the room. Given the height of the ceilings, King says the French doors feature transoms “to soak up” the wall space and provide additional light, even if transoms are more of an East Coast design element. For its successful open house, Rafterhouse oversaw the staging, partnering with Antiquities Warehouse in Phoenix, which supplied large pieces, such as the dining room table and the tufted gray sofas.
The country kitchen is notable for its finishes. “We love the classic white-on-white look,” King says, “but sometimes the space needs some richness.” The glossy larger format tiles—in scale for the expansiveness of the home—were mud-set on the walls; the cabinetry was custom-designed by Burdette Cabinet Company in Mesa. The island—stained in smoky brown and wire brushed for a homey texture—is 5 feet by 10 feet and features a quartz countertop. The reflective pendants were sourced from Currey & Company. “They have a hammered finish,” King says. “They definitely catch the eye and became a focal point.” The stools, also conveying an industrial look, are from Wayfair.
The master bathroom communicates a clean and contemporary aesthetic: white custom cabinetry, marble countertops and marble floor tile. Burdette custom-made the bath vanities, as well as the small linen cabinet, all of which add charm and detail. “These pieces were all accented with polished nickel finishes,” King says. “The inlay tile detail on the floor in front of the soaking tubs adds a bit of visual character and also helps center the room on the oversize tub.”
Given how much time they predicted the new owners would spend outdoors, the pool, raised hot tub and outdoor ramada dominate the backyard. The pool, built by Cayman Pools, features a pebble sheen finish and limestone coping edge tile. “We wanted the grass to run directly up to the pool, so we avoided a typical perimeter decking around the pool,” King says. “The ramada was designed to sit on the pool’s bond beam, lending it a similarly seamless look. Finally, the outdoor fireplace was added to create an intimate and enjoyable space year-round.”
Milos Minic of Integrated Design
CURREY & COMPANY
SHADE OF LIGHT
Kitchen backsplash tile