Name: Angela Ellsworth and Tania Katan
Location: Arcadia; Phoenix, Arizona
Size: 1,000 square feet
Years lived in: 15 years; Owned
Angela Ellsworth is a multidisciplinary artist and teacher. Tania Katan is an author, playwright, and performer. The list of their successes is fantastically impressive, intimidating even, but that's just broad strokes. Like the work they produce, they're honest, inspirational, and offbeat, and their home reflects the warmth and charm of their personalities with art both amusing and engaging.
Their condo, designed by Al Beadle and built in 1963, is a lovely example of modernist architecture. In Phoenix, his condos and homes are lovingly called 'Beadle Boxes.' "I bought this place in 1997," Angela says. "I had recently moved here and I didn't know who Al Beadle was, but I would drive by these and I always loved the way they looked. I was working part time and couldn't afford one, but I just kept thinking about the box, the simplicity of the spaces and how it seemed like I could personally fix it up." She eventually saved enough money to purchase one, and the first thing to go was the carpet. "A lot of them had gross linoleum floors, this had blue shag carpet. I stripped all that out. You even see some units with the kitchen closed off. For me, mine was already open. The histories of these places — it's always cool to see the decisions other people made before you came along." Throughout their renovations Angela and Tania have tried to maintained the integrity of the original design, while making the space work for a contemporary lifestyle.
They recruited friends and local talent to construct the floor-to-ceiling shelves in the living room, and the cabinet and drawers for the microwave in the kitchen. The fold down table serves many purposes. "There's not a lot of storage in these places, and so I was thinking, 'How can some of that be covered up, so it's sort of an extension of things from the kitchen?' And you notice we don't have a dining room table. I talked to a local designer and we came up with something kind of like a Murphy Bed. It's made out of a door and piano hinges." The kitchen is entirely original, but the bathrooms needed a little work. "The sink upstairs, we raised the vanity. It was like an amusement park, living here. You had to be 5'4" and under."
More than anything, the art defines the space. Much of the art on display was either purchased from Angela's students or gifted to her from friends and colleagues. Conversation pieces are everywhere, and Angela and Tania take immense pleasure in relating the anecdotes. The art they've collected and the stories they hold denote not just an appreciation for art, but also a deep respect for the process of creation. They've surrounded themselves by memories humorous and touching that, coupled with two inspiring and inspired women, give soul to their home.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Organized hoarding.
Inspiration: Artists, writers, friends, wishbones, and the color turquoise.
Favorite Element: The windows in the living room, creating a sense of the elements entering our home.
Biggest Challenge: Lack of storage, and thin walls (don't tell our neighbors).
What Friends Say: So, you invited us for dinner, but you don't have a dining room or table; where do we eat?
Biggest Embarrassment: Red duct tape on the front window.
Proudest DIY: Angela: ripping up and dragging out rolls of baby blue shag carpet riddled with cat urine, and attempting to stain the concrete floor on my own. Tania: learning to make an espresso with the macchinetta del caffè all by myself!
Biggest Indulgence: Well, we've been lucky in that almost all the art, furniture and plants in and around our home have either been made, gifted, traded, or loaned. So, honestly, our biggest indulgences are buying books, red wine and traveling.
Best Advice: Angela: Date several butch girls who help make your home sturdy and beautiful. Then you can marry the butch girl who only knows how to make coffee for herself, because all the hard work is done (and she's cute and makes you laugh).
Tania: Learn how to make espresso for two.
Resources of Note:
Thanks, Angela & Tania!
(Images: Lindsey Nochta)
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