A Colorful, Fearless Arizona Home

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(Image credit: Lindsey Kay Averill)

Name: Cyndi Coon
Location: Tempe, Arizona
Size: 1,800 square feet
Years lived in: 13 years; owned

Cyndi’s home, a ranch-style house built in 1958, is a stunning ode to all things found, reclaimed, and vintage. It’s a home you can stare at for hours: peering into glass-fronted cases, admiring collections of ceramics, and wondering at the story behind each object. It’s about as far away from childproofed as you can get. Nevertheless, it’s home to two girls both under the age of eight.

(Image credit: Lindsey Kay Averill)

Most of the major renovations were done before Cyndi had children and none of them are what people typically consider child-friendly. The night they got the keys they ripped up the carpet to expose the concrete floors. Drywall was removed to expose block walls. The grass in the front and back yards was exchanged for desert-friendly landscaping. A few years into the renovation, when Cyndi had her first child, she recalls people telling her that she’d have to rip out the cactus for the child’s safety and generally adapt the home to her daughter. For Cyndi, she knew it had to be the other way around.

(Image credit: Lindsey Kay Averill)

It was and is important to her to maintain an aesthetic that’s beautiful and engaging, and to not sacrifice that out of fear of accidents. “The house is filled with all original art and ceramics and a lot of fragile, breakable stuff that’s completely accessible to small hands, but nothing ever breaks. There’s also art that has swear words or conceptual imagery that can be challenging, but it’s good for them to understand that that’s art. You just need to demonstrate to them how to live in a space that to a lot of people seems like adult only.”

As a creative professional and president of Laboratory5, Cyndi understands the importance of private spaces to help foster ideas. To that end, the girls have a playroom, in addition to their bedroom, where they’re allowed unsupervised make and do time, which Cyndi lovingly calls “creative neglect.” She has a constructivist style of parenting that’s wonderfully refreshing, and she’s cultivating a sense of respect and gratitude in her children, which allows the three of them to live in harmony with their surroundings.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: 1950’s ranch.

Inspiration: Mid Century Modern meets vintage found.

Favorite Element: The collections.

Biggest Challenge: Reconstructing the spaces to meet modern living by tearing down walls and building in outdoor spaces to be indoor.

What Friends Say: There is always something new to be discovered hidden in all the treasures.

Biggest Embarrassment: The 7% left unfinished.

Proudest DIY: Enclosing the carport to be an art studio, brick by brick by hand.

Biggest Indulgence: Buying a lot of artwork and buying new pieces all the time to add to the collection.

Best Advice: Be patient. Build the look slowly. Wait for the right pieces to show up. Stick to a palette. Know yourself well enough. Always be on the hunt!

Dream Sources: Vintage shops, yard sales, estate sales, thrift shops, online auctions.

(Image credit: Lindsey Kay Averill)

Resources of Note:


  • All paint is Dunn Edwards


• Countertop constructed out of an Eames filing cabinet and sunflower seed press board


  • Wall built from ASU Salvage
  • All furniture is vintage


  • Lights – Ikea
  • Table – Handmade
  • Shelves – Collection of handmade and vintage found


  • Dishes are all dinnerware and are from vintage shops, yard sales, estate sales, thrift shops, and online auctions.


(Image credit: Lindsey Kay Averill)
  • Bed – Handmade
  • White cabinet – 1920’s dental cabinet
  • Glass closets – ASU Salvage and chemistry lab cabinets

Thanks, Cyndi!

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