A Dated Cookie-Cutter 1990s House Was Turned into a Clean Minimal Home With a Cool Modern Banister

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Name: Tiffany Sellwood, husband, and two sons
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Type of home: House
Size: 2400 square feet
Years lived in: 4.5 years, owned

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: My family and I purchased this home almost five years ago as-is. Let’s just say it was so bad, there was only one interior photo on the MLS listing. I didn’t love that it was a cookie-cutter, with about 40 other homes that looked just like it in the neighborhood. But we loved the lot, the neighborhood, the layout, and the backyard. It was priced low enough for us to gut it and make it our own, so we did our best to make it feel custom. The home is a popular tri-level floor plan in our community, Ahwatukee, built in the early ’90s. The kitchen, dining, and living rooms are on the main floor, with two bedrooms, a bathroom, and family room downstairs. The master bedroom/bathroom and two more bedrooms and a bathroom are upstairs. We have a large deck off of our master bedroom, with a view of South Mountain and perfect sunset spot.

One of my favorite customizations we did was replacing the drywall barrier on our stairway with a geometric, mid-century metal wall sculpture. It serves as both barrier and art! The best part of this house is that every square inch of space is used. So many homes in Phoenix have an “Arizona room” in the front of the house, that serves no purpose other than housing the Christmas tree. In our home, there isn’t a room that goes unused on a given day.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Mid-century meets desert suburbia

What is your favorite room and why? This is a hard question. I really love so many of the spaces, but I must say, I am in love with our kitchen. We broke down a wall to open it up between the kitchen and dining room, and we moved the appliances to what was the pantry wall, making the space feel so much bigger. The kitchen is all white, so it’s already bright–but the skylight and large windows keep it filled with the desert sunlight all day. I love the giant island, where my kids can do homework while I cook. Our master bathroom would be runner up. We started with an amazing black and white cement tile from Cement Tile Shop in Scottsdale. Rather than adding a splash of color like I had planned, we kept it all black and white. It’s the sexiest bathroom!

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? A piano from 1966, off of Craigslist!

Any advice for creating a home you love? Don’t overthink it! If you like an item or a paint color, don’t dwell too much on whether it’s the right or wrong choice. Just go for it! Your gut is usually right, and you can always change it later. Don’t get caught up in whether something is going to be dated later. Any choice is bound to look dated at some point, so do what you want now and enjoy it!

This submission’s responses have been edited for length and clarity.

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