A Contemporary Urban Desert Home

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(Image credit: Lindsey Kay Averill)

Name: Tim Rodgers
Location: Canal North; Phoenix, Arizona
Size: 2,200 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year; Owned

In 2011, the Meadowbrook Residence, built and designed by Jay Atherton and Cy Keener, was on the cover of Dwell. It received quite a bit of attention from local and national media outlets. The two young architects lived and worked out of the house. The images from Dwell show an incredibly sparse, utilitarian space and aesthetic. So when I was given the opportunity to do a tour with new owner Tim Rodgers, director of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, I jumped at the chance. I couldn’t wait to see what someone else had done with the home.

(Image credit: Lindsey Kay Averill)

Previously, the central room was set up more like a workspace than a living room, and there wasn’t a sofa, or much seating at all, in the entire home. The house itself was the showpiece — the curved walls, the stained plywood, the remarkable attention to detail. It seemed not so much a home, but a space to inspire, generate, and implement ideas.

Tim admits that there have been a few challenges living in what the architects agree was an experiment. He and his partner Jeff have had to block off a hallway with their refrigerator, as originally there was only space for an under-counter fridge. Tim has been considering modifying the countertop and cabinets to allow for a full size fridge, but he’s still not convinced. “The details of this house are really exacting, and as a result of that, any time I think about a change, I have to think about the ramifications that are going to occur because of that change.” The only other modification they made to the home was to paint the living room dark brown/black, and even that simple change had Tim requesting Jay’s approval. “He was so sweet. He kind of said, ‘I just want you to know that the house was an experiment and there are things that may not work the ways you need them to work, so if you need to make changes, you can.’ I really felt I needed to have that blessing.”

(Image credit: Lindsey Kay Averill)

Tim has worked in galleries, both for-profit and non, since he was 19. With his entire professional career spent in galleries and museums, it’s little wonder his home resembles one. He’ll readily agree with this assessment, and is fully aware it’s not to everyone’s taste, but his take on minimalism comes from a very honest place. “Objects in a museum are given a great deal of importance and independence from one another, so I kind of recreate that in the house as well. I’ve also just grown accustom to being in that type of environment, so I don’t find it off-putting or sterile.” He says that some people, including his family, find themselves anxious in his home, due to the lack of objects. For him though, it’s just the opposite. If he has too many objects around him, he not only feels overwhelmed and claustrophobic, but also a sense of responsibility to those objects.

He says he’s really had to learn to make concessions to comfort, spurred mostly by his partner Jeff, but also by visitors. His most recent sofa, the Togo, was a huge comfort indulgence for him. “When you think about furniture in an aesthetic way, comfort becomes of minimal importance. As I get older, I appreciate the idea of comfort more. The Togo set was an interesting purchase for me, because it is a different aesthetic, but it’s incredibly comfortable and I’ve really grown to love it. Now I understand.”

While his home does have a certain museum quality, it’s also incredibly warm and tranquil. With the way the shadows of the trees play against the shaded windows, it’s fair to say that rather than living in a museum, Tim and Jeff are residing in a living piece of art.

(Image credit: Lindsey Kay Averill)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Contemporary home designed by Cy Keener and Jay Atherton.

Inspiration: Minimalist, contemporary, Asian influences.

Favorite Element: Curved walls, lack of doors.

Biggest Challenge: Curved walls, lack of doors!

What Friends Say: “Finally, you get to live in a museum.”

Biggest Embarrassment: A postman walked into the house, because he thought it was an office.

Proudest DIY: Painting the living room walls dark brown/black/grey. They were originally white, and we really debated this dramatic change.

Biggest Indulgence: Buying the Dutch painting in the family room – I just always wanted a Dutch painting.

Best Advice: Contemporary architecture does not require contemporary furnishings.

Dream Sources: Parma, Italy, Antique Show

(Image credit: Lindsey Kay Averill)

Resources of Note:


• Obsidian by Restoration Hardware used in the living room



• Both paintings by Paul Sarkisian

• Togo living room furniture by Ligne Roset

• Chinese, wood head of Buddha, c. 1400-1500


• 18th – 19th century kneeling Spanish/French Virgin Mary

• Saarinen table with marble top.

• Chinese rug c. 1930


Photograph by Robert Silver

• Painting by unknown Dutch artist, c. 1600

• Sofa designed by Cisco


• Italian reliquary bust, c. 1600.

• Side tables by Richard Schultz

• Chair designed by Knoll

• Oushak carpet

• Driftwood lamps, c. 1950


Ink drawing by Gerry Snyder

(Image credit: Lindsey Kay Averill)

Thanks, Tim!

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→ This is a previously published tour