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For The Home

Change of Facade

Author: Nancy Erdmann
Issue: August, 2012, Page 88
Photos by Scott Sandler

The exterior of this Arcadia-area residence was completely transformed. Noisy rooftop air-conditioning units were relo-
cated to the ground, and poorly conceived roof additions were smoothed out and corrected, says architect Michael Higgins. To create curb appeal, a circular brick drive was installed and the landscape updated to blend with the home’s architecture.



A Home’s Facade Gets a Face-Lift That Takes It From Typical To Tasteful

Admired for THEIR quaintness and unpretentious presence, Spanish Colonial-style homes speak of romance and history, remarks architect Michael Higgins, a Phoenix Home & Garden Master of the Southwest who specializes in the look.

“In the 1920s, some of the first houses to be built in Phoenix’s Arcadia neighborhood were designed in this style,” he states. So when Julie and Robert Wallace decided to change the facade of their Arcadia home to reflect their love of Spanish Colonial architecture, they chose  to work with Higgins.

“We bought the house in 1997, when we moved here from Cleveland,” says Robert. “It was a typical Ranch house built in 1959, and it had been added onto twice in the past. We made some changes along the way, then, in 2008, decided to update the inside instead of doing a large remodel,” he recalls. “But during the process, we discovered structural problems with the roof, and it became obvious that it would have to be replaced, which was quite expensive. If we were going to spend that amount of money to replace the roof, we realized this was the time to make a change to the roofline and facade.”

The couple also wanted some separation between the house and the street, and liked the idea of a courtyard to break up the space. Too, they desired a landscape that would complement the residence. “The entryway was uninteresting and a real trek from the street, some 80 feet up a narrow concrete strip to a front door that faced away from the street,” Higgins explains.

Wrought-iron gates and an arbor made of stained Douglas fir create a distinctive courtyard entry. The front courtyard was added as a barrier to the busy street. Forming a walkway that extends from the driveway to the front door are upside-down Saltillo tiles.
Working on the renovation was a team effort that involved Higgins, builder Paul Haynie of Bent Nails Inc., and landscape architect Eric Gilliland, ASLA, of Gilliland Design, LLC.

Changes to the home and property included the installation of a clay tile roof, and the addition of two cupolas and a “chimney hat” to break up the long horizontal look of the house. Exterior walls were clad in white stucco, a patio cover was added in the backyard, a front courtyard and entry porch were constructed, and a small circular driveway was installed.

“The new circular drive brings guests closer to the front door,” Higgins says. “And the courtyard wall and pergola provide a sense of arrival and offer the front of the home some privacy from the street. This home went from a typical 1950s Ranch tract house to a Spanish Colonial gem.”

A trellised cover was constructed above the rear patio to provide shade for the house and outdoor dining area. “We use the outdoor living space all the time now, as it was not very functional before,” says homeowner Robert Wallace.

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