Our Little Piece of Phoenix

The Neighborhood

Our home is located in the East Camelback area of Phoenix. Before our neighborhood was built in the mid-1950s, it was an orange grove. Some trees still remain around the homes, and often you’ll find signs saying “Free Citrus” for anyone who feels like picking the sweet fruit. We themed our new designs with Mid-Century Modern charm. We wanted to keep our renovation within the neighborhood atmosphere. After all, the Beverly Park neighborhood is a historic part of Phoenix’s heritage. A few minutes walk down our street you’ll find the Biltmore Resort, a hub of Arizona political figures and socialites. We’re close to the canal as well, which is nice for walking the dogs in the cool mornings or late nights.

The Style

I would have loved to see the home when it was first built. However, we think it was partially renovated in the mid-1980s. By the time we bought it, the colors in the home did not complement each other. For months we talked about renovating, and sharing Mid-Century Modern inspiration on Houzz. My husband, as always, far exceeded my expectations, by planning an entire home renovation. There were necessary improvements we needed to make, like rewiring all the electrical. The roof needed to be redone on both the house and the detached garage.  However, I was most excited about the cosmetic changes.  We wanted to repaint the walls, install new countertops, and completely revamp the floors throughout the whole house.

We were prompted to start our big project on the night of Christmas, because our house flooded. This is what spurred on our renovation reverie. We had to have the baseboards torn out, and holes drilled into the walls to air it out. Large fans kicked up dust, which eventually covered the house. For those who have lived in a house during a renovation, you understand. The dust. The mess. The constant wondering where your things are. The searching for average household items. In time, it proved to all be worth it for this charming little home. 

The Floors

Before the flood, we had tan tiling and a sandy colored carpeting. There were quite a few stains across the house, and we knew we’d have to eventually replace the old carpeting anyway. When the flood occurred, it flooded most of the house. The living room, shown here, and two of the bedrooms were completely drenched. After multiple trips to Floor & Decor, we chose a dark Pergo. It’s tile, but looks like dark wood. It is more durable, and even cheaper! We decided to continue it throughout the house, running it down the length of the hallway to make the house look more open. The dark floors contrast the white walls for a classic atmosphere, enabling any accent color.












The Kitchen

About three months later, we finished our kitchen designs. We bought all new appliances in stainless steel-including the sink, painted the cabinets, retiled the floor, installed new granite countertops, and added a backsplash. In the kitchen the original backsplash was actually just oddly painted vertical lines in a ‘dark mocha’ shade. We opted to repaint all the walls in Swiss Coffee, the most popular white that still remains classic. It took a bit of wheeling and dealing, but we finally got a good deal on replacing the appliances. A few nights before the flood our dryer had died, which prompted us to include the new stainless steel look in the kitchen and laundry room.

Even the sink and faucet are new! We were super excited about our water. We installed a water purifier, a purified water spout by the sink, and additionally our new fridge has cold water from the door. In Phoenix, we have very calcified water, which many people filter with forever-empty Britas. No more Brita duty in this house! Instead of replacing the cabinets, we decided to save our budget by repainting them instead. It ended up a fraction of the cost. We added new crown moldings and new hardware to finish the look. I must say, they turned out beautifully.













The Bathroom

Last Spring, I joked with my fiancé that I wouldn’t move in with him until he repainted our bathroom. The original owners had painted our adjacent bathrooms, ketchup red and mustard yellow. I was hellbent on changing it. I loathe Ketch-up, I just can’t help it. In America, our sauces are far from elite. After a few months of going back and forth between living spaces and I joined him at his condiment-styled home.

The Pergo in the bathroom contrasted the white swirled granite well. We retiled the shower, but kept the original porcelain bath. We had it resealed, because it was much cheaper and still authentic. The shower door was installed. We added a round mirror, to match our round sink. We had the counter top replaced, and the cabinet re-stained. At first, our cabinet guy was skeptical the stain would hold. After a few coats, it actually created a pretty cool texture. Originally, it was a light maple wood, but after the staining it looks more like a dark cherrywood.




Fig Jam Love

Fig Jam Experiment

We have a fig tree in our backyard. This summer I finally decided to use our beautiful figs. Our tree produces thousands of figs every summer, which has always overwhelmed me. However, this year I decided I would try an experiment. Although, our tree produces thousands, I picked close to 700 figs! I made several batches of fig jam, to give out to my family and friends. I had a lot of fun with it. If you’re up for making a sticky mess, check out this recipe.


  • 8 pounds green or purple figs, stemmed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • about 120-130 figs
  • 6 cups sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups water


  1. In a large, nonreactive saucepan, toss the fig pieces with the sugar and let stand, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until the sugar is mostly dissolved and the figs are juicy.
  2. Add the lemon juice and water and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Simmer the fig jam over moderate heat. Occasionally, stir until the fruit is soft and the liquid runs off the side of a spoon in thick, heavy drops, about 45 minutes.
  3. Once it’s boiling, I filtered out the seeds on top to remove the majority. Of course, it’s nearly impossible to remove them all.
  4. Spoon the jam into three 1/2-pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch of space at the top. Close the jars and let cool to room temperature. Store the jam in the refrigerator for up to 3 months.


Variation: Substitute 1/2 cup of white port for the water and add one 4-inch sprig of rosemary with the lemon juice; discard the rosemary before jarring.


I found this recipe on Food and Wine! Check out their website for more amazing recipes!