It’s like hitting a brick wall (literally) trying to find the sink from all that clutter.
It’s like hitting a brick wall (literally) trying to find the sink from all that clutter.
This Apache Junction, Arizona seller sure loves his Pepsi (check out the hoard on the kitchen counter), but he secretly drinks Coke (see the Coke can on the table?). Busted! He’s waiting for the home stager to arrive?
The office is a fright. Holy knick-knacks.
Totally embracing the Southwest theme design in the living room.
One of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Phoenix homes sold last week for $2,800,000. It was built in 1951, just eight years before FLW died in 1959. Frank’s son David Wright was the original owner of this house. It had never been offered for sale before.
[Disclaimer: We are not calling this home ugly. Due to its historical significance, it is worth presenting to you today.]
Let’s take a tour.
The house has a spiral design with ramps.
The lifting of the house from the ground provides room for air to flow freely.
Here is an archival photo believed to be from the early 1950s.
Another old photo showing the foundation. The lot size is 2.18 acres.
The curved walls can be seen in the kitchen.
Concrete block and wood were the dominant building materials. This is the living room with a dramatic wood ceiling and concrete fireplace.
Approximately 2,500 square feet home with 4 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms.
The wood looks brand new instead of 58 years old.
Another fireplace. Beautiful wood ceiling.
There is a guest house as well.
Exterior view of the spiral ramps.
Design Through the Decades - Part 7
Phoenix, Arizona continued to have exponential population growth throughout the 1990s, resulting in a gain of 338,000 people over those ten years. The population of Phoenix in 2000 was 1,321,045, which made Phoenix the sixth largest city in the United States.
As happened in the 1980s and 1990s, more new residents meant more houses. Just like the 1980s and 1990s was all about mass production of homes, the 2000s also had homes popping up quickly, particularly in north Phoenix (e.g., Norterra master planned community). Most of the new home construction in the 2000s however occurred in outlying suburb cities like Queen Creek, Buckeye, Avondale, Goodyear, Maricopa, & Peoria.
Home buyers were getting a little bored of the ivory-white exterior paint or pink-white paint and the cookie cutter designs. And designs do change over time. Let’s look at some of these changes in the 2000s.
One of the easiest design updates was adding stacked stone to the front even if for only a few feet.
Three-car garages emerged as an expected standard.
Garages began to blend in with the front exterior instead of being the only thing you saw out front.
Stone facades were all the rage. And more dominant entryways.
Gone are ivory-white and pink-white exterior paint colors, replaced with dark tans and browns.
The type of stucco finish also changed in the 2000s. The rough stucco in the 1980s and the fan pattern or crisscross pattern or skip trowel pattern of the 1990s were replaced by smooth sand finishes. And here we also see coved eaves.
A close-up of a stacked-stone entrance with carriage lighting.
The fancier homes had turret foyers.
The 2000s also saw a return to more traditional architecture found in other parts of the United States, for those buyers who wanted something different.
This Peoria, Arizona home shows a blending of Spanish and Mediterranean styles with a modern twist.
This concludes our review of the exterior architecture of Phoenix homes through the decades. Coming up next: Kitchens.
Design Through the Decades - Part 6
The population in Phoenix, Arizona reached 983,403 in 1990 (up another 200,000 since 1980), but since other US cities were also growing quickly, Phoenix remained the 9th largest US city in 1990 (same ranking as in 1980). However, it seemed like everyone was moving to Phoenix. The population grew by over 330,000 in the 1990s! That’s a lot of demand for new houses. Phoenix had to grow further west, further north, and further west in Ahwatukee.
That meant home builders were building like crazy. In order to keep up the pace, construction had to be like an assembly line. Wood frame, stucco. Next. Wood frame, stucco. Next. Once you picked out your floor plan, you got to choose Elevation A, Elevation B, or Elevation C, which usually meant an extra $1,000 for framed windows, and another $1,000 for a different air vent over the garage.
Here’s a typical 1990s home built in 1997.
Built in 1992, this home was probably the higher-priced Elevation C plan, what with all the fancy corners and wall extensions.
One of the most high-celebrated features of homes in the 1990s was the bay window dining room. This created a narrow entryway which was a real joy when moving in/out with large furniture.
Another way to distinguish your home from all the others in your subdivision was to have column pop-outs. By adding an extra layer of styrofoam and stucco, your house was elevated in style and class.
This is another example of corner pop-outs.
Using the same “happy face” style of the 1980s, this 1990s home says hello. (Another copied style from the 1980s was having the front door on the side of the house.)
Design Through the Decades - Part 5
The Phoenix, Arizona population grew by over 200,000 in the 1970s. By 1980, the population reached 789,704, a 36% increase over 1970. Phoenix went from the 99th largest US in 1950 to the 29th largest in 1960 to the 20th largest in 1970 to the 9th largest in 1980. Phoenix gained another 200,000 in population in the 1980s.
With all of these people moving to Phoenix, houses were in high demand. Phoenix stretched further north, northeast, west, and into the outlying area of Ahwatukee in the far southeast in the 1980s.
Exterior architecture in Phoenix in the 1980s was all about mass production. Cookie cutter design for a quick build. There was no time for block construction. Wood frame with stucco was the preferred choice in exterior construction.
Built in 1981, this home’s exterior was made of T-111 masonite siding, as was mentioned in the 1970s Exterior post. Cheap materials meant affordable houses. Thankfully, T-111 siding moved out of fashion in the 1980s.
Here’s a house that is the quintessential Phoenix home in the 1980s: two-story, wood frame, troweled-on rough stucco (to catch dirt and dust easier), ivory/yellow-white paint (or pink-white paint), 2-car garage up front with a sidewalk along the side to the front door, shorter driveway, red tile roof, bedroom over the garage, located close to the next house.
Sometimes Phoenix homes in the 1980s had a combination of T-111 siding with wood slat trim or stucco siding with wood slat trim as seen here.
If you paid a little more, you could have a brick facade to the bottom of your house.
If you had a clever home builder, they would switch the roof pitch on you. Gable or reverse gable, the options were overwhelming!
As mentioned earlier, it became common (not necessarily popular) to have the front door along the side of the house.
The 1980s saw the introduction of the anthropomorphic house: two upper level bedrooms became the eyes, a decorative air vent over the garage became the nose, and the garage was the mouth.
The last of the slump block homes, thank goodness.
Design Through the Decades - Part 4
Today we’ll look at the exterior architecture of homes in Phoenix, Arizona in the 1970s.
By 1970, the population of Phoenix had grown to 581,562, enough to move it from the 29th largest US city in 1960 to the 20th largest city in 1970. To see historical photos of Phoenix in the 1970s, click here.
Built in 1971 in the traditional ranch style format. Cookie-cutter floor plans: you enter the house’s living room, walk forward 10 feet, turn left, walk down hallway, one bedroom on the left, one bathroom on the right, walk forward, 2nd bedroom on the left, linen closet at the end of the hallway, and master bedroom on the right with a 3/4 bath.
Also built in 1971 and featuring slump block. Personally, I think slump block is ugly, but it is supposedly helpful with heating and cooling. A slump block is hollow in the middle which allows for cooling in the summer and heat retention in the winter.
Another slump block home. The emphasis was on energy savings in hot Phoenix versus visual appeal.
A slump block home on a grander scale.
Can we just call this architectural whimsy?
Mass production of
cheap affordable homes began in the 1970s. It was all about building homes quickly and at lower cost. Block wall homes took longer to build. Wood frame construction was quicker. And you could cover the exterior with cheap T-111 masonite siding. Builder John F. Long was responsible for many of these T-111 sided homes with thin metal framed windows that rattle when you close the front door.
Here’s a two-story home built in 1979. Two-story homes still were not common in Phoenix in the 1970s. Land was still cheap, so builders did not have an incentive to build up. This would all change in the 1980s.
The Mediterranean look became popular in the 1970s. You can see many of these Mediterranean-inspired homes in the Moon Valley area of Phoenix.
Another Mediterranean/Spanish design. This style was quite popular in the master-planned community of McCormick Ranch in Scottsdale which was developed in the late 1970s.
Red/pink slump block was an alternative to the tan slump block as seen at this Glendale, Arizona home.
Arches were used as architectural flair in the 1970s.
Design Through the Decades - Part 3
In 1960, the population of Phoenix had quadrupled since 1950 to 439,170 and went from the 99th largest US city in 1950 to the 29th largest city. To see historical photos of Phoenix from the 1960s, click here.
The Phoenix area did see an explosion of growth and new homes in the 1960s particularly to the west of 27th Ave, to the north of Shea Boulevard, and to the east of 32nd Street. Concrete block and brick were the preferred materials for building exterior walls. The ranch style prevailed with a few exceptions. Let’s take a look.
Built in 1960 with one-car carport. Not much change in architecture from the 1950s.
Built in 1961. Two-car garages were just beginning to emerge as a new luxury feature. Also, it was becoming popular for the lower half of the exterior wall to be brick or concrete block, then wood siding (over concrete block) for the upper half.
Built in 1962 with a more modern look.
Built in 1968.
Big front yards were common in the “rich” areas of town.
Built in 1969, we’re starting to see some personality (subject to opinion). And the emergence of flat roofs.
Also built in 1969 with fancy arches in front.
Another home built in 1969. Slump block is beginning to be used for exterior walls.
The start of two-story homes in Phoenix, which becomes the norm in the 1990s and 2000s. The difference with the 1960s is that these homes were placed on larger lots (10,000+ square foot lots vs <6,000 square foot lots in the 1990s & 2000s).
When home builders could actually dig into the hard Phoenix soil, tri-level homes appeared. Tri-level homes are few and far between in Phoenix.
Another tri-level home built in 1968 with a Mediterranean feel with arched windows and flat rooflines.
And another Ralph Haver-like home from the 1960s.
Design Through the Decades - Part 1
We start the Design Through the Decades series in the 1950s, focusing on the exterior (architecture and design) of homes in Phoenix, Arizona.
But first let’s look at how Phoenix has changed. This is a map of Phoenix in the 1950s. The city limits didn’t really extend much north beyond Indian School Road. Phoenix was the country’s 99th largest city in 1950 with a population of 106,818. To see more photos of Phoenix in the 1950s, click here.
Brick homes like this one were considered the norm in Phoenix in the 1950s. The pop-out bedroom window (the precursor to bay windows) was quite common.
Built in 1959 and reversed from the previous photo.
Built in the 1950s, the quintessential ranch style home. Diamond pattern windows were popular.
Built in 1958 with decorative wood “shutters” flanking the windows.
Built in the 1950s with squished out mortar between the blocks. The one-car carport was likely converted to a garage at a later date.
Here’s a close-up of the squished mortar.
This Phoenix home built in 1951 really shows off the brick.
Built in 1950.
Here are three drawings of 1950s ranch architecture, all from 1957.
Design Through the Decades - Part 2
Ralph Haver was an architect in the Phoenix area for over 30 years, starting in 1945. His style of homes in the 1950s usually featured low pitch roof lines with little to no attic space and windows that were either floor-to-ceiling or placed high up on a wall. Let’s take a look at some Ralph Haver designed homes in Phoenix from the 1950s.
This first home was built in 1954. Note the windows placed high on the front wall right up to the roofline. One-car carports were common in Phoenix in the 1950s.
Also built in 1954, but this home features floor-to-ceiling windows in the front.
Built in 1957. With low sloping rooflines, there is no attic space. Homes like this oftentimes have trouble adding overhead electric (for ceiling fans or lights) if they were not pre-wired at the time of construction.
Built in 1958. Ralph Haver homes were built of concrete block or brick or both.
This home was built in 1952 and is located in Paradise Valley, Arizona. Here we can see a horizontal roof line and floor-to-ceiling windows.
For more information about Ralph Haver’s history in the Phoenix area plus a list of neighborhoods with his homes, go here. A future post will show interior views of Ralph Haver homes.