Name: LaurieAnne Gonzalez, husband Taylor, and dog Hazel
Location: Arcadia Neighborhood — Phoenix, Arizona
Size: 952 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years, owned
My husband and I rented our little 1950s 952-square-foot ranch home for a year before buying and renovating it to become our own. Before we renovated, the house was very dark and closed off with a lot of wasted space. My mom, who has designed renovations for her own personal homes, came up with a plan that made our little house feel much larger than it really was. Working with a local contractor, we opened up walls, we completely reconfigured the kitchen, bathrooms and closets, we smoothed out the outdated textured walls and ceiling, and we replaced all of the flooring, windows, and doors.
We also had to be really intentional with our furniture because it is such a small space. We have several really nice pieces of furniture and rugs that have been passed down to us from my family that fit seamlessly in with new furniture we have purchased. I love the combination of the old and new because it is the perfect marriage of the style I was raised with and the style that I have developed as an adult. Our little home went from a dark and stuffy space, to a charming, light-filled, little slice of heaven.
As a full-time fine artist who works from home, a studio space is a necessity. Our house has a little detached mother-in-law suite in the backyard that I planned on using as my studio, but I kept finding myself painting at the kitchen table. After months of cleaning up my workspace every few days, I finally decided to embrace it for what it was and that is when my kitchen studio was born!
What is your favorite room and why? My favorite space is definitely my kitchen studio. It is in the heart of the home next to a big window with the best light, where I can watch the bunnies and birds play in our yard and wave to our mailman every day.
The living room, kitchen, and studio are pretty much one big room but each has its own designated space and from my chair, I can see it all. As an artist, inspiration strikes at all times of the day and it’s nice to be able to work and still stay where everything is happening. I can hang out with my husband and pup, eat dinner, and paint my next series all at the same time! It’s great!
What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? We travel a lot and our favorite way to remember trips is to find a special piece of art or something from wherever we are visiting. Our last trip took us to The Netherlands and I came home with an assortment of items from the cutest home store called Dille & Kamillie.
But one of my favorite pieces we’ve ever found was from an anniversary trip we took to Montauk, New York. At an estate sale, we found a beautiful painting (the one on the dresser in our master bedroom) of Cadaques, Spain, painted by the Spanish artist, Roca Sans. We are headed to Spain in a few months, and thanks to Google and email, we are planning to meet up with the artist when we are there!
Any advice for creating a home you love? My advice is to make your home your own. This was our first house to renovate but I cannot imagine ever not renovating a house, even if it’s just a few tiny changes to make it “us.” That could be just giving it a new coat of paint, to completely renovating the whole house. I think putting your own personal touch on the place will make it feel like yours and then you can truly feel at home.
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