Talk about a big project: designing my own home.
When I purchased this Phoenix home 3 years ago, I loved the architecture and knew I could make it into something special. But the house was experiencing an identity crisis – it was 1930s in the front and 1950s in the back.
There were also details that lent to a more modern style, like the flat roof and angular lines that are present throughout the exterior. To unify the design, I chose to give this home a modern and minimalist style. It definitely took me out of my comfort zone, but the new design feels so right for the house.
Designing this home within the city was all about being bold. Situated within an urban setting amid skyline views, I was able to design this home to stand out and become one-of-a-kind.
Here’s a look at how I preserved what was left of the home’s character, while also embracing the modern details that were present to give this home an identity makeover.
1. Gave the Paint a Face Lift
First, let’s focus on one of the first things most people notice about a home: the paint color.
I went with a bold black paint color (Broadway by Behr), which demanded attention and fit in with the urban surrounding. A simple fresh coat of paint made a stunning difference, while also instantly unifying the design and giving the home a notice-me distinctiveness.
2. Designed a Courtyard
I’m a true believer courtyards create communities. I added a metal custom gate and beautiful outdoor patio furniture from Target to design a space my guests could enjoy and that invites congregation.
Also, check out the stunning, unique concrete wall by Wall Theory. This was a RealCast Board-Form wall that has amazing texture and movement within it. It’s a perfect contrast to the black exterior.
Want a Wall Theory wall yourself? Save when you use code JAMESJUDGE at checkout online to get 5% off your order. Tag me on Instagram @thehousejudge so I can see your design!
3. Kept the Charm
Despite updating this home with a modern design, it was really important to me to preserve the original windows because they’re such a special feature of this house within the historic neighborhood. Another fun fact: the massive original front window likely once looked at other homes, but today you can see most of the midtown towers.
If you want to keep original windows like I did but refresh them, consider painting them the same color as the exterior of the home. That’ll create a cleaner, more polished feel. It will also help hide some flaws while elevating the charm of the home.
4. Embraced Diagonal Angles
One of the only existing common elements in this home was diagonals. Both the original front window from the 1930s and another large glass window from the 1950s in the back offered unique angles. To connect the home and enhance the design, I embraced diagonal lines throughout the home.
As I was designing the landscape, I incorporated diagonal angles, as well. I positioned the Wall Theory RealCast Board-Form wall on a diagonal. And as you’re walking by the house, the courtyard wall leads you directly to the front walkway to help establish a sense of entry.
5. Featured Desert Landscaping
Since this home is in Phoenix and Phoenix is in a desert, I used architecturally-appealing and water-efficient desert landscaping for this home. I love the contrast of the natural desert tones against the black exterior.
I used the larger rocks in the courtyard to create definition of the new space and add texture. I really enjoyed working with Whitfull Nursery, based in the Valley, to help bring my vision to life.
6. Added Visual Interest
After deciding I wanted to paint the house black, I knew it was important to incorporate additional visual interest. I transplanted the cactus to the backyard to make room for a new walkway and patio spaces. We removed the stucco from the brick to highlight the texture of the front of the house.
To to bring warmth to the front with a natural wood element, we resurfaced the door with an $11 utility board from Home Depot. We added wood slats to the ceiling of the front porch to complement the door and help connect the exterior to the interior.
Transform Your Own Home with My Design Picks
This home got a modern makeover, but its new identity will be preserved for years to come. The historic neighborhoods here in Phoenix are one of the unique things that make it so special to live here, because you have single-family homes within a city setting. It’s the best of both worlds!
If you’re interested in giving your home’s exterior a face lift, check out the home design products I love.