Thirteen years ago, when James Kottke and Curt Larson
first saw the 1961 Ranch-style residence for sale in
the Arcadia neighborhood of Phoenix, they knew it needed
work. Its dated interior felt closed in and segmented,
and almost all of the walls were covered in wallpaper
or hand-painted murals.
"It was pretty raw," admits Kottke, a Phoenix architect.
"We counted seven different door surfaces and at least
17 wall colors. It took a while to see the great 'bones'
of the house."
Drawn to the low-pitched ceilings, floor-to-ceiling
windows, and pie shape layout of the property, they
decided to purchase the home. "It took us two weeks
to clean everything out and paint the interior before
we could move in," Kottke recalls. "But we loved the
simple lines and the indoor/ outdoor living areas."
It wasn't until 2001, however, that the pair began the
renovation. Busy with other projects, including remodeling
four similar-style homes in the cul-de-sac where they
live, Kottke and Larson discovered they had a knack
of taking "tired old houses" and bringing them back
to life. When the time was right to start work on their
own property, Kottke sat down at his drafting table
and began "opening the house up" with his sketches.
He made structural changes, including the removal of
several interior walls and the addition of windows and
pocket doors, which allowed light to spill into the
house from all angles. With five courtyards and a lush
backyard, views to the outdoor spaces were now unhampered.
Kottke then enclosed the carport, turning it into a
studio/ media room, added a home office and four-car
garage, changed a storage room into a bathroom, and
transformed the laundry room into a butler's kitchen.
By the tome he was finished, Kottke had added 800 square
feet to the 2,200-square-foot home, and integrated spaces
so that there was a strong connection between the indoors
and out. "I wanted the house to fell like it was 5,000
square feet," explains the architect.