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Real estate agent Erika O’Dowd has square feet and a nose for a great property. Here she brings us her pick of what’s for sale in Tucson. Photos by Max Fisher

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Where it is: Tucson Boulevard and Glenn Street

Listed by: Re/Max

The damage: $200,000

How many square feet? 1,913

More info here

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Erika O’Dowd

You’ll love it because:   This 3-bedroom mid-century modern home designed by architect Phil Clovicko is truly stylish and unique. I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it. The dark ceiling beams are echoed in the pattern of the floor tile. The floor to ceiling windows and clerestory windows bring the outdoors in. The open kitchen is partially original. With its updated concrete countertops, vintage turquoise O’Keefe and Merritt appliances and kitchen island, it anchors the entertaining space. When I’m looking at houses, I always imagine that if this were my house, what would my friends’ reactions be when they come to my new home for the first time?  My friends might use some naughty words when they walk through the door.

 

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Here comes the but: There’s some clean-up work to be done. The most expensive (and not very fun) work has been taken care of – air conditioning, tankless water heater, roof and plumbing have all been replaced recently. Landscaping is really going to make an impact, and if it were mine I might repaint and choose a monochromatic scheme to play down some of the lines. It might not be the architect’s vision, but it’s my sanity!

* Erika O’Dowd is a real estate agent with Tierra Antigua Realty. Find out more about her here.

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Real estate agent Erika O’Dowd has square feet and a nose for a great property. Here she brings us her pick of what’s for sale in Tucson. Photos by Cayupe

Where it is: Grant Road near Swan

Listed by: Realpros

The damage:  $285,000

How many square feet?  3287

More info here

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Erika O’Dowd

You’ll love it because: This is the real deal. Back in the 1930s this hacienda was on at least 10 acres out in (at the time) the middle of the desert, with a sweeping view of the Catalinas framed – literally – in a “picture” window designed to look like a giant framed portrait hanging from the ceiling. Apparently Clark Gable was good friends with the couple who owned the hacienda in the 1940s and actually spent about a year there after Carole Lombard died. 

The giant property was subdivided in the 1950s and so now this hacienda is surrounded by mid-century burnt adobe ranch homes, but it still sits on over a half acre in the center of Madelyn Circle, standing tall like the grande dame of the neighborhood with all the houses oriented to face her. The dark wood beams and vigasdark Saltillo floors, farmhouse kitchen and wrought iron details all speak the Spanish colonial revival idiom, but the giant picture windowformal dining room and butler’s pantry tell you that this house was meant for fine entertaining . If I were a Hollywood star who wanted to play cowboy, this is where I would hang my hat.

Here comes the but: Time marches on and Tucson has grown around this property. There is some traffic noise from nearby Grant Road, and the once majestic view from the picture window is partially obscured now by nearby buildings. It also needs updating – not quite a fixer-upper, but let’s just say there’s a trash compactor in the kitchen.

* Erika O’Dowd is a real estate agent with Tierra Antigua Realty. Find out more about her here.

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Real estate agent Erika O’Dowd has square feet and a nose for great property. She shares one of her favorite properties for sale. This week: the secluded oasis behind a garden wall. Photos by Kenya Glenn of KC Creative. 

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Where it is: Miramonte neighborhood, near 5th and Country Club.

Listed by: Long Realty

The damage: $675,000

How many square feet? 2500

For more info click here.

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Erika O’Dowd

You’ll love it because: This is one of those mysterious houses in Tucson that you’ve driven by, craning your neck to catch a peek over the wall. What secrets hide behind that wall? What appears to be a front door is actually a garden gate that reveals a secluded, lush oasis, a private compound with three separate houses, and patios connected by meandering paths. Architect Robert Taylor designed the main house featuring soaring ceilings and clerestory windows, and the floor-to-ceiling windows and glass doors bring the gardens indoors and make the ceiling feel like it’s simply floating above you. With no interior doors or walls, it is basically a giant studio, with the only bedroom being an open loft overlooking the living room and kitchen. Then there are two separate one-bedroom guest houses you reach via pathways through the gardens. There’s a soaking pool. There’s an outdoor dining room. There’s an outdoor pizza oven. We literally got lost in the gardens.


Here comes the but: This is a very special and specific floor plan. The master suite is open to the living space, so “good night, honey, I’m going to bed” means you’re still going to hear the rest of the Game of Thrones binge in the living room. But it’s the perfect place for those who frequently have out-of-town guests they love, but still want to keep some distance during long visits.

* Erika O’Dowd is a real estate agent with Tierra Antigua Realty. Find out more about her here.

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Real estate agent Erika O’Dowd has square feet and a nose for great property. She shares one of her favorite properties for sale. Photos courtesy of Long Realty.

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Where it is: Blenman-Elm neighborhood, northeast of the University of Arizona near the Arizona Inn.

Listed by: Long Realty

The damage: $349,900

How many square feet? 1,168

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Erika O’Dowd

You’ll love it because: This little house channels a southern California beach cottage. The living room feels double the size because the to-the-floor windows create absolutely no visual barrier between the room and the patio outside. The two bedrooms are large, the bathroom is pristine and modern, the light grey floors add to the ethereal lightness, and the updated kitchen is bright and modern. And if there is any house in the world that is crying out for a Dwelled-out shipping-container-turned-tiny-house-studio in the giant backyard, this is it! Full disclosure: when I went to check out this house I ended up hanging out in it for an hour. I opened all the blinds, I tried all the original built-in drawers (they still work) and the pocket door (even IT still works), I even made a few phone calls. I could not bring myself to leave!

 

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Here comes the but: Let’s be honest, it’s a small house two-bedroom house with only one bathroom, although the galley kitchen is the only room that really feels tight.

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Real estate agent Erika O’Dowd has square feet and a nose for great property. She shares one of her favorite properties for sale. Photos by David Olsen.

 

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Where it is: In the midtown historic neighborhood of Colonia Solana.

Listed by: Long Realty

The damage: $710,000

How many square feet? 2,594

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Erika O’Dowd

You’ll love it because: The architect-owner took a 1960s house with low ceilings and little natural light and has created a light, airy contemporary, loft-like space. I happened to see this house in its original condition years ago, and architect Scott Neeley worked magic while retaining much of the original structure; the floorplan is largely untouched, the characteristic burnt adobe is still an integral part of the home. But he’s transformed and modernized the space by raising the roof in the central living space and adding celestory windows; expanding the sliding doors to the patio; whitewashing the burnt adobe on the interior of the home; and treating the floors to a thin coat of pale concrete. Not only is the house contemporary and bright, he’s used green features throughout the remodel, earning a Gold Standard under the City of Tucson Green Remodeling Program.

 

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Here comes the but: All this style and quality construction details come with a price tag. It is priced significantly higher than other similarly-sized homes in Colonia Solana. And it doesn’t have a pool, whereas the other homes nearby do.

* Erika O’Dowd is a real estate agent with Tierra Antigua Realty. Find out more about her here.

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Real estate agent Erika O’Dowd has square feet and a nose for great property. She shares one of her favorite properties for sale.

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Where it is: In a small historic midtown neighborhood of Tucson called El Montevideo.

Listed by: Long Realty

The damage: $390,000

How many square feet? 2,500

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Erika O’Dowd

You’ll love it because: It reminds you of your staycation at Hacienda del Sol, or the time you crashed the pool at the Arizona Inn. Built in the same era (1935), and the same style as the Arizona Inn, Hacienda del Sol, the old El Conquistador hotel and the nearby Lodge on the Desert, this Pueblo Revival house also demonstrates the romantic details that attracted people in the rest of the world to Tucson in the 30’s and that they equated with that exotic land known as “the West”:  exposed wooden beams, whitewashed walls, wooden lintels, a parapet roof, extensive ramadas, encaustic tile in the foyer (and a foyer in the first place), and a farmhouse kitchen.

This home is one of the first built in El Montevideo, a neighborhood developed in the 1930’s along with Colonia Solana and El Encanto, all surrounding the luxurious El Conquistador Hotel. At the time this house was built, it was on the eastern edge of town, and since the neighborhood was developed lot-by-lot, it was built in a largely rural setting.

Here comes the but: It’s listed as-is, and there is plenty to be done. Also, the floorplan reflects the era, so if you’re looking for a large master suite with a garden tub and a walk-in closet, you’re in the wrong house. The listing says that the main house has four bedrooms but bear in mind that two of those bedrooms are the maid’s quarters, so someone’s sleeping in the maid’s quarters off the kitchen.

* Erika O’Dowd is a real estate agent with Tierra Antigua Realty. Find out more about her here.

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Real estate agent Erika O’Dowd has square feet and a nose for great properties. She shares one of her favorite properties for sale. Photos by Liam Frederick.


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Where it is: Campbell and Skyline in Tucson’s foothills area.

Listed by: Bright Properties

The damage: $219,000

How many square feet: 1488

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Erika O’Dowd

You’ll love it because: From the front door you know this is something special. This is a unique condominium community designed in the early 1960’s by Mexico City architect Juan Worner Baz. John and Helen Murphey hired Baz to bring his unique combination of modern and Mexican colonial architecture to Tucson, to great acclaim. He also designed the Broadway Village annex (the building that now houses Cashew Cow and Sugar Sweet bakery) and St. Philip’s Plaza. The wall of windows is of a modern vernacular, the exposed beams are Mexican colonial in influence, the angled interior walls create interesting interior spaces. The community pool area features bas-relief sculpture and a koi pond. On the less poetic side, this unit has two master suites and its foothills location and proximity to La Encantada would make it a terrific second home or vacation rental.

 

Here comes the but: Tucson has grown up around this community. This end unit features additional windows that other units don’t have and that allow even more light to the living room, but… they feature a view of the nearby commercial development. The front balcony has a beautiful view of the Catalinas… and some traffic noise from Skyline. Oh, and the HOA fee is $350 a month.

* Erika O’Dowd is a real estate agent with Tierra Antigua Realty. Find out more about her here.

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We’re as nosy as the next person about the insides of people’s homes. That’s why we bring you a great property pick each issue. This month we visit the home of author Chris Gall, whose Dinotrux books will be turned into a Netflix series this year. Story and photos by Rachel Miller. 

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A one-of-a-kind ‘flaming rocket’ light sculpture hangs above the bar in Chris Gall’s Joesler home.

I admit to a little apprehension in approaching the home of Chris and Ann Courtney Gall. After all, this is the house where Dinotrux came in to being, or rather DIIINNNNNOOOOTRUX (it must be said in your deepest, most resonating voice), a favorite children’s book in our home. Indeed, our copies are so well-thumbed I was embarrassed to bring them and request signatures.

Chris Gall, Dinotrux, home tour

Working vintage phones and radios add to the nostalgia

What kind of home environment nurtures the creation of such well-loved children’s books? Books that promise to explode onto the screen this year when an animated series based on the books comes to Netflix? Whimsy? A mess of dinosaurs and trucks? Art that reflects the bold, exaggerated images of the artist and author?

There are no dinosaurs or old ’50s trucks littering the Tucson home of Chris and Ann Courtney Gall, but there is whimsy. Toy Story‘s Buzz Lightyear soars through the studio and office alongside meticulously assembled model airplanes – both indicators of Chris’s interest in restoration and mechanical tinkering. There are working vintage radios and a World War II submarine phone, along with the ham radio.  And there is plenty of stunning art, including Chris’s own work.

The artwork is reminiscent of ’40s and ’50s graphics: rich and striking in color and line, particularly appropriate for a house of this era. This is Americana, but not kitsch and not frilly. This is bold and beautiful. Think vintage Park Service posters, but with a Norman Rockwell twist.

About the home: Built in 1951, the original Josias Joesler home is in Tucson’s Catalina Foothills Estates within 15 minutes of downtown. Atop a small hill with stunning mountain views, Chris and Ann have gracefully doubled the square footage over the past 24 years to 3,800 square feet. While the size of the house has doubled, the characteristic Joesler design features have been painstakingly maintained: the high ceilings, large picture windows, and use of porches.

Home Tour of Chris and Ann Gall's home

Chris at work in his studio

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The master bedroom addition.

Describe your style:“There is a word…it’s not craftsman like, but…it’s Frank Lloyd Wright in home décor palate in places. We used to say everything was harvest colors…there’s a nostalgic quality to our home.”

Your fave thing about your home: “The mountain and city views, and the acreage (4 acres) around the house, as well as the building materials. We like the red brick.”

Biggest splurge: “The stained glass front door by local artist Jon Goldbaum. I took a classic Frank Lloyd Wright design and changed it up, switching the colors, and Jon Goldbaum created it for us.”

Best bargain: “The casement windows that we found at Gerson’s for my studio.”

My DIY Moment: “Building all the window frames in the new master addition.”

Favorite resources: “Restoration Hardware, local art fairs and [southern Arizona village] Tubac.”

Tucson treasures: “The one of a kind flaming rocket light sculpture over the bar we bought here in town, and the mesquite and antler coffee table at a local art show. We also have a few paintings by Phoenix artist Ed Mell.”

Take-away lesson:  Take time to do it right. Sometimes doing it right means doing it yourself. Unable to find used casement windows the right size, Chris used his welding skills to make the windows for the master addition. Added bonus: these casement windows are double-glazed.

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Are you digging these digs?

Get the look locally:

Take to local art fairs and search for locally sourced furniture for a feel that reflects the environment. Hang your own Chris Gall Giclee print from ArtsEye Gallery on Grant Road, or frame art in the form of books, bought from Kid’s Center or Yikes Toy Store. Check out Etsy store Hot Cool Vintage for sweet kitchen artifacts that fit the era of your home.

Or try these we found online (contains Amazon Affiliates):

From left to right: Steppe Bed , $1,399 from Crate & Barrel; America the Beautiful $6.91 on AmazonSafavieh Lamps $175.69 on Amazon 

* Look out for an animated series of Dinotrux, about the time when hybrid dinosaur-construction characters rules the earth, this Spring from Netflix. More here. 

Loving our Square Feet column? Take a look at our previous columns here.

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We’re as nosy as the next person about the insides of people’s homes. That’s why we bring you a great property pick each issue. This month we get in seasonal spirit with a home full of vintage treasures and faraway finds.  Story and photos by Rachel Miller. 

 

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This 1930’s home is “like a soup”, full of gifts, family treasures, and vintage and faraway finds.

Who needs softly falling snowflakes, toboggans and chestnuts roasting on the open fire to capture that cozy, intimate Yule time feeling? We found our own kind of ‘hygge’ amid the palm trees, pines and saguaros in the Catalina Vista neighborhood in central Tucson. The 1930’s home of Wendy and Ash Scheder Black bubbles with laughter and festivities. This is a home to sink down on the sofa in, wine glass in hand and enjoy the company of good friends surrounded by stories of lives richly led.

On a Tucson evening in the winter, the cup of mulled wine in front of the mesquite fire is just as welcome as the ability of the children to run rampant in the back yard, albeit bundled in jackets. This is a home created for living in, emphasized by the choices of furniture pieces that reflect their seven year old son Julian’s interest in mid century and vintage technology – including items he has helped choose and restore to working order. Was that an early computer we saw in back half dismantled?

IMG_9706 About the home: The 1930’s three bedroom home is in the Historic Catalina Vista neighborhood. Surrounded by pines as well as cacti, the neighborhood was developed over about four decades and the mix of architectural designs is reflected in this lesser known gem of a neighborhood.

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Their son’s love of vintage electronics led them to buy this working wireless.

Describe your style: Ash: “We’ve pieced together the nice things that have been produced in the last 100 years or so that are not mass produced. We’ve never ever wanted to say ‘Let’s have a colonial theme’. We’re not consciously doing [a style], we’re saying ‘That’ s really pretty because it’s rare.'”

Wendy: “Our style is like a soup. It’s filled with gifts and love and experiences and travel. We find beautiful pieces and blend them together. A big part of it is inspiration from our son Julian [7]. He has a fascination for vintage technology and it inspires us to buy pieces when we see them. That led us to buy the radio and get the record player rolling again.

“When it comes to Christmas, it’s like sensory explosion time. I’m not so much into the commercialism of it but I like the home experience, the smells and lights. This house is very conducive to it, with the curved walls and low ceilings. So we just max it up.

“My parents used to collect miniature houses. The had hundreds of those that they put up every Christmas. When they died I kept less than ten, just for nostalgia. I brought them out after Julian was born and he loves them.”

Your fave thing about your home: Ash: “Its location. It’s central, close to the University, where I work. We have massively big pine trees.”

Wendy: “The curved ceilings.”

IMG_9684 Biggest splurge: “Our custom-made furniture, done by our friend Ian McDaniel [a carpenter and furniture maker, also the guitarist in The Pork Torta]. He custom designed our bed, he built Julian’s bed, he designed a walnut frame for a Cambodian temple rubbing we have, and he made a walnut stand for some antique Javanese puppets a friend brought us from Indonesia.”

Best bargain: “The $130 we spent on records a couple of days ago at The Girls’ Estate Sale store. It was from the estate of a  Tucson conductor and we got 130 records, from classical to musical ethnography to a record of sound effects of London from the mid 1950s.”

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Antique Javanese puppets stand by the piano.

My DIY Moment: “We don’t do DIY because we suck at it. We’re not handy. Ash can fix anything related to technology but when it comes to household repairs we look outward.”

Favorite resources: The Girls’ Estate Sale store. We go there every weekend. They take the previous week’s items and discount them so it’s like a game. Julian adores it. He finds treasures. Plus they have home made cookies and sweets.”

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Wendy bought this dried wreath at Michael’s and wrapped it with fairy lights.

Tucson treasures: “Ian McDaniel, who makes our custom furniture (520-488-8597), and my friend Sarah’s father Bill. He is a collector of mid century modern furniture and decor, much of it from the White Elephant in Green Valley, and he passes on treasures to us.”

Take-away lesson: “We find things we love and if it doesn’t match with anything else in the house we get it!” says Ash. This might seem like the antithesis of an interior decorating approach, but curating a collection of items that have meaning to you can fill your home with more warmth than those that match.

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Are you digging these digs?

Get the look locally:

And try these lookalikes we found (contains Amazon Affiliates):

From left to right: Crosley Turntable , $100  from Amazon; Lexington Queen Love Seat $829.99 from Temple Slug on Amazon;  Pine Cone Garland, $16.99 on Amazon  

* 3 Story Magazine is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

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We’re as nosy as the next person about the insides of people’s homes. That’s why we bring you a great property pick each issue. This month we visit with Paula and Clif Taylor.  Story and photos by Rachel Miller. 

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One step inside Paula and Clif Taylor’s Tucson home and it is clear this is a place where people gather to laugh, to hatch grand plans, and to realize dreams.  It is at once comfortable and dynamic – not an easy pairing to achieve.

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Mannequins provide a fashionable feature

A mix of emerging local and international artists’ work adorn the walls; mannequins stand ready to act as backdrop to a reading or performance; and the flow of the home and of the fixtures and furniture invites relaxation. Paula, a fashion events producer, educator, stylist and author – also one of the directors of Tucson Fashion Week –  has, along with artist husband Clif, created an environment ready to coax the shyest poet into reciting their latest work, or to host a boisterous family gathering.

This Catalina Foothills home has white and light pink walls in the living and dining room that dazzle. If those walls weren’t so thick you’d imagine the Pacific beyond the French doors. But there is a distinct Mediterranean feel. You might just open those doors and look out on cliffs and sea. Instead, beyond those doors it’s a cool pool and stunning mountain views.

About the home: The house was the first in the neighborhood. Deeded in 1967, it sits on the edge of 40 acres that belongs to a neighbor. SqFtPaulaTaylor3

Describe your style: “Our style started out as more mid-century, but we have personally evolved. We see our home as a place to curate art, whether it is a piece that Clif builds, or a piece we find, or a major designer piece. Era is not as important as placement and feel. How it works within the construct of the house and it’s environment. We have pieces from the 50’s and the 80’s. It still works if it’s in the right place.”

Clif: “I like the old art nouveau, disco deco, Peter Max posters. “Paula: “If it was just me it would be just one Barcelona chair in the room, but the two of us, we’re combining our two styles. Clif is a collector, I’m very much about clean lines. We collaborate.”

Your fave thing about your home: Paula: “All the memories we have in this house. We’ve lived here for 11 years. We love the wall space to curate art pieces for fun parties we have. We love having our friends and families over. The living room is my favorite room in the house. This is the one room that is done and finished. ” sqftpaulataylor10

Biggest splurge: “The restaurant-sized kitchen faucet. I’d just redone the kitchen. It’s ridiculously priced, but we love it.”

Best bargain: “The two chandeliers in the kitchen and the living room were great bargains.  We kept going back to Palm Springs and they weren’t selling and finally we got them and packed them back to Tucson.”

My DIY Moment: “We did the tile panel in the kitchen together. That was fun.”

Favorite Resources: Paula: “My husband. We love to go hunting in salvage yards, and thrift shops, mostly out-of-town. I’ll find an idea that I like and I’ll ask Clif to make it. Ten times out of ten he can create it and he’ll make it better.” Hamilton photos and Letterman meet Mannequin

Tucson treasures: “Friends who are artists have given us art as gifts: Olivier Mosset, Erik Kroll, Scott Benzell, Steve Parrino. Many thrift stores in Tucson have funky items we have fallen in love with too.”

Take-away lesson: Be brave. Your tastes don’t need to be static. Evolve and be courageous enough to experiment with feel and placement without being rigid to an era. The 1980’s chandelier in the foyer with its tinted glass is something many of us might walk away from if we saw it uninstalled outside this environment, but in Paula and Clif’s entrance-way it is nothing short of magnificent.

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Are you digging these digs?

Get the look locally:

  • At the heart of Paula and Clif’s home is a passion for art. Whether they are major or minor players, these artists’ work is  sometimes personal, often provocative, and not always displayed how you would imagine. (Check out the slideshow image of Clif with model Kate Moss in a dune buggy, unframed.) Find what you love at galleries, in thrift stores (the David Hamilton photos from the 1980s were a find). Check out local up-and-coming artists. Find something that captures your heart and invest in the art.
  • Gerson’s Building Materials is a favorite for Clif and Paula. Follow their lead and use salvaged pieces to create pieces. The narrow bar that Clif created makes use of reclaimed materials.
  • Copenhagen carries chairs that are reminiscent of the Barcelona chairs Paula has here.

And try these lookalikes we found (contains Amazon Affiliates):

From left to right: Barcelona Style Modern Pavilion Chair, $628 from Leisure Mod on Amazon; Modway Criss Cross Oval Glass Top Coffee Table, $176.99 from Hayneedle.com; Female half torso Mannequin, $18 from Amazon  

* 3 Story Magazine is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com