Welcome to my house!
Mackenzie here! Shannon and I recently opened our doors to Phoenix New Times for a personal tour of our newly remodeled home in Arcadia (read the feature here!). Not long after, I had some of the interior design progress photographed by the always amazing James Stewart, and now that the pictures are in, I thought I'd dive a little deeper into some of my decor choices. Your shoes can stay on, if you like...
Shannon and I aren’t really “formal living room” people, so we saw this area as a place to play or listen to music, kick back with an issue of Arizona Highways and a craft beer. This is also the best spot in the house to catch a sunset. The vintage console-style record player is perfect for Sunday morning NPR and coffee. Shannon is a great guitar player and sweetly only has a few design requests, one being that her guitars are handy. Guitar wall hangers are a cool way to display prized instruments while keeping the floor clutter-free.
You'll see fun, personal touches in every room, like the wooden box labeled St. Louis Anheuser-Busch (I was born in St. Louis) and the baskets—both family pieces that I grew up with. Oh, and I bought the framed piece for Shannon as a surprise on closing day because we saw a UFO one time at the beach. Just kidding… or am I?
The Dining Room
We literally never eat here. Ever. We do walk by it 1000 times a day though and really appreciate the storage bonus of having extra cabinetry just off the kitchen. And it’s great as a spillover spot for miniature relatives who can’t cut it at the adult table. When I was working my butt off in design school, I swore I’d buy an Eero Saarinen Tulip Table with my first paycheck (I grossly overestimated how much interior designers make after graduation). I wasn’t able to afford it, but years later when I saw an original one on Craigslist for a steal, I was out in Fountain Hills buying it within the hour. I never imagined a day that I wouldn’t mind our sweet nieces coloring on it, but that day has come and gone and we all survived just fine.
On the left we have the original watercolor sketches of Shannon and my tattoos done by Austin West with a framed photograph of a canyon we found on Society6 that reminded us of our first backpacking trip together in the West Fork. The light is a vintage barn light that I picked up at Zinnias at Melrose. It was one of the very first pieces I nailed down when we were planning our remodel; everything had to revolve around it and a picture of a Golden Retriever named Aspen in a canoe on Lake Louise. I don’t know Aspen the Mountain Pup personally, I just saw him on Instagram, and he happened to be the same color as our cabinetry.
This wall has the best view in our entire house—that’s why we wanted it to be cozy and multi-functional. I have my coffee here each morning and watch the hummingbirds play while the sun rises on Camelback Mountain. I like to take advantage of the few hours in the day where our neighbor’s children aren’t screaming. We invested in the custom banquette bench and the extra thick custom Sunbrella cushion. We saved money in other areas: the dining table was donated from a client who was getting rid of it, and the chairs were on clearance at World Market, which was awesome because I had pinned them for the house months earlier! I lucked out and found that large acrylic of Saguaro National Park at HomeGoods.
I was lucky enough to snag this midcentury Takeshi Nii Ny Chair on Craigslist for a photo shoot and absolutely had to bring it home. Find of the century! [Fun fact: Inspired by the classic director's chair, Nii’s innovative, foldable creation was designed in 1958 and is now part of the permanent collection at MoMa.] The little bird pillow was another Zinnias at Melrose find. To add a little texture, I rounded out the seating area with the faux fur ottoman.
I’m obsessed with round mirrors—you’ll find them in pretty much all my designs. Whenever there is a great view, I like to put a mirror on the opposite wall to repeat it. Notice the royal palm reflected in it—I’m really jazzed that I have been able to keep this plant alive for more than three months. On the right, the shelves are filled with items that are meaningful to us in some way: my grandparents' wedding photo, embroidered art I found at a women’s art co-op in Mexico, family books—all mementos of things we value in life. Nothing wrong with holding on to things that bring you joy.
Built-In Reading Nook
We needed a solution to hide our TV components (they live behind the baskets), create storage, and add some seating to the space, so we had this bench and cushion custom made to match the dining banquette on the other side of the room. Textile wall hangings add a softness to the space and dampen sound, so I went that route over hanging framed art to keep it cozy. I picked up this mid-century style marble table at Target because I needed a place to set my coffee. [Do you see a theme here? All of my design decisions are based on creating places to drink coffee comfortably.]
Truth: we like camping more than living our “real lives,” so we decided to take a stab at achieving a campsite feel in the bedroom. Full moon, bonfire, sticks, camp blankets, triangular mirrors that subtly suggest mountain peaks… you get the idea. We’ve even got a fur rug in front of the fireplace because our Golden Retriever thinks he’s Barry White. The sticks are from bigger hikes we’ve done in Olympic National Park and Glacier National Park. We need a rug, but have yet to find the perfect one that is cozy, casual, and low-maintenance.
This has truly felt like an episode of MTV Cribs. Thanks for stopping by!
Keep an eye out for our next post where we'll be announcing a sweet Mother's Day giveaway!