A fairytale cottage in FQ Story
Own a one-of-a-kind Cotswold Cottage like the Anne Hathaway Cottage in Stratford-upon-Avon... There simply is no other home like this in the Phoenix area. Built in 1931 in the Cotswold Cottage Revival style, it harkens back to Shakespeare’s England and before. The home has been painstakingly restored to its original glory. This website features over 500 photographs of the home, so you can see it before, during and after its restoration. But why not see it in person? Schedule a showing. (Here's a map to help you find the home.) Better still, make it your own today...
This charming 1931 Cotswold Cottage home has been painstakingly restored to its original condition.
A pocket history of historic
homes and their restoration...
We're going to tour this home in tremendous detail, but there are some details we should consider first. If you just can't wait, skip ahead. But be sure to come back: This stuff is important.
We start with the idea of the historic home itself. Some are auspicious, some are more modest – and many, alas, are considered historic just because they're old, even though there was nothing at all to distinguish them from their cookie-cutter tract-home neighbors when they were built.
This home was nothing like that. It was heralded as something new, unique and luxurious on the day it debuted.
But still, there it was, a brand new American Dream Home in a city that was so enraptured by the future that it had not one second's thought to spare for the past.
And so, day by day, year by year, the home ages. It passes from owner to owner, each new owner a little less prosperous than the last. There comes a time when it is a rental home surrounded by other rental homes – prized for its profitability, but loved by no one.
Now the normal course of events for an historic home in Phoenix is something like this: In the mid-1930's the back porch is converted to an ersatz bedroom by eminently-available amateur labor. A few years later, the kitchen and bathroom are remodeled in the latest fashions. In the 1950's a new back patio is added to the back of the old back porch. Maybe the kitchen gets another remodeling, this one less robust yet still somehow even more dowdy. By the 1960's, the home is owned as a rental, and the front porch and the added-on back patio are converted to quasi-livable space, thus to justify higher rents. Over the years, the flooring has been replaced many times, the walls have been painted and repainted – and paneled and wall-papered – and every handle on every cabinet has been lost and replaced, with not one handle matching any other.
This is the normal state of chaos that confronts the would-be refurbisher of an historic home. All that, plus rotting, termite-infested wood, structural defects, floorplans that were byzantine even before all of the haphazard additions, missing or damaged original amenities and hardware, and the accretive accumulation of two kinds of maintenance: Amateur and absent. By the time someone buys the home with plans to restore it, it may have suffered thirty or more years of consistently-deferred maintenance.
So how will that house be restored? With all new everything, of course. New roof, possibly even new rafters. New windows, new doors, new cabinets, new counters, new bathroom fixtures – new everything. It may look historic, but virtually everything was sitting in a Home Depot warehouse just a few months ago.
There's nothing right or wrong about any of this, it's just the way things are for most historic homes in Phoenix.
But not this home...
This home, 1134 West Culver Street in the Francis Quarles Story Historic District of Phoenix, is twice lucky: First, it was so well-built, so well-finished, so well-appointed that it suffered relatively few destructive 'improvements' over the years – and what few there were were relatively minor.
And second, when it was finally purchased by buyers planning to restore it, those buyers, Jim and Luz Marina Aten, expended the time, the money and the thoughtful attention necessary to restore it to its original glory – in most cases using the original materials and hardware.
The cabinets don't look like the originals, they are the originals, refinished but whole. The windows don't look like the originals, they are the originals, painstakingly restored. The roof is brand new, but it is a new Cedar shake roof devised to replicate the original roof of the home, which had been shingled-over again and again over the years. Even the floorplan has been restored to reflect its original logic, after having been betrayed over the years.
This is not a successively-botched home that has been remodeled to look as if it had been restored. This is truly a restored home. It had been neglected over the years, but it had not been destroyed by thoughtless 'improvements'. So, by dint of an incredible amount of work, including a vast amount of historic research, it could be returned to everything it had been when it was built in 1931.
With all that in mind, now we can take the tour, in full cognizance of the remarkable achievement we are about to see...
Taking the grand tour...
We're Realtors and we live to show homes, so we hope you can forgive us as we take you by the hand to tour this unrepeatable property. Here's a Virtual Tour that you can pursue on your own, along with the Full MLS Listing, the 2002 MLS Listing and the Full Color Flyer. But if you should choose to read along, we will strive by awful approximation to paint a picture in words of this unique home. Of course, our maundering will be buttressed by 125 web pages of photographs and PDF files, so you needn't feel constrained by either our words or our insistent guidance. Feel free to veer off on your own at any one of the links we'll be citing.
Let's start outside, with the Front Elevation and Exterior. This home had been vastly neglected for many years before the Atens bought it, but it had been blessed by builder Frank B. Wallace with 'great bones.' It hadn't incurred the successive destructive 'improvements' discussed above, nor had time or the brutal Phoenix weather done much to damage its original integrity.
Still, restoration was an enormous effort, from completely replacing the Cedar shake roof, replicating the original, to dismantling, restoring and re-installing dozens of original windows. But the effort was worth it, wasn't it? The house is stunning from the outside, so much so that it won the Story Neighborhood Visual Award.
When you step into the Living Room, you'll see that the restoration work didn't stop at the threshold. For example, that gorgeous scored concrete slab floor took hundreds of hours of back-breaking, hands-and-knees labor to bring back. But the finished room is breathtaking, rich in light and space.
Take a step up into the Dining Room. The southwest quadrant of the home is built on concrete slab, a radical innovation for 1931, but the dining room and the rest of the home were built on a foundation, to allow for the original ducting to run under the rooms, along the floorboards. When you take those two steps upward into the Dining Room, you're stepping up onto the foundation.
And look at the color! The living room strikingly painted, but the Dining Room is resplendent in a metallic copper paint. The Atens declared their own small war against that bland, blinding white we see everywhere in Phoenix homes, and the result of their paint store adventures is reminiscent of the strong, vibrant colors of Pompei.
Just beyond the Dining Room is the Kitchen, partly restored, partly perfected. The counters and cabinets are all original, all lovingly refurbished. But the stainless steel appliances, including that chef's quality Wolf gas range, are all brand new – and they all convey with the home.
A step away from the Kitchen is the Breakfast Room, a clean, well-lighted place looking out over the Patios and Gardens.
But let's sneak back to the front of the house, because there's too much that we've missed. West of the Living Room, on the slab part of the home, is the Den/Office/Front Bedroom. And just beyond that is the Front Bathroom, in its own way a practical expression of the hardy pioneer spirit that made Arizona great.
And just across the hallway is the door leading to the... wait for it... to the Basement! This is the rarest of treasures in any Arizona home. The hot water heater is down here, as is the air-handler for the air conditioning and heat system. We're no longer ducted through the floors, though. Modern aluminized mylar ducting carries the air into the truss system, where it is vented in from overhead. There's an antique range in the Basement, too, but it's purely ornamental. Even so, there is plenty of space left over for storage – or for that wine cellar you've always dreamed about...
Back upstairs, let's take a quick peek into the Laundry Room and Front Hallways. The Laundry Room is surprisingly spacious, and the washer and dryer will be staying with the home.
If you take the step up from the Front Hallway and turn the corner, you'll find the Guest Bedroom and Back Hallways, all lovingly restored.
The Back Bathroom serves both the Guest Bedroom and the Master Suite.
And there it is, at the back of the home, the three rooms that comprise the Master Suite Bedroom, the Master Suite Sitting Room and the Master Suite Dressing Room. This is the section of the house that had been most persistently damaged by supposed 'improvements,' but the Atens have restored it to its original integrity. The end result is a luxurious, resort-like suite of rooms.
But let's slip outside now, because there is so much more to see.
The Patios and Back Garden are an elegant oasis in the city, a place to dine, to dance, to dream - to delight that so much of country life could brought to a home so completely urban in its location. It is city living that pays for a home like this, of course, but the due and proper reward for all that city living is this garden, these patios, that gurgling goldfish pond.
Stroll a little farther into the huge Back Yard, big enough for anything you might want, including a pool.
At the back of the property is the two-car Garage, itself completely restored.
Former owner and long-time resident Dorothy Leonard was kind enough to share with us photos of the home from her private collection. If you click here, you can see the home at various times in its history.
It's a Cotswold Cottage, with all the charms of Olde England, but it's also like a Roman Villa, isn't it? Consider where you are: One quick minute from the I-10 Freeway. Five minutes or less from Downtown – commerce, art and nightlife. It's hard to get more downtown that this in Phoenix, and yet you're living in your own induplicable country cottage...
Do you want to see how much you're getting for your money? Take a look at these Comparable Values. As a protection for your investment, the F.Q. Story Historic District is bursting with carefully-maintained historic homes. See for yourself: Take a look at some of these Neighboring Homes. And to prove that yours is the absolute best example of Cotswold Cottage Revival architecture, here are all the Other Cotswold Cottages we know about.
This home has received a great deal of Media Coverage, deservedly so. You can peruse that as you imagine all the ways you will carry this property to even greater acclaim.
Do you think you've seen enough? How could that be, when you haven't even seen the home in person? The home is offered at $675,000. See it first hand and you'll see what an incredible bargain that is.
A true Cotswold Cottage, truly restored. Think how soon it could be yours...
Front Elevation and Exterior