How we scored an Old Town Scottsdale treasure: a midcentury abode in an eclectic neighborhood

Our lives in Old Town Scottsdale began almost five years ago. As we prepare to move, I'm thinking back to when it all began.
Aug 2019: In-home photo session done by Phoenix-area photographer and lady-supporting powerhouse Be Peachie.

Our little midcentury abode, in the Southwest Village neighborhood in Old Town Scottsdale, has supported our flourishing family life for the last five years.

As we start to pack up and leave with two more creatures than we arrived with (kid & dog), I find myself reflecting in the quiet moments. Which, let’s be honest, are very, very, and I mean very rare around here these days.

It struck me recently, that our current home and soon-to-be home came into our lives by chance. Or if you don’t believe in chance, I’d like to think that we followed little whispers and nudges to the next chapter of our lives. I suppose it seems a little more magical that way.

I’ll share more about how our new home situation came to be, but for today, I’m waxing poetic about the beginnings of our little midcentury home in Old Town Scottsdale.

Before Scottsdale: Where it all began

I guess this all started back in 2014. Pregnant with Clara at the time, we decided to sell my husband’s first house. We wanted to find something new to set our roots into. But wouldn’t you know it, after fixing up the house to sell, we thought, “Hey, this place cleaned up pretty nice, let’s just stay here.” CLASSIC.

Sidenote — why do we do that? Why do make our house look its best before it’s not ours anymore? Here’s a crazy thought… we should LOVE our home while we’re living in it.

After we got hitched in October 2015, we decided we were ready for a new chapter. We had an eight-month-old, our wedding was over, let’s do this. From one chaotic thing to the next, of course.

We actually started our search on the other side of town, completely falling in love with the quirkiest house in the Encanto neighborhood of Phoenix. As fate would have it, we backed out of the offer after finding out some major sewer line damage was present.

One of our favorite parts of the home, a big garage in the backyard, had to be torn up. We had envisioned it to be an epicenter of fun and games for our family. But the damaged line ran right under it. We just didn’t want to deal with it.

Already attached to the vision of our family in it, I cried the day we backed out of the offer. But at the same time, we thanked the heavens for not having to deal with the crazy traffic getting through downtown to get home every day.

Let’s try this house-hunting thing again

Back to square one, we looked at a few more homes but I just wasn’t feeling them at all. One night I was poking around on the different home-for-sale dots on Zillow’s map, moving more and more east. I was like hey, why haven’t we checked out this little neighborhood here?

I picked a random-dot and clicked it to find the listing for our home. It said it was back on the market as of that day. Interesting, we thought. We sent it to our realtor and he was like, oh, we gotta get on that like right now. He said he would try to get us a showing.

The next morning, hubs was doing a drive-by on his way to work. We were just too excited to wait. He called me with good news and bad news. The good news was, it was a cute neighborhood, it had a yard, it looked well kept. The bad news was, it had a sold sign in the front yard. On top of that, he saw a young couple running up to the door, looking all sorts of happy, excited, whatever.

What??? What did that mean and who are these people? And the sold sign? Is it old, was it new? Are we late to the party? Ughhhh.

Our house when we first bought it.

New beginnings and historic roots in Old Town Scottsdale

Fast forward a few years, obviously, we made the winning offer on the home. We have no clue about those people Tom saw, but hopefully, they found something else they loved as much as they looked to love this place.

We came to find out that a home builder who was trying to buy the place before us, couldn’t get a permit to do their project on the property so they backed out. I can’t say I’m surprised though. So many new homes have gone up in this neighborhood in the last five years. Some of them, respectful of the modern vibes and architecture of this old neighborhood.

Other builders, however, are completely tone-deaf to it and have built what we call monstrosities — these giant two-story homes that take up the entire lot. A lot of them block their neighbor’s scenic views of Camelback mountain and our historic surroundings.

It’s so irritating… apparently, some residents tried to get this neighborhood designated as historic status, but it was too late. I think there were already homes that had been modified by that point. Or it was something political… I don’t remember.

Jumping for joy: The day we took ownership of our new place.

Closing one chapter and starting another

Either way, we don’t know what’s in our store for this little house of ours. We don’t know if it’ll stand to exist in the same form we sell it in. Makes us a little sad to think about, especially because all of our updates and renovations are so new still.

It is on the small side, so I understand if the new owners add on to it, it’ll just feel like such a waste if someone buys it just to tear it down. That’s just the name of the game though when you own a home in a desirable location.

Often times, we’ve found ourselves sitting on the front porch, taking it all in. I’ve tried to think back to 1955 when this neighborhood was new and in its prime. Try to imagine what I bet were much simpler times.

We even had someone stop by last Halloween with their kid during trick-or-treating and told us that his best friend lived here growing up. Turns out the initials we’ve looked at every day carved into the cement of our back porch was that friend.

I just love how much history and memories are in this neighborhood. I can’t wait to dig into the rich history of our new neighborhood though! The house was built in 1947….even older than our house now.

We will always have fond memories of Old Town Scottsdale

Then I think back on the last five years, when we were still new and in our prime, ha! We moved into these walls as hopeful, excited youngsters, freshly married with a baby girl. We had no clue what life had in store, but whoever does?

I’m still not entirely sure what we’re leaving as yet, I think I’m going to need a while to process these last six months. I do know though, that I’m grateful and wiser. I know that our family is more complete and closer to each other. And I for sure know that I’m glad I clicked on that little blue dot in this Old Town Scottsdale neighborhood.

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  1. Pingback: The Flower Bungalow: How we met this home | The Flower Bungalow

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