Modern Phoenix Neighborhood Network

The Cedar Street Residence in Tempe

By Maria and Matt Salenger of coLAB Studio.
Photos by Bill Timmerman. Interview by Alison King.

Matt: With the house remodel, we really didn't have to do too much to the shell. We simplified the core and central soffit. We hardly altered the ductwork and plumbing at all. We just updated everything and added new recessed lighting.

Maria: The mechanical duct system pretty much stayed intact even though we took out the walls that made separate rooms. We now have the same amount of diffusers feeding one, big open space instead of small separate zones. This openness makes the whole system work extremely efficiently.

Maria: Our neighborhood is well placed near ASU and Tempe's night life - while at the same time it is extremely quiet and peaceful with it's mature, 50-year old flood irrigated landscaping.

Matt: We chose this particular neighborhood because of its proximity to ASU, Mill Avenue, Papago Park, and walking distance to markets and restaurants. We fell in love with the dense growth, particularly the three trees in our front yard. Those reasons, and it was cheap.

Maria: My favorite part is the kitchen that we turned inside out. Instead of cooking and washing dishes facing a wall, we get to face each other. This works really well when we have friends over. In addition, with the extra space we have between the living and studio area we can seat 20-some guests for full-blown sit down dinners!

Matt:   The kitchen works really well. The idea was that we would face each other while we cook, and we do. It is our 'everything' space. When we entertain, we can still socialize with everyone standing around the kitchen. Maria hates upper cabinets, so we have become ultra-efficient.

Maria: We love having lots of space to show art within the house. Getting to live with another artist's work everyday helps us think more about the unique contributions all of us make to this world.

Matt: Art is one of the biggest parts of our lives. We want to surround ourselves with it, physically and conceptually. We have been very fortunate to acquire some wonderful paintings as gifts or trade. There are two great portraits actually painted by family members. And we have begun to purchase pieces occasionally. We actually designed the interior of the house to use it as a gallery for friends and have openings there. We have yet to do that, but we still plan to. In the meantime, we've had dinner parties for up to 26 all seated at the same table stretching through our living space. And those events are also a type of art for us.

 

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