Well guys, today was close of escrow, and we promised we wouldn’t jinx the reality until we had the keys in hand.
Matthew and I have found and purchased one of the most interesting Ralph Haver Homes we have ever come across. She’s a 1946 red brick All-American Beauty in the central Camelback Corridor, and the third Haver Home ever built in Phoenix.
The first known structure is Harry Haver’s place (Ralph’s dad). The second is the original Ralph Haver family home (seen in the distance above) that his son Bucky so vividly describes in our article Growing up Haver
. The third, we presume, is our home -- the “Hopkins House” as Bucky calls it -- the home just south of Ralph’s.
If all of this is starting sound familiar, it probably is. This is the very same house that ModPhx member tammyanddave1
described for all of us some six months ago.
Remember how excited Tammy was to have found ModernPhoenix? It was a riot on the boards that day. She had to delete all those exuberant posts later this summer, though, as they decided they were not going to sell the house after all. But a few glowing embers remain, most notably these:
http://www.modernphoenix.net/phpBB2/vie ... ight=#1264
http://www.modernphoenix.net/phpBB2/vie ... ight=#1281
http://www.modernphoenix.net/phpBB2/vie ... ight=#1268
As for Tammy’s last inquiry into Robert Haver was on our boards some months ago. I’ve found the answer straight from Bucky.
“Bob Haver was my dad's younger brother and a general contractor. I have his sign in my office, His phone # from 1950 was 5-5471. Imagine only 55 years ago there were less than 10,000 phones in Maricopa County.
The home you purchased was owned by Dr. Hopkins and his wife*. We played in the HUGE yard to the south. I believe the home was a "spec" built by Uncle Bob, designed by Ralph and financed by Grandpa Harry.”
*Bucky wrote "Dr. Hopkins and his wife," but in reality it is Dr. Hopkins and her husband.
This house is completely spellbinding in its small charm – all 880 square feet of it. What is most mesmerizing is the 3/8 acre doublewide irrigated lot that surrounds it, preserved in pretty much original layout, only half a century more mature. There are pecan, fig, pomegranite and tangerine trees, plus a lime waiting to be planted. Iif I have my way avocado will be next.
The home is modest in design but has plenty of interesting touches that show the early development of the signature Haver style, including a 1” sloped roofline, massive chimney volume, steel casement windows, floor to ceiling walls of glass, concrete floors, plaster walls, classic Haver brick masonry and brick patios, a tiny overhang with classic slanted supports, and a covered carport.
Tammy and Dave have to really be applauded here for all of their hard dedication to preserve this phenomenal property which could have easily been scooped up by developers and subdivided due to its zoning. They are hardcore DIYers who took a property that was sturdy but in need of some TLC and transformed it into a truly beautiful property. They updated all the systems including wiring, copper pipes, insulation, CAT 5 internet and security. They redid the kitchen but miraculously kept all the original lines (and hooray, left the countertop decision to us!)
Our home inspector confirmed our intuition that the place was solid and was impressed at the quality and extent of upgrades that passed without concern, not to mention the endurance of the original materials. Much Kudos to Dave for his work on the systems and to Haver for building a house that lasts.
When Tammy contacted us to ask if we knew of any potential stewards for the home, she didn’t know that we were in the market ourselves. In fact we were in the middle of a fast and furious patch-up of our old place and weren’t planning to actively look at new residences until September. I urged Tammy to just FREEZE any home improvements they were planning to make before moving and let us take a look the next day.
Having seen a lot of Havers, we were completely enchanted because it was truly unlike any other we’d seen before. Without so much of a word exchanged between us, we knew that day that this was something we had to pursue. It was important to Tammy and Dave that the integrity of the home and the lot be preserved, and finding the right stewards had caused them much worry. Our interest put their minds at ease and we set the gears in motion to put the home under contract before it hit the MLS.
I think anyone here (knowing how completely insane this current market is) would agree that our offer would have been creamed by the competition within ten minutes had the property hit the MLS first. But Tammy and Dave were so above that, and knew that we would treat the place with the same TLC and bring our own family flavor to this very special property.
On the day of the main inspection walkthough, Dave made us raise our right hands and promise to keep the integrity of the existing structure and of the land. We agreed – knowing there was a buildout in the future that would pay respect to, but not eclipse or imitate the original brick house. This passing of the torch is a classic example of the ModernPhoenix network hard at work in urban and historic preservation. As they passed on all the blueprints, original 1940s photos from the Hopkins family, titles and deeds, original mortgage payment receipt for $76, photos from their renovation, community guidelines from the racist era and other ephemera, not to mention the superstitious old lady Hopkins’ walker cane and umbrella to be kept forever in the hall closet, lest Mrs. Hopkins haunt or curse us for not showing respect.
Never in a thousand years did Matthew and I think this was going to be the way it worked out. We were prepared to bid on several homes, some of them Havers, each ending in heartbreak. Having actively worked to fuel the modern fire and price ourselves out of the market the last two years, we expected to find all the homes large enough for a family, studio and office, or with enough land and buildout potential to be just… out… of… reach.
Becoming the new stewards of the Hopkins House is a true act of karma. I have no other words to describe it.
There is plenty of room on the land to build out, which will be totally necessary. We’re dissolving our shared home office to go completely wireless so we can grade student work on the porch and update ModPhx while I watch my kitchen garden of corn, peppers and tomatoes grow, and watch our son build his own forts out in all that yard.
A master suite is clearly needed, since there’s only one tiny bathroom and just a sliver of closet space. And we need a buildout for something I desperately miss -- an art studio. Like a flower forcing through the crack in the sidewalk of this hellhole apartment complex we temporarily lived in, I’ve been busy on a number of art projects I think the ModernPhoenix community will appreciate, to be debuted at one of our members’ small businesses this month.
We’re going for an artists' compound theme of a home built around a courtyard, the Haver home being the heartbeat of the home and satellite structures enclosing the space behind it well out of streetside view, perhaps with an automobile entrance from the alleyway.
A Blazona Readymade 100 shed and deck will probably be the first thing to go up as a temporary multipurpose office/studio/guesthouse/retreat until the buildout begins in full force.
You know, I really do believe the machine of the universe is at work to help make this happen. We throw out all that good energy and effort, and all of it comes back triplefold. It doesn’t help dispel my feeling that the house is called the Hopkins House, because my maiden name is Hopkins, too (no relation). Is it possible that the right house reached out and found us instead?
We’ll see if the spirit speaks to us in the years to come. And you bet I’m not moving that umbrella and cane ANYWHERE anytime soon.