Matthew and I just had the most pleasant converstation with a contractor restoring and remodeling one of the most interesting houses in Sunnyslope that we have ever seen. This house has stood in stasis for years on one of the most prime lots of Sunnyslope and has an amazing story behind it.
Not to tease, but I'll save the story for when we actually have pictures to illustrate. It's too good to splurge all at once here. But let me just whet your appetite: it involves ourangatans. O, Yes.
We happened to be driving by for the trillionth time through The Slope and turned down 2nd street on an intuition that something might be progressing there. What we found was a guy working alone on the rooftop on our first day of Fall, and what we found out was amazing.
The first surprise is that the house which has looked like little more than a bombed-out shell of a place for years since we've been watching it, was built by a Frank Lloyd Wright apprentice in the early 40's by the name of Blaine Drake. And the house backing up on the property behind it is also a Drake, though we didn't realize it until now. This smaller home has been on our website for months and is an elegant example of the modest ranch. http://modernphoenix.net/westslope1.htm
(second house down). The only reason that THIS Drake house never made it onto the website is... well... lets face it, there's not much left to photograph from the street. Not much more than the bones of things.
But then upon a friendly wave hi, the contractor was kind enough to climb down from his work tarring up the flashing on the roof to show me some boards including original photographs of the home as it was featured decades ago in the Arizona Republic. He said they'd cleared some 25-plus dumpsters full of rubble from the place over the last year of renovation. I believe it.
I had the opportunity to walk up to the newer part of the property -- a later addition but clearly vintage -- and peek my head inside. From my post outside peering in I noted built-in furniture ala Wright, and herringbone wooden ceiling. Contractor says that in its heyday, the place featured an indoor/outdoor fishpond that let the fish freely circulate 'tween indoors and out. But that's just one detail of many. The features go on and on.
I left the contractor our card. I can only hope the owner can contact us soon with all the juicy details of the house, and all the backstory on the ourangatans
And the fish. But most of all, the architecture.