This husband & wife duo, Leah + Matt, are used to working together as owners of vintage rental company Tremaine Ranch, so diving into a new professional project was hardly intimidating. And while it may have come with it’s own share of challenges, they did an eye-catching job making over this historic adobe flip house in Florence, Arizona. The first time flippers dubbed the abode “Rowhouse 25” and listed it on Air bnb for guests to stay when traveling to the historic town. And after scrolling through the finished product, you’ll be itching for a getaway just so you can cook in the aqua kitchen or bathe in one of those gold clawfoot tubs!
Tell us a little bit about how you decided on this house to flip! Was this always a dream of yours?
My parents have owned this property for over 10 years. They purchased the property as an investment piece with hopes to turn it into a café spot. With the property being a part of the historical registry in Florence, Arizona, there was a grant program. Unfortunately, when they had decide to move forward with the grant, the program dried up and the property sat vacant for the past 10 years.
It was then when my husband and I decided to invest in the property ourselves, turn the beautiful adobe building into a unique desert boutique accommodation and put some of our modern, rustic style into the old bones. We never thought this is what we would have done, but now being about 6 months complete, I can say we’re very happy that we did.
Was this your first flip? What were the biggest challenges you faced during the process?
This was our very first flip, and we knew we had a lot of work to do. Thankfully, my parents own a remodeling company, so design and inspiration for interiors was around my entire life growing up. Having supportive parents who trust your design and support your choices was really important throughout the entire process.
With the building being originally built in 1881 and registered on the historic registry in Florence, there were a lot of things we couldn’t do. We weren’t allowed to take down or damage the original adobe structure, which gives us a unique layout. We also found out just how horrible the previous piping and electric was. We had to gut the entire property and essentially start from scratch. Adding central cooling in Arizona was a necessary addition, along with new piping, new electric, and tying in historic design elements along the way. All the amazing remodeling (literally, everything) was done by Classic Home Improvements. Without their guidance and skills for the past 35+ years in business, we would have definitely not been able to make this happen. 🙂
What was the most fun?
The most fun was absolutely working with my family. Throughout the entire design process, we kept each other up to date with every detail; good and bad. Seeing how everything came together, with the intention we had set out with, was really the cherry on top.
How would you describe your design aesthetic?
If you’re not aware of how a property on a historical registry works, you typically must present plans to the city that the building is located in. We had to pick out paint colors, roofing, gravel, all the plants and present everything to the historical board of Florence, Arizona. You have to be approved for certain design elements that keep to the history of the property. We actually really loved the challenge.
We tied in unique touches like vintage dresses turned into sinks for the bathrooms, antique style door handles, thick base boards, and pops of color that add just enough character to the property. We wanted something timeless, but still modern. We feel like the mid-century furniture adds to the modern elements that we so wanted to bring in to the property.
Where did you look for inspiration when designing and decorating the space?
We are huge fans of Pinterest and love seeing all the real interiors that people can share and grab inspiration on that platform. We’ve always used Pinterest to create design boards with our other companies, so it was a no brainer to use Pinterest for the design inspiration for Rowhouse 25. We really love the image search feature that allows you to search an image, and Pinterest shows you similar styling or colors. It was a huge help!
The home seems to be full of so many unique pieces! Where do you go to shop for interiors?
Owning a vintage rental company, we have our hot spots around the Phoenix area. We are huge fans of antique malls in Mesa, going to all the Goodwills on the way home from our office and honestly, craigslist. All of the wooden mid-century furniture, like the bedroom dressers and side tables, we found on craigslist. Being able to shop and know exactly what you wanted was helpful, too. Once we found a piece, we immediately made an offer and would pick it up that same day.
Did you know you would list it as an Airbnb from the outset? What are some of the key things to keep in mind when designing a space you want others to love?
Our initial idea was to always list the property through Airbnb exclusively. We have used Airbnb throughout the years of traveling, and felt like it would fit in so effortlessly with some of those beautiful homes that you so often see while searching through their system. We love how user friendly the system is, too. Being avid users, we knew that the ‘hosting’ side of things would look awesome and be a breeze to set up. And the best part is that it actually was! Being a couple who travels often and using Airbnb, we knew what the users are expecting.
While designing and furnishing the space, we knew we needed necessities like extra towels, wireless internet, and board games. But, we also enjoyed adding small details like room diffusers from a local company to ensure the property has a distinct fragrance and wireless speakers for guests to take out to the courtyard should they want to have a bbq in the communal courtyard space. Arizona sunsets are some of the best on the planet, so having a comfortable courtyard where our guests can enjoy the desert breeze while watching the clouds turn to cotton candy colors top of the list for simple additions to make while thinking of others.
Where is your favorite spot in the house and why?
Definitely the bathrooms! They’ve got such a beautiful design that keeps things bright and clean. But the clawfoot tubs are what make the space. An evening soak in the tub, while listening to some relaxing music is really the perfect ending to a long day of exploring parts of the desert that aren’t as well known as others.
Where should someone go on a visit to Florence, Arizona?
Florence is such a unique town with not a lot of visitors making their way to explore. The Town of Florence was founded in 1866 and is the sixth-oldest non-Native American settlement in the state of Arizona. Florence has some really unique areas that you could spend a day exploring each if you took your time and enjoyed it all.
Windmill Winery has an awesome tour and they offer a wine tasting. They also offer tons of special events during the evenings, which is perfect for someone looking for live music or entertainment.
The St. Anthony Monastery is about a 15 minute drive from our property. The most recent of 10 monasteries started in North America by Father Ephraim of Mt. Athos in Greece. We enjoy the unique architecture and history.
The Casa Grande Ruins National Monument is about 15 minutes away as well. This National Park preserves an Ancient Sonoran Desert People farming community and “Great House.” Created as the nation’s first archaeological reserve in 1892, the site was declared a National Monument in 1918.
Right in town, is the McFarland State Historic Park. The first Pinal County Courthouse in Florence was built in 1878 and is one of the first courthouses constructed in Arizona. Over the years, the building was home to a sheriff’s office, hospital, and museum. Today, it is a State Park. It is a great spot for local history. Speaking of local history, we couldn’t forget about the Pinal County Historical Society Museum. The museum hosts many exhibits and displays that represent the history of Florence and the area. It is so interesting being a tourist in your home state and the excitement you get when sharing these fun treasures is one of the many reasons we’ve loved hosting guests, near and far, at Rowhouse 25.