Building Community, One Beautiful House At a Time
The Rafterhouse team knows a diamond in the desert when they see one. Founded in 2012 by Austin King and Chris Liles and based in the architecturally-rich Arcadia neighborhood of Phoenix, Rafterhouse has been transforming dated houses into modern mid-century gems ever since. These are uniquely remodeled homes which simultaneously honor the past–antiques and rustic industrial pieces are often seen throughout a project, and a vintage, glass-paneled ‘Pantry’ door has become their trademark look–while looking toward the future. “We have a passion for post-war era ranch homes,” reads their website, “and hate seeing them lose their charm. We strive to build, enhance, and upgrade these homes while staying true to their historical roots and the character and integrity of the neighborhoods they reside in.” Preserving history and salvaging beauty while adding luxurious modern lighting, Carrara marble-topped kitchen islands and fresh new finishes? Sounds like a dream job to us! REstyleSOURCE checked in with Austin King to get more details on the Rafterhouse philosophy and one of their gorgeous finished projects, the sprawling sunlit Rafterhouse Ranch seen in the photos below.
Can you share a bit about this project, and where you drew inspiration from for the overall design? This was an early project for us, and one of our first that was backed by a large remodel budget. We were able to completely transform the space and include specific and intentional detail in every room. Each material was thought out and hand selected by Rafterhouse.
“Our inspiration came from the simple place of trying to design and construct the best home possible.”
Can you tell us about the materials used (esp natural/unique materials, antiques or reclaimed items)? Our Vermont project had a very crisp and clean kitchen that was contrasted by the use of reclaimed barnwood as the exposed truss beam that spanned the room. We picked up the barnwood theme again in the simple detail of the fireplace mantel adjacent to the kitchen. Another unique material in the kitchen/great room is one of our Rafterhouse signature pantry doors. This vintage door was filled with character. We cleaned it up just enough and repurposed it as a pantry door, original hardware and all.
“It’s important that our design have a unique blend of old and new. It’s nice to have that balance between the crisp and fresh feeling of a new material and the rustic and natural feeling of an older material.”
Do you have any design tips you would like to share with our readers about how to achieve this look/style? A Rafterhouse project will always have classic and timeless design elements intermixed with shots of unique character and style. If you keep the main elements of your space timeless–flooring, cabinetry, countertops, etc.–you can then use the smaller & more intimate finish materials–such as hardware, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, unique doors–as accent pieces that will become the talking points for your look or style.
Do you have any particular favorite pieces in this space? The hands-down favorite piece in this home would have to be the vintage carriage doors that flank the entry to the master bathroom. We are constantly on the lookout for unique vintage and antique materials that we can reuse or re-purpose in the next Rafterhouse. We purchased these amazing carriage doors in the fall of 2013 and held on to them for nearly 9 months waiting for the perfect place to use them. The carriage doors are 100 years old and had come off a garage in La Jolla, California. When we saw the entry point to the Vermont Residence master bathroom, we knew we had finally found the perfect place to use them. We cleaned up the doors but left the original paint and hinges on them. It is quite the statement as you peer past the large rustic character of the doors and see a spa-like master bath suite covered in elegant marble.
Did you encounter any design challenges while bringing this space to life? There are always design and construction challenges in this business. Originally we had permitted the kitchen & great room to retain the original 8′ flat ceiling. As we spent more time in the space, however, it just began to not feel grand enough. It was a nice and expansive space, but the ceiling height began to feel like a limiting factor. Late in the framing stages, we decided to halt construction and have the entire roof structure torn off the great room. We then went back to our architect and designed the vaulted ceiling with a decorative, exposed barn wood truss to take to the city for permitting. It was a major design challenge to get past the original ceiling height and ushering the space to a grander feel.