Sometimes I come across a house that just blows me away for its funky-cool DIY renovation. Such is the case with this 1930s bungalow that I got the chance to see the other day. The current owner did all the renovations herself using many found and upcycled materials including the uber-cool steel kitchen cabinets and the stainless wet bar. I just love the exposed brick, barn wood back splash in the kitchen, and the variety of colors and finishes!
The Knipe House is one of the few remaining historic homes in the once-vibrant Evans Churchill neighborhood. Now it is surrounded by apartments and vacant lots — partially do to the construction of the I-10 freeway through the middle of it. The house was built in 1909 by architect Leighton G. Knipe, who designed many buildings in the Phoenix area, including the Jefferson Hotel, Frenchy Vieux, and several buildings on the ASU campus. Knipe built the house for his parents but eventually moved into it himself. We can only imagine what this house must have looked like in its heyday, surrounded by other stately bungalows with grassy front lawns, but the undated photo to the left gives us some idea.
The house has seen its share of tragedy including a fire in 2010 that destroyed much of the second floor. The city-owned property to the south, along with the uninhabitable house, were used by Grow House for several years as a demonstration garden, but Grow House didn’t have the funds to purchase or rehab the property, resulting in the Knipe house being added to the Phoenix Historic Neighborhoods Coalition’s Endangered Dozen list. Save the Knipe! was a rallying cry while the city searched for a buyer to rehab the property. Finally, a developer stepped in and hired Motley Design Group to renovate the home as a commercial space. Now, the beautifully renovated space is home to French bistro Sottise, as seen in the photos above. What an amazing success story and a true triumph of historic preservation!
Top photos: Sottise; historic photo: Motley Design; photo prior to renovation: The Republic