Tour An Adobe Home On The National Register Of Historic Places


white living room with an...

To create a calming oasis, designer Kylie Wolfe melded modern and old-word furnishings in her living room. Sleek sofas and nesting coffee tables, all from CB2, are paired with a vintage Turkish rug and an antique French verdure tapestry on the wall.

the exterior entry of a...

“I wanted to do an empathetic renovation that leans into the desert,” Wolfe says of her 1929 adobe-style home. The arched entry door hints at similarly shaped architectural elements inside.

the corner of a room...

Mirroring the originals, a new archway now connects the kitchen to the main gathering areas. A vintage stool from France and a print by artist Carlisle Burch mark the transition between spaces.

dining room with travertine table...

For a serene vibe, Wolfe says she “pulled back on color,” instead emphasizing organic textures. In the dining room, a vintage travertine table is paired with oak chairs from Anthropologie and custom pendants.

counter stools line a quartzite-topped...

Handcrafted Arto porcelain floor tile from Craftsman Court Ceramics and a sculpted plaster hood fabricated by general contractor Rob Withem lend a bespoke air to the kitchen. The Newport Brass faucet and vintage stools add to the patina.

open shelves display ceramic dishware...

The kitchen’s plain-sawn white oak cabinetry from Palo Verde Cabinet Company complements the handmade ceramic dishware. An encaustic brick tile backsplash from Tile Resource & Design and Della Terra Quartz countertops by Arizona Tile complete the space.

an adobe home's views into...

In every room, charm lies in the handcrafted details. See the MQuan Studio ceramic chain hanging in the bedroom and the entry’s vintage console from Indus Design Imports, above which is an artwork sourced from Mexico City.

a woven pendant lamp hangs...

To maximize space in the primary bedroom, the designer selected a streamlined oak headboard with integrated nightstands from Article. The bed is dressed in Parachute linens; underfoot is a vintage Turkish rug.

As Phoenix grows beyond its original borders, there are still, intimate stretches of the city where the past lingers on. You feel this languid shift in time while strolling through historic neighborhoods like Willo, where the streets are lined with old palm trees and an eclectic mix of homes nearing a century in age. One such house—a 1929 adobe-style dwelling listed on the National Register of Historic Places—promised everything designer Kylie Wolfe and her husband Davis hoped for their next chapter: a desert oasis far from their former life in foggy San Francisco. 

Though modified over the decades, the interior’s thick block masonry and plasterwork visible in the photos online were enough to persuade them to buy sight unseen. “Because of what I do, I got a sense of what was going on there,” explains Kylie, who saw beyond the builder-grade kitchen and orange-hued wood flooring. For Davis, “love at first sight would be an overstatement,” he laughs. “But I’m thankful that Kylie has such vision. I can follow that and see what’s possible.”

In person, their faith was rewarded with coved plaster ceilings, archways, and a curved fireplace featuring a surround and hearth covered in authentic Saltillo tile. Such crafted details “are hard to replicate these days,” Kylie says. “It was clear what was original versus what was slapped on.” She knew a modern yet deeply empathetic renovation could smooth these rough transitions between time periods. 

After painting the walls a fresh white, the couple decided to live in the home for a while to get acquainted with its bones, down to the darkly patinated door hardware that “feels really cool and tactile,” Davis notes. “It’s amazing that these operational pieces withstood the test of time.” More changes became possible when the couple found general contractor Rob Withem, who “lives in F.Q. Story, another historic neighborhood,” Kylie says. “He shares our love for restoration.”

Armed with a team of talented craftspeople, Kylie and Withem ensured structural changes remained true to the home’s adobe contours, like the living room’s new built-in shelves softly plastered to mimic the textured fireplace. They also carved out a new archway between the dining area and kitchen, painstakingly shaped “to be an exact replica of the original in the living room,” Kylie notes. In the kitchen, they added a coved ceiling to match the existing ones in other rooms as well as a tapered range hood, again designed to echo the living room’s shapely fireplace. 

Kylie then reconfigured the cramped kitchen layout to expand the entire space, making room for an additional window—the only change that required formal approval from the National Register. But it was a necessary one to see “the hummingbirds that come next to the window to feed on the flowers,” Kylie explains. Despite her contemporary integrated millwork design, the reimagined space still feels true to the abode’s soul thanks to warm white oak cabinetry and a chiseled-edge porcelain tile floor. Even the ceramic dishware Davis made by hand when they lived in San Francisco fits into the scheme. “Those layers of rich materials and textures help tell the story of our home,” she adds.

The designer favored a “heavy blend of vintage and new,” she explains. “We tried to get things with some grit and animated elements to them.” Deeply veined travertine accents the cluster of contemporary nesting coffee tables as well as the 1970s dining table imported from Italy. And in the living room, cloudy white sofas and sheer drapes live next to a vintage Turkish kilim rug and antique French verdure tapestry. 

Leather and wood are mellowed like fine wine in pieces such as a beloved midcentury safari chair, a set of vintage rope-legged stools from France and a bookcase Davis stripped himself. Kylie also gravitated toward handmade light fixtures that borrow the dwelling’s plaster and aged-metal finishes. Hues overall feel attuned to the desert, an ombre of “rusts, cognac and Saltillo brown,” she explains. “We pared the colors down. At this time in our lives, we wanted a place of rejuvenation and respite.”

As the renovation took shape, so too did their new life. “The energy that we’ve created here is really calming,” Davis says. And the home feels more in harmony with itself—far from a time capsule, it’s a space that gracefully marks the passing decades. “Truly timeless designs are a collection of eras,” Kylie adds, “all blended together to make something beautiful.” 

“I wanted to do an empathetic renovation that leans into the desert,” designer Kylie Wolfe says of her 1929 adobe-style home. The arched entry door hints at similarly shaped architectural elements inside.