This stunning 1953 North Central Phoenix home belongs to Lory Parson, blogger and hostess at To Have To Host. Lory and I became connected on social media and found we had a few mutual friends and once I met her, I just adored her as much as I knew I would! She is just as kind and beautiful as she seems on her blog and her style is timeless and classic I couldn’t wait to share it with you, along with Lory’s tips and stories about her home.
“I love my neighborhood because it is full of families and is truly a close-knit community. I can walk my dog around my block and not come home for an hour because I’ve stopped to talk to neighbors along the way and I love that,” says Lory, “My husband and I can usually be found on our front patio or a neighbor’s patio on Friday nights having cocktails – who ever is outside first automatically becomes the host.”
Ready for the tour? Let’s go as I ask Lory about some history about her home and decor tips.
What did you do to make this house a home?
“Every single square inch of this home is used. There is no room that is off limits and we wanted the furniture and decor to reflect that. I worked with Susan Rose of Willows Design to update the home during this most recent renovation. She lightened up the upholstery, added interesting lighting, and mixed in some amazing vintage pieces with some great pieces from local artisans here in town.”
I loved the front door of Lory’s house and the first thing you see is a gallery wall of black and white images from vacations. Under the photo is the place and year documenting their trips.
The home is over 5,000 square feet and to make it easier – and fun – there are names for every room of the home.
“When you first enter my home, you encounter the Travel Wall, where we’ve documented our travels with black and white photos with locale names and dates written directly on the glass. My daughter nicknamed the area leading out to the garage the Pit Stop, because that’s literally where we stop to unload groceries and drinks into our beverage fridge. There’s a structure in our backyard, which once was a boathouse, but now is named the Kidatorium because it has everything a kid would want to hang out there for days; video games, sports equipment, a huge tv, musical instruments, board games.”
“The home was built in 1953 by a couple from Chicago who used this as their second home. The laundry room was detached with a separate living quarters for a housekeeper to manage the home when the owners weren’t here. We are the fourth owners.”
There is an enclosed hallway between the laundry room/pantry area and the rest of the house. The master bedroom is an addition as well and the home just seamlessly blends together.
Above is her daughter’s private bathroom! Goals right? With lighting in a bathroom like that and the Youtube tutorials out there I’d be playing in there all day with my makeup and having friends over! Every gals dream, teen to adult!
One of the rooms I was excited to share is this dining room because Lory says the table is already set and ready because that’s how often she hosts!
“I host Grandma Dinner Night every Tuesday night. Since both of our dads have passed, we wanted to be able to connect with our moms on a weekly basis and this ensures that. Sometimes my aunts, cousins or my sister’s family will come over too, so we can can have anywhere from 7 to 11 people on Tuesday nights.”
There is a wine bottle wall and when it’s opened, the guests sign and leave a note. How creative is that for artwork and a nod to all the memories with friends created in this room?
“I also love hosting friends for dinner. Sometimes it’s super casual on the kitchen island, sometimes it’s more formal, sometimes it’s a bbq in the back yard with kids running around and swimming. There’s something so intimate about being invited into someone’s home and I thrive on gathering friends and family together.”
“My mom always had her dining table set and I’m pretty sure that’s where it came from, ” says Lory. “I’ve heard people say that dining rooms never get used – definitely not the case at my house. When the table is already set, it’s super convenient to use it more often! We use it 3-4 times a week.”
Note the personal salt and pepper shakers at every seat!
Below is the boys bathroom that they share. I love the masculine look, so clean and modern.
Now onto the master bedroom. Palmer gave me a quick little look, what a cutie. He followed us from room to room and at times made the photo or did a cute photo bomb.
What was the most challenging part of renovating your home?
“The fact that this home was almost 75 years old when we started to renovate it made it challenging. We ran into a lot of problems with plumbing, electrical, air conditioning, insulation, roofing. Almost everything had to be replaced, which delayed progress and made it a lot more expensive, but it is a very sound house now. Jay Hoven of Malapai Builders was our contractor, and he was great in coming up with solutions along the way as they presented themselves.”
Next we head outside to the lovely garden area.
Most of the gardening is actually Lory’s husband’s hobby. Since the property is a pie shape the garden is in the back, behind the former boathouse structure.
The backyard itself has plenty of space to entertain.
“The yard is what sets this home apart for sure. It’s a pie-shaped lot, so the size is deceptive from the front, but the mature trees and landscape make the backyard an absolute oasis. We love entertaining outdoors because there is so much shade and my husband is fantastic at maintaining an impeccable garden and landscape.”
Where are your favorite local places in Phoenix to shop?
“I always love popping into Willows to see what new decor items have arrived, UrbAna is one my favorite local tabletop stores, Phoenix General always has cool candles and Alixandra has the neatest jewelry.”
Favorite home design/renovation tips you learned?
“Decor and tabletop items always look better in odd numbers. Interesting lighting can make a huge difference in a room. Make sure the scale of your furniture fits the room.”
And that’s the end of the tour! Thanks Lory so much for opening up your home to us! Follow along on her blog To Have To Host for more home project details (I could have stayed for hours for the details but it took two hours to shoot this tour!) and Lory will share more about the choices she made and of course hostessing tips, themes and beautiful ideas!