When Webb and Carol Ellis decided to downsize, their wish list had one item that was non-negotiable: a home with a view.
The couple’s old home would be tough to beat.
“We came from Camelback Mountain so knew we wanted a view,” Carol Ellis said.
They found a winner — 19 floors up in a high rise that overlooks surrounding mountain ranges, city life, cultural attractions and even a bit of Phoenix history.
The new views?
“Spectacular and unobstructed,” Carol said.
The couple’s unique condominium in the historic Regency on Central is part of the fourth annual Urban Living Tour Nov. 5, organized by the Midtown Neighborhood Association.
The self-guided tour features homes in seven midtown properties. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 the day of the event. For more information: www.midtownphx.org.
The Ellises were living in a 4,200-square-foot home on Camelback Mountain, just above the Royal Palms Resort and Spa, when they decided it was time to find a smaller home and start shedding belongings.
Searching online, they spotted the high rise condo on the 19th floor of a 22-floor building. Regency on Central, formerly Regency House, was built in 1964 and was among the first residential high rises in Phoenix.
The property had a lot to offer with its urban location, amenities and all-important views. The couple kept an eye on the condo listing for about three months before finally taking a tour.
“The minute I walked in the front door, I just knew,” Carol Ellis said.
A previous owner had combined two neighboring units, creating a spacious 3,200-square-foot condo with three terraces on the north, south and east sides. The couple made an offer that day and moved in the spring of 2012. Today, they share the condo with two mini dachshunds, sisters, about 15 weeks old. Among the amenities at the high rise property is a small dog park, perfect for the two puppies.
The home is loaded with unique — and unusual — features installed before the couple moved in, making the condo very tour-worthy.
It has three roomy bedrooms, all ensuite. The “spa la la” master bedroom, as Carol calls it, features a large black jacuzzi tub in the corner.
“Think Las Vegas,” she said jokingly.
The guest room has a steam shower as well as a large sauna room that the couple estimates could seat eight or 10 people. The couple has never tried out the sauna, opting instead to use the space as a closet.
Then there’s the third bedroom. At first glance, it appears to simply be a converted crafting room for Carol.
But the bookshelves that hold her craft supplies also hold a secret. Behind them is a hidden room, maybe an old “safe room,” that Carol uses for extra storage.
Another stunner in the house is the kitchen, which doubled in size when the two units were combined. The airy, black and white kitchen features a 15-foot center island and also a small terrace with an outdoor table and chairs. The generous space is made for get-togethers and fun.
“We ‘downsized’ to be here, but honestly this condo is perfect for entertaining,” Carol said. “We’ve hosted Thanksgiving, Christmas and many a Super Bowl party here. Who wouldn’t? Just look around.”
The couple certainly didn’t need to up the wow factor at the condo, but decided to go for it anyway. They dedicated a wall to Webb’s collection of Playboy memorabilia from his days managing the Phoenix Playboy Club in the 1960s and early 1970s.
Among the treasures is an oversized key bearing the Playboy bunny logo, similar to the real keys given exclusively to club members.
The Playboy Club was located in midtown, within view of Regency on Central, and Webb and Carol met at the Ivanhoe bar on the bottom floor of the infamous building.
Of course, nothing trumps the jaw-dropping views all around the condo. Day or night, there is always something to see.
“Sky Harbor affords a constant viewing of planes taking off and landing," Carol said. "We’ve seen Air Force One and the Trump plane. Sunrises. Sunsets. The Heard Museum is directly south of us. Fireworks at Phoenix Country Club on the 4th of July seem to be right in our backyard. Friday night fireworks from the Diamondbacks are nice, too. Cruising on Central — loud but fun to watch!”
Visitors can’t help but share the couple’s enthusiasm. The constant refrain: “Can I move in?”