The Raskin Estates neighborhood couldn’t have a better location. Situated near Kierland and Scottsdale Quarter, the quiet, HOA-free neighborhood is full of homes built around 1970.
Cindy Steinman, a real-estate agent turned investor, would drive through the neighborhood, dreaming of how she could transform a tired home into something beautiful.
She took the plunge in 2013.
'Focused on creating eye candy'
Steinman purchased a home she now affectionately calls "The Brexley" in the Scottsdale neighborhood.
The 2,600-square-foot home needed a massive update for her vision to come to life. The home's design was inspired by Steinman's love for finding beautiful homes among old ones while visiting Venice Beach, California.
The galley kitchen, wood paneling and beehive fireplace were all overhauled into the artistic, minimalistic, tranquil sanctuary it is today.
She designed the space with photography in mind.
She thought about lighting and integrating design elements such as a handmade steel pipe cage entry created by Cody Carpenter of Studio Make. She credits Carpenter with making the home what it is today, especially since the front door is unique to the home.
“He's a 'MacGyver'-type guy. He can do it all. A concrete architect by trade who happens to blow your mind with steel," Steinman said.
Carpenter also did the home's interior architectural concrete and helped design exterior steel gates and handmade door handles for the kitchen.
Steinman said she tried to see the home from a photographer’s perspective.
“Creating natural filtered light was the top of my list along with minimalist monochromatic design. What I didn't know is if this would be a success or not. I was more focused on creating eye candy for the photographers and a tranquil unique hideaway for future guests," she said.
From outdated to Instagram famous
Steinman couldn’t have imagined the success of the Brexley since it opened New Year’s Day 2018. It was used to film a Hollywood short film and a Colgate commercial starring Michael Phelps, as well as countless photo shoots by top photographers in the Valley.
“Being able to create with them has been my all-time favorite part of all this. It ignites a fire inside me. The Brexley has become our playground; our safe place to experiment with creativity. I feel so lucky to have found Instagram which led me to my tribe," she said.
She found she could collaborate with this online community.
"When you try and explain an idea you have to a numbers-type person they have no idea what you're talking about nor do they care; but when you explain this unique idea to another creative they are open to it and get it. Sometimes they even add something to the project that I didn't even think about. We brainstorm together.”
The Brexley Instagram (@thebrexley) features photos of the home’s details, behind-the-scenes videos of photo shoots and collaborations with photographers. Steinman also curates images to market the hospitality and event aspects of the home.
As well as being a dream home for artists and filmmakers, the home is listed as a luxury vacation rental.
Embroidered towels in the hallway, modern furnishings, a walk-in shower and a window with perfectly-spaced cactus in the bathroom create the luxurious, serene feel that Steinman sought.
The front door opens to a sweeping, bright view of the open-concept living space and modern kitchen, and a direct view of the backyard. A wall-size glass patio door opens to a vine-covered arbor that offers the perfect amount of shade for photographers and sunbathers alike.
An intimate and artsy patio space next to the pool features a seating area for an outdoor dinner party.
Finding her passion
Steinman was always a daydreamer and said the normal education system didn’t work for her. She scraped by in high school and worked as a waitress before she became a real-estate agent.
Her ability to see potential in old homes led her to investing and remodeling, which came with a learning curve. She remodeled another house in Scottsdale with architect Eric Spry and a house in Phoenix.
“I had no idea what I was doing at all,” she said.
Her eye for design and savvy business sense eventually developed into a distinct ability to create beauty in an old neighborhood. As far as the Brexley is concerned, for now, Steinman does it all; from marketing and managing social media to cleaning, doing laundry and changing air filters between guests.
She hopes other people with her passion will see the neighborhood in the same way she did.
“I'm waiting on the real architects in town to find Raskin Estates and start putting their creations in there. Not just the flippers who only care about the bottom line and put out subpar remodels, but some exciting architects," she said.
Steinman is passionate about every detail that goes into running the Brexley, and she has advice for others who have big real-estate dreams.
- Stay away from naysayers.
- Do what compels you. What tugs at your heart.
- Don't do it for the money.
- Be a rebel!
The beautiful home she created is her pride and joy.
She had large screens printed and posted to her construction fence with a quote from Steve Jobs. "Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful, that's what matters to me."
Know of a unique home in metro Phoenix that is not on the market that should be featured? Email [email protected].
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