Derek Figg and Lyndsey Waugh have the distinct honor of living in the smallest subdivision in Maricopa County. In reality, it’s probably the smallest subdivision in the state, but they haven’t confirmed that detail yet.
Their entire subdivision includes their 2,200-square-foot home, which shares a wall with a home that exactly mirrors the layout and size of theirs. The 91-year-old home that Figg and Waugh share spent most of its life as the premier apartment building of its time, located at Portland and Roosevelt streets.
During light-rail construction, it needed to be relocated, in order to save it, to a corner lot in the Roosevelt Historic District a few hundred yards away.
“It was a substantial effort for the city to preserve it,” Waugh said of the home as she flipped through a scrapbook that contained photos of the atypical and completely monumental move.
And despite having a new identity as two separately deeded homes, the Lamar building held on to its namesake with an identifying plaque out front.
“It’s everything you want in a front-porch neighborhood,” Waugh said. “All the dogs know each other.”
Figg and Waugh weren’t even looking to move when they stumbled upon the house. The couple was fresh off of renovating a condo, when they noticed the house while walking their dog, James, one night. And the minute they saw it, their wheels started turning.
“I’d always wanted a unique house,” Figg said. “These don’t go up for sale that often.”
So the two moved on the listing and have been in it now for about six months, although no one would know that they just moved in. The turnkey nature of the home proved ideal for Figg and Waugh, who enjoy traveling and nightlife, and appreciated the renovations the home had seen since its relocation.
They also appreciate the history the house holds, made visual by the scrapbook the previous owner gave them.
“It really was a passing of the torch,” Waugh said. “We love music. We love arts. We love downtown. And, that’s very much who we inherited this house from.”
As with most historic homes, the charm is in the details at the Lamar home. The galley kitchen, upgraded with the newest countertops, cabinets and appliances, also includes a milk window, a holdover from the dairy delivery service employed during that era. A simple plant now sits where milk jugs used to.
“It has all the old charm, but it is completely modern,” Waugh said.
And, the home’s second bedroom features a window-encased alcove on the upper level that gives what Figg and Waugh refer to as a “treehouse” effect, offering a bird’s-eye view of their neighborhood and downtown in the distance. The room, which Figg and Waugh use as a music hub, has an airy, almost beach-town feel thanks to the windows that surround the squared-off sitting area. Its design is completely foreign to modern single-family homes and illustrates the potential of retrofitting a historic multifamily building into a home.
“It’s like enclosed,” Figg said. “But I call it an Arizona balcony.”
Figg is responsible for modernizing the Lamar home. It’s admittedly his “thing.” All of the landscaping features low-water vegetation. The backyard fountain is on a timer, as are the lights that illuminate the yard. Solar lights are installed on the backyard steps, and the home’s security and HVAC systems are accessible by Bluetooth technology.
“Basically, everything is automated,” Figg said, adding that the house is wired with Sonos speakers to broadcast the tunes du jour to anyone within earshot.
To conserve space, and keep options open, Figg and Waugh set up a Murphy bed in the second bedroom, which includes its own full bathroom. The design allows for visiting guests to have their own suite, creating a certain level of privacy.
The only project Figg and Waugh have decided to tackle at the house is their private balcony, accessed by French doors off the master suite. The dainty perch is just big enough for a couple of chairs and a small table, but it’s the perfect size for Figg and Waugh to indulge in late-night ramen, take in the sounds of the city, and talk about their next getaway.
The two plan to resurface the balcony floor with tile, knowing that might be the only upgrade the home actually needs.
Otherwise, they admit they’re kind of living the dream.
“It was our dream to live in a historic neighborhood,” Waugh said.