Jenny Goldman admits she has her dog to thank for her family's home. The goldendoodle ended up being the dealmaker for Goldman and her husband, who were playing the odds against a number of other interested buyers for a north-central Phoenix home that had been vacant for seven years.
“The goldendoodle sold the house,” Goldman said. “It ended up being a super fun, amazing journey.”
Goldman, her husband and two kids, used to live a couple streets over in a two-story house that had a backyard with a pool. But, the entire backyard was the pool, leaving no room for their dog to play and do dog business.
After spending years trying to strategize how to reconfigure the house or the yard to fit their needs, they began dreaming about the possibility of finding land or remodeling a home to fit their exact needs. But, they didn’t want to go far, because their elementary-aged kids had friends nearby and they loved their neighbors. They also knew land wasn’t easy to come by in their area.
So they went looking. Goldman wrote notes to neighbors living in homes they liked, asking them to contact her first if they decided they’d like to move. But, she didn’t get any takers. Then one day, she caught a glimpse of a home she hadn’t noticed before. And, she started asking around.
“This house was so unassuming,” she said. “It was really old. And, there was never any traffic coming in and out of it.”
She did some sleuthing, learned it was vacant and had been for years, scored the owner’s contact information and reached out to her. She learned she wasn’t the first person to contact the owner and that the owner wasn’t in a rush to sell.
Goldman let go of the daydream about that house, temporarily. And soon, the owner reached out, letting her know that she and several other potential buyers would have a chance to be interviewed for the opportunity to put in an offer on the home.
“She wanted to hand-pick the person or people,” Goldman said. “We went down to her house and had breakfast and brought coffee and told her our situation. She loved that we had a dog and was happy our dog would have a place.”
And that was only chapter one.
Next came three months of design and planning. And multiple days and weeks of purging from the 1950s home that had aged but remained aesthetically in tact from its decades-old era.
“It was a time capsule when we bought it. It was frozen in time,” Goldman said. “Nothing had been touched.”
The home ended up being a playground for local antique shop owners, who would come over almost daily to sift through what was left behind. When that was done, Goldman and her husband leveled the structure due to a number of structural issues, mold and termites.
They kept the original foundation, added to it, and began building a 4,100 square foot home that would, in the coming months, be shaped into a four-bedroom, five-bathroom modern farmhouse. Goldman found most of her design inspiration on social media, scrolling through Pinterest and following designers on Instagram.
She chronicled her family’s journey on Instagram, too, posting updates regularly to @cenpho_reno, an account that shows new subway tiles in the bathroom, an expansive backyard and fixtures as they went in. Goldman still plans to document an upcoming tile installation and a couple other remaining projects.
“I designed everything myself, except for the bar room,” Goldman said. “I built my house by getting inspiration from other avenues. I knew I could do it. So I did it. I loved every moment of it.”
That bar room, the one they didn’t design but instead borrowed from a Minneapolis hotel they loved, is one of their favorite rooms. It includes a kegerator, a wine fridge and a bar with sliding glass doors that allow friends and family to “belly up” from the inside or outside.
“We just loved the hotel and we tried to get that vibe,” she said, rethinking how smoothly the entire renovation went. “Most people would never want to do it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s stressful. But, it wasn’t as stressful as we thought it would be.”
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