Interiorssneak peeks

In Arizona, a Lesson in Reinvigorating Without Reinventing

by Garrett Fleming

When they decided to move in together, Celine Rille of Rille & Co. and her husband Kevin scrolled through an endless number of online listings. One day, amidst all the clutter, a mid-century home with the most divine, hand-painted mural in its dining room popped up. The painting simply couldn’t be ignored, so the couple scheduled a showing. Unfortunately, the rest of the home didn’t quite live up to the grandeur of the dining room. The Phoenix, AZ property hadn’t been updated in 60 years, and its stained carpet, outdated appliances and all-pink bathroom were absolutely less than ideal. Luckily for the sellers, the more Celine and Kevin saw of the mural, the more it overshadowed all of the property’s downsides. Without hesitation, the couple moved right in, ready to reinvigorate the home they’d unexpectedly fallen for.

It took three months, but after working under the watchful eye of contractor Mack Ketchum, Celine and Kevin have amplified the fixer-upper’s mid-century vibe and given a nod to bohemian and Southwestern styles. The first step was all new IKEA cabinetry for the kitchen – where the majority of the home’s renovations took place. Once cabinets were installed, Celine and Kevin added fun touches like homemade open shelving and a rustic breakfast bar to spice up the look. The latter is even made from a tree found in a nearby wood. Some parts of a local forest were cleared to prevent fires, so when they heard the news, the couple drove over, snagged one of the fallen tree trunks and had it repurposed for their home.

With the kitchen’s construction underway, the couple began focusing on the bathroom. Celine says it was by far the most challenging part of the renovation because of her specific vision for the room’s floating concrete sink. Achieving the look kept her, Kevin and contractor Mack up many nights. Much to Mack’s chagrin, shoddy construction work kept preventing the sink from draining. Cracks also continually crept up the unit’s cement base. After many failed attempts at tweaking the design, concrete tiling ended up being the only way to go. While a financial setback, and not exactly what Celine had in mind, she’s happy with the final look.

At the end of construction, the results of their renovation had Celine and Kevin giddy. So giddy, in fact, the home even served as the backdrop for their wedding. “We cleared out all the furniture… and managed to seat 50 people in the space. We wrapped the [living room’s] pillars in flowers and used the mural as the backdrop for our vows,” they tell us. That isn’t the only exciting development since the couple moved in. Just as the mural served as the backdrop for the wedding, it’ll be right there in the background of more fond memories now that the pair has welcomed home a new baby. Get to know the newbie, Otis — and the gorgeous home his parents have lovingly brought back to life — after the jump. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Jill Richards

In Arizona, a Lesson in Reinvigorating Without Reinventing, Design*Sponge
When design-savvy Celine began decorating her home, the aim was "... to celebrate the mid-century aspects of the house without being too literal. [She] also wanted the space to be comfortable and welcoming." Mixing highs and lows was one way Celine was able to both stay in budget and create this vibe. Most of the living room's furniture is a mixture of finds from Target, Crate & Barrel, IKEA and vintage shops.
In Arizona, a Lesson in Reinvigorating Without Reinventing, Design*Sponge
Celine is the founder and creative director of her own creative firm. From playlists and art direction, to branding and photography, she is your go-to gal if your company needs an identity. Kevin is a real estate agent and holds on to squirmy Otis.
In Arizona, a Lesson in Reinvigorating Without Reinventing, Design*Sponge
"The mural in the dining room was painted by the original owner(s) when they converted the house from a horse barn in 1950," Celine and Kevin tell us. It was this touch that convinced the couple that they had to live here. Celine added a whimsical chandelier to match the over-the-top mural. It casts a warm glow on party-goers when Kevin is mixing up some cocktails at his well-stocked bar. Dining table and chairs by Design Within Reach.
In Arizona, a Lesson in Reinvigorating Without Reinventing, Design*Sponge
Celine urges us to not to be fooled by these Dot & Bo side chairs' streamlined design. They're actually quite comfy. Living in Arizona has influenced the couple's style, so cacti and a rustic skull accompany the pair of chairs. Behind them is an eye-catching, yellow fireplace which the couple describes as their home's design "pain point." I kind of love the shade of it, though. It's so unique.
In Arizona, a Lesson in Reinvigorating Without Reinventing, Design*Sponge
The wood used for the breakfast bar is from a wooded area that was partially cleared to prevent dangerous forest fires. Stunning bar stools from Bohem accompany it.
In Arizona, a Lesson in Reinvigorating Without Reinventing, Design*Sponge
Exposed brick and stainless steel: a fail-safe combo.
In Arizona, a Lesson in Reinvigorating Without Reinventing, Design*Sponge
The kitchen shelving was a DIY project for the couple. The materials, butcher block and plumbing pipes are from The Home Depot and are perfect for showing off the dining set Kevin inherited from his parents. The cabinetry is from IKEA.
In Arizona, a Lesson in Reinvigorating Without Reinventing, Design*Sponge
The kitchen's desk is cut from the same tree as the breakfast bar. "The vintage map of London is a nod to my upbringing. I get a little smile whenever I look at it and remember the antics I got [into] in that city," Celine tells us. The adorable leather stool is from CB2.
In Arizona, a Lesson in Reinvigorating Without Reinventing, Design*Sponge
Highly modern furniture, like the dining area's CB2 bench and West Elm table, risk appearing cold and uninviting. Knowing this area of her home would be getting some serious foot traffic, Celine's added "a more bohemian, vintage light fixture and Mexican blanket to soften [the look] up a bit."
In Arizona, a Lesson in Reinvigorating Without Reinventing, Design*Sponge
Kevin and Celine's bedroom is pretty massive, making it perfect for "skidding in socks." That sounds like a blast, but when the family first moved in, Celine was more excited about being able to fit her West Elm dressing table and mirror into the space. "I feel like such an adult when I get ready [at it]. There's a little collection of photos of my sister, mother and grandmother, plus my favorite necklaces hanging on the antlers. It's definitely the girliest spot in the house," she says.
In Arizona, a Lesson in Reinvigorating Without Reinventing, Design*Sponge
Baby Otis loves playing with this macrame artwork from Urban Outfitters. Get a good look at it now, because Celine bets it's only a matter of time before he pulls it down. Initially, Celine had a bunch of cozy pillows sitting below it on the bed. After realizing how irksome it was taking them off each night then putting them back on each morning, she pared down the set. Now small, decorative pieces are all that remain.
In Arizona, a Lesson in Reinvigorating Without Reinventing, Design*Sponge
A vintage painting passed down from Kevin's grandparents hangs above the gorgeous credenza from Crate & Barrel - which Celine hopes becomes a family heirloom. The only way she could justify purchasing the pricey find was to convince herself that her children will use it in their own homes one day, and then pass it down to their children.
In Arizona, a Lesson in Reinvigorating Without Reinventing, Design*Sponge
"What I love most about my home is... how much 'life' happens in the great room... our wedding, lazy mornings, dinner parties, dance-offs..." -- Celine Rille.
In Arizona, a Lesson in Reinvigorating Without Reinventing, Design*Sponge
During the construction phase of the move-in, Celine had a very specific vision for this floating, concrete sink. As it turns out, the design was much more difficult to bring to life than she imagined. "The night we moved into the house... we discovered that the sink bottom was so uneven that water would pool in odd places instead of running down the drain. We ended up having to cover the whole piece in concrete tile and buy a rather expensive sink to sit on top that would fit the already-installed plumbing."
In Arizona, a Lesson in Reinvigorating Without Reinventing, Design*Sponge
Sleek, modern plumbing from shops such as Central Arizona Supply contrasts nicely with the bathroom's vintage accessories.
In Arizona, a Lesson in Reinvigorating Without Reinventing, Design*Sponge
The mid-century home's floor plan.

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  • I love this story, I bet you will love this home for a long time. How romantic….. It sounds beautiful….
    Enjoy your life together in this beautiful newly remodeled home!!

  • Wow, I would definitely move there right away and leave the renovations for later too. The painted mural looks GORGEOUS!
    Great for u two Celine and Kevin. :D

    – Emily

  • Wow! What an amazing home. As someone who lives in AZ I can definitely appreciate this. I feel like it’s hard to find modern homes mixed with an Arizona flair. This is just too lovely.

    -Emily coatandcoffee.com

  • I really, really like this one. There’s such a mish mash of styles but somehow it all works together beautifully. So much personality and lots of lovely, lovely things. I especially like that ornate antique mirror in the bathroom contrasting with the modern, slightly industrial vibe of the sink. I love pretty much everything actually!

    • Thanks so much Margot! I’m drawn to a variety of different styles so it’s definitely taken some time to get all the pieces I love to work together :)

  • Lovely home, every item seems made for the this space. congratulations on creating a welcoming and modern home. because your lighting is so unique i was wondering if you purchased the fixtures on your travels or whether you had a local source. Thanks for posting your home.

    • Hi Isabel! I bought most of the fixtures for the home at a local vintage lighting shop called Camelback Lighting – it’s on Central and Camelback in downtown PHX.

  • When we were hunting, first for a home, later for a rental property, my husband wanted something ready to move into. But that doesn’t exist. I preferred something that needed to be redone, rather than tell myself that while the kitchen/bathroom/living room/bedroom/all of the above isn’t my taste, there isn’t anything wrong besides aesthetics. Both times we bought places that had good bones but needed major changes. That’s what Celine and Kevin have done. The star of the place–the mural–isn’t something you can find elsewhere. Everything else can be changed. All the better if it NEEDS to be changed.
    BTW I love those clerestory windows. They must be so practical in Arizona–light without heating up the house.

    • Thanks so much for the compliments! Yes, the clerestory windows go around the entire perimeter of the house and they create the most beautiful light in every room. They’re all single pane though so it gets a bit hot in the summer, but I’m willing to put up with that for the light :)

  • That mural would have reeled me in, also. Beautiful home! Did you seal the live-edge wood slabs? If so, what did you use? I’m considering one as a shelf right now and wondering about it. The look is fantastic in your place–it’s convincing me to do it.

    • Hi Aidel :) We sanded and sealed the wood slab. I’ll have to check with my guy to find out what he used and get back to you.

  • Wow, this is the kind of place where I could see some people having thoughtful conversation to late hours in the night. The whole atmosphere is so lightly colored and warm that if the lights were on all night, I don’t think I could tell what hour it is! Beautiful room

  • the place is even more enchanting in reality – every corner of the house is intriguing, beautiful and very bright – just super

  • The fan in the bedroom is beautiful! It blends well with the rest of the furniture. I love the legs on the credenza too. How fun! What a beautiful space to host a wedding in!

  • Wow, what a stunning home—so eclectic, and yes modern, but so not cookie cutter- refreshing….So nice to see a space that reflects individual taste. Love all of your special touches. Great eye! Bravo !!!

  • I’m soooooo happy to see that they kept this mural! So many people would have found it “old fashioned” and not understood it at all…this makes me so happy.

    And that credenza…I already thought it was vintage and clearly heirloom quality…totally worth it. Great job you guys!