Cool house, warm look

Add coziness and personality with a mix of classic and contemporary elements

Patterned living room
Photo: Thomas J. Story

"Less is more" is an often-repeated design motto. Seeing the phrase boldly trumpeted across a home's entry, however, is something else entirely. A tribute to influential modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who coined the phrase, the statement sums up the design principles that guided Bobby Costa and Daniel Germani during the remodel of their 1953 ranch-style home in central Phoenix.

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Although both Costa and Germani are fans of the midcentury-modern look, their house is neither minimalist nor sterile. In fact, it's downright cozy, both indoors and out. "We didn't want a museum or a showcase," Germani says. "We wanted a place where you could sit down comfortably and have a cup of coffee."

Germani, who studied architecture in his native Argentina and now works in corporate branding, and Costa, who's in the mortgage industry, had been looking to buy a home for some time. Two years ago, they found what they'd been searching for in a 1,700-square-foot, three-bedroom house in Phoenix's Marlen Grove neighborhood.

The house, along with many others in the area, had been designed by Ralph Haver, a Phoenix architect known for his post–World War II ranch homes. Germani and Costa loved Haver's signature style of low pitched roofs, carports, and clerestory windows.

"We put an offer on the house without seeing the interior," Germani says. "We knew it had good bones."

Next: Back to the '50s 


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