Happy Mother’s Day to all the Moms out there and a special prayer to all of you who no longer have your mother. I have several friends this year spending this day without their mother on Mother’s Day for the first time….I cannot even imagine life without the one person on earth who loves you unconditionally. I love you Mom – it was her love of homes and architecture that compelled her to drag me around model homes when I was a kid and I’m sure had a great influence on me becoming an architect. She always loved my drawings and my Lego models and today I’m still drawings away and the Lego models are actual homes that people live, cook and celebrate life in.
And with that I segue to a fun blog for Mother’s Day written by one of my associates who is an amazing architect, Meredith Thomson. She has been with me now for several years and is most definitely a rising star in our firm. Exceptionally talented, a true artist, and a delightful and articulate, Meredith embodies our philosophy and values here at Candelaria Design. Her blog is about a home designed by the team of Candelaria Design and Berghoff Design and being built by Vista General all orchestrated by the talents of Meredith Thomson. I hope you enjoy this story – and Happy Mother’s Day!
My family moved to the Arcadia area in 1982 when I was 2 years old. I grew up climbing the citrus trees, riding my bike through the ranch house lined streets and visiting the snack shop at Kaibab during t-ball games. I loved it. It was the perfect environment for a child to grow up in.
Since then there has been a lot of change. I can still remember as an 8 year old threatening to chain myself to the orange trees they eventually removed from the last standing orchard to make way for a new development. How could they do this to my playground! When I moved away in 1998 I continued to watch the change from afar; seeing something new in the neighborhood with every visit back. Most people when they return home as adults comment on how small everything is compared to what they remember but I had the opposite reaction- everything was bigger. Especially the homes! But what had not changed was the sense of community. As some families moved away, new ones moved in. New kids were riding their bikes in the streets, community parades were still being organized over the holidays, family barbeques were being had. It was still the much loved neighborhood I remembered as child- just with a facelift.
What I gained from my time working New York and San Francisco as an architect was a respect for proportion, symmetry, flow, attention to detail, use of light in space and a love for traditional precedents that can incorporate a modern vision. When I moved back to Arizona I was so excited to apply this practice to a place I still feel deeply connected to and love. I was so excited to join the Candelaria team because I know they applied the same goals and values to their projects .
When I was asked to help design a new house at 56th and Exeter I was thrilled. The property has a special place in my heart since I grew up only a few blocks away. I used to steal tangerines from the trees in the yard and the lit up star raised on the property's flagpole always marked the beginning of the holiday season. To add to it, I would be working with Vista General and Berghoff Design Group. Not only are they both a dream team to work with but they share the same respect for design as we do. The attention to detail, thoughtfulness when laying out the plan, and overall teamwork that went into this house is something I am proud to be a part of. Plus the design is very cool and something fresh for Arcadia! We were inspired by what Im calling "modern farmhouse". Details are refined and traditional in nature, but with a nod to modern. Each room gets a lot of natural light. The "U" shape plan creates an intimate backyard for the residents. And the massing was situated in such a way as to buffer the property from the traffic on 56th street. We even plan to keep as many original orange trees as possible. Something the 8 year old in me appreciates. The home is nearly complete and I know it will be a timeless and gorgeous home. A home I would have loved to have grown up in.
It took me some time to accept the change happening in Arcadia and I’ve grown to recognize change isn't always bad. And as sad as I am to see some of the old ranch homes go, I’m happy to be part of a team that responds to change with well thought out, beautiful design. I’m happy to help support and be involved in a community that I will always lovingly and nostalgically call my home.
By the way Happy Mother’s Day Mom and thank you!!!
Meredith Thomson, Architect