The Insta-Home Challenge: Tempe, AZ

by Angela on November 10, 2013 · 5 comments

Question: What if The Lone Ranger and Howdy Doody had a joint garage sale, and someone fervently galloped over with a pickup truck and asked them in desperation, “How much for the whole dang load?”

This someone was most likely the owner of our vacation rental in Scottsdale, and instead of driving these kitschy items right off the proverbial cliff or donating them to some Wild Wild West jamboree, they thought, “Why don’t we decorate an apartment with every single item we bought?”

The Lion King may have arrived at the ASU Gammage in Tempe, Arizona, but the Hollicks have entered the gaudiest Western-themed housing in Scottsdale, and perhaps, the world. The owners, they went for it.  Oh, how they went for it.

You might say I’ve died and gone to…

It’s one thing to properly design a home in a Western theme with purpose and intention. But this decor seems to have been haphazardly thrown on the walls.

Are you skeerd yet?

Even the bathroom hooks scream cowboy-eeeeee!

And let’s not forget other essential parts of the bathroom…

Virtually all light switch plates in the home have some sort of Western motiff.

Dresser drawer knobs are actually horseshoes. Of course.

And there are the knobs on the cabinets in the kitchen.

Every. Single. Knob.

Horse feathers! This photo was sitting on our nightstand. It’s my ex-husband Gene Autry, and I only know this because his name is written on the neck of the guitar he’s holding.

Check out the four cowboy-related items on a six-foot-span of wall. We’re reaching new meanings of the term “committed.”

Forgive me, I’ve gone too micro to start — there’s so much interior detail, that I can’t seem to see the forest for the cowboy bookends.  Our 2-bedroom/2-bath feels large and comfy, and we have Reu Weizberg, percussionist with The Lion King, to thank as he hooked us up with a furnished rental company he used the last time the show was in Tempe (five years ago!).  The rent barely breaks $1k for the month.

Here’s the outside of our complex, called the Scottsdale Palms.

Don’t get me wrong —I don’t mean to be bellyachin’ about our digs. In actuality, it’s a cozy, clean and nice retirement complex (our guess), like Melrose Place for the all-white 60+ Arizona desert set. We hear weekend early breakfast parties outside. Like 8 am early. The courtyard is anchored by a lovely heated pool that no one seems to swim in except us and a couple other, uh, special characters.

I’m thinking our place is around 1100 square feet — the open layout is great!  Here, Mike and Eva curl up in the living room…

There’s a behemoth hutch that holds a tube TV from the early 2000’s. Why does it seem like most folks in Scottsdale still own these things? Underneath, there’s a VCR/DVD combo player. Whaaaat? #firstworldproblems

We still have fun anyway.

The more eccentric (!) feature of our place might just be our “front door”, which is a sliding door onto a balcony, which is really also a pathway for people to walk. It’s a bit unsettling to walk up to our unit (on the 2nd floor) and pass so many other residents’ sliding front doors that may be wide open. It’s hard to not look inside, and then look away quickly and awkwardly once you realized that some guy is curled up on his couch, looking right back at you.

Here’s our “front door”, with Max’s bike parked on the right and some pool toys that came with the apartment on the left.

Luckily, the only people who would walk past our front door are the Weizbergs, who have the end unit. You can see their sliding front doors on the left, over yonder. Sorry if you’ve ever gotten an eyeful while passing us, Weizbergs!

The resident chef Mike was pretty happy with the kitchen — everything was supplied and in good working condition, including some pretty good quality pots and pans as well as large serving bowls and plates (which are rare!). It’s a more than sufficient place to rustle up some vittles. Silverware was a bit sparse however, so we had to dig into our trunk for some extra forks we travel with.

Um, you have to check out the hanging lamp above the dining table.

Not only is it tangled with a weird wall-mounted candleabra-ish thing flanked by two sconces, the fixture itself features — you guessed it! — a cowboy on a bucking bronco.

And the pull-down string to turn the lights on/off is …. a blue cowboy hat. Folks, we have entered a whole new level.

No, wait! There is this little vestibule-ish area outside of the bedroom doors where I’ve set up the breastpump and my “office”. Do you see what’s hanging from the hook on the mirror? A lasso. A real, bona-fide lasso. And the lamp… all I have to say is, don’t get too close.

The master bedroom is a pretty good size, with plenty of room for Eva’s crib in the corner.

We get a nice flat screen TV in our room, but unfortunately no HD channels.

Max gets his own room, and it’s perfect as a playroom too.

Of course, he gets his own spear above the dresser.

And he gets his own dedicated bathroom.

… and a smattering of other fine Western/desert tchotchke.

So, the best part of this housing is having our friends the Weizbergs right next door! We are having a hog-killin’ time with them so close. Six-year-old Liliana and an almost-2-year-old Ariela are convenient playmates for Max.

There’re Liliana and Ariela on the lookout for Max and Eva. Howdy pard!

And you don’t know how many times I’ve knocked on their (front sliding) door for some butter, or an egg, or a Swiffer mop. And… Reu’s wife Kristine (who is a dancer and was also a fitness trainer in NYC) has been working out with me and Anna (part-time child actor wrangler with The Lion King — she also lives in the complex). It’s seriously been mentally and physically uplifting having them so close for company.

Here, we’re painting and carving pumpkins together the day before Halloween.

Scottsdale/Tempe has already flown by, and we’re honestly having a rollickin’ good time. Yippee ki-yay!

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Darrell Cohn November 11, 2013 at 5:35 am



ANGELIQUE November 11, 2013 at 10:02 am



Michael November 11, 2013 at 12:24 pm

How wonderful. Still loving living vicariously through you as you explore this great nation of ours. Thank you for sharing. You have a gift for writing (and photography)!


steve November 11, 2013 at 1:08 pm

all the western trinkets are hysterical! beware you may turn into a cowgirl!


Jen November 11, 2013 at 1:26 pm

This place is friggin’ hysterical. You are in Tempe at the best time of the year though! Hope you all are having a good time and checking out Sedona.


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