Mid-century Modern

An Elm Street Cottage Revival

By Nancy Wiechec

A 1930s cottage has gone from a shabby rental to stylish guest house, giving travelers and visitors a cozy option for downtown lodging.

Clean lines, well-defined space, cool colors with warm golden touches and furniture and linens made for comfort, give this new vacation-rental-by-owner a modern relaxed feel that begs the question: Why go for a cookie-cutter motel or hotel, when you can have a distinctive space with a full-service kitchen, dining area and laundry facilities for the same price or less?

The house on Elm Street was refashioned to a mid-century modern look by Kim Duncan Design for owners Renee and Anthony Rosales of Flagstaff. The couple had obtained the house in 2008, and it served as a long-term rental for nearly a decade. (Full disclosure: Kim also works as an advertising representative for Flagstaff Publishing, which owns this magazine).

The two-bedroom, one-bath, 1,000-square-foot cottage sits across from Josephine’s Restaurant and is listed as the Downtown Crown on Airbnb at $148 per night. Its location gives easy access to downtown dining and fun.

“Part of our mindset was to create something a bit cutting-edge and fun to attract young people and couples,” Renee Rosales said. “A place for restoration and enjoyment.”

Duncan saw in the house an opportunity to forgo country and rustic styles popular in mountain towns and do something more appropriate for the time period of the house and its new purpose.

“I wanted to bring it back to its original glory, as well as update and modernize it,” she said.

Duncan sourced tile for the kitchen backsplash from TileBar in New York City. Furnishings, accents and linens came from Wayfair.com, AllModern.com, CB2 and West Elm.

For the bathroom, the original tub was saved and refurbished, and Duncan added white subway tile stretching from floor to ceiling, chrome fixtures and a black, white and gray filigree-patterned tile floor.

The galley kitchen features original framed open shelving as well as sleek new cabinets and counters and stainless-steel appliances. In one corner, a retro cocktail cart stands at the ready with gold-accented barware.

Original wood floors throughout the home were refinished to reveal their oak splendor.

Renee stocked shelves in the living area with books on peace, renewal and restoration. She said artwork was chosen to give a sense of calm and joy.

“All the little special touches made it such a comfortable and memorable stay,” one guest wrote in a recent review of the Downtown Crown.

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