Friday, July 22, 2011

Home, sweet home

Sun Valley Designer Showcase is the first for ARCH

Express Staff Writer

The first Sun Valley Designer Showcase in support of ARCH Community Housing Trust features a home at 209-A Sabala Street in West Ketchum. The house will be open to the public through July 24 and from July 27-30. The exterior of the home was a project of volunteer work by architect Susan Desko with exterior landscaping by Gunnar Whitehead. The yard was once a dirt and weed area transformed into an outdoor family area. Photo by David N. Seelig

It was a gorgeous Wednesday afternoon for a garden party in Ketchum, especially to celebrate the first Sun Valley Designer Showcase in support of ARCH Community Housing Trust. The benefit luncheon, catered by Judith McQueen, and home tour featured the latest ARCH housing project. The showcase was made possible by a small army of people consisting of decorators, designers, landscapers, architects, the city of Ketchum, the Ketchum City Council and the neighbors of west Ketchum.

The remodeled home at 209-A Sabala Street in west Ketchum was purchased out of foreclosure in December. Redesigned and renovated, the home was upgraded with a functional kitchen, a new laundry room, expanded bedrooms, closets, insulation for improved energy efficiency, a new roof and new windows and doors. In addition, the entire outside living area was re-created as well with the vision of architect Susan Desko and exterior landscaping by Gunnar Whitehead.

ARCH Community Housing Trust Executive Director Michelle Griffith's work on the project was to draw community attention to how good affordable housing can appear, and how to it adds value to a neighborhood. Proceeds from this event will be used to buy and renovate another home.

The Designer Showcase Community tour is open to the public through July 30. The house will be open through July 24 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from July 27-30 on weekdays from 1-4 p.m. and on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. The tour includes a silent auction in the garage and will be available for bidding through July 30 as well.


"A year and a half ago, we started as cash buyers with no contingency," Griffith said. "It was a daunting process."

Griffith explained the process of assisting and working with the new homeowners of 209-A Sabala Street as a lengthy and detailed sale that was well worth the effort. ARCH worked in partnership with the Blaine County Housing Authority to find qualified applicants. In addition, there were private donations, a qualifying mortgage process and gap money to the new homeowners.

"We didn't know if anyone wanted to do this because it's community housing," said Prue Hemmings, committee chair for the Designer Showcase. "This is the beginning of something huge."

Hemmings said it was the designers who made the home neighborhood-friendly.

"It took a lot of hours but we made the time," Desko said. "We really had to coordinate."

Whitehead and Desko would meet at 7:30 a.m. to plan the backyard and side yard of the home, which has a drip sprinkler system, sod, rock garden and plantings.

"When you walk through the house and see through the windows to the backyard, it looks landscaped," Whitehead said.

Desko said the goal was to produce a look with a view of the mountains and a place for the family to fill in the blanks for their own ideas of living outside.

The inside remodel of the house included basic renovations and additions such as framing, windowsills and baseboards. The 1,400-square-foot living space has three bedrooms, two baths and an attached garage. The transformation of the home was created by up to 20 designers and business owners.

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