We're Maryal and Chris Carter, the crazy-in-love couple behind the blog and the specs. Our love of chambray and mutual blurred vision unites us, and this is where we share our adventures in love, style, food, DIY and so much more, seen through our bespectacled eyes. Thanks for joining our journey!

A Dreamy, Cottage-Inspired Rafterhouse Home Tour

A Dreamy, Cottage-Inspired Rafterhouse Home Tour

To say that today’s post is a treat would be the understatement of the century! It’s more like a dream come true for me and to properly expressing my excitement in writing would be almost impossible. Today I have the absolute pleasure, the honor, to take you inside the latest incredibly beautiful custom build from the home designers and builders who have helped shape our adorable little neighborhood’s signature home style - Rafterhouse! You guys already know that the homes in Arcadia here in Phoenix have a unique style all their own that really capitalizes on all that is charming and special about the neighborhood, and Rafterhouse so perfectly describes that style and their hand in crafting it on their website when they say, “Serene, stylish and supremely sophisticated, there really is no place quite like it; the influence of Arcadia is a big reason why there’s no home quite like a Rafterhouse.” And we couldn’t agree with that sentiment more. Rafterhouse is Arcadia. Arcadia is Rafterhouse. I’ve talked about Rafterhouse’s incomparable genius here on the blog before, but until now I’ve simply been admiring from afar, only capturing the stunning exteriors of some of the homes they’ve built or restored around the neighborhood, so the fact that the folks at Rafterhouse have so generously given me the opportunity to see and snap the inside of one of their creations upon its completion is filling me with so much gratitude and endless fangirl happiness. Even more exciting? This home is currently FOR SALE… for about .5 seconds, at least before someone snatches it up and lives out all of my rainbow-and-unicorn-filled Rafterhouse homeowner dreams!

I’ve said this before here on the blog and I’ll say it again - for me, when it comes to home design and decor the delight is in the details, and there’s no one that delights in the details more than Rafterhouse’s co-founder Austin King, who so kindly took me on a little spin around this adorable abode and beamed with excitement as he pointed out every clever detail that he and his team so lovingly dreamed up that brought this beauty to life. The details are what Rafterhouse does best, and that love, that care, that attention to detail and dedication to a distinct, inspired vision was on full display in this home.

What’s more, this particular Rafterhouse gem is right up our alley style wise, oozing all of the cottage charm with a thousand little cottage-inspired details that will make all of your cottage-loving hearts burst with joy! Rafterhouse describes their signature style as “contemporary craftsman” but it’s really a unique blend of so many things that all pull from Arcadia’s rich history and Mayberry-esque present, marrying its classic Southwest ranch roots with that citrus grove farmhouse flair in a fun, modern, relaxed, West Coast way. It’s at once approachable and elevated, lived-in and perfectly polished. And if all of that still isn’t helping you visualize, just peep the gallery of their projects HERE and you’ll catch the vibe. All that said, Austin was so excited about this particular build because they took a slight turn away from that farmhouse feel and pulled a lot of inspiration and influence from classic English country cottage style, with cozy spaces galore complete with fireplaces, warm reclaimed wood accents and tall, peaked ceilings in many of the rooms. To inject even more cottage sparkle, they integrated a charming diamond pattern that shows up in almost every space throughout the home, from the inside out, which you’ll notice in the snaps. Right down to the driveway design and the master bathroom floor, the diamond is there.

And before we dive into more of the design highlights we died over, a few notes. This masterpiece is a 5 bedroom, 4.5 bath, 4,000 sq. ft. home set on the cutest, quietest little street in the heart of Arcadia that gasp, also counts a couple of other dreamy Rafterhouses as neighbors. As you can imagine and probably infer from the snaps, this house is breathtaking around every single corner so there’s a lot to love, and I should preface all of this by saying that Austin knows this build, the inspiration, the sources, the carpentry, the specs, the nuances, the details like the back of his hand, so if you have questions about anything you see in the snaps that I don’t touch on, please please please feel free to reach out to him on Instagram or on Rafterhouse’s website and he’ll be thrilled to fill you in. Also, the staging for this home was done by the uber talented team at Lexi Grace Design, and is artfully executed with the kind of mastery that deserves applause all its own. Nailed. It.

Now let’s get to the good stuff because what would a home tour on Love + Specs be without gushing over all of the dazzling details that make this place so spectacular? Onward, friends!

Let’s just cut to the chase and start with a showstopper, shall we? That antique card catalogue from Phoenix design community darling, the beloved Antiquities Warehouse, that was converted into an insanely cool floating vanity in the powder bath is pretty much all my cottage-cool furniture flip dreams come true and is the perfect way to breathe new life into an old treasure. It’s also one of those expertly executed, character-filled details that makes me want to scream, “Ok just take all of my money already, Rafterhouse! All of it!” Austin said that it may just be his favorite powder vanity they’ve ever done, and that’s some serious stuff coming from a guy who knows a thing or two about a cool vanity.

And speaking of bathrooms, another heavenly detail that if you blink you might miss it, but that I’d happily slap you right across the face to make sure you noticed is that beautiful weathered oak Restoration Hardware open vanity with matching brass faucet and plumbing bits in the office. It’s so insanely gorgeous in person that I swear I could feel a tear roll down my cheek when I first happened upon its glow. Dreamy details that could only come from a builder that doesn’t do anything halfway.

In the kitchen, though just about everything from the pretty Tabarka tile backsplash to the antique pantry door (also from Antiquities Warehouse) is divine, but it’s that beautiful, custom reclaimed wood island that’s the main event. Built by the same amazing company out of Mesa, Arizona that recently built our custom reclaimed wood kitchen countertops, Brothers Woodworks and their sister company Old Sol Lumber, this island is a exquisite, the cool factor of which my camera could never properly capture. Fun fact about said island and the coordinating wood open shelving you see in the photos: the island was crafted from untreated reclaimed wood, but the open shelving made from that same group of reclaimed wood had to sit completely flat for obvious practical purposes - objects would need to be stacked and stored on top of said shelves - so those boards had to be ripped and treated, which meant that the patina would change, making it so the color of the shelves would no longer match the color of the island. So the folks at Brothers Woodworks were tasked with staining the shelves to perfectly match the natural patina of the untreated reclaimed wood on the island, which as you can imagine is a very difficult task. Yet the insanely skilled craftsmen at Brothers, with an unmatched attention to detail and the kind of care that has solidified their stellar reputation as woodworking wizards, made it happen and I’m not kidding when I say that even upon close inspection, the color matches perfectly. Mind blowing!


In many ways this home is as quaint and cozy as it gets, but don’t be mistaken - luxury and sophistication are at the heart of not only this home, but every Rafterhouse. Another kitchen detail included, that’s almost become a requirement in elevating any custom home from good to great, and that everyone from the average design lover to the experienced chef has come to drool over is the striking La Cornue range. Equal parts form and function, this range is nothing short of spectacular in this space, radiating that hand-crafted, old world French charm La Cornue is known for, further solidifying the kitchen’s cottage street cred.

But back to all things wood. Another set of coordinating details that I just can’t get enough of is that gorgeous cedar garage door paired with that light wood front door that houses more diamond details to love. I don’t think a more perfect garage door/front door combo has ever existed and I am 100% Here. For. It. Next to an inviting light wood front door to die for, the whole cedar garage door thing has quickly found its way to the top of my list of design details required to be part of my future dream home. Required!

But there are so many other tiny treasures to love that I’ll just list because, let’s be honest, you’re here for the pics and not for an endless deluge of my home design fangirl drool. I swear I’m trying to find my chill, but can you really blame me for freaking out over here? No. No you can’t! Other elements the Rafterhouse team integrated that are going straight into my dream home file include the the understated but oh-so-cozy brick flooring in the laundry room, the old wood and chicken wire locker-like door in the drop zone/mud room that Austin had stored away, just waiting for the perfect project to make it shine, the entire sun-drenched den that would turn into the snuggliest, fireside hangout space at night, and that epic, moody-hued built-in that sits next to the fireplace in the living room. Ok and the entire master bath with the sprawling double vanity and the rain shower/tub space. And the adorable flower-lined front walk. Ok I’m done I swear!

And the reality is that, outside of what I mentioned, there are about a thousand other design details and flourishes, both big and small, to love that are carefully and expertly woven throughout this dream home that a photograph taken by an amateur such as myself couldn’t even come close to doing justice. So if you have questions, are dying to hear more about this home, what Rafterhouse does in general or feel like you need Austin and the Rafterhouse crew to fulfill all of your home design dreams ASAP, he welcomes you to reach out to him any time and chat. Seriously, he loves this stuff. Shoot him a note HERE and fill him in on your project or any questions you have. And just as an FIY, Rafterhouse offers four lines of service to homebuyers and homeowners - building your already-designed house plans, adding interior design touches in the unique Rafterhouse style, offering complete turnkey spec homes for purchase and design-build services that imagine your very own Rafterhouse and construct it from scratch. They’re like your design and construction fairy godmothers, at the ready to make all of your home dreams come true!


And I’d be remiss if I didn’t admit that, embarrassingly, my first question for Austin was, “So are we getting a TV show?” And of course by we, I meant the Rafterhouse fandom. If you’re a Phoenix local or have been admiring Rafterhouse from a state far far away and happened to catch the two pilots episodes of their eponymous HGTV show Rafterhouse back in 2015, and are wondering if you’ll ever get the Rafterhouse TV show you’ve been so patiently wishin’ and hopin’ and prayin’ for, Austin says that in his heart, for the moment, that dream is somewhat dead. But I assured him that though that may be true for him and understandable for self-preservation purposes, the TV dream is not dead for their dedicated fan base. I’m still holding out hope that some smart, savvy TV exec out there with an eye for the extraordinary will bring the Rafterhouse brilliance to life on the small screen and finally give the people what they want!

Have an amazing weekend, friends and make sure you comment below with your favorite design details from this dreamy, cottage-inspired Rafterhouse home tour! These are the convos we live for!

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