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!

Unique Home Design & Cute Corners in Arcadia, Phoenix, Arizona: Round 2

Unique Home Design & Cute Corners in Arcadia, Phoenix, Arizona: Round 2


Friends friends friends, do we have something exciting in store for you today! Ever since our last Arcadia neighborhood tour, a post that much to our surprise and delight seems to be one of your very, very favorites on this here little blog, you’ve been asking for… more. More pics, more charming abodes, more of that front-door-flower-lined-path goodness that Arcadia has become famous for. And rightfully so! We’re beyond thrilled that you’ve been inspired by our little slice of heaven here in Phoenix because this neighborhood, the lovely community in it and the homes that make it so unique and special are really one of the biggest inspirations behind this blog. Design inspo around every corner!

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again - this neighborhood has made Phoenix feel like home for us and we’re constantly in awe of the pride people have for their homes here. It’s a love story, really and we’re so excited to bring you along on yet another fun spin around the neighborhood we love so much today. We think you’ll especially enjoy this particular edition of the Arcadia neighborhood tour because everything is in full bloom right now and one of the things this community does really well is landscaping. Arcadia doesn’t come to play when it comes to landscaping, it comes to win. And friends, these front yards are totally winning right now.

I think the majority of you are all caught up on Arcadia’s interesting history, but if you want to know more about what makes Arcadia so enchanting and love a good story, just hop on over to that last Arcadia home tour post to read more about all of that. In it we also explained why this little corner of Phoenix is so lush and green unlike the desert landscape that surrounds it, and talked all about the unique Southwest-ranch-cottage-farmhouse-contemporary-craftsman mashup home style (that’s a visual description, not an official one. Though it has a ring to it, no?!) that this neighborhood is so beloved for, make sure you go give it a read. Of course there are also tons of neighborhood home pics in there to enjoy, which is just another read not to miss it!

And of course, if you ever have questions about Arcadia or anything in it, like the abundance of insanely delicious and distinctive restaurants and hangouts that have become just as much reason to visit our little desert oasis as a slow drive through its streets to peep the stunning homes, or the incredible design and build teams that make all of this magic happen, just shoot us an email at hello@loveandspecs.com. This is our favorite subject to chat about, so don’t be shy! If Instagram happens to be your preferred method of communication, you can always drop us a comment or shoot us a Direct Message on there, too. We love hearing from you guys on there!

The house above, right is currently for sale. The listing can be seen HERE.

Every time I finish one of these I can’t help but feel like the post is a little bit… unfinished. Arcadia is an endless treasure trove of home design brilliance and there are so many homes to love, of all shapes and sizes, so as you’d imagine it’s really hard to capture every beautiful home and corner we love (during the magic hours at sunrise and sunset when they’re at their most stunning) without driving around for months on end. I can think of at least 10 homes just off of the top of my head that I wish I’d gotten to on this round! And this go round really felt like a race against time because the temps are rising quickly and these beautiful spring blooms won’t be around forever, so we put put the pedal to the metal to make sure we properly captured the spring spectacular. Luckily, as long as you guys keep loving these Arcadia home tours and the neighborhood doesn’t get totally weirded out by my incessant fangirling over their home design and landscaping prowess, we’ll keep doing these and trying to highlight different homes each time. So all is not lost!

I included this little note in our last Arcadia neighborhood tour, but just as a reminder you may notice that most of the photos included are a corner, a slice, a portion, a piece of a home or a corner of the neighborhood (with an abundance of swoon-worthy front door loveliness) and not the entire exterior of a home or the entire street. And that’s because we love to appreciate and capture the small, exceptional elements and design details that make each home unique, or the tiniest corners of each street that bring us joy. The delight is in the details, the character in every corner, and what you’re seeing is really a look around the beauty of the neighborhood through our lens… literally and figuratively. A 50mm prime lens, to be exact.

Those little slices of detail are what light us up inside and what compelled us to start capturing the neighborhood in photos in the first place, so we hope you guys enjoy that approach! And make sure you guys let us know in the comments section what design elements you want to see more of so we know what we should be on the look out for on the next round! Front doors? Fences? Garages? Gardens? Outdoor living spaces? Shutters? Are you interested in seeing some of the really cool hotels and unique restaurants/hangouts in the neighborhood? It’s all possible and all here in abundance, so make sure you comment so we know where to take it next time!


You may notice that one of the themes of this spring tour around Arcadia is roses. Roses roses roses. Roses are a front yard staple around here and they’re covering just about every inch of Arcadia right now with big, beautiful white and pink blooms wrapping around wood fences, lining front walkways, draping over arbors and climbing across gates. As you can see white seems to be the hue du jour for roses around here, and I couldn’t be happier about it because it so perfectly accents the style of homes in this neighborhood in the most romantic way. I feel like I keep using this word, but the only proper descriptor for what it’s like to take this neighborhood in right now is magical. Pure, romantic, heavenly magic. It’s sort of breathtaking, isn’t it?

My brain knows we’re in the middle of the desert, but somehow every bike ride, every run, every drive around Arcadia right now makes me feel like I’ve been transported to the English countryside, and it’s this time of year that makes me forget how insufferable the summer can be and fall in love with this neighborhood all over again. And I think about that a lot - how lucky we are to live, work and love in a place that’s so magical. That we feel so connected to and that feels so right for us. I think maybe my barometer for feeling really connected to the place you live was calibrated growing up in Michigan surrounded by this abundance of natural beauty and all of these quaint, charming towns and unique communities with rich histories. That connection is what makes Michigan still feel like home for me in so many ways, and I think Arcadia has a lot of that same sort of wonder.

This home is currently for sale. The listing can be seen HERE.


Also of note, a few of these homes are, in fact, for sale! Which is so awesome. But as you can probably imagine homes don’t stay on the market here for long, so if you’re stumbling upon this post down the road that probably won’t still be the case. Right below their photos I’ve linked to the Zillow listing for a couple of the homes that I know are definitely for sale as of the publish date for this post, if you’re interested in getting more info. If you’re not currently in the market, it’s also just fun to see what the inside of those spaces look like. Does the interior surprise you? Is is just as you’d imagine it would be after seeing the exterior? Is it everything you dreamed of and more? Would you have done something differently? Such a fun game to play!

One of the other things I wanted to mention is that if you stumble upon this post from somewhere out there on the interwebs, or you live in Arcadia and know the team that built or designed one of these beauties, please please please leave a comment or send me an email so that I can come back and update the the image captions so everyone knows the creative teams behind these gems! There is some serious creative genius in the water around here, but unfortunately after these homes are built and the families have moved in, the design/build team signs go down, so though we can sometimes make a pretty good guess, we can’t know for certain whose work each home is. Sharing is caring, guys! This neighborhood, this community wouldn’t be what it is without these people, the people who invest all of their time, effort and care into filling Arcadia with beauty and making it a place we all love, so let’s show them some love in return! We listed some of these last time, but are are a few of the awesome builders making Arcadia magic happen every day. And if you have more names we need to know, please send them our way!


Brimley Development

Arcadia Custom Builders

Bent Nails Inc.

Green Street Communities

Santorini Homes,


We really hope you guys have enjoyed getting a little peek inside what the neighborhood looks like this spring, and can’t wait to hear which homes are inspiring all your design dreams this time! We’ve loved hearing how many of you were inspired by our first Arcadia neighborhood tour and have absolutely loved how much that post has connected all of us. So many of you found us by way of that post or the images in it, and it makes us endlessly happy to connect with kindred spirits who love this stuff as much as we do and to hear that an image we’ve captured helped inform or inspire design decisions you’ve made in your own homes. We love you guys!

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