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We're as nosy as the next person about the insides of people's homes. That's why we bring you a hot property pick each issue. This month:  the owners of a restored firehouse share their favorite resources and finds. Story and photos by Rachel Miller.


Urban hot? It doesn’t get much hotter than living in a restored firehouse. When Sally and Tim moved into the old North Side Firehouse ten years ago they undertook the monumental task of shedding the dropped and popcorn ceiling, reclaiming the original porches and balconies, and returning the building to its Starkweather beauty.

FirehouseStyle The fire station, designed by Arizona Inn architect Merritt Starkweather, has been through a number of renditions since it was first built as a one-story firehouse on the north side of Tucson in 1917.  A second story and fireman’s pole was added to the fire station in 1930, and it has had multiple reincarnations before becoming a home.  What Sally and Tim have created, from inside to out, is respectful of the history, aesthetics and function of the building and still, undeniably, a beautiful home.

FirehousePickAx Who they are: Sally and Tim have lived in their West University home for 10 years.

About the home: Built in 1917 as a one-story fire station. In 1930 a second story was added to accommodate living quarters. Originally called the North Side Fire Station as it built to serve the north side of town, it stretches to around 1900 square feet. Firehouseladies

Describe your style: "Hodge-podge! Basically we use what is available - items that make us happy. We draw upon items mostly from our pasts combined and created by friends."

Your fave thing about your home: "That it’s a fire station. We love the main living space being on a second floor and can’t believe the views - perfect for watching rainstorms. We love the large lot and the artwork by friends we love or people we’ve met. The fire station is a great place for parties. The apparatus bay (where the fire engine use to be housed) is a wonderful place to watch movies or soccer as a group or for a dance party."

firehousecarsofa Biggest splurge: An apparatus bay door that was put in as part of the restoration of the front. That area had been closed in.

Best bargain: "Using what was left in the building: the counter as headboard, filing cabinets as storage and side tables, and that the radiators actually work!"

My DIY moment: "When we removed the dropped ceilings and room dividers and we were thrilled, but scared, about the amount of work. But the best DIY moment was restoring the front of the building back to the original."


Favorite resources: Barnett and Shore demolition and salvage yard (since closed) for old fixtures, doors, sinks, building materials, as well as thrift stores or yard sales.

Our Tucson treasures: Artist Beata Wehr, Pat and Sue Day,  Eriks Rudans, Geno Foushee, Mel Dominguez, Ruben Moreno, Josie Rincon, Ruthe Foushee & Nina Foushee, Jim Rusk, Amy Rusk.


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Are you digging these digs?

Get the look locally: Tim and Sally's home furnishings are almost entirely vintage or reclaimed. Take a page from their book and check out salvage yards like Gersons when looking for inspired alternative materials to use around the house. Craigslist is a great source for the trunks, church pews and cinema seating that Sally and Tim use in the apparatus bay for communal seating. The furniture stores of The Lost Barrio might be hiding the perfect alder or willow chair.

And try these lookalikes we found:

From left to right: Leather & Rosewood chair, $1,900 from 1stdibs; Jesup Stool, $450 from AllModernTee's Lounge Ladies, No Fighting in the Bathroom Print, $25 from Kennedy Printing; Polished Stainless Steel Lavatory Sink from Decolav,  $151.68; Black and White Merola Tile Metro Octagon, $7.09 per square foot from Home Depot.



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  1. I love it Rachel and your photos are great!

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