"Cleveland," he always replied.

Judging from the comments I overheard, most people live in empty boxes decorated with hard benches and hung with Nagel prints.

"Oh, look," folks called out to one another in our kitchen. "An old stove! Do you think they really cook on it?"

Sleeping quarters
Todd Grossman
Sleeping quarters


Got a least-favorite building you want to see covered here? Want to praise a Phoenix design element, old or new, that you've admired? Write to Robrt Pela.

We do.

"Come look!" we heard people exclaim from our tiny hallway bathroom. "They've got a green sink!"

Yeah. So?

Many visitors were confused that our refrigerator is inside our pantry, and several seemed shocked that we have two dining rooms.

"What," one overly made-up matron demanded to know late on the second day of the tour, "do you do with two dining rooms?"

By this point I'd grown bored with being nice. "We eat meals in one of them," I told her. "And in the other, we sacrifice babies."

One fellow, decked out in a baseball cap topped with fuzzy, plush reindeer antlers, cornered me in the kitchen and insisted I tell him how we managed to make our house so "gosh-darn pretty and well organized!"

"We're homosexuals." I whispered, leaning in close. "If we don't keep our houses elegant and tidy, they force us to sleep with women."

He fled.

His companion, who wore a light-up brooch shaped like Frosty the Snowman, lingered. "I can't believe your clothes closet," she told me. "I even took a picture of it!" She held up her digital camera as proof.

"Look!" I said, pointing to the tiny photo in her digital display. "There's my shoes! And that pilly sweater I keep trying to get my husband to throw away!"

"Incredible," she said, smiling and shaking her head as she walked away.

I don't know. I find my home completely credible. I'm a middle-aged man who owns 12 sets of dishes and keeps his clothes closet tidy. What, I wondered, must these people's lives be like?

Maybe someone should launch a Non-Historic Home Tour, so I can check out how the other half lives.

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jackson ginsburg
jackson ginsburg

i've always thought pela came off as condescending, but i've never seen it quite so upfront as in this piece.

"people said nice things to me while they were touring my home. obviously they are close-minded bigots with no taste!"

just about everything this guy writes comes off like a seventh-class david sedaris. and i'm not just saying that because they're both gay.


I missed the tour this year, but I have attended in the past. I'm always respectful of peoples' homes when I do the tour, and I would never think of opening their closets or cabinets. I cannot speak for everyone, but my own home is lovely and well-kept. I don't live in a box decorated with benches and "Nagels." You're welcome to visit if you'd like. If I do go on the tour in the future, I will remember to keep quiet. I would never want my questions or comments to bug the homeowners.

Chris Long
Chris Long

I almost overlooked this part:

"the stuff that really matters to us, like my record collection and my spouse's many boxes of vintage greeting cards � are valueless and would only be tempting to other deranged homosexuals, not to housebreakers."

Oh, come on, get off it, Pela !!!! Didn't you get my Email blast that Amy published about advertising and pushing your preferences on the rest of us ?

Oh, you're gay !!!! Who cares ?

Leave your preferences at home, please. You wanna' write, write...

But your stuff is always, like, BTW I am GAY !!!!!!!!!!

Boring. Small-minded.

Chris Long
Chris Long

I wasn't aware there was much of anything "historic" in Phx. I guess soon there will be historic malls and stadiums, eh ?

In the epitome of throw-away culture, pray a developer doesn't cast a longing eye on your place...