Inside John and Liz Tavarez's Gothic Glam Home in Phoenix

The Tavarez family has made their home in the historic Fairview neighborhood.
The Tavarez family has made their home in the historic Fairview neighborhood.
Katie Johnson

If Tim Burton and Betsey Johnson were to build a life together in downtown Phoenix, it likely would look something like John and Liz Tavarez's 1926 Sears Craftsman home.

Located in the Fairview neighborhood just east of the Arizona State Fairgrounds, the historic abode is best described as gothic glam -- complete with macabre knickknacks, gold accents, and more skulls than you can shake a femur at.

See also: Inside Misty Guerriero's Internationally Styled Ralph Haver Home in Phoenix

"I've always been a little dark," admits Liz, an aspiring designer who received her residential planning diploma from the Arizona Art Institute. Since she and John, a musician and commercial manager, purchased the two-bed, one-bath home nine years ago, the residence has been an ongoing work in progress and live-in canvas for the creative duo.

Their improvements, which have included everything from gutting the kitchen to repainting the walls, are documented on Liz's blog, greyhousedesignstudio.com.

The Tavarez home offers a blend of antique and modern tastes. The original deco hardware has been left beautifully persevered on the house's whimsically small doors, reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland or Willy Wonka, while the bathroom has been remodeled with white subway tile to give it a clean but classic look.

The Tavarez home manages to be both dark and darling at the same time.
The Tavarez home manages to be both dark and darling at the same time.
Katie Johnson

You'd be hard pressed to find too much color in any room. For Liz, black is always the new black. So she relies instead on the occasional statement wall or hanging art display to really make things pop. When it comes to art, the couple has done well to take make friends in the right places and they own works by Lucie Murtagh of London-based Luma Studio Ltd, Michael B. Patterson, and even a mural by Mikey Jackson in their backyard.

There's nothing like a mural by Mikey Jackson to make your backyard really stand out.
There's nothing like a mural by Mikey Jackson to make your backyard really stand out.
Katie Johnson

 

This is no ordinary china cabinet.
This is no ordinary china cabinet.
Katie Johnson

Even more eye-catching than their framed art however is Liz's "creepy cabinet." This armoire of morbid curiosities features shelves of discarded animal skulls, miniature skeletons, waxy decomposed candles, dead roses, and a gory photograph of a mutilated foot.

It's all visible from their cozy dining area, a room which demands attention thanks to a gold Tom Dixon knockoff lamp that projects an eerie red glow and looks straight out of the early 1970s.

When it comes to furnishing her home, Liz doesn't discriminate between dumpster diving and department store buying. Her favorite home decor destinations include everywhere from Target to Cucmberz to the city's big haul trash days.

"If I see it, I get it. And I make it work," Liz says, as she gestures to a worn antique leather chair from Rust and Roses that she had stapled back together.

Her favorite seat in the house is a discarded wingback chair she found on the curb. Liz replaced the seat cushion had the piece of furniture reupholstered through the Florence Prison.

When your tastes change as often as the Tavarez's, it pays to know where to cut corners. Liz notes that she made the mistake early on of buying expensive home goods and then hating them later.

"Now I get stuff that is affordable, that I really like, and then I get rid of it without the guilt," says Liz.

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To the average house guest, the Tavarez home looks complete, but to Liz and John the devil is in the details.

"There's still projects I can do," says Liz as she looks around her spotless living room. She laughs and adds "And once I do, I don't know what I'm going to do!"

See more photos of John and Liz Tavarez's home on the next page.  

Creepy or cute? Either way, we're digging these scrappy gnomes.
Creepy or cute? Either way, we're digging these scrappy gnomes.
Katie Johnson
We believe that a well-decorated office makes for quality work.
We believe that a well-decorated office makes for quality work.
Katie Johnson
English Landscape by Lucie Murtagh hangs in the Tavarez home.
English Landscape by Lucie Murtagh hangs in the Tavarez home.
Katie Johnson
Liz Tavarez definitely finds her feminine side with this tufted antique headboard.
Liz Tavarez definitely finds her feminine side with this tufted antique headboard.
Katie Johnson
We're in love with the original hardware on this 1926 cottage.
We're in love with the original hardware on this 1926 cottage.
Katie Johnson
Some Halloween decorations just so happen to be year-round decor in the Tavarez home.
Some Halloween decorations just so happen to be year-round decor in the Tavarez home.
Katie Johnson
Liz lovers her antique leather chair that she scored at Rust and Roses for $20.
Liz lovers her antique leather chair that she scored at Rust and Roses for $20.
Katie Johnson
The Tavarez kitchen gets the glam treatment with a turquoise and gold statement wall and decorative gold skulls.
The Tavarez kitchen gets the glam treatment with a turquoise and gold statement wall and decorative gold skulls.
Katie Johnson

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