Someone should give Stephen "Scuba" Clark a home improvement show immediately.
In the eight years that he's been in his 1955 "cookie cutter" Central Phoenix home, Clark has redone almost every room in the house — some twice. And we're not talking about just moving the furniture around or adding a new coat of paint, though he's definitely done that as well.
Clark, 36, says that if you summed up all the work he's done on his house over the years, he's basically gutted it. Walls were knocked down, moved, and added, rooms were joined and expanded, and a beautiful, wooden structure was erected in the backyard.
He turned the carport into a two-car garage. The previous owner enclosed what used to be the back patio, and Clark turned the space into a living and dining room that opens off the kitchen. He converted his small bathroom and laundry room into a large, winding maze of a master bathroom.
Sure, from the outside, Clark's house doesn't look too different from the others in the neighborhood just east of State Route 51 and south of Highland Avenue, but step inside the door, and you'll see it's a custom job with Clark's fingerprint on almost every aspect of the home from the structure to the interior design.
"It's just seeing things you like and then doing it," Clark says, adding that he's done at least one project a year on the house.
But Clark, who works both in sales and at Framed Ewe within Union at Biltmore Fashion Park, isn't just throwing as much money as what is required into whatever project he takes on. Clark has a very close relationship with the local Goodwills and Craigslist.
The wood he and his friend and builder Jeremy Smith of Smithfield found to build the patio table and countertop for the outdoor bar and grill area was free off of Craigslist. Clark designed the patio structure, and then had a crew come in to lay the supporting bricks and build it. He found knickknacks and accessories to make the space feel homey.
"Those bowls probably still have the Goodwill stickers on them," Clark says.
Clark can tell guests where every painting, figurine, book, or piece of furniture came from and how it ended up in his house.
As lavender incense burn in the front room, Clark calmly but with hurried words explains that the ornate tile acting as a backsplash in his kitchen came from a floor tile company in Oaxaca, Mexico, that only creates the tiles once they've been ordered, the painting above the piano he found on Craigslist for other people to play was a commission piece of his mother by local painter Mikey Jackson, and that the bar area is made up of a stand he picked up at the now-defunct Qcumbers, a trunk he found at GROWop, and a wooden tray he picked up in Morocco.
Once you start asking about the individual items decorating Clark's home, he reveals how much traveling he's actually done over the years.
"I live to travel," Clark says. "Whenever I'm traveling, I try to get new things."
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The aged books hidden away behind glass doors in one of the shelving units in his living room are from Frankfurt, Germany. Two little metal horse statues prancing away from the window also in the living room are from Marrakech, Morocco. A small figurine of a woman doing a yoga pose is from Bangkok.
He says for the last several years he's tried to visit three countries per year, and he's been successful. So far this year, Clark has been to Mongolia, and still has two more countries to go in the next six months.
Maybe while he's abroad he'll find inspiration for his next remodeling project, which Clark says will be replacing his front and back doors.