Scott Graff and Sarah

(Special to AFN)

Ahwatukee Realtor Scott Graff and his wife Sarah received a salute from the Ahwatukee Board of Management for the way they transformed the exterior of the home they bought shortly before the were

married last year. They had 17 tons of what Scott called "1970s rock" removed from the front and back yards and recycled as ground cover at a low-income complex. But their transformation of the home's interior was every bit as dramatic.

As a self-described “Ahwatukee boy,” Realtor Scott Graff wanted to find his first house as a married man that he and his then fiancée could turn into a 21st century version of what developer Randall Presley would have envisioned when he founded the community.

And after three months of searching last year, he and his now-wife Sarah finally did.

Then they got to work.

They sweated over the details and then supervised a veritable parade of contractors, subcontractors and laborers – almost all from Ahwatukee – for seven months after buying the home in the 11800 block of S. Coconino Street in March 2017.

The results of their effort caught the eye of the Ahwatukee Board of Management, which recently gave the couple one of its PRIDE awards.

“ABM has a program that recognizes homeowners who demonstrate pride of ownership. It could be an exceptionally well-maintained home, stand-out curb appeal or recent improvements that bring a home new life,” Karen Young, ABM assistant general manager wrote him, praising him and Sarah for having “the pride you have taken in your home.”

 As Graff explained, from the very start of their venture, “Our intention was to find one to remodel… which we did.”

Determined “to bring our '70s charmer into 2018… with honor and style,” Graff said “every decision we made, we looked through this lens.”

The 2,336-square-foot, four-bedroom home is a Paiute model built by Presley Development Corp. in 1979.

No detail was too small for their attention as Scott and Sarah raised the ceilings and knocked out walls for a more open feeling, replaced cabinets and sundry other accessories, reconfigured the kitchen and the master suite while transforming the living room/family room into a “great room” with three vignettes open to the outdoors.”

Even the exterior got a thorough re-do – and in an environmentally sound way as they excavated 17 tons of “70s rock” from the 9,676-square-foot lot and found a low-income housing project that took it for ground cover as they replace it with desert flora to create a breathtaking xeriscape.

In truth, besides the spirit of Randall Presley, the Graffs also were influenced to a degree by HGTV and all the other do-it-yourself television networks that can invoke oohs and ahhs by showing the transformation of even a so-so home into a designer’s dream.

“I’m influenced by all those shows,” Scott said, adding that in his job, he sees a big demand for re-sale homes.

“People are fascinated right now with a remodel. Everybody wants to remodel and homes are selling at good prices, but the cost of remodeling is driving up a lot of things,” he said.

Seven months after they bought the house and about one month after they were married, Scott and Sarah had achieved their dream.

And he advises anyone contemplating the same goal to “get creative, ask a lot of questions and keep tight to your budget.”

He and Sarah spent hours scouring web sites like Pinterest for pictures of home features they might want to incorporate into their dream home.

And unlike the Property Brothers and other TV remodeling experts who “are pretty hi-tech,” Scott advises would-be remodelers that they don’t need to have a gift of visioning a room when they look at a shabby interior.

“You can do the same with a piece of paper and pencil,” he said. “We did.”

The Graffs also are grateful to their neighbors. After all, he said, “they put up with demo work, dumpsters and construction trucks.”

And now they live near a house “that would make Presley proud” and that the Graffs consider “just the right home for our new life together in Ahwatukee.”

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