7th-floor penthouse is a Tempe tour highlight

Sue Doerfler
The Arizona Republic
Apr. 3, 2004

Bonnie and David Ender traded suburbia for loft living in downtown Tempe when they moved from a five-bedroom, two-story home to a seventh-floor penthouse at the Orchid House.

Now, instead of visions of neighbor's back yards, they have dramatic views of downtown Tempe, Phoenix , Arizona State University, Papago Park and Camelback Mountain. Their 2,700-square-foot loft is one of the highlights during Sunday's Tempe Neighborhood Home and Garden Tour. The fourth annual event, which is sponsored by Tempe-based NewTown Community Development Corp., features new and renovated homes, some of which have lush vegetation or xeriscaping, in Tempe's urban neighborhoods.

When the Enders bought the loft, it was a shell, with no interior walls.

Wanting to keep the drama and expansiveness of its 19-foot-high ceilings, the couple, who served as general contractors, designed the home with a huge great room open to the kitchen.

It has several sitting areas: One section faces the flat-screen TV, another encircles a game table. The dining table, accompanied by a crystal chandelier, and matching china cabinet take up another corner. The opposite corner houses a desk and work area.

The adjacent kitchen features a black-granite countertop, stainless-steel appliances and highly polished bird's-eye maple and black-lacquer cabinets, built extra tall for additional storage.

"It's so nice. You can be in the kitchen cooking and someone can be playing a game at the game table and somebody else can be watching TV, and you're in the middle of it," Bonnie Ender said.
The couple borrowed on their strengths in designing the spaces.

David Ender, a mechanical engineer, designed intricate coffered ceilings and architectural detailing. Bonnie, an artist, utilized the long entry hallway and tall ceilings as galleries for her colorful paintings of flowers and kimonos and works of art the couple have collected on trips to Europe, Asia and Africa.

The eclectic mix of artwork and decorating styles works well.

In the master bedroom, an African look predominates. The bed, the Kilimanjaro bed from Thomasville's Ernest Hemingway Kenya Collection, sets the tone with its rattan headboard and footboard, dark-brown suedelike coverlet and custom-made pillows. Stone sculpture from Zimbabwe decorates the table at the foot of the bed. The walls are lined with framed Egyptian papyrus paintings.

In the master bathroom, ceramic tiles sporting African-animal and geometric designs border the garden tub and act as a backsplash for the sinks. A collection of African masks adorns the wall above the mirror.

The powder room, done in blacks and golds, is outfitted with a hand-painted Chinese cabinet that was custom-designed to hold the china vessel sink. The primary artwork is a framed Chinese jacket, although a collection of Russian boxes also lends interest.

Bonnie Ender's favorite room - she likes them all, she said - is the library. A multipurpose room off the entry hallway, it serves as her studio, as well as the guest bedroom.

Lined on three walls with cherry-stained alder bookcases, desk and drawers, it also contains a Murphy bed that looks more like an entertainment center. Bonnie uses the floor space for painting, and the long drawers to store her artwork.

Other homes and sites on the tour include additional Orchid House lofts, downtown Tempe homes, and residences at Cook College & Theological School, a 17-acre Native American college.