The Fred M. Guirey Residence at 300 E. Missouri remains one of the greatest classic icons of mid-century modernism in Phoenix. It was built in the 1940’s and remains one of architect Fred M. Guirey’s greatest works. The home is filled with beautiful details of post and beam construction in redwood, expansive glass exteriors and a play between solids and voids blur the line between inside and outside, and a well laid out floor plan centered around a massive sandstone fireplace forming the centerpiece hearth of the home. The original character and warmth of the redwood materials of the interior has been entirely painted over in white, but should be able to be restored to its natural character at the direction of a new owner. Former pictures prior to be being painted over in white are available through Modern Phoenix.
View CURRENT listing details and more pictures
Walt Lockley wrote a very informative story on Fred Guirey and the history behind this house, which is available through Alison King’s Modern Phoenix network. Excerpt below from his article:
The house at 300 East Missouri has a strong personality. It wants things. Sheri, the architect’s daughter, says it wants two things. It wants its story to be told, and it wants a party.
It wants its story told because the master of this house deserves a better memory. Fred Melville Guirey was connected to the history of Arizona, important and influential for decades, in the first rank of Phoenix architects, author of a long list of familiar buildings, and given the rare honor of an AIA Fellowship in 1969. He was trusted with commissions like Gilbert Olson’s SuperLite Block Headquarters and the Art & Architecture complex at Arizona State University, marking him as a professional among professionals.
And why does this house want a party? Well, Fred knew how to throw a party.
It’s a generous house, set at an angle on an expansive lot. Mr. Guirey’s original modest square was expanded twice, the front bedroom and the sunroom added in 1950, and a more ambitious expansion in 1963.
Step inside, and there’s the huge sandstone chimney that in 1944 fronted Missouri. The house unfolds in successive squares, an insistently one-story experience set out on a grid, but with modulations in ceiling height and floor depth, strips of daylight overhead, and centered around that massive hearth.
All that wood? All those beams? You’re looking at redwood. (After a recent storm, when Tat was still alive, a tree fell and destroyed part of an exterior fence. Tat insisted on replacing redwood with redwood, at $600 a board.)
A few more steps inside, and you’re practically outside again. Blurring the line between inside and outside is part of the standard playbook, and there’s a lot of glass and an interesting balance of solids and voids, but that’s not the secret that snaps this design into focus. It’s oriented towards the 40-year-old garden of an old-school landscape architect, but that’s not the key either. You might guess that the mid-Century Asian decorative theme relates to the Japanese-ish detailing of the shed and the Granny house, and the overall Zen feeling of the garden, and maybe the whole house was laid out on a tatami module?
Nope. There’s one fact that entirely explains 300 E. Missouri. It was built for parties. The traffic flows, the patio zones, the multiple living rooms, the sightlines through the glass, all calculated for a hundred laughing, talking, drinking, flirting people, showing up, showing off, telling elaborate jokes with their hands, and maybe enjoying two or three fistfights later in the evening. This kitchen was born to pump out appetizers. And that’s why the house is so big. “It’s too damn big,” the caretaker says, not only because she has to clean it, but because it’s just a lot of walking. She says it’s a ranch house—it’s a ranch and a house. And the only tangible remnant of an entire vanished social scene.
It’s rare that one house so reflects the personality and values of its designer. This is him. If Fred Guirey could speak, he would want people in the house, he’d want a party. And he’d want his story told.
- Address: 300 E. Missouri Ave. Phoenix, AZ 85012
- MLS: 4734952
- Bedrooms: 3
- Bathrooms: 3.5
- Price: $675,000
- Square Feet: 4219
- Lot Size: 51,720
- Year Built: 1942
- Courtesy Of: RE/MAX-Preferred Choice
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