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Home reflects Yuman's love for Southwest and love cooking and entertaining
Welcome to my home!
Looking at the rusted, steel plates of a sculpted hippopotamus mom and baby near the entrance to a home overlooking the Yuma valley might make you think that you are about to enter a house filled with trophies from Africa. Wrong!
“I had been to Africa years ago, and the animals intrigued me,” says Rob Ingold, the owner of the home with its hippos, which he acquired from a downtown Yuma gallery. “I thought it was kind of fun, and I bought them.” On the east side of the house is a life-sized javelina made from an old oil drum.
The javelina is more in keeping with the home's interior décor, and is better described as rustic Southwestern, not African. Ingold, who admittedly enjoys entertaining at his dwelling just off 16th Street atop the mesa, completely remodeled it to suit his taste.
His construction skills are evident, too. He built houses for about 25 years before moving to Yuma, where he purchased the home with its back yard pool and patio in 1985. Upon entering his home, you will see that his taste in some of its vibrant interior walls and cabinet colors correspond to the home's exterior colors — a deep bluish red and slate blue, for instance.
Nor is his taste limited to colors. It extends to his cooking as well, something he loves to do for his guests. To the right of the home's entry, the pots and pans suspended from his kitchen ceiling are not just for show. For that matter, neither is the gallon jug of Tabasco sauce that rests on top of one of his cabinets.
“This is kind of fun,” Ingold says with a grin, as he holds up the Tabasco jug. “My grandkid bought it. It has my name on the back: ‘Made for Rob Ingold.'
“I don't use salt the way most people use salt; I use pepper. I like things hot. I make chili,” he adds. “No beans in it. My daughters say, ‘Dad, that's really good, but I just can't eat it'.”
Within handy reach, additional flavor enhancers suggest the kitchen of a gourmet, too. Ingold built a spice rack in the matching cabinet color — slate blue — onto the outside end of one of the cabinets in what he said was originally a “dead space, and I decided to use it.”
Various styles of wooden, ceramic or marble bowls, containing pestles or salt, grace the area near the kitchen sink, also lending themselves to a gourmet atmosphere. Some are of olive wood; one is from Italy. Some are antiques, some new. One is white porcelain.
“I used to be a Coors distributor,” Ingold said, holding up the white porcelain bowl with its matching pestle. “They made porcelain during the Prohibition, and this one is from Coors.”
Kitchen clean-up are not be too much of a problem either, regardless of the number of guests that Ingold entertains. The counter tops and kitchen bar of molded concrete are coated with polymer, which provides a smooth, shiny, durable surface that would delight anyone who loves to cook and entertain.
In the center of Ingold's kitchen is an exceptionally heavy antique wooden butcher block, resting on its custom stand, with a towel rack on the side. It originated from France, although Ingold found it in Idaho.
“It had little feet on it,” he said. “I bought the top, and I had a guy here in town make the bottom.” Metal legs support the structure, which also has a metal shelf about a foot off the floor. “It's hard to stabilize,” says Ingold of its weight. He said he probably should have added a crossbar under it, but he said that he did not want to lose the space.
Atop a stove burner lies perhaps the most eye-catching kitchen conversation piece, a larger than usual ceramic-glazed tea kettle. Its black and white checkerboard MacKenzie-Childs design features a wooden handle. What you might mistake for a cherry on top of its lid is actually a carved faux-cinnabar bead with a brass accent beneath it that resembles gold filigree. Nor is the tea kettle the only artistic aspect of Ingold's kitchen.
The backsplashes surrounding the kitchen are custom-designed to somewhat resemble mosaic tile. Looks are deceiving though. Each “mosaic tile” is actually a different color of liquid glass that has been poured into a tiny cup-like mold, Ingold explains. Then grout is put around it before it is fired.
“Fortunately, every color I've got in here is in that tile, he says of the backsplashes, “and that kind of pulls things together so that they match. They were the exact size I needed. It was just ideal.” The individual glass bits of random blues, reds, grays, beiges, taupe and browns are varied in shape, too — some circular, some rectangular — because of the way they were formed.
The most striking feature that greets you upon entering Ingold's home is perhaps the art — sculptures; a mobile Southwestern piece; a wooden life-sized cowboy, which his two daughters designed and built, and a wooden life-sized pig. The mobile piece colorfully portrays two cowboys chasing an Indian between two saguaro cactuses in a scene comparable to Monument Valley, with the blazing sun in the background. A pendulum provides the momentum for each of the moving parts — the cowboys, the Indian and the sun.
Above the wooden pig stands a table, on top of which are three Southwestern sculptures. The largest — a cowboy upon a bucking bronco — is done in steel that was allowed to rust and then was sealed. The structure almost reaches the ceiling. To the left of the table stands a rustic tin and wooden room divider from Oaxaca, Mexico. The pierced designs in each of its panels allow light to pass through in interesting patterns.
Under the table and standing upon the Saltillo tile floor is the carved wooden pig that once was originally made to be a part of a carousel.
“It never got used — I don't know why,” Ingold says of the pig that he acquired from an antique store. He says he thinks that what they wanted was a little more slope to the pig's back to allow for a more comfortable ride. “I thought it was just cool,” he said. “It just grabs you. When I buy art, I buy art of stuff I like,” he says. “I don't look at the name of the artist. A lot of people want to buy an artist's name so that they can impress people. I don't care.”
To enter Ingold's living room though, a visitor can easily see that he cares about his Southwestern décor. The Santa Fe style fireplace, painted copper color, immediately attracts the eye.
“The fireplace wasn't here when I bought the house,” Ingold explained. “I had the plans for the house, and there was a fireplace in the plans. It was one of the first things I put in when I bought the house.” Upon the narrow mantle are three sets of spurs.
On a stand to the right of the fireplace, a sculpture reveals two startled quail in bronze taking flight from a decorative wooden bramble inset into a granite base. Ingold unveiled from its packing and carefully placed on the fireplace hearth a new bronze pheasant by the same artist. “The ducks on the fireplace, this piece (the pheasant), and the quail in the other room all came from the same guy,” he explained. “David Chapple did them all — a very, very good artist and a very good friend; a very clever guy.”
An L-shaped couch forms the living room boundaries on the west and south. Situated near the couch, the coffee table — about four feet square — is unique, too — solid concrete.
“It takes four men or more to move it,” Ingold says of the table. “It's all one piece but hollow in the middle. It is solid, but boy, it's heavy!” He adds, “It would have been easier to follow the cracks (in the design) and have it come apart that way.”
Along the southern wall of the living room stands Ingold's entertainment center — a combination of bookcase and lower cabinets in the deep red that matches two interior walls. On top of the cabinet portion, his multi-colored collection of smaller clay pots contrasts with the variegated, natural creamy tan soapstone cabinet countertop. Clay pots are not limited to this area, though.
One large clay bean pot from Mexico, almost full of wine corks, rests on an elevated wrought iron base to the east of the living room in his dining room. The glass-topped table there is surrounded by chairs made of ironwood. Like the concrete coffee table, they, too, are quite heavy. Over the table is suspended a rustic, wrought iron, circular candelabra, made to look as if it is antique. In a nearby corner are two baskets and a broom constructed of twigs and a carved three-prong pitchfork “from the old hayloft kind of days,” Ingold explains. The broom and pitchfork are of European origin.
Of Tucson origin is a unique wooden bowl that combines wood and inlaid streaks of turquoise.
“That is an art that people do now,” commented Ingold, holding up the bowl to show its design. “And they are usable. I thought it was very pretty.” It is displayed near the home entry's mobile as you head toward the hall and the bedrooms.
Mostly family photos adorn the hallway, where to the left is the first bedroom that Ingold terms his “junk room,” with its rustic wrought iron daybed.
On top of a distressed pine desk — made to look antique — stands a sculpture of reeds that almost resemble twigs, protruding from the dried mud from Martinez Lake. The effect of the reeds, leaning at 45-degree angle or so, is that of wind blowing through the reeds at the edge of the lake.
The appeal of the outdoors displayed throughout the home is also evident in the collection of miniature motorcycles on top of the dresser in the adjoining guest bedroom. Ingold explains that he used to ride a Harley. The outdoor appeal is also evident in the absence of any draperies over the windows. Several rooms feature translucent blocks to admit the light, including in the master bedroom, which is itself a showcase of Santa Fe design.
In fact, a Santa Fe artist designed and constructed the matching bed, night stands and bench at the foot of the bed — all of waxed pine, now 20 years old. Ingold said that this set was the last one that the artist ever made. It is not so much the king-size bed that catches the eye, though, as it is the Santa Fe-designed fireplace painted in copper — similar to but smaller than the one in the living room. Because the bedroom is on the home's western wall, it necessitates additional cooling, which an oversized ceiling fan helps to provide. What looks as if it could be a giant magnifying glass rising from the floor near the bed is really another fan — one with no oscillating blades. Also quite striking is the ceiling design: stake cedar fencing set on a diagonal pattern.
“They use latillas in New Mexico, and we didn't have any around here so that's what I used,” says Ingold. “It didn't have a fireplace either,” he said. “I pushed all the walls outward and made it much more comfortable.” The north side of the bedroom features French doors that provide a view of his patio. In the master bathroom that adjoins the bedroom, Ingold also built a walk-in shower, bounded on two sides by translucent blocks separating the vanity to the inside and forming part of the outer patio wall to the outside. Into the vanity, he installed a large transparent glass sink, which--were it not in the bathroom--might otherwise be mistaken as a massive serving bowl. “This bathroom has been redone three times,” he says. “I see things, and then I just tweak it.”
His tweaking is not limited to his construction projects though. He tweaks a lot of his gourmet cooking, too.
“I'll read a cookbook for every recipe I like, and then I put it back and just do it my version,” Ingold says with a smile. “When you are barbecuing whatever it is you do, it's not necessarily like baking, where if you put in a half teaspoon versus a quarter or an eight of a teaspoon, you could have some problems. I like everything,” he says, referring to his taste in food. “I cook everything, but I am not a baker.” He says that he finds cooking to be “very relaxing.” He explains how he approaches the task.
“Invariably when I cook, I start off doing one thing,” Ingold says, “and by the time it is done, it might be something else. I may have changed my mind, or maybe something happened or whatever. Or maybe I wasn't paying attention.”
Ingold's cooking, whether to entertain guests or to cook for himself, is “nothing really exotic,” he says. As an alumnus of the University of Arizona, he hosts a number of dinners for affiliates of the college when they come from out of town, and for students and parents before the students return to school. Sometimes he does the cooking, and sometimes he has the events catered, depending upon how many guests he expects.
“Generally I do a lot of fish, chicken, things I like a lot,” Ingold says. “I like simpler meals — things like poached halibut or salmon on top of sautéed spinach. I just let the foods just kind of stand by themselves. I sauté spinach in a little olive oil and fresh garlic until it wilts just enough to make it soft and flavorful. I poach salmon in a combination of wine, water and lemon juice and some dill, and so it's really simple. I like things like that. The same with steaks,” he adds. “I like grilled steaks. I don't like steaks that are all sauced up with stuff. What I usually do is I put olive oil on them, and I like lots of pepper, a little bit of salt to taste. Then I use a little red wine and let it marinate about four or five hours. Red wine kind of tenderizes the meat a little bit. If you want to put a little béarnaise sauce, sometimes you can without having it being impaired by whatever is on the meat.”
Ingold's cooking is not limited to the kitchen either. His patio is fully equipped with an outdoor kitchen that includes a grill. The nearby table on his patio comfortably seats eight guests beneath a ceiling fan, installed among the ponderosa pine vigas that protrude from the patio's roof. Peeled pine poles that support the patio's overhanging roofs further lend a Southwest flair. On the portion of the patio beside the master bedroom, a guest might also relax in one of two Adirondack chairs — a vibrant yellow one decorated with an Indian chief or magenta one decorated with a cowboy. Between the two chairs stands a small wooden table painted turquoise, with western brands painted along its wide edge just below the table surface to match the brands also painted just beneath the seat of the cowboy chair. The patio's west wall, inset with a tall narrow translucent window, also provides additional seating — a window seat. Superimposed upon the wall there and various places along the backyard patio, a mosaic continues the Southwestern motif. Designed by former Kofa High School art teacher Susan Sullivan, the mosaic tile depicts in red, navy, turquoise and ochre such things as desert plants and swirls that somewhat resemble what you might see on petroglyphs.
Extending from the patio, Ingold's outdoor swimming pool or its adjoining hot tub might entice his guests, depending upon weather. They might also enjoy swaying in the ample hammock, which swings from its heavy, arched beam of laminated wood east of the pool. When it is cool outdoors, they might rather enjoy a fire in the large iron fire pit that stands between the pool and hot tub.
Whether Ingold is entertaining guests or not, Ingold says, “It's got to be fun.” A tour of his home is indeed fun.
“I tell my friends I probably should have been a gypsy,” he says. “This is home, but I wander a lot.” His guests can readily see why Ingold calls Yuma his home. He says, “I love coming to this house.”