Craig and Christine rally through an intensively controversial renovation (Part 1), and find more to disagree about inside (Part 2). But a love of midmod fun brings them back together, making for an exceptionally unique home.
Kellman’s taste in architecture is changing as well. “I’ve begun to like different materials than I first admired,” he says. “I like more elegant things now. I still appreciate the freeform flagstone work [on our fireplace wall], but now that I see some of the brickwork that Neutra did that‘s very rectilinear, that more strict design mandate is very appealing.”
While little of his own artwork is on display, “there is an interconnectivity between my career and the house,” Kellman says. “I love animation from the ’50s and early ’60s. It was really different from the round, rubbery cartoons of the 1930s and ’40s. There was an emphasis on flat, graphic design and color, inspired by modern fine art and commercial design of the era. The simplicity, economy of design and harmony between geometric and organic elements is similar to structures built then.
“It seems like there was a focus on the future in so much of the art of the period,” he continues, “including architecture, and it was really optimistic and hopeful. I think there’s a similar comforting nostalgia I feel when I look at good midcentury animation and good midcentury architecture.”
Some of those bright period graphics are seen in framed original Disneyland posters, as well as the voluminous collection of toys they have stored away while Sam is too young to realize these are more than just playthings. During our visit, a “Big Boy” Tinkertoy set, Lincoln Logs, Yogi Bear and Pee-Wee Herman character dolls, and plastic Top Cat and Mr. Magoo figures played off against a hefty plywood-bound Neutra book on the blond living-room coffee table. In the dining/kitchen area are framed animation cels of Fred Flintstone and George Jetson, and leaning against the bright red wall in the hallway is a 6’-tall cartoonish painting by Kellman of the pair in nuptial gear that was signed by all of their wedding guests as a memento.
So while Craig, Christine and Sam’s house might not yet be a complete showcase, it’s definitely a home with a personality—one that they hope to further unveil with thoughtful, measured projects as time, money and life allow.