Craig Kellman’s directions were to come all the way up the hill and look for the Baskin Robbins pink and brown house with the landscaping that had gone to hell. A bit of a joking overstatement, but the dark wood and pinky-beige exterior color scheme once went quite well with the salmon-pink interior paint and “horrible, horrible” floral wallpaper the split-level, L-shaped house came with when he bought it. Kellman is an animation designer and Christine Griswold writes and teaches in the field of early childhood development. They have a two-year-old son named Sam.
The layout of their 1956 L-shaped ranch is kind of strange, Kellman further volunteers. Less of an open floor plan than in many similar-age homes, the living room is off the front entry and is separated from the kitchen and family room by a hallway. The 2,600-square-foot house has two bedrooms and a bath at the top of a short flight of stairs, with the master bedroom and another bath a few steps above that. Back downstairs, the former carport under the home’s front facade was annexed by previous owners as a fourth bedroom and is now Kellman’s office.
The couple had to have asbestos abatement done, which involved a then-pregnant Griswold moving out to stay with various friends during the months-long remodel. Sexy stuff like new plumbing, electrical and heating and air conditioning systems has come before the wished-for exterior paint job and upgraded landscaping. Previous owners enclosed part of the rear patio for a dining room, and now cooking, eating and TV watching all happen in one interconnected space that looks out onto the pool. The couple changed out the windows to high-efficiency vinyl models in this area, a choice Kellman says he probably wouldn’t make now, and they note that while they love the look of their new bamboo floor, it does chip and ding some under daily use.
Griswold’s home-improvement role is that of pragmatist. She contributed some ideas of her own—the blue color palette in the house was her suggestion—but reins in what Kellman calls “my more stupid ideas.”
Opposite Ends of the L-Shaped Spectrum
The couple finds more points of disagreement as they spend more time in their new home. Can they come to a compromise or will they have sell? Find out in Part 2!