When Carrie and Derick Kauffman toured the circa-1950s Colonial home in Bryn Mawr in 2011, they knew it had potential. Their twins, Jacob and Shelby, were 4 years old at the time, and the house was in move-in condition. They had visions of renovating the kitchen and creating a master suite but knew that would happen in due time.
“We wanted something that wasn’t brand new but also something that wasn’t too cookie cutter,” Carrie recalled. “We wanted something large enough for us to grow into and be our forever home. Radnor Township was a big draw for the schools.”
The couple decorated the 2,800-square-foot house to look put together but at a reasonable cost, especially with young kids.
“We wanted the quality,” Carrie said, “but if somebody stained something, I wasn’t going to be too rattled.”
A couple of years after moving in, the Kauffmans completely renovated the kitchen. Derick, who was a professional chef before switching careers and had been thinking about his dream kitchen for years, was instrumental in the design. Function was the priority — he needed a working kitchen — but the appearance also mattered. With help from interior designer Amy Cuker and a custom cabinetmaker, his vision became a reality.
“As my family’s roots are in Berks and Lancaster County, I was very familiar with Amish craftsmanship and wanted to display it prominently by employing real wood cabinetry,” said Derick, who now practices law. “I also wasn’t interested in having just another white kitchen. I wanted it to have some character and show off my personality a bit — one of the reasons I chose red as my main accent color.”
In 2018, the couple created a main suite, inspired by a recent trip to Italy for their 15th anniversary.
“We stayed in a hotel in Florence that had everything I loved,” recalled Carrie, a professional organizer and owner of Carrie’s Essential Services, serving Philadelphia and the Main Line. That included a refrigerator, coffee station and heated floors. Though their room in Italy had a real stone wall behind the bed, she recreated the look with wallpaper.
Carrie put her professional talents to work in the 6-by-8 foot closet, which sits behind a dark-brown barn door made by a local craftsman from reclaimed wood. She designed the closet to specifically fit and showcase her clothes and accessories. The mostly white room is efficiently organized for function but is also a beautiful space.
“I don’t have a lot, but what I do have are quality items,” said Carrie, whose bedroom and closet are her favorite spaces in the home. “I love handbags and shoes, and I wanted to look at them any time I wanted to. The design is very simple, with crisp lines.”
Now, her shoe and handbag collections are prominently displayed, while jewelry and other accessories sit in dedicated drawers. A large island is not only visually pleasing, but also functional as a space for folding laundry. The room’s focal point is a glass chandelier controlled by a motion sensor.
“There’s no wiping down a light switch when it gets dirty,” said Carrie, who planned the space for a concise fit. “I actually counted how many pairs of pants my husband has and how many button-down shirts. I built it to our needs and to not waste any space. It’s designed for exactly what I need.”
Another one of her favorite spaces is the sun room they added, adjacent to their backyard pool. Bright light pours in from 19 windows. The room is mostly white with baby-blue and orange accents. Carrie uses color as a way to easily change decor.
“We can use this patio set for the summer,” she said, “and then during the fall and winter months, I can change out the rug and pillows, and it’s still a decorated space.”
The Kauffmans say they enjoy Bryn Mawr’s vibe. “It’s very quaint,” Carrie said. “I love walking the streets, going into the shops and restaurants, and all the amenities Radnor Township gives us.”
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