In the first house, a glittering crystal chandelier illuminates a dining room where ruby-red walls pick up the colors in an exuberant abstract painting.
In the house next door, a brass fixture with white globes lights a blond wood dining table. Mocha walls above white wainscoting are lined with black-and-white plates painted with surreal women’s faces.
In the kitchen of the first house, a backsplash mural of fused glass over the stove depicts French vineyards, olive and cypress trees, lavender fields, and farmhouses. Cherry cabinets were designed with special spice racks.
In the second kitchen, black pendant lights hang over a vast gray-and-white quartz island. Oak cabinetry includes a deep drawer beneath the sink for cleaning materials.
These two stone Colonials, built about 1939, sit side by side on a leafy street in the Wynnewood section of Lower Merion. The four-bedroom, two-story homes are mirror images. Both have bay windows in the living and dining rooms and a fireplace in the living rooms. Original screened-in front porches have been enclosed and converted to home offices. Family rooms have replaced original attached garages.
The houses were featured on Ardmore Library’s Kitchen Tour last April. Visitors were greeted in the first house by owners Adrian and Steven Seltzer and in the second by Lisa and Dave Taddei.
Adrian and Steven purchased their home in 1985 and raised two children there. Son Marc is now 34 and daughter Samantha is 32. In the late 1990s, the Seltzers remodeled the kitchen with the assistance of designer Gene Nelson and added a breakfast room with a skylight. Previous owners had converted the garage to a pine-paneled family room.
In 2016, the Seltzers upgraded the kitchen, replacing a double oven with a combination steam oven and warming drawer. The old cooktop was replaced with a Thermidor combination cooktop and oven. The new back splash was a collaboration between Adrian and North Carolina artist Sandra Snyder. It was inspired by the Seltzers’ collection of miniature houses from France and the multihued pieces of art glass displayed in a living room, which is painted butter yellow. The engineered wood kitchen floor hides a radiant heat unit. Adrian, a former catering company owner who teaches a cooking class at Main Line School Night, provided homemade baked treats during the Ardmore Library tour.
Lisa and Dave purchased their home in 2008. A dripping sink almost three years ago led to a project that produced a new kitchen, family room, mudroom, and powder room, Lisa said. The charcoal kitchen floor matches the wall unit in the family room that houses a TV and gas fireplace. The room’s furnishings include tan-and-chrome chairs, a black sofa with gold pillows, and a white rug. Pale oak herringbone-patterned flooring in the family room extends down the hall into the foyer and dining room.
The new living spaces were designed by Ryan Bernstein. He also designed the gray-and-white master bath, which had been tiled an ugly pink, Lisa said.
The Taddeis’ son Hayden, 8, a Flyers fan, has an orange, white, and black mural celebrating the team on his bedroom wall. Lisa artfully arranged black-and-white family photos up the staircase.
Both the Seltzers and the Taddeis have made their houses brighter with the use of mirrors and minimal window coverings.
Lisa, 43, and Dave, 48, met on Match.com and married in 2008. Adrian, 69, and Steven, 75, met in a nightclub and married in 1982.
Though they are a generation apart, the next-door neighbors “have been good friends since the day we moved in,” Lisa said.
Steven shares the bounty of his backyard vegetable garden with Dave and Lisa. After winter storms, Dave uses his snowblower to clean off the shared driveway and the Seltzers’ walkway. Hayden calls Adrian and Steven aunt and uncle, and he and Steven share the same birthday. “We have fun together,” Lisa said.
Is your house a Haven? Nominate your home by email (and send some digital photographs) at firstname.lastname@example.org