When Nicole and Kenny Klein decided to move from Manayunk to the suburbs in 2007, they immediately fell in love with the 1950s stone Colonial home in Havertown.
“It checked a lot of boxes,” recalled Kenny, 50, an engineer who enjoys woodworking and other home projects. “I wanted stone and a neighborhood where we could walk to at least one restaurant. Though the center hall was covered with a pinkish carpet and every room had a thick, goldish wallpaper, the house had good bones.”
But it did need work, some immediately — such as removing that wallpaper, ripping up the carpet that, fortunately, was covering hardwood flooring, updating bathrooms, and installing central air-conditioning.
“We didn’t want it to look like a new house,” said Nicole, 42, a Realtor with Keller Williams. “We wanted to bring back the charm of the old house with an open, airy, light style.”
The house had a small galley kitchen, and the previous owners had converted the original garage into an in-law suite. In 2011, the couple added a two-story addition and converted that space into a large great room and kitchen on the first level.
“On the second floor, above the kitchen and great room, we added a [primary] suite and an additional guest room for Nicole’s parents, who were helping out a lot when the kids were little,” Kenny said, referring to Connor, now 11, and Charlotte, 9.
The 3,000-square-foot house has four bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a large family room. Kenny built a farmhouse table from some lumber left over from a previous project. He had seen a beautiful walnut table in a store and realized he could make a similar one himself. Though it took him a year to complete, the table’s dark walnut top and maple base can seat eight and is the gathering spot for most of their meals.
The couple also turned the home’s original screened-in porch into Nicole’s office, keeping the exterior exposed stone wall intact — a real hit as her Zoom background. “It’s a great space and we have lots of windows so we get a lot of natural light,” she said.
Most of the home is white, including the custom floor-to-ceiling bookcases that Kenny built. Colorful accents throughout the home add warmth.
“Our style is traditional with clean lines,” said Nicole, who invested in key features, including custom curtains and shutters, but shops such stores as HomeGoods for accent pieces that will likely be changed. “As styles and trends in decor change, I can just swap out certain things to give the room a different look. I worked for Nordstrom for seven years, and I think the fashion background I have translates into wanting to change out things seasonally.”
The main bedroom, one of their favorite rooms, features a cathedral ceiling and an oversized window with picturesque views of the fenced-in backyard. The cozy patio has an outdoor couch, fire pit, dining area, and grill.
“Right in the center of the yard we have a huge poplar, about 45 inches in diameter — possibly the largest tree in the neighborhood,” Kenny said. “It provides so much shade that even in the hottest days of the summer it’s so comfortable.”
Spending so much time at home during the pandemic has given the family an even greater appreciation of their property. They have plenty of space for work and school now, and when life returns to normal, their house is perfect for entertaining.
“We did a lot of the work on the first floor to be able to have our family and friends over,” said Nicole, who enjoys introducing her neighbors to one another. “We really lucked out when we moved here. We didn’t know anybody and we have formed close bonds with our neighbors. Havertown is a great community of people who support each other and respect each other. We have 25 kids on our street, so our kids love it.”
Said Kenny: “Havertown is the perfect mix of neighborhood and nature. We have a lot of big old oaks and maples, a golf course nearby, which sometimes brings over foxes, deer and hawks into a neighborhood that’s fairly densely populated. I think that’s pretty cool.”
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