As so often in life, it was happenstance that created destiny.
Anne and Jerry Klein were living in a typical suburban home in Mount Laurel back in August 1991 when one night they attended an event in Medford with friends who lived there.
They noticed a house nearby that captured their interest and learned it was about to go on the market.
“The grounds were beautiful, and it had great charm. We had been thinking about moving," said Anne, who will never forget what turned out to be so much more than an evening with friends.
The cottage they had spotted became theirs in November 1991, and by following April, they had moved in and began pouring in energy, imagination, and bit of TLC that resulted in a home that probably would be unrecognizable its former owners.
A modest cinder block cabin, vintage 1940s, was transformed into a sophisticated showcase for art and artifacts that seem meant for their spaces, as well as touches of family history at every turn. Set on a lake, the house is surrounded by plants, flowers and charm created by their hard work and Mother Nature herself.
The couple has united inside and outside through prudent placement of expansive windows — creating a true “wow” factor.
“It’s definitely been a wonderful retreat and a great place to come home to," said Jerry, who, in addition to partnering for five decades in a public relations and marketing firm with his wife, had a law practice.
Anne’s latest venture has been the publication of On the Cusp, a book on the changing lives of women in the University of Pennsylvania Class of 1964. It chronicles how women have emerged from the traditional cocoons of teaching, nursing, and early marriage.
“I love talking to groups who respond with such recognition, and, yes, a sense of empowerment,” says Anne, who makes book appearances and leads discussions about women’s journeys.
The couple love traveling the world, and in almost every room is a reminder of their globe-hopping. The decor also reflects the creativity and artwork of family artists over the generations. They cherish a mantelpiece and lamps that belonged to ancestors. On display is the American flag that covered Anne’s father’s casket.
“We love living with our past and consider it a privilege to have that gift,” Anne says.
Yet Jerry, a serious photographer and devotee to technology, made sure the home reflects the present, as well, with extensive wiring for audio and cable.
Interior improvements along the way have included the striking stone fireplace on the first floor, a chic living room overlooking the grounds, and a shared office. Upstairs, the master bedroom was expanded by 10 feet.
Taunton Lake has become more than just a perk that came with the house.
"We are here as much as we can be. It's just a wonderful escape,” Anne says. “And yes, we do swim in the lake as much as we can."
For the Kleins, the house has become a great place both to entertain and to decompress. Sitting by the lake, watching snow fall on their property, this couple has found their version of paradise.
It’s not for everyone, they agree, but as Anne says, “it’s surely has been a gift to us."
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