If I made a list of my favorite houses in Westport, Betsyand Dan Kahn’s would be near the top.
It fits every criteria: location (a few feet from Compo Beach). Uniqueness. Beauty. Charm. Funkitude.
“This Old House” likes it too. The website’s many readers chose it as one of their “20 most loved historical, whole-house remodels.”
Calling it “A Home With a Lot of Heart,” TOH described the back story.
The couple met 10 years ago in Honduras. One night, Dan drew a heart in the sand by her bungalow, and put a conch shell in the middle.
A year later — tired of their long-distance relationship — Betsy moved her interior design business from North Carolina to Westport. Dan had grown up here; now he has 2 kids.
They wanted “a fresh start in a home that they could call their own, so they embarked on a remodel project that could either make or break their bond,” TOH reports. They found a 1930s Craftsman cottage on Danbury Avenue.
Yellow vinyl siding went. So did asphalt shingles. Up and in went stained glass windows, wood floors, cedar shingles.
The couple paid tremendous attention to historical detail, used expert artisans, and incorporated as much recycled material as they could. (They even found huge slabs from the sub-floor of a South Carolina cotton mill.)
The renovation was not easy. “I thought we’d get divorced and we weren’t even married yet,” Betsy told This Old House.
But with “love and devotion” to their home — and to each other — they made it work.
And that love theme is not just mushy words. Heart shapes fill the house everywhere (they’re even melded into doors and windows). It’s one part of this old house’s charm. Part of the reason the home — sitting on just 1/10 of an acre — is one of my favorites.
And part of the reason why “This Old House” readers love it too.
(Betsy and Dan’s house is not for sale. However, they recently bought the property across the street — 8 Danbury Avenue — and built a similarly stunning, Peter Wormser-designed, low country beach house, with fantastic water views. It just went on the market. If interested, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 203-222-9693.)