Thursday, August 31, 2006
Dustin and Jill Bell had lived in their house for two-and-a-half years when they learned they were pregnant with triplets, and realized an addition had to be built. They decided a 13-by-27-foot room plus second bath would be ideal and still leave lots of land. Time was of the essence.
Time proved to have no skill for compromise.
The Bell’s babies were born sooner than expected and it became infinitely clear that a larger house was the only solution. “We had bought our home for many years to come, and although we were very lucky to find another house in Del Rey Oaks when we needed it, we miss this one, when there’s time to notice,” smiles Bell.
One needn’t know their experience to recognize, upon entering, that this house was not bought to flip. The details are gorgeous and practical. In the kitchen: luscious swirls of dark chocolate and golden granite counters, warm-toned slate floor, dark hardware and faucet, single porcelain farm sink, new appliances, skylight. Elsewhere: central vacuum system, irrigation system, new carpet, perfect hardwood living room floor, cream marble tile fireplace surround, Bri-waxed walls in the master, exterior cream colored paint with white trim, with attached garage with door into kitchen, oak-stained screened front door and new fencing and gates—so much!
But the primary element is how the house resonates with the devotion it got, the permanence intended. For example, Jill is a violinist since childhood with a gifted and practiced talent. She taught private lessons in a room with multi-paned sliders to an enormous, fenced back garden. Dustin designs finely crafted fitted furniture and the commitment of both people to their home, their art and one another is somehow palpable. The house feels really wonderful.
“We’d made the house the way we wanted it,” Bell says, demonstrating a commitment to getting details right, “and then the bathroom sink and cabinet, which had been this 19-inch-wide annoyance, got our full attention.” In its place: a new wide sink-surround and cabinet beneath. “I don’t why we lived with that for so long,” he says.
One thing they happily lived with was the big trampoline in the backyard, so their English bulldog could do full summersaults on it. (I was invited to a performance. Splendid!) Regrettably, dog not included with the house.
The three-bedroom floor plan is the style built in the ’50s that exemplifies much of the city. The Bell’s home is at the end of a cul-de-sac, a showcase when one turns into Malcom Place, with the house set back and fronted by a rising green lawn and, in one side yard, very high, soaring oaks of balletic form. On the other side of the house is a space for RV or boat parking and in the huge backyard, a large patio with six-person hot tub.
In the even larger garden is an arch of honeysuckle over a handsome black swinging bench so striking against fresh mulch planted with sweet peas, ground-cover daisies and climbing blooms. Beyond the fencing, a 15-foot-deep cypress-lined strip separates the Bells from the street behind.
The front of the house is charmed with blooming star jasmine growing in fat, happy sprays from ground to eaves around one of the two wide window configurations. It’s partly that dark green against the cream that beckons one toward the gentle embrace inside.
Dustin Bell says: “We never wanted to live anywhere else than Del Rey Oaks, but especially now.” Their babies are now seven weeks old.
Price $729,000 • 12 Malcom Pl., Del Rey Oaks • Contact Ralph Dunn, Alain Pinel Realtors, 238-0279.