Originally Printed in Orange County Home
Creatively crafting a real dollhouse
You may chisel a boy into shape, as you would a rock…but you cannot hammer a girl into anything. She grows as a flower does.”
John Ruskin (1819-1900), English art critic
It’s often said that you don’t really know who you are until you’re 30. But the truth is, you don’t really know who you are until you have children. It isn’t until you hold a little life in your hands that you realize you have not just the responsibility, but the creative power to shape and mold that life. It is then that all the things you’ve been taught, all the stories you’ve experienced and all the perceptions you’ve created turn into a blueprint for child-rearing.And once that little life begins to grow, you realize the best-laid blueprints must merely be framework. Stephen and Karen Amsler are pros at creating framework – and their daughters are the living proof.
Originally from Massachusetts, Karen and Stephen moved to the Sunny State as newlyweds in 1984 looking for adventure and a creative place to begin their life together. They first settled in Laguna Beach and Steven commuted to Town & Country shopping center in Orange where he owned the Apropos men’s store and did tai kwan do on the side as a hobby. Karen finished up classes for her hairdresser’s license and dabbled in painting and drawing. Soon after, they decided it was time to start that family, and thus a new house, which would serve as their first bit of framework, was needed. “We loved the homes in Massachusetts,” Karen said, “and we weren’t interested in a tract. We wanted something more creative. So Stephen drove around and checked out the area near his work.”
The search took him to Floral Park, a Santa Ana community filled with charming homes that each display individuality. The home they could afford was not hot real estate at the time. Built in the 1930s, their French country house is situated on Flower Street, which at that time was a busy street, by a freeway off ramp. The front of the home was also shielded from view by a massive tree. But, it had a gorgeous roofline filled with sweeping dips and cute little dormers, and the inside had been meticulously cared for.
Continue to What Makes Your House A Home (Part 2)