By Melanie Radzicki McManus | Photography by Shanna Wolf
Jodi Anderson Selsor doesn’t mind saying it: She’s a real estate junkie. “I look at real estate every day,” she says, adding that she and her husband, Kurt Selsor, have lived in seven different homes during their 34-year marriage.
The two always hoped one of their moves would land them near the water. Yet despite switching homes an average of once every five years, they never found the right waterside property. Until recently.
It was March 2015 when the Selsors toured a weary, cream-colored home on Middleton Beach Road, a one-mile strip of land sandwiched between Allen Boulevard and Lake Mendota’s western shore. It was actually one that the couple had looked at years ago. At the time, they couldn’t afford it. Plus, the 1930s-era home needed a lot of work. In 2015, it still needed attention.
“It looked the same on the outside,” says Anderson Selsor. “Inside, the paint colors were all over the place. The bathroom was red, the walls were dark green and light green …” But when the couple walked upstairs to the master bedroom and gazed out its wall of windows facing Lake Mendota, they turned to one another and exclaimed, “Yes!”
Just one month later, the Selsors were unpacking in their new digs. The 1,400-square-foot home was a startling departure from their previous abode: a three-floor, a 4,000-square-foot exposed ranch on 3.5 acres in Waunakee. But with their two children grown and gone, they didn’t need all of that space. Plus, the water was calling to them.
Still, Anderson Selsor says, “The first day we moved in, I’m sitting in this living room and I thought, ‘Oh my god, what did we just do?!’” Her panic was fleeting. A moment later, she knew everything they needed to do to make this new house their home. The first step: paint.
Anderson Selsor picked up a paint brush and rarely paused over the next year. She painted when she was done working in the afternoon—she works from home as a software testing lead—and painted on the weekends. The home’s bright, discordant colors were slowly bathed in soothing blue and sandy hues, the colors of the beach.
One day the couple the couple ripped out an old wood stove and raised brick hearth and discovered the home’s original hardwood floors underneath. That led to removing all of the carpet on the main level and refinishing the floors. (The upstairs floors are slated to be refinished shortly.)
The Selsors are quite handy, and did much of the work themselves. But they did tap Verona’s Blue Line Designs for the home’s large renovations, which included ripping out a closet on the main level, remodeling the main level bathroom/laundry room combo, enclosing the porch and re-siding the home and its detached garage in a fetching midnight blue.
The renovations were done in the spring and summer of 2016. During this time, Anderson Selsor relocated her office to a studio apartment in their garage. The project had been slated for two months, but instead took four, thanks in part to discovering water damage in the bathroom/laundry room that necessitated new subflooring, plus a carpenter-ant infestation in the rear of the home.
The results were well worth the wait. The home’s new foyer, which now features a spacious coat closet, means guests no longer step through the front door and right into the Selsors’ kitchen. The compact bathroom/laundry room sports a smaller sink, new tile and stacked appliances, creating a more spacious feel. Light quartz countertops brighten the kitchen and ensure easy clean-ups.
But the couple’s biggest coup was removing a large closet from the middle of the home. The closet chopped up the flow between the living room, dining room and kitchen—a major stumbling block in a small home with owners who love to entertain, as the Selsors do. In its place, Blue Line Designs installed a small island with a wine fridge. That might seem like a minor change, but not to the Selsors.
“This space is us,” she says, gesturing to the island. “This is where we all sit, this is where all the food goes for the parties, this is where the drinks are made. This was what I saw as the real problem in this house. So as simple as it was, removing that closet really opened the house up and made it livable.”
The home’s square footage is evenly split, with 700 square feet both upstairs and down. The second level features the master bedroom and bath, office space and a guest bedroom. Not surprisingly, the master suite is the star attraction.
The couple took what was likely once an enclosed porch off of the master suite and turned it into their bedroom. The rectangular room features windows on three sides, showcasing the splendor of Lake Mendota. “When we slept here the first night, we opened up all of the windows,” says Anderson Selsor. “We woke up the next morning and heard the water lapping, and we looked at each other and said, ‘Oh my god, this is like being on vacation!’”
The home’s original bedroom, which links to their new one via a large doorway, is now a spacious office where Selsor works every morning. (She also has office space on the main level.) A small closet sits off one end; Blue Line Designs created an additional, larger one in their current bedroom. A bathroom is accessible from Selsor’s office.
“We feel quite luxurious up here with all of this space,” she says, adding, “The sunrises are unbelievable.”
Outside, the property features 40 feet of frontage which Anderson Selsor calls “not a lot, but enough.” They don’t have a boat—yet—but enjoy watching the activity on Lake Mendota: waterskiing, kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding and even crewing. A hot tub sits in one corner; the two use it year-round.
Many people, both friends and strangers, routinely compliment the Selsors on their home’s interior and exterior rejuvenation. Anderson Selsor dubs their efforts “putting lipstick on the pig.”
“Even though this home wasn’t a pig … I found the right shades, and I applied them, and now she’s not the ugly duckling on this street anymore. She just needed a little help, that’s all.”
So is home number eight “it” for the couple, now that they’ve finally found a house on the water? “I’m always looking for another project,” Anderson Selsor admits sheepishly. “But I won’t do that to Kurt for a while.”
This home was featured in the Madison: Fall 2017 issue.
For more photos of featured Madison homes, visit the Madison Gallery page.
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