Love At First Site
● By Kerri Regan
Story by: Kerri Regan Photos by: James Mazzotta
She felt the weight of the stranger’s gaze, locked eyes with him, and fell immediately in love.
Years later, they walked together into this breathtaking bluffside home, and once again fell in love at first sight. It was five more years before they could afford it – but last May, MiSook and Craig Kraffert and their 9-year-old son moved into the architectural marvel featured in the book, "Dream Homes of Northern California."
Designed by Redding architect James Theimer, the Krafferts’ 4,700-square-foot West Redding home is resplendent with unique angles and intricacies. The Krafferts were intrigued by "the views, the quality materials and the piece of art that is this architecture," says Craig, a Redding dermatologist. "There was so much thought put into the aesthetics and function. It’s unique and exceptional."
Cathedral ceilings and arches remind them of the Mission Inn in Riverside, where they took their wedding vows (as did Richard and Pat Nixon; Ronald and Nancy Reagan honeymooned there). Floor-to-ceiling windows ensure panoramic vistas of the picturesque mountains that give the North State its unique beauty. Describing her first visit to the home, MiSook says, "I opened the door and Mt. Shasta was right there like a picture frame."
To the south, the Krafferts enjoy a view of their front-yard pool, with its tranquil waterfalls and green slate decking. Strategic landscaping ensures privacy.
Some 230,000 bricks lend an Italian influence to the home. Brought west from Chicago, the 125-year-old bricks are used for three fireplaces – one stretches to the 26-foot-tall ceiling in the living room – as well as an entire wall of the dining room. They’re also used on the home’s exterior.
The living room boasts a 26-foot vaulted ceiling with the above-mentioned fireplace stretching up the length of one wall. The kitchen is a chef’s dream, with cherry wood cabinets, granite countertops and maple floors. State-of-the-art appliances are set into several cooking stations, which are accented by more arches and brick work.
In the study room, Dr. Seuss books are interspersed with more mature titles in the cherry bookshelves. A wine cellar and expansive basement provide "a lot of untapped potential," Craig says.
Upstairs, the master bath features an Italian marble and limestone tub, and it’s connected to the master bedroom by a catwalk that overlooks the downstairs breakfast nook. The master bedroom’s balcony offers a view of the pool, and a hidden spiral staircase is a shortcut downstairs.
The Krafferts are quick to point out that they can’t take credit for the design ideas – it’s simply the setting for their happily-ever-after, which began while she was working at the World Expo in Seville, Spain. He was in the country to present a paper to the Spanish National Congress of Dermatology, and he stopped to watch the Korean folk dancers when he saw MiSook for the first time.
"I could feel something very strong, and he was staring at me about 20 feet away," MiSook recalls. "I thought, ‘That’s the man I’ve been waiting for.’"
They went to dinner that night, and he extended his stay in Spain by several days to spend more time with her. Once he returned home, they faxed letters and spoke by phone almost daily. She moved to the United States in February 1993. A year later, they were married in San Diego. They moved to Redding shortly thereafter.
They first saw their dream house during a home tour about five years ago, and MiSook says she can’t count the number of times she drove up the hill to admire it. They were overjoyed to discover that it was still for sale when they were in a position to buy it.
Lightning storms, sunny days and clouds rolling in all create unique and majestic views. And although they’re in the middle of a neighborhood, the elevation provides mostly mountain views.
"The views are always transient – every moment is different in this house," Craig says.
"The second I leave, I can’t wait to come back," he said.