Story by Donna Cornelius • Photos by Lee Walls Jr.
You can’t help catching the holiday spirit at Kalli and Andrew Delaney’s Crestline home. From the candy-filled kitchen island to Christmas trees that range from beautifully appointed to whimsically delightful, this house would make Santa himself feel right at home.
This year, the Delaneys not only will enjoy their house during the holidays, they also will be sharing it with others. It’s one of the stops on this year’s Independent Presbyterian Church Holiday House Tour Dec. 8 and 9. (For tour details follow the link)
Kalli and Andrew have lived in Birmingham since 2004 and moved to 10 Honeysuckle Lane last year after an extensive search. They wanted a house that would accommodate their growing family – and one that didn’t require a lot of work and updating.
“With our third child on the way, we didn’t want to take on a remodel,” Kalli said.
The couple’s quest came to an end when they saw the Crestline house.
“We kept coming back to this house again and again,” Kalli said. “We’d been looking for so long that we’d come up with a long list of things we wanted. With this house, we kept looking for something wrong. We haven’t found anything yet. It’s the opposite – we keep finding things that we like.”
Built in the 1950s, the house was purchased in 2005 by Lisa and Matt Costanzo. They completely renovated the house in 2014. Residential designer Matt Costanzo of Matthew V. Costanzo Residential Designs was inspired by the shingle-style houses in the northeast United States. His design took advantage of the lot on which the house sits. Because the lot has an unusual shape with an angled rear property line, the house has a wider front façade than most others in the neighborhood.
“I like the way Matt complemented the house’s traditional elements, such as the old millwork that he used,” Kalli said.
She said the Costanzos “popped the top” of the house to add more space. The main-level living room is an addition, too. With four bedrooms and a third-floor playroom, there’s plenty of room for the whole family – which includes a lively cocker spaniel named Louie.
Although the house was move-in ready, the Delaneys added their own touches with the help of interior designer Catherine Pringle of Catherine Pringle Design. Jessica Schniper, also an interior designer, worked alongside Pringle to get the Delaneys’ house ready for the IPC tour.
“Catherine has become such a good friend,” Kalli said. “I could tell right away that she was a good mom and that she’d know what I meant when I said I wanted a kid-friendly house. I wanted to be able to use every single space and not panic when a red sippy cup goes rogue.”
That means that while the house is stylish, there are no rooms where the three Delaney daughters don’t feel comfortable. Mary Charles, age 6, is a first-grader at Crestline Elementary. Betsy is 3, and the youngest Delaney is 18-month-old Cate.
“Everything is covered with performance fabric; you can just wipe it off,” said Kalli, adding that the kitchen table’s wooden top is water-resistant. “We use every single space in the house.”
During the holiday season, the house is especially merry and bright. The kitchen table is set with festive Fitz and Floyd Christmas china. Christina Brockman of Huckleberry Collective has filled the marble-topped kitchen island with an assortment of gingerbread houses, cookies in jars, hot chocolate fixings, peppermints and lollipops. She’s a floral and food stylist who’s also decking the halls with greenery and floral arrangements.
In the Delaneys’ living room is a 9-foot fresh tree from Sweet Peas Garden Shop in Homewood.
“It’s a traditional tree,” Kalli said. “Things will get more modern upstairs. Mary Charles picked out an upside-down tree with a Candyland theme for the playroom.”
Betsy chose a princess theme for the tree in the room that she and big sister Mary Charles share. It has lots of pink and silver with ornaments shaped like ballerinas, nutcrackers, crowns and hot air balloons. It harmonizes with the room’s pink walls and fun dandelion-shaped pendant light fixture. This tree – and another one in the stairwell – are the creations of Kalli’s aunt, designer Kris Parsons.
One of Kalli’s favorite Christmas decorations is a nativity set that’s displayed in the living room.
“Catherine found this one in an antique shop and showed me a photo of it,” she said. “I was so excited because we had one like it when I was growing up, and my mom couldn’t track it down.”
Kalli is an Andalusia native and University of Alabama graduate. She’s a busy mom who worked in finance before going back to school to earn a master’s degree in education.
“I taught preschool and fourth grade before Mary Charles was born,” she said. “Then I went back into finance for a while.”
Andrew is from Virginia and graduated from Cornell University. After that, he became a U.S. Army Ranger and then got an MBA from the University of Texas. He’s the chief development officer of StateServ Hospicelink, a healthcare technology company.
The Delaneys love their neighborhood as well as their house.
“We moved to Crestline in time for Mary Charles to start kindergarten at Crestline Elementary,” Kalli said. “She loves walking to school with Daddy but can’t wait until she can walk with the ‘big girls’ – the second-graders.”
Kalli said the entire family is happy to be a part of the IPC tour. She said she appreciates the event’s support of ministries such as STAIR – Start the Adventure in Reading.
“I love Christmas, and it’s fun to have the girls learning about volunteer work,” Kalli said.