Treasuring bits of earth and sky

DREAM HOME

September 04, 1994|By William C. Ward | William C. Ward,Contributing Writer

Frank and Theresa Johannissohn's three-bedroom split-foyer home in Pasadena is a gateway to the cosmos.

Up the stairs from the foyer a wallpaper mural of the planet Saturn serves as backdrop to "Muse Thilia," a large, colorful sculpture of a female figure in flowing robes by Mexican artist Sergio Bustamante.

A framed photograph of the moon, taken from an enormous backyard telescope, hangs in the foyer, and crystals placed near a large bay window send rainbows dancing around the living room.

The couple live in the quiet community of Laurel Acres, in a home 100 yards from Cockey Creek, where they occasionally spend the day paddling their canoe out into the Magothy River.

"It's a nice, comfortable neighborhood," says Mr. Johannissohn, 46, who works at the Social Security Administration on Security Boulevard in Woodlawn.

They have worked on renovating the house, which Mr. Johannissohn bought for $152,000 in 1989, three years before the couple married. The house is currently appraised for $175,000.

"It was nothing that was really planned," says Mrs. Johannissohn, 28.

The couple repainted and redecorated, replaced the siding and roofing and added several box bay windows. "We're very comfortable with what it evolved into," she says.

Around the house, Mrs. Johannissohn's flower arrangements and colorful paintings accent the downstairs recreation room and bar, and add flair to the perfectly balanced black-and-white motif of the living and dining rooms.

An L-shaped black couch faces a large home theater system in the modest living room, which is dominated by a large bow bay window.

The centerpiece of the kitchen and dining room is a 150-gallon saltwater tank. It encloses the breakfast nook and teems with fancifully colored tropical fish of several species.

The Johannissohns have tried to give their home a sense of balance, life, nature and place in the cosmos through elements of color, geological and fossil pieces, flowers and paintings.

"Everything has a life of its own, and it should have a place or a use. It's very in harmony. I feel uplifted every day," Mrs. Johannissohn says.

Down a short hallway from the foyer, two of the bedrooms have been converted into a computer room and a book-filled study. The master bedroom has a half-bathroom and a bay window that overlooks the back yard.

The couple often step into the back yard for a dip in the large L-shaped pool.

Surrounded by a concrete deck that joins a wooden deck running along the back of the house, the pool sits in the middle of a 100-by-140-foot yard landscaped with boxwoods and junipers.

The telescope in one corner of the yard contains a 16-inch primary reflecting mirror and is one of Mr. Johannissohn's passions.

He was recently able to watch the results of impacts by fragments of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 on the surface of Jupiter.

The couple plans to retile the pool deck in the future, but are satisfied with their renovation efforts so far.

"You can make your life beautiful and inspirational on a small scale," Mrs. Johannissohn says.

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