A Labor of Love

According to homeowners Dan Kahn and Betsy Phillips, it was fate that brought them to the sandy beaches of Honduras in 2004, where the two first met while on vacation, and where the symbolism of the heart was born for the couple. One night, not long after they met, Betsy went back to her bungalow to find that Dan had drawn a heart in the sand at the foot of her steps and placed a conch shell in the middle.

A year later, it was fate that led them to their new house, a 1930s Craftsman cottage steps from the shores of the Long Island Sound in Westport, Connecticut. Tired with their long-distance relationship, Betsy, an interior designer who was then based in North Carolina, decided to join Dan, an electrical contractor, and his two children in his home state. But both wanted a fresh start in a home that they could call their own, so they embarked on a remodel project that could either make or break their bond. Turned out that their first home together would also be one of their relationship's first big tests. "I thought we'd get divorced and we weren't even married yet," says Betsy.

Still, they managed to pass the test. Hearts, already a major theme for the couple, began appearing all around the house. Through the hard work they put into the renovation—and the details they built into the home itself—their house is now a symbol, in all senses of the word, of their love and devotion to it, and to each other.

Pictured: Cedar shingles, stained glass windows and other Arts-and-Crafts details adorn the transformed beach cottage. New double-paned, argon-filled windows and doors replaced the drafty old ones.
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