The movie industry lured independent filmmakers David Burton Morris and Victoria Morris to Los Angeles in the 1980s. A charming farmhouse-style home in Deephaven lured them back.
“We grew up in St. Paul and we wanted to raise our kids here,” said David, who described the 1990s return home: “We went from hell to Norman Rockwell.”
The Morrises were attracted to the five-bedroom dwelling for its big open front porch, well-designed layout and more than an acre of land across from Thorpe Park. They also were excited to set up their home offices in the carriage house.
While the house, which was built in 1920, was quaint, it clearly needed work.
“She was a grand old lady of a house, but had been neglected,” said Victoria. “She had a beautiful layout, high ceilings and no one had torn her apart.”
During the past two decades, the Morrises revitalized the grand old house and did several modern makeovers. The long list of repairs and improvements includes new windows, refinishing hardwood floors and reinstalling the original screens on the front porch.
In 1999, they undertook a major renovation on the main floor, which involved tearing off the back of the house and rebuilding it with a kitchen, hearth room, back entry, mudroom and powder room.
“It’s a traditional country-style kitchen with butcher-block countertops in keeping with the character of the house,” said Victoria, who designed all the remodeling projects.
On the second floor, they put in a master suite addition, complete with his and hers bathrooms. (“My husband doesn’t like to share a bathroom,” said Victoria.)
She designed a masculine bathroom with black granite for him and a feminine white Carrara marble bathroom for her.
The last big project, in 2007, was gutting and remodeling the rundown carriage house. They redid the living room and kitchen, put in hardwood floors and custom cabinets in the 750-square-foot space.
“In all the projects, I tried to stay true to the feeling of the house and the craftsmanship,” said Victoria. “Now it’s more suited for the way people live today with a beautiful kitchen and bath.”
With their two children grown and gone, the Morrises are returning once again to California, where most of David’s recent work has been. His films include “Patti Rocks” and “Purple Haze.” But the couple admit that leaving the farmhouse they loved — and worked so hard to refurbish — won’t be easy.
“We have memories of three generations of families at this house for Christmas,” said Victoria. “It was magical and felt like it was out of a movie.”
• The three-story, 5,921-square-foot house has five bedrooms and six bathrooms.