Real Housewives' Kelly Dodd and family outgrow renovated Corona del Mar stunner
Nevermind the ocean views, daughter Jolie says she wants a trampoline and a pool
When Kelly and Michael Dodd bought their home in the gated Breakers community overlooking the sand at Corona del Mar State Beach in June 2014, they weren’t quite ready for all the changes coming their way.
At the time, Michael Dodd was splitting his time between San Francisco and Orange County, serving as the president of LeapFrog Enterprises, the children’s educational toy company, while Kelly was raising their then-8-year-old daughter, Jolie. The family was renting a house on Carnation Avenue in Corona del Mar while searching for their dream home. They found it in that beachfront house, a structure they “took down to the studs” and completely renovated, a process that took them 14 months from purchase to move-in in August 2015.
Cut to today, and things have really changed. They have lived in the house for a year; Kelly is now a reality television star, the newest member of the Bravo channel’s hit franchise, “The Real Housewives of Orange County”; Michael, who also appears on the show, is “between jobs right now” and no longer commuting; and Jolie is 10 and knows exactly what she wants.
“I want a house with a pool, six bedrooms, a playroom, a movie room, and a trampoline and a big yard,” she says staunchly.
For, despite living in a spacious, completely redone 4,428-square-foot house that sits on a 6,450-square-foot lot within spitting distance of the beach, Jolie just isn’t very happy with her home.
“In this neighborhood, there’s mostly no kids here. It’s just 80-year-olds,” she says with a sigh.
Which explains why Kelly and Michael Dodd have put the family home on the market just a year after moving in, as the couple want the best for their girl (and despite some seemingly false rumors that the pair is headed for divorce, fueled by events shown on their reality show).
“We want to give that to her. She’s an only child; she wants to be in a neighborhood with kids,” Kelly explains while sitting in her ultra-modern, white living room gazing out at the ocean. “That’s mainly the reason why we want to sell. And just to test the market, you know? If we don’t get what we want for it, then we won’t sell.”
Bought two years ago for $3.575 million, the the four-story, four-bedroom, 4.5-bathroom house that the couple transformed is listed at $6.25 million.
“We walked in here and it looked like the ’70s or ’80s. It was really, really dated,” Kelly recalls. “It was awful.”
“But we had looked at half a dozen houses in the two weeks before – looking more at the kind of houses with loggias, big entertaining backyards with barbecues and swimming pools,” Michael adds. “It was Sunday morning, we had gone for a walk, saw the ‘Open House’ sign, walked in, saw the view of the ocean and said, ‘Yes!’ We saw immediately that there was potential in this house.”
Although, as Kelly quickly reminds her husband, “I argued with him. I wanted to move into a big house with a pool, with a big backyard and an entertaining area. He wanted this house. So we compromised. I said, ‘If we’re going to get this house, then I get to remodel it.’ So he said, ‘Yes.’ Then it snowballed. Our budget was $300,000 and then it ended up being a million.”
The new design – characterized by large, expansive rooms, white-on-white color schemes (with a bit of gray, silver and gold thrown in) and ocean-facing walls that open completely via pocket doors – all came from Kelly’s vision.
“We subcontracted everything and we designed it. I loved doing it; it was really fun. I used Pinterest for my inspirations, then I went down to Perch. I had a designer at first, but I didn’t like anything they did. I had to fire them. ... So I just got subcontractors, and I told them what I wanted and they did it,” she explains.
“We worked with a designer; they helped us with the structural work and the layout and the plans. Then we had an external structural engineer to help. Here in the living room, there was a cathedral ceiling, a vaulted ceiling, so we needed help changing that,” he says.
And that was only the beginning. “There was a solid wall separating the living room and the kitchen; it was a load-bearing wall. So the structural work was to open up the wall in the living room, put in a wide pocket door, take the kitchen wall out and open it up, and change the ceilings. That meant we had to transfer the load, so we had to put in big beams, both here in the living room and in the kitchen, to support it. Which meant we had to put in new piers, all the way into the foundation. The only thing that is original is most of the wood frame and the roof.”
Highlights of the couple’s renovation include Kelly’s walk-in closet, an expansive space chockablock with built-in shelves designed for her astonishing array of shoes, sunglasses, handbags, jewelry and clothing; the ground-floor playroom for her daughter that features a large TV and a massive white leather couch; the kitchen and living room patios that offer spectacular ocean views; and the elevator for those days when climbing four flights from the ground floor/garage level is too much work.
And despite the Dodds’ insistence that they will not sell unless they get their price, Kelly may just be eyeing a shift to a different kind of reality show, à la “Flip This House.”
“I loved doing it. I would say that I want to do it again!” she says with a grin.