Paula Klingerman fell in love with Africa during her first safari, so when her travel agent organized another one, she jumped at the chance — on the condition that the agent find her a tent mate prior to the trip.
"I didn't want to have another single," Paula said. The agent suggested her cousin, Dave.
They met for what turned into a six-hour lunch in Boston in July 2011. Six months later the couple exchanged vows in Tanzania during a symbolic wedding ceremony complete with Masai dancers. Back home, they made it legal.
Now the Klingermans are savoring the rewards of their latest adventure — building an upscale custom home in the Castle Heights 55-plus community. Close to Dave's father in Southington, they were hooked by the development's quality, the staff's expertise and the camaraderie of the neighbors.
This past July, they moved in after choosing everything from the open floor plan to the light fixtures.
Paula said Sabrina Santos, sales and design consultant at By Carrier, made it easy.
"I start off by asking about their style," Santos said. "I give honest opinions. If I don't think it's going t to work, I'll say it so you're not stuck with something you don't like."
Particular about lighting, Paula chose a chandelier resembling a gyroscope for the two-story entry way and a crystal chandelier for the first-floor master bath.
Paula claimed an upstairs bedroom as her quilting room, where she stores material on shelves that Dave built in his basement workshop.
"Paula has the top floor and I have the basement," Dave said.
They share the rest of the house, including a sunroom leading to the large deck, and a spacious kitchen where they cook together. With eight grandchildren between them, the openness makes family gatherings easy.
Dave, 64, who was a structural engineer at Sikorsky Aircraft and consultant, and Paula, 65, who was an IT project manager in Boston, plan more traveling in their retirement.
But they are also active in their new community. Dave shoots pool with the guys at a different neighbor's home each week, while Paula socializes over wine and cheese with what she calls a "no-pressure" book club.
151 Victoria Drive
Square Feet: 2,475
Year Built: 2013
Price Paid: $530,398
Taxes: $7,800 (approx.)
Homeowners Association Fee: $260 per monthCopyright © 2015, CT Now