An award for Arden Boulevard
Couple transforms house into an
By Amanda Tonoli
A beautifully landscaped Arden Boulevard home sits on a quiet little hill in Youngstown soaking in Mill Creek Park like a sponge.
“Mill Creek Park is just the crown jewel of the city of Youngstown,” said home-owner Christopher Kalis.
Kalis and Janet Misel bought this now award-winning home in 2012 when it was in foreclosure and exterior disarray.
“We just had this shared vision of what we wanted it to look like, and we got right to it after we bought the house,” Misel said.
Together the couple took care in building flower beds, nursing plants and beautifying the overall exterior – and interior – of what was once a drab sight.
Misel said she feels a lot of pride in the fact that most of the projects done both indoors and outdoors were done with her fiance, Christopher.
“We both love flowers and gardening, and it was kind of about what we could do for the park, to our home,” Kalis said.
Because the home sits across from one of the park boundaries, Misel said she tasked herself with finding a way not only to blend their home’s landscaping, but also finding a way to bring the park inside.
The walls are lined with portraits of the park that lead to the couple’s “Youngstown Room” equipped with collectable memorabilia from the time of the steel mills.
It was Oct. 15 when Misel and Kalis received a letter from Youngstown CityScape notifying them they had won the Youngstown CityScape 10th Annual Beautification Award for their home.
“Honestly, we were just thrilled to death to know that all of our hard work had been recognized and that we are appreciated,” Kalis said.
The home, however, is more than just a duty being paid back to a city the couple values so much. It serves as a symbol of their relationship.
Kalis said he and Misel had grown up together and grown apart as adults do with families, jobs and more. Both Misel and Kalis longed to move back to Youngstown as they moved outward to Howland and Austintown, respectively. They found their way back together and bought the home shortly after reuniting, finding joy in being able to create a home of their dreams in their favorite place.
“This home is a part of who we are,” Kalis said.
The couple celebrated their favorite shared Halloween holiday by decking out the home to be a drive-by haunted house.
In addition to a creepy view you can pass by, Kalis and Misel decorated the inside of their garage as a walk-through for trick-or-treaters – free of charge.
Misel said the fun decorations increase traffic through the area – something both of them strive to do.
“We just want to do everything possible to make Youngstown a better place,” Kalis said. “I love the city, and I would love to see it come back.”
The city isn’t all Kalis loves: He and Misel said they were having a surprise marriage ceremony on their favorite day of the year – Halloween.
The Kalis and Misel family will accept their beautification award at 5 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Soap Gallery, 117 S. Champion St.