Architecture, Stylish St. Louis Homes

The 10 Most Beautiful Homes in St. Louis | Design STL

Neighborhood: Frontenac Architect: Mitchell Wall Architecture and Design Landscape architect: Unknown  Significant stats: 6,500 square feet; 4 bedrooms, 6 full baths and 2 half baths Why we chose it: “When you reach a certain age, you know what you like and what you don’t like,” says homeowner Melissa Haupt. This Dutch Colonial home, inspired by an affinity for the sea and reminiscent of the architecture of the Northeast, falls into the category of what Haupt loves. “I love the relaxed look and feel, the nostalgia it evokes of days gone by…but I wanted to put a contemporary twist on the design,” she says. First, she needed the approval of the neighborhood trustees, which took close to two years to obtain. “The original design called for a fully shingled house,” says designer Rachael Dolan, “but to serve the indentures of the neighborhood, we chose whitewashed brick and cedar shingle siding.” Each detail of the house has been meticulously placed: the corbels, the scalloped shingles above the gambrels, the copper roof accents above each porch. The front door is painted Fine Paints of Europe’s Navy Blue in an extra-glossy finish. Flanked by gas lanterns, it serves as an inviting focal point.


Neighborhood: Webster Groves Architect: Wilford P. Joy (a “Joy Built” home) Landscape designer: Owner Significant stats: Built in 1927; 4,800 square feet; 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms Why we chose it: This Webster Groves Tudor is straight out of a fairy tale with its gray-on-gray stucco and half-timbered face punctuated by the original arched wood door. Painted hot pink, the door features a small leaded glass window that mirrors the one just to its left, which is accented with stonework. On the lawn, pink-and-white chairs from Grandin Road complete the whimsical look. “I just love color,” says owner Tyra Gallagher. When she and husband Matt bought the house, it was painted taupe with a black door. Deeming this color scheme too boring, she painted the door green when they moved in, then bright yellow. When they had the house painted gray, she searched for the perfect color to complement it: “I went through every color, and nothing made me as happy as the pink.” Fortunately, Matt is also a fan of the color.


Neighborhood: Central West End Architect: B. & C. Hartman Company Landscape designer: Bill Jordan; maintenance by Bladimir Rodriguez Significant stats: 5,200 square feet; 6 bedrooms, 3 full baths and 1 half bath Why we love it: Adele and Hank Kaplan have lived in this Arts & Crafts home with pretty rose-motif stained glass windows for 30 years. Originally from New York City, the couple has always felt right at home in the neighborhood. “It was the closest thing to New York,” says Adele, “and we were wowed by the houses.” Over the years, the couple has worked tirelessly on the property, redoing the tile roof, tuckpointing the brick, and changing the shutters and trim from black to blue. “A young intern working with our architect suggested the idea,” says Adele. “She said blue would pick up the undertones in the brick.” But perhaps nothing compares to the work required in 1999, when a bolt of lightning hit the house, entering on one end of the third floor and leaving from the other, burning up the carpeting, taking out the electricity, and leaving large holes on both ends of the house in its wake. Fortunately, nobody was injured. And once the structure had been rewired, the east chimney rebuilt, and the exterior masonry and interior walls replaced, the house felt like home again.


Neighborhood: Ladue Architect and landscape designer: David Williams, Cite Works Architects Significant stats: 5,000 square feet; 4 bedrooms, 3 full baths and 2 half baths Why we love it: Inspired by the modern style of architect Richard Meier, Tricia and Tom Kolbrener tore down an existing home on a quiet street in Ladue and started anew in 1991, hiring Williams to bring their ideas for a dream home to fruition. “I told David I wanted a Richard Meier house,” says Tricia of her early planning days. Williams sought to design a home as if “creating a piece of sculpture,” he says, using PPG’s Delicate White paint on brick to draw attention to the form and allow sunlight to play off the walls. The home strays from the traditional front-of-house setup: There are  no windows on the first floor, but the steel-and-glass front door serves as a portal for sunlight in addition to visitors. Three Japanese maple trees add a pop of color as they blend landscape and architecture; the garden wall offers a sense of privacy without blocking off the home. The Kolbreners originally sought a light-filled home, which explains why Tricia’s favorite feature of the house is “all the high windows. At night, you can see the moon.”


Neighborhood: Compton Hill Architect: Ernst C. Janssen Landscape designer: Owner Significant stats: Built in 1908; 12,000 square feet; 6 bedrooms, 4 full  baths and 2 half baths Why we chose it: On the National Register of Historic Places, the Magic Chef Mansion is a stunning example of turn-of-the-century St. Louis architecture. Originally built for Quick Meal Stove Company (later Magic Chef) founder Charles Stockstrom, the mansion is now under the loving care of second owner Shelley Donaho, a former local real estate agent who has painstakingly restored it to its previous elegance, even tracking down many of the home’s original furnishings and fixtures. Donaho offers guided tours of the historic home and rents out portions of it for private events. “It’s fun to share it with people,” she says. The mansion’s exterior is a striking mix of materials and colors, its blond brick base accented with ornamental terra-cotta and its original red slate roof outlined with verdigris copper gutters and spires. The Stockstrom family crest is prominently featured above the third-floor center window. When some of the terra-cotta balcony railings fell into disrepair, Donaho employed artisans from City Museum to rebuild them.


Neighborhood: University City Renovation architect: Philip Durham Landscape designer: Chesterfield Valley Nursery and the homeowners Significant stats: 3,471 square feet; 4 bedrooms, 2 full baths and 1 half bath Why we love it: Ed and Cynthia Ferguson noticed the house for the first time on their jogging route and admired it from afar for nearly three years. When they saw a ‘For Sale’ sign go up in the front yard, they knew they had to see it up close. “When we walked in,” says Ed, “we were in awe. It sealed the deal for us”— but the timing wasn’t right. Luckily, two years later, in 2013, the property went back on the market right as the couple married, and they bought it. Within five years, they began an exterior renovation that included painting the façade slate blue to highlight the home’s contemporary architecture. Using a 3-D model of the house with the SU Podium plugin for SketchUp, the owners tested various paint colors at different times of the day. Ultimately, they decided to pair Sherwin-Williams’ Cyberspace and Web Gray because they liked how the combo imparted a dark, sleek look in all lighting conditions. The couple removed the horizontal portion of an L-shaped chimney and added poplar accents, bought a new door for the tuck-under garage, and installed solar panels on the asphalt roof. Inspired by their travels to Arizona and Utah, Ed designed the steel-and-glass railing leading to the front door. The Fergusons have always had a passion for art and design. “Beauty lies in simplicity,” says Ed. “A well-designed modern home exemplifies this.”


Neighborhood: Holly Hills Architect: Unknown Landscape designer: Homeowner Significant stats: Built in 1928; 1,500 square feet; 3 bedrooms, 1 full bath and 1 half bath Why we chose it: The Mission Revival architecture of this small but striking home sets it apart from the other houses on a quiet block off Carondelet Park. The façade combines various shades of brick with stone and terra-cotta sculptural details, and everything’s topped with a green Spanish tile roof. There’s even a touch of Art Deco in the line of glass blocks inserted into the brick of the front porch, which is owner Teresa Garden’s favorite spot. “I’ve met so many people just sitting reading on the front porch,” she says. “The neighborhood is so relaxed and friendly.” Before 2003, Garden says, she never even knew Holly Hills existed, but when she saw the house, she immediately fell in love. Pointing to the rounded front door, rooftop chimney pots, and eyebrow attic windows topped with copper, Garden says “the attention to detail” won her over. The house has a unique history as well, having been built for the original owners of the Cheshire Inn.


Neighborhood: Clayton Architect: Maritz & Young Landscape architect: Homeowner Significant stats: 4,900 square feet; 3 bedrooms, 3 full  baths and 1 half bath Why we chose it: St. Louisans familiar with the architecture of the northwest coast of France will recognize in this home the steep rooflines, stucco façade, and casement windows of the French Norman style. Built in 1927, the house sits along a horseshoe-shaped street with a large common ground that beckons the neighborhood’s children to come outside and play. Artist Anne Martin grew up in the house and has lived there for close to 70 years, which, she says, gives her “a real sense of houses staying and people coming and going.” Come springtime Martin, an avid gardener,  is on the lookout for geraniums in just the right shade of red to plant in the eight terra-cotta pots that line the front of the house, a perfect complement to the home’s multihued clay tile roof and the pink granite trim lining the driveway. The bronze sculpture at the entry shows a playful puppy rolling on its back; it was designed and cast by Martin in honor of Fifi, her first homebred champion poodle.


Neighborhood: Kirkwood Architect: Original architect unknown; remodel designed by Don Anderson of Anderson Building Company Landscape designer: Rick Rodriguez, Landscaping Care Significant stats: 7,600 square feet; 5 bedrooms, 5 full baths and 1 half bath Why we chose it: The red-and-green trim and the detail work on this charmingly remodeled Kirkwood Victorian immediately catch the eye. The oldest part of the home was built in 1850 and served for a time as a Civil War hospital managed by its doctor owner. The front of the house was originally the south side: A previous owner had the house lifted and rotated about 15 years ago, then added a wraparound porch and corner turret balcony (and a second entrance where the original one was located). Decorative shingles and brackets give the home an heirloom dollhouse quality. Current owners Maggie and Matt Poling, who lived just around the block, purchased the home in 2017 after admiring it and reaching out to the owner repeatedly to inquire about its availability. The new old house is the perfect place to raise their four kids. It was already painted in its current color scheme when they bought it, and they have no desire to change it. “The kids call it the Christmas tree house,” Maggie says.


Neighborhood: The Hill Architect: Unknown; remodeler was South City Construction Landscape designer: Owner Significant stats: 1,700 square feet; 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths and 1 half bath Why we chose it: This  yellow shotgun-style house with red-and-green trim is like a ray of sunshine in the middle of its block in the heart of The Hill. Built in 1891 as a four-room house, it was a 1960s time capsule when current owners Jim Barnthouse and wife Stephanie Scott bought it in 2016. The exterior was clad in white siding that made it blend in more than stand out. Barnthouse removed layers of siding till he reached the original 125-year-old wood beneath. He spent a summer sanding it and filling each tiny hole on the side of the house, then had new siding custom milled to match the front. He even matched the original paint color, which was visible in chips. Decorative iron fencing installed across the second-story windows was salvaged from a home on Cherokee Street. The black iron fence framing the yard is original. The next project is a new two-story front porch. “It feels like we’re on vacation here,” says Barnthouse. “When we open the windows in the morning, the smell of fresh-baked bread from Marconi Bakery comes in. It feels a little like living in Europe.”

My listing 6682 Clifton Bluffs Court was chosen as one of the Design Stl’s 10 Most Beautiful Homes in 2018.

Neighborhood: Unincorporated Oakville Architect: Bill Bowersox with Ittner & Bowersox, now Powers Bowersox Landscape designer: homeowner Significant stats: 3,200 square feet; 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms Why we chose it: The owners of this house, one of whom grew up with river vistas, searched a long time for a plot of land with a bluff view. When they found it, on the bluffs of the Mississippi River, the couple built a contemporary-style home with views of the outdoors from every room. “I have always felt very comfortable in this house, even if it’s contemporary in its corners and lines,” says one owner. “During the change in seasons, you feel like you’re a part of nature, free and unbound by anything.” The setting dictated the choice of building materials: a combination of glass, limestone, and redwood siding. A side deck with an extended roof was added a few years after the home was completed in 1981. Every spring, the owners say, rains flood the bottomlands. When the waters recede, trapped fish are an easy target for birds of prey. “We see eagles, chicken hawks, and, in the fall, wild turkeys and dozens of deer looking for corn after the harvest.” Recently, architect Bill Bowersox attended a party at the house—it had been years since his last visit. “Even today I found it to be timeless,” he says.