Following a Feeling

A city-loving couple with an eye for art put a contemporary spin on their historic home.

By Lauren St. John
Photography by Anne Matheis


Growing up in suburban St. Louis, these homeowners always felt drawn to the vivacious vibe of urban living, and almost 20 years ago decided to make the move to University City for a much-needed change of pace. When it came time to transition out of their first place together and into something with more space for their growing family, the duo found themselves two blocks away on a tree-lined street of historic homes and had a feeling that this was where they should plant their roots. “We fell in love with the neighborhood the day we moved there, so it was no surprise that we only ended up moving two blocks down the street,” the wife laughs. 

With a 110-year-old two-story on their hands but with contemporary tastes, the couple quickly embraced the challenge of bringing their dated home into current times. “The first thing we did after moving in was paint the walls a basic white to create a blank canvas,” she notes. The homeowners then turned to the collection of art they had curated over the years — many of the pieces inherited or created by the husband who is a local artist — to guide them as they made the initial design decisions. “We didn’t have a specific style in mind for our home, we just found pieces that spoke to us and started moving things around until we created a cohesive look,” she explains. 

Wrapped in white and other pale hues and detailed with original crown molding, the walls of the home act as the perfect neutral backdrop for the artistic assortment of artwork and chic trimmings that adorn each room. “I like to call accessories ‘jewelry for the room’ because a fun pillow or piece of artwork can pull a space together much like a necklace or scarf can pull an outfit together,” she says. 

Off the entryway, colorful room accent pieces like a bright magenta chair, luxurious purple couch and striped rug give a pop of color to the formal living room. However the mix of pillows, mix-and-match antique accessories and large piece of multi-media art by the husband is what really puts a finishing touch on the room. 

The dining room, the couple’s favorite space in the house, is painted a light Tiffany blue and boasts a custom table designed by the homeowners and friend Dana Romeis of Castle Design. An Andy Warhol and one-of-a-kind abstract by the husband ornament the walls, while an antique Asian chest and chandelier with interlocking and interchangeable glass pieces add character to the fashionable room that is frequently inhabited by the couple’s children. “We wanted everything in our home to be stylish, but also durable and able to be lived in by our family and guests,” she notes.

An addition on the rear of the home from the ‘80s was completely restructured by Studio Durham Architects and Oberly Construction to create the main living space the homeowners now love to share with their friends and family. A gray couch and sleek leather chair pair with the eclectic decorations the homeowners have picked up at various antique and retail shops, including an original Valerie Hammond print, which was the first piece of art in the couple’s now extensive collection.

“We’re really not designers, we just allowed our feelings to help us pick out things that we loved and everything just came together to create a space that is unique to us and our style,” she says.