At first sight, the classic architecture of this Tudor-style home in University City captured the homeowners’ attention. From the arched front door to the sunroom’s original stained-glass doors, their first instinct was to preserve the charm of this house yet also add modern elements to reflect their own personal style. So when they were set to renovate, they called on Kathleen Matthews, an interior designer of 30 years at the award-winning Marcia Moore Design firm in St. Louis.
“We began this project in the spring of 2020, so it was a little bit like a COVID baby,” laughs Kathleen. “The homeowners were new to the house and didn’t have any furnishings except an Eames chair and ottoman in the sunroom. We were combining her desire for a modern and contemporary feel with his interest in midcentury modern—along with a mutual desire to design a beautiful space for relaxing and entertaining,” she adds.
Kathleen and her clients selected an inviting and serene soft blue and gray color palette in the living room. They opted to use soft fabrics with more texture than pattern, allowing the art, area rug and accessories to stand out. The dining room introduces stunning visual drama with black walls and metallic finishes. The gray from the living room is reiterated in the dining room chairs to ensure a cohesive feel between the two rooms.
“The sunroom gives an unexpected splash of color in a warm, cayenne pepper wall color,” says Kathleen. “The color adds depth to the room and creates a remarkably bright, bold accent as you walk into the front door. The existing bookcases in the sunroom painted the same color contain books and treasures from the homeowners’ travels. The chairs lend a midcentury vibe and provide a great home office space—especially during COVID,” she notes.
The living room is a long narrow space, challenging for furniture placement. Kathleen placed the sofa across from the fireplace and flanked it with two comfortable armchairs. Everything is centered around a rectangular cocktail table, and matching ottomans flanking the fireplace provide great bonus seating for guests when needed.
“My goal was to incorporate interesting furnishings that all work together,” says the designer. “I think all the pieces selected have a unique look, from the nailhead trim on the ottomans to the plush, watery design of the rug. The chrome cocktail table in the living room lends a strong architectural accent, and the rooms take on more of a ‘found feel’ rather than a newly purchased feel. The artwork over the sofa brings the two rooms together with color—just enough of the peppery hue to connect the sunroom to the blues and grays,” she adds.
The homeowners wanted a house to entertain and host dinner parties, so Kathleen worked to make the dining room and living spaces both functional and flexible. An elongated sofa, roomy chairs and cozy ottomans provide ample seating in the living room, and the dining room is large enough to accommodate 12 people. An elegant oblong dining table with a subtly patterned champagne finish anchors the space and complements the hard lines of the buffet. “What I love about this home is that the homeowners love it,” says Kathleen. “I see they are entertaining and using the spaces just how we had intended for them to be used.”
Design: Marcia Moore Interior Design