Fit For Family

A Central West End couple modernized their historic home to make it more functional for their family of six.

By Melissa Mauzy
Photography by Anne Matheis


Situated along a quiet tree-lined street in a quaint Central West End neighborhood is an exquisite historic home. A home the Slentz family fell in love with after moving to St. Louis from Montréal, Quebec. Familiar with a city environment conducive to walking to shops, restaurants and parks, the family immediately fell in love with the area.

The home itself accommodated the space the family of six required and had the open feel they were looking for, but some aspects weren’t functional. “Some parts of the home were very formal and fancy, but it was nothing that a change of furnishings and paint couldn’t take care of,” says Danielle Slentz. So the Slentzs set out to update the home with more contemporary furnishings and décor that would bring the formal, adult home into a family-friendly space.

Walking into the grand entryway, the home is filled with beautiful, natural light with an open feeling and high ceilings. To the left of the entryway is the formal living room or salon. When the family purchased the home, the room was painted in tones of peach and yellow, and the columns were covered in faux marble. Paint colors were swapped out for more soothing neutral tones in whites, grays and taupes. Behind the fireplace, the peach-painted imported 17th century French motifs were painted taupe to tone down the color. “I thought we’d get rid of the motifs until I found out they were historic, so we didn’t want to remove them,” Slentz says.

Lighter and softer furnishings were incorporated to bring a contemporary flair to the space. A colorful rug from Halbert Rugs brings a punch of color under the otherwise neutral seating grouping. The original window treatments remain intact. The homeowners found that once they toned down the paint colors, the treatments really shine in the room.  Now a space where the children practice piano and the family enjoys Christmas breakfast, the living room has become more useable and family friendly.

Another space that the family modernized is the family room. Previously used as a men’s study, the room had heavy furniture and dark burgundy window treatments. By incorporating more comfortable furniture and swapping the dark treatments for blinds, the space is now less of a library/men’s smoking room and more of a place for the family to hang out, do homework and watch TV.  “We didn’t really want to purchase a home where we had to change too much structurally,” Slentz explains. “We liked this home for the way it was, we just needed to add a little paint.”

Perhaps the largest transformation in the home was to the kitchen/breakfast room. Once a small kitchen with an attached wine room, the homeowners found that it just wasn’t functional for a family of six to cook and eat. By converting the wine room into a breakfast area, the family now has a space to dine together or for the children to do homework while mom or dad cook dinner.

In the kitchen, Markway Construction along with designer Fifi Lugo transformed the space with new white cabinets, floors and a stainless steel range hood. The simple cabinetry, hidden appliances and honed marble countertops give the kitchen a historic feel.

As construction got underway, the homeowners discovered that the ceiling in the wine room had been lowered and the full height of the window had been covered over to give the space a more authentic wine-room feel. By raising the ceilings and exposing the windows to their full height, the space is now flooded with natural light. Inspired by time spent living in Australia, bringing in light and opening the inside to the outside was important to the homeowners.

Content in their modernly updated home, the homeowners now enjoy its beauty and functionality. “It used to be that the front of the home all flowed and was good for entertaining while the back of the home was only practical for preparing,” Slentz says, “Now the whole home is functional for our family.”     

Kitchen remodel- Markway Construction, 314-645-4226
Kitchen interior selections- Fifi Lugo Interior Design, 314-276-6062