We can thank Beth Pelch for this house, both where it sits and for the fact that it was featured on the 2022 St. Louis Homes + Lifestyles and Cardinal Glennon Deck the Halls of Glennon Homes tour. It’s not Beth’s home, although she lives in the area. She is friends with homeowner Julie Meersman, who built the house with her husband Jay.
Julie says they searched extensively for a large, flat lot to build their ‘forever home’ with space for a pool and expansive outdoor living. “Beth knew the house that was previously on this lot would be coming on the market, so we got in early,” says Julie. “She is responsible for us being here.”
With the lot in Ladue secured, the Meersmans engaged a creative team to design and build the home. Architect Robert Srote, principal of Srote & Co., listened to the couple’s wish list—open concept, everyday living on the ground level, including a first-floor primary bedroom suite; large kitchen with walk-in pantry; outdoor living spaces; and a lap pool for Jay, an avid swimmer. “We went room to room with Robert, going over ideas and talking about what we wanted,” Julie recalls. “He did not miss one word of what we said.” Even the first draft of plans included nearly everything on their list.
A previous customer of builder Steve Terbrock referred him to the couple. “Working with Steve was an absolute joy,” says Julie. “He is an extremely honest, trustworthy and detail-focused builder. His priorities aligned perfectly with ours, to focus on quality while also keeping costs in line with budget.”
C&M Interiors handled detailing of spaces and the design aesthetic. “She wanted more of an updated take on French Country,” says Channing Krichevsky, C&M principal designer. “We accomplished this in a couple of ways. One was the materials, selecting a slightly more rustic-looking hardwood flooring, for example.”
The other key design element was plastered walls. “All the walls in the main areas are a textured gray color, using original plaster techniques, which gives a bit of that flair without screaming ‘country.’ The plastered walls were a huge part of our design direction,” says Channing.
The home’s custom cabinetry is a defining feature. “We spent hours and hours of our weekly progress meetings going through the details of cabinetry, both inside and out,” says Steve, president of Terbrock Luxury Homebuilders. “The cabinetry is really special in this house. Through a lot of coordination with the cabinetmakers, we were able to do pretty much everything the owners or the interior designer wanted to do, like LED and strip lighting added to the cabinetry.”
Channing says the kitchen “is probably one of the most functional kitchens we’ve ever designed, although that’s something we practice pretty deeply here—functionality and making sure a space works for a homeowner.” The cabinetmakers—Wilson Kitchens & More based in Arthur, Illinois—also crafted a built-in hutch in the dining space, cabinetry in the his-and-hers closets in the primary suite, and arched upper cabinets in a wet bar area.
The designer feels one of the home’s more unique aspects is the flow. “The three main living spaces – living, dining and kitchen – are very open and connected to each other but in a way that they feel distinctly their own,” says Channing. “The living room has these beautiful, plastered walls, really comfy furniture and a beautiful arched fireplace, all designed for relaxation, and then the dining room is open to that space but feels a bit more refined.” The kitchen’s wood beams and the walnut-faced drawers and rounded wood legs on the island bring a rustic element to the crisp white cabinetry and quartzite countertops. Cool blue and blue-green tones add color to an overall neutral color palette.
After the home was finished, the Meersmans hosted a few small fundraising events where some of the guests included members of the Glennon Guild’s Deck the Halls committee. Beth is also a member of the Glennon Guild, who asked if Julie would be a part of the 2022 Deck the Halls tour. “I have a hard time saying ‘no’ to Beth,” Julie smiles. “She is a lovely person, and I also knew Traci Ragsdale, who was working on the tour. So, I kind of did it for them, although I fully believe in the cause.”
After agreeing to the tour, Julie immediately called Channing for help with the holiday décor. “The color palette in Julie’s home and traditional Christmas red and green just wouldn’t play well together,” says Channing. “We both agreed on that immediately. Their home is so fresh, we just felt like it needed unique, fresh elements.” And Julie notes that she doesn’t like “overdone” Christmas décor.
For a streamlined look with a fresh eye on festive, C&M took inspiration from elements already in play in the home. For example, they utilized pampas grasses instead of garland, and found blue and pink ornaments complementing the existing color palette. They did deviate from the understated design when planning décor in the outdoor living room. The Meersmans had decided to leave their pool open for the tour, and its 75-foot-length makes it visible from all windows and doors overlooking the back yard. “Because they were going to have the pool open, we wanted to do something a little cheeky,” says Channing. “We thought it would be funny if we did this retro, Palm Springs vibe, and Julie thought that was hilarious.” Complete with an inflatable reindeer in the pool, the feeling is 1960s Santa-at-the-beach with peppermint swirl pillows and pink flamingos dangling from the lighted palm tree.
“I knew I wanted to change a lot of my Christmas things for this house, so I thought it would be great to do it for the tour, too,” says Julie, who is now a member of the Glennon Guild. “I love the cause, so I’m glad to be involved. And working with C&M, I knew we’d get the overall festive look just right.”