Back To Life with a Whole House Renovation in St. Louis, MO

Project Summary

Location: This home is located on Oakland Avenue in a small, tree-lined city in St. Louis with a history that dates to the early 1900s.

Our client purchased this home many years ago but only lived in it for a short time. Originally built in 1907, the house sat empty for the last 10 years and quickly deteriorated. The homeowner wanted to retire to this home but it required a great deal of work to repair damage from exposure and neglect.

To bring it back to life, we needed to tear an addition off the back of the house, enlarge the kitchen and install a full bath on the main floor to support aging-in-place.

The entire project took 18 weeks, start to finish, and included several projects throughout the house that were unrelated to the addition, such as removing the boiler system and overhauling the HVAC.

The Challenge

To complete the project, the existing deck and a crumbling addition had to be removed. There was too much damage and wear on both to salvage anything whatsoever.

Where the new addition meets the original house was a key feature, both to the homeowner and the remodeling team. It was important to us to preserve the original details and beauty of this home, but it was also important—both to us and to the client—that the addition should not FEEL like an addition. We wanted the new space to blend seamlessly and comfortably with the original, so the original hardwood floors, French doors, pocket doors, and moldings were affected as little as possible.

Another challenge was that our client, a native of Brazil, is not completely fluent in English. For the most part, this was not an issue, but we did have to be careful to make sure she fully understood the terms we were using and knew what to expect in terms of the finished product. Selection sheets and decorator sheets helped the design team and the homeowner stay on track and remember what the final selections were during the long process of materials ordering and permitting.

The Vision

Enlarging the footprint of the addition allowed us to design a bathroom and kitchen that better suited the homeowner and her needs. She wanted a bright space looking out over the garden and a larger kitchen that would allow space for her visiting children to join her at the center island and bake during the holidays.

In respect to the aging-in-place dynamic, we needed to create space for a shower as well as a laundry area on the first floor. Enlarging the addition was the only way that was going to be possible. The bathroom was enlarged into the kitchen area and a laundry closet was built into the living area, doubling as a sort of natural divide between the new, larger kitchen and the living space.

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