The Most Beautiful Homes in St. Louis
Stunning spaces with no shortage of curbside appeal
When it comes to plum reporting assignments, it doesn’t get much dreamier than driving St. Louis’ side streets and boulevards in search of beautiful homes. If there’s a downside to the job, it’s selecting a small number of houses from the vast field of possibilities. For those who love architecture and design, our city never disappoints. But the secret is the homeowner—those who reclaim and restore, who envision the possibilities, who find beauty in unexpected places.
By Veronica Theodoro | Photography by Alise O'Brien
NEIGHBORHOOD: Ladue / ARCHITECT: Philip Durham, studio | durham architects / LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Unknown / SIGNIFICANT STATS: Four bedrooms, plus a guest suite / WHY WE CHOSE IT: The mix of materials used—Wisconsin limestone, tropical ipe wood, and steel-and-aluminum windows—yields seamless transitions from the indoor spaces to the exterior. Built on a rolling hill with a private courtyard, this modern dwelling was designed to accommodate a family and to maximize the views surrounding it. Built in 2000, the home serves as the ideal backdrop for the homeowners’ art collection. Architect Durham describes the project as “a two-year labor of love.” It shows.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Kirkwood / ARCHITECT: Unknown / LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: O’Hara Landscaping / SIGNIFICANT STATS: Five bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms / WHY WE CHOSE IT: We can hear the sound of children playing and picture their parents relaxing under a shady tree. The Craftsman Shingle–style home is set on almost an acre of land and blends into the landscape of a wooded lot. Its rambling shape suggests a casual look. We were intrigued by the bump out on the second floor. Was it always there? The owners designed it, replacing two windows with a swooping copper roof and brackets. Beyond it is a window seat in the master suite, another perch to call home.
NEIGHBORHOOD: University City / ARCHITECT: Maritz & Young / LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Homeowner / SIGNIFICANT STATS: The home was originally built in 1926 for Harvey Hutchins, treasurer of Brown Shoe Company. / WHY WE CHOSE IT: The homeowner’s flair for gardening grabbed our attention and wouldn’t let go. We saw the sumptuous flowers and lively greenery with bold-hue awnings and a matching umbrella and fell hard. The Spanish Revival home—a style that took St. Louis by storm in the 1920s—features a paneled, chestnut wood ceiling in the dining room and wood beams in the living room that were hand-hewn on site. Did we mention the original flagstone driveway? Love at first sight.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Clayton / ARCHITECT: Myers & Yanko / LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Unknown / SIGNIFICANT STATS: The home, erected in 1995, was the first of its style to be built in Clayton. / WHY WE CHOSE IT: Inspired by Neoclassical design, the French doors, columns, and wrought-iron work lend formality to a home that otherwise feels very much of the moment. We love the creative brainstorming behind the tucked-in two-car garage—a necessity on a narrow lot. “We’re lucky that a lot of our clients are willing to spend the money to get the quality and authenticity of design,” says developer Edgar Ellermann of E.W. Ellermann, Inc.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Lafayette Square / ARCHITECT: The original architect is unknown. Fendler + Associates converted the two-family home back into a single-family residence. / LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Dan Waeltermann and Grand Garden Co. / SIGNIFICANT STATS: The current homeowners added 2,500-square-feet of living space, including a family room and mudroom on the first floor, as well as two additional bedrooms and a bathroom on the second floor. / WHY WE CHOSE IT: The exterior trim’s paint—magenta and gold—drew us in for a closer look. When the homeowners bought the place, the pine floors were no longer salvageable, so they hired City Lights Design + Build’s Randy Middeke to replace the boards with pine from the same period. Both the paint and floors lend a brighter, more polished look—something the homeowners were striving to achieve because they love Victorian architecture but wanted “a cheerful Victorian—not so dark.”
NEIGHBORHOOD: Compton Heights / ARCHITECT: Ernst Janssen / LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Anne Moore / SIGNIFICANT STATS: The home was completed in 1904. Each floor is 2,500-square-feet, and there’s a 1,100-square-foot ballroom on the third floor. In all, the home boasts 19 closets. / WHY WE CHOSE IT: Buff-colored brick, columns in Annis, terra-cotta quoins, decorative copper detail on the roof, two ladies gazing from the second floor… Need we say more? The current owners, who have lived in the house for 71 years, are just the second family to inhabit it. When you’ve found the one, there’s no reason to look elsewhere.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Webster Groves / ARCHITECT: Samuel Scherer / LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Annette Smith of Blooming Decorator / SIGNIFICANT STATS: Seven bedrooms, five bathrooms, and a seven-car garage, as well as a pool, hot tub, and tennis court / WHY WE CHOSE IT: The home has all the amenities of a summer resort in an estatelike setting. Built for Algonquin Golf Club’s founding member, the 7,000-square-foot Tudor Revival home, with its 18-inch walls and limestone façade, provokes wanderlust in all of us. But the U.S. flag in the front yard is a gentle reminder that you’re still close to home.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Central West End / ARCHITECT: James P. Jamieson / LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Unavailable / SIGNIFICANT STATS: This 16,000-square-foot home sits on five-and-a-half city blocks across two acres. / WHY WE CHOSE IT: You don’t need to travel far to see examples of our collective French heritage. This home, built in the French Provincial style, is made of Bedford limestone and features a double-thick slate roof. The owners purchased the house in a sealed-bid auction in 1974. “We weren’t planning to move,” one says, “but I thought we could try it and see if we liked it.” Forty-one years—and an updated carriage house, horse stalls, tennis court, and swimming pool—later, the owners still find the house as elegant as ever. “It provides plenty of elbow room, too.”
NEIGHBORHOOD: Ladue / ARCHITECT: Unknown / LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Matt Moynihan of Moynihan & Associates; Gay Goessling of Goessling Design / SIGNIFICANT STATS: Built in 1961, the home encloses 4,700-square-feet. / WHY WE CHOSE IT: At this Midcentury Modern gem, life is lived casually, relaxed and open. With its simple-yet-stylish vibe, the house is oriented toward the outdoors, where a pool, prairie, and chicken coop keep life interesting. And though one side of the home features floor-to-ceiling windows, the owners marvel at the quiet, private surroundings. “You wake up in the morning with the sun,” says the husband.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Central West End / ARCHITECT: James P. Jamieson / LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Unavailable / SIGNIFICANT STATS: There are eight bedrooms in the main house, plus four bedrooms in the servants’ wing. / WHY WE CHOSE IT: Twenty Italian craftsmen traveled here a century ago to build the L-shaped house in the style of an Italian villa. We can envision lovely, breezy evenings on the second-floor loggia. The redbrick exterior—with its limestone dressings, arched French doors, and tiled roof—is reminiscent of Roman holidays. “It is a magnificent place to live,” says the owner.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Sunset Hills–Mehville / ARCHITECT: Tom Cohen of Cohen Architecture Company / LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Homeowner / SIGNIFICANT STATS: The home has five bedrooms and six and a half bathrooms. The first floor is natural 5-inch quarried limestone, while the second floor and up is comprised of vertical-grain, natural redwood. / WHY WE CHOSE IT: At first glance, you might think you’ve awakened in Colorado. “We put a lot of thought into capturing the beauty of the outdoors by including multiple decks and patio spaces,” says the owner, “while at the same time being as environmentally conscious as possible.” The home, built by Chouteau Building Group, is a model of environmental efficiency, with numerous green elements: a geothermal heating-and-cooling system, a solar power array, two green roofs, on-demand water heaters, and a pair of 750-gallon rainwater retention tanks used for irrigation. The West just got a little closer to home.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Old Jamestown / ARCHITECT: Study & Farrar / LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Homeowner / SIGNIFICANT STATS: The property, comprising 14 acres, commands broad views of the Missouri River. / WHY WE CHOSE IT: A long, bumpy road leads to this home, which was considered to be in the countryside when it was built in 1939. After rescuing it from foreclosure, the current owners are restoring it to its original grandeur. Classic details blend beautifully with high-pitched roofs. The home’s E-shaped plan includes projecting end pavilions. But what really sets this beauty apart is its location: right on the Missouri River, which flows languidly behind the house. Naturally there are views of the river from nearly every window.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Ladue / ARCHITECT: Mitchell Wall Architecture and Design / LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Mitchell Wall Architecture and Design and Matt Moynihan of Moynihan & Associates / SIGNIFICANT STATS: Six bedrooms, nine bathrooms / WHY WE CHOSE IT: The house says so much yet remains true to its nature: simple and understated, crisp and minimal. “The modern home is popular because life in general is more relaxed,” says architect Susan Bower. Brick, glass, and steel combine to create an open floor plan with views to the outside. Our favorite feature? Extra large sliding glass doors and windows by Solar Innovations, and the mahogany front door, of course.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Ladue / ARCHITECT: Original architect is unknown. Fendler + Associates designed the addition. / LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Moynihan & Associates / SIGNIFICANT STATS: Three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, 2 ½ bathrooms / WHY WE CHOSE IT: Unless you knew to look for it, this simple yet charming home would forever remain a secret. “I just love this house,” says architect Paul Fendler. “The details are so simple, so subtle.” There’s brick detail above the windows, a bluestone walkway leading to the front door, and a copper roof at the entry. “You don’t know they’re there until you start walking around the house,” he says. The 3,500-square-foot addition, built by PK Construction, includes a breezeway leading into the family room, an outdoor kitchen with custom cabinetry, and vaulted cedar ceilings. Set back on the property, the house takes full advantage of breathtaking views.
NEIGHBORHOOD: St. Charles County / ARCHITECT: Jeff Bax Architectural Design / LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Homeowner / SIGNIFICANT STATS: Three upper-level covered decks, four bedrooms, seven bathrooms / WHY WE CHOSE IT: Completed in 2012,the home has all the amenities of new construction and the quality of yesteryear. “This isn’t your typical box,” says Bax of the home’s design. The all-brick exterior is pure eye-candy: reverse arched windows, an 800-pound mahogany door plus several turrets. A porte-cochere to the detached garage makes entry and exit efficient and easy. A bonus room above the attached garage can be used as an art studio, a playroom, or an office. In this house, it’s whatever your heart desires.
NEIGHBORHOOD: Webster Groves / ARCHITECT: C.W. Schuler and Company / LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT: Abigail Ullmann for window box plantings / SIGNIFICANT STATS: The 2,300-square-foot home is built in the Cotswold Cottage tradition, a subset of the Tudor Revival style. / WHY WE CHOSE IT: The home’s steep arched gables and doorways evoke storybook images. We love the graduated slate tile roof; note how the tiles shift from large to small as they reach the roof’s apex. The house still has its original, lead casement windows, each with a single pane of wavy, slightly tinted glass. “The workmanship is unparalleled,” says the homeowner, “and the house feels like you’re wearing your warmest, coziest sweater.”