Having been privileged to do design work in several Maritz & Young homes throughout my 30-year career, I was thrilled to get a copy hot off the press of The Architecture of Maritz & Young: Exceptional Historic Homes of St. Louis by Kevin Amsler and L. John Schott.
An enthralling read for any house enthusiast, the authors offer details of the lives and talents of the well-known dynamic duo architectural team that designed more than 160 homes and commercial spaces during their partnership that spanned two decades. It is difficult to drive down a street in Clayton, Ladue or the Central West End without spying one of their designs. Their ideas were fresh for St. Louis during their time; their clients were the best and brightest of the business world. Names like Lionberger, Price, Bush, Baer, Buder, Bixby, von Gontard, Stifel, Lambert, Bakewell and Orthwein are just a few of the movers and shakers who hired the team to create their dream homes.
In 1893, Raymond Maritz and William Ridgley Young were born in St. Louis and Louisville, Ky., respectively. When they were both 27 years old, they partnered and formed their architectural firm.
Let’s take a closer look at a Clayton home that Young designed for his own family: On June 18, 1923, Mr. and Mrs. William Ridgley Young moved into their new home located at 27 Wydown Terrace. Interestingly, Young’s wife, Elizabeth, thought of her modest home as a mansion. A rough stucco exterior and brightly colored clay roof tiles gave the house more of a Mediterranean-villa effect rather than a sprawling palazzo. A home with two bedrooms, no dining room, a maid’s room and a one-car garage clearly does not constitute a ‘mansion’ by anyone’s standards.
The home did not lack detail, however. The living room has a hand-painted vaulted ceiling (still intact) with wrought iron strappings that crown the heavily stuccoed walls. Two built-in bookcases balance the fireplace at one end. Above the French doors, small porthole windows dot the living room walls, allowing extra light while creating interest. Stone and terrazzo floors throughout the main level envoke a Mediterranean influence. The loggia has doubled as a dining room and the seven French doors (now six) allow views of the terrace and gardens. The plaster moldings and vaulted ceilings in the home hearken back to a time when master craftsmanship was the norm, not the ‘add on’ for finishes. The home is spacious and interesting.
The present owners, Jeffery Warner and George Hettich, realized the possibilities the minute they walked in the foyer. Warner, a successful real estate agent, and Hettich, a bank executive, were in the market for a new home that better reflected their lifestyle and love for old architecture. The couple have traveled extensively with multiple trips to the European countryside, and this home indeed reminded them of the wonderful homes they have rented abroad. Because of the architecture, this home gave them a sense of a day-to-day ‘European experience’ when they weren’t traveling. The two have lovingly been restoring and updating the home for the past year.