If you’ve ever driven the long way to work, or planned your afternoon walk to admire a favorite house, you may have imagined what it would be like to call it home. For one Webster Groves couple, the imagining became reality when the object of their admiration went on the market. “They lived in Webster and always walked through this neighborhood,” says interior designer Patrice Munden “They really loved the street, and they waited years and years for the chance to buy this almost-century-old house.”
After acquiring the home, the new owners brought 2012 convenience to the 1920 structure with the addition of a master bedroom suite that included space for a first-floor laundry. Thoughtfully planned, the rear addition left the charming front of the home unaltered, preserving the curb appeal that had enchanted the couple years before. The renovation included excavating foundation walls and enlarging the basement, adding a bath and a light-filled family room with a new walkout entrance. “The basement expansion was not part of their original plans,” Munden explains. “But it all really turned out beautifully. The addition even incorporates the same red granite that was used on the original back of the house.”
The homeowners brought Munden in on the project when the addition was about 75 percent complete, timing that the designer encounters often. “A lot of the time, the client has been so focused on the construction part that they haven’t given much thought to the decorating. So I often get calls at that point—it’s what I specialize in.”
Almost immediately after meeting with the lady of the house, Munden knew that the color red would play a significant role in the finished look. “The first place we used it was on the little antique chair by the fireplace,” she notes. “It had been covered in an old Victorian tapestry, and we could have used another Victorian design, but the homeowner wanted something more current, so we chose the red fabric.” They considered a Marimekko print, Munden adds. “But then we decided that would be a little too bold, and came back to our first choice.” Red accents continue throughout the house, on sofa pillows, dining room chairs and in the breakfast nook.
An oversized framed print of the Eiffel Tower bisects the living room, reflecting a majestic piano in front of the window. The composition of art and music expresses the homeowner’s career, as well as her love of France. “She’s a professional pianist and a music educator,” says Munden. “Her favorite composer is Claude Debussy, and she was delighted when she had the opportunity to visit his home.”
The homeowners favor a clean, uncluttered style, especially with regard to window treatments, and the original stained glass windows in the living room were an unexpected surprise. “They had been covered by drywall years before and forgotten,” Munden explains. After discovering the windows while outside in the yard, the couple had them restored and reinstalled after the drywall was removed.
Munden says working with the family’s antiques was especially rewarding. “I really like it when there’s a story attached, like This was my grandmother’s or My mom used to sit here when she taught me my numbers. There is such a feeling of family in this home.”