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Designer insights with Mike Killeen of Killeen Studio Architects

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Photo of Mike Killeen by Charlotte Renner

Mike Killeen has always been drawn to old houses. Growing up, he lived in a 1914 home and was constantly tagging along to antique shops with his dad. When Killeen and his wife, Annie, opened Killeen Studio Architects in 2000, renovating historic St. Louis homes was – and continues to be – a major focus.

“When it came time to open my practice, I didn’t declare, ‘I’m a historic architect,’ but we were open to anything,” says Killeen, now the principal and managing partner of Killeen Studio Architects. “Since we opened in the city back in 2000, and we had some experience in that area – boy, those projects started coming.”

Having an understanding of how to blend modern-day amenities with historic architecture proves crucial for this type of work. “Nobody wants to live as they did in 1890 – it was a crazy time,” he elaborates. “There wasn’t air conditioning, so they didn’t have to worry about ductwork. The bathroom may have been in the alley; they certainly didn’t have [the] mainstream, luxurious bathrooms we have now or have an eat-in kitchen – that kind of thing.”

Killeen describes his projects as unique puzzles: “That’s a challenge to us, just to make sure that we can come up with a design that’s not a museum, but still gives you that feel of the old times, while making it quite comfortable and pleasing for the folks who want to live there.”  

Killeen Studio Architects, 3015 Salena St., Suite 203, St. Louis, 314-771-0883, killeenstudio.com

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