Local homeowners share their story through art and historic architecture.
Whether you’re an art collector or just wanting to display a special piece, this mid-century modern home shows how artwork can take center stage in any room.
Constructed in 1920, this beautiful home is one of 23 in Vineyard Square developed by Mayme Vineyard, who broke the social norm by becoming a successful business planner and contractor in the early 20th century. The exterior of the home still shows hints of its historical past, but when its current homeowners purchased it four years ago, they wanted to make their own footprint.
“I really love all the rooms in the house, especially the sun porch, living room, master bedroom, and the downstairs half-bath with its striking wallpaper,” says the homeowner.
Entering the home through a vestibule, guests are led to the main living area, where they’re greeted by a stylish sitting room featuring low-profile couches, a marble fireplace, and a colorful mandala painting by St. Louis artist Alicia LaChance.
“We first saw Alicia’s paintings at an art fair in St. Louis and then went to her studio to select one,” the homeowner says. “I just loved the colors in this one specifically, so we bought it for ourselves as an anniversary gift for each other. Also, mandalas are used to focus the mind in meditation. I’m always looking for our home to be a calm, peaceful place, and having a mandala as a focal point I felt brought that.”
The mandala eventually became the inspiration behind the home’s color palette.
“My designer friend, Marci Marsh, and I were talking about colors, trying to pick some out, and I said all the colors that I like are in this mandala,” the homeowner says. “She suggested, if it’s one of the favorite things that I have, to pick one color in there and take it. For me, it was kind of odd because one of the colors in there is pink, which is a color I would not usually choose necessarily, but when you look around the house, that color and the green color pops up. It gives you a starting point and, interestingly enough, a focal point, which is what a mandala is.”
Although the mandala now hangs as an eye-catcher for the entranceway, it was once completely blocked by a wall that closed off the lounge area.
“The one thing that kind of turned me for a loop was I’d always had a house that had a central hallway, and this house has a front door to the side, and you walk into a small vestibule,” the homeowner says. “Initially, I thought I just can’t deal with this — I had to make a thin hallway. But then we thought about it more, and what bugged us is you felt kind of claustrophobic when you walked in. We decided to make that a half wall so you could see clear through. It was a really small fix, but it really opened up the house.”
Other renovations included adding a window to the kitchen, expanding the cabinetry to make room for a sink and ice maker, and installing an island with a built-in microwave to create a bar area and more working space. But each renovation was subtle enough to ensure the original architecture was still visible.
“When we moved in, we didn’t want to come in and rip it up,” the homeowner says. “We looked at it as how we could use the space the way it was. Inside the house, we’ve kept the lines clean and neat so the architecture of the house comes through.”
Upstairs, you’ll find a unique concept where large art pieces from past concerts and art fairs are supported with pops of color from the rooms’ upholstery, pillows, drapes, or wallpaper. The biggest surprise in this historic home is the previous owners’ remodel to connect each room to a bathroom and the laundry room.
“It’s one of the many perks of this older home. I was really surprised and excited when I found the laundry room. Buying a 100-year-old house, I had never even thought about having a laundry room upstairs. It just changes everything.”
While the layout of the home is already set in its ways, the homeowners allowed the base for their overall design to remain neutral in order to make some of the artwork interchangeable.
“We painted most of the house an off-white color to allow the art to pop, and since the backdrop is neutral, we can find a new piece, and it can fit in anywhere,” the homeowner says. “It’s kind of a strategy — make the walls a neutral color so you don’t have to go, Oh my gosh, where is that going to go?”
There will always be a few cherished pieces that will remain in place. For one homeowner, this includes framed pieces of fabric that once fit together as their great mother’s quilt. When the quilt began to fall apart over the years, it was turned into a memorable piece of art that now hangs above the fireplace.
“Marci Marsh, my interior designer and friend, has a philosophy, which is ‘one’s home should tell the story of where one has been, where one is going, and who is on the trip with you.’”
• Markaway Construction and
Tina Davis — interior renovation
• Allen Pleus, Pleus Cabinets —
kitchen cabinets, island butcher block
• Marci Marsh, M.Marsh Design —
• Jim Bond, Bonds Painting —
painting and wallpaper