Jefferson City natives Chris and Kathy Burruss have always loved the history-rich homes on the East End of town. They kept an eye out for one that spoke to them, and a house on Vineyard Square did just that.
“This house has been a part of Jefferson City and so many people’s lives for a very long time,” Kathy says. “It needed to be restored, and we were happy to do it.”
After purchasing the home in October 2011, renovation began.
“We ultimately tried to keep as much of the character that we could,” Chris says.
Built in 1925, the home was originally a gift from female contractor Mayme Vineyard to her son. Vineyard designed and built 23 homes in the area and was known to use quality materials, which was evident in the four-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath home. The Burrusses found the structural integrity of the home basically intact but wanted to modernize things. “But we didn’t want the house to become something it wasn’t,” Kathy says.
Once the interior demolition began, Kathy says it “quickly became that piece of string on a piece of clothing that you pull, and it just keeps unraveling.” Challenges were revealed but ultimately led to opportunities to make the house even better.
The renovation included all interior walls stripped to the studs with new drywall installed due to wiring needs; refinished hardwood floors, all of which are original except for in the kitchen; new plumbing; new electrical wiring and service; new bathroom fixtures and flooring where needed; lighting fixtures throughout the house and outside; a new retaining wall; new kitchen cabinets and appliances; new energy-efficient windows; and new roofing. It also included losing one of the bedrooms to create a larger master suite and opening up the entryway in the home.
Despite the extensive work done to modernize the home, the Burrusses maintained what character and charm they could. In addition to refinishing all the original hardwood floors, they reused much of the original trim and added where needed to keep the original look throughout the house.
“We kept the arched doorway into the den, the wooden front door with the stained glass, the wood screen door and the French doors to the outside front patio,” Chris says.
The original fireplace came from St. Louis, and though it is currently too shallow to burn wood, it will be updated to a gas fireplace. However, its ornate mantel and marble are intact and have been given a new coat of paint to match the neutral color palette of the house. “It’s a beautiful fireplace,” general contractor Shannon Wade, owner of Real Property Improvements, says.
The neutral colors throughout the home were chosen specifically to highlight the Burrusses’ extensive art collection. “I wanted the art to be the focal point, not the wall,” Kathy says.
Wade also says his favorite room of the completed renovation is the kitchen. “It’s an amazing kitchen. It’s not the largest kitchen, but the Burrusses maximized space by using tall kitchen cabinets.”
A kitchen focal point is the custom butcher-block island Kathy and Chris commissioned from the Amish in Stover. “It’s ash, oak and walnut,” Kathy says.
The sea-grass green island complements the cream-colored cabinets with bronze hardware, black, cream and gray granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances.
Originally, there were sleeping porches on the back of the house that the Burrusses wanted to save but due to safety issues had to be removed. A two-tier deck was added instead. However, Kathy says the most surprising aspect of the project was the basement. A complete remodel of the basement was undertaken, though not planned for, when it was discovered the main support beam was cracked. A new steel support beam was added and the house leveled over several days.
“There was a positive outcome,” Kathy says. “Before, you had to tilt your head to one side when coming down the stairs to the basement due to the way the staircase was laid out. There wasn’t much head space. Because we had to replace the beam, we were able to move it back enough to create much more space.”
Renovations can uncover many unexpected situations, but unique treasures can also be discovered.
“We also found some old campaign signs from when Henry Andrae [a previous owner of the home] ran and was subsequently elected to the Missouri House of Representatives,” Kathy says. “As it turns out, Henry and my husband’s grandfather served in the Missouri House together.”
Now, Chris, Kathy, son Caleb, daughter Kelsey and her son, Caden, are serving up warmth and comfort in their modernized home and adding their own history to Vineyard Square. JC