MAPLEWOOD RESTORATION & REMODEL
by Greg Riley
Repair Restore Remodel Saint Louis
Given the prevalence of clay, and our ancestor's culture of building to last, most of the homes we see today that are getting full restorations or remodels are brick. Elsewhere in the country you see beautiful frame homes glossing the pages of regional and national publications. While we may not have as many frame home remodels as other metro areas, the Maplewood home we feature this month easily stands tall with the most creative and complete frame remodels I've admired in Portland, Atlanta, New England, or San Francisco.
In 2000 when Barry Greenberg bought this 1893-vintage, 2-story home he says his intent was more along the lines of getting a fresh start. But after spending some time walking through his home it's clear that his high level of attention to detail and space maximization could never have been satisfied for a minute with anything less than a complete remodel.
Yes, Barry is an extremely accomplished architect but he's also what we like to call a hands-on homemaker; that individual, or couple, who jumps in and tackles much of their repairs and remodeling projects themselves. Take a trip to the website of the Architectural Design Guild, where Barry is president, and you'll be blown away by the variety and number of high-profile projects that ADG has completed here in St. Louis and across the country.
As we walked through the house Barry pointed to project after project where he clearly was designer and builder. Many professional were, and needed to be, hired to complete this extensive restoration and remodel, but Barry's carpentry skills were evident everywhere.
Let's walk through from the kitchen. When Barry acquired the house in 2000 the metal Kelvinator cabinets were a fairly good indication that not much had been done to the kitchen since the 40s. Sixty-plus years later, the cabinets, after repairs and replacement of a couple of the sliding glass doors, are once again a key feature to this kitchen. A Silestone countertop has been added and the kitchen's former metal tiles have been replaced with a St. Louis historic favorite: white Vitrolite. A cork floor rounds out the kitchen's warm and historic, yet modern, look and feel.
Space is at a premium, so the six-panel kitchen closet door has been neatly cut in half to keep the door swing area down and also make for easy access. Ideas like this just seem so simple you wonder why you haven't seen them used more often. The basement stairs are off the kitchen and there's more evidence of Barry's design skills. Pantry storage was added to the ledge that existed on the foundation side of the stairs. Simple, neat, easy to access, and an example of the unique and ever-present space maximization theme that runs throughout the home and garage. The extensive cookbook collection belongs to Deni Eyerman, who shares this home with Barry.
Those cookbooks are neatly tucked into shelving, which, like other shelving units you'll find in the dining room, and both downstairs and upstairs hallways, are designed and custom, built to fit each space and facilitate a vertical use of unused corners and wall space to maximize storage and display opportunities.
Just off the kitchen is a small powder room that again is a great example of space maximization. A small sink to your right as you enter is the key to making the space work. You can just comfortably slip past it to reach toilet in the back. Barry describes it originally as "disgusting." Not so any longer.
The dining room features some of Barry's handiwork again. He's added side supports to what had been a built-in butler's pantry and turned it into a freestanding piece. In addition, custom cherry Ikea cabinets have been added to one wall and mounted 5 or 6 inches below the ceiling so as not to interfere with a ceiling that had at least a 1" variance from one side of the storage to the other. With this method the eye never sees it. On the opposite wall it was necessary to brick over a former fireplace. There's an Ikea Norden birch dining room table and buffet, and here again, Deni's added a unique feature to the room: submarine chairs.
The dining room flows easily into the living room where there's a functional fireplace and here you also see the furniture Barry's built. THe pieces are modeled after Netherlands architect and furniture designer Gerrit Rietveld's famous 1917 Red Blue Chair. The same design will appear again in a bedroom upstairs. The design fits naturally with the Ikea storage that is prevalent throughout the house. And no, despite the Ikea designs and Rietveld-inspired furniture, you don't get a real modern look and feel to this home. It easily retains a warm, historic feel.
Homes of this vintage, whether frame or brick, seem to often feature 40" wide or better front doors. The front door here is stunning. It sits at the base of a beautifully restored front stairs. It needed to be rehung but it looks as if it's been there, untouched, since 1893.
One bedroom at the top of the stairs had a steep stair to the attic. This was removed, replaced with a pulldown stair mounted in the hall ceiling. The bedroom became Deni's walk-in closet, lined with, again, Ikea storage. More recently a desk was added and it became an office for her. That pulldown stair in the hall can best be described as an attic walk-in closet, which also provides a place for the second-floor HVAC unit.
A glance at the attic ceiling tells you that when the new roof went on they took it all the way down to the joist–it's all new. Barry says it was evident that the house must have originally had wood shake roofing.
Walking past another bedroom and Barry's small office you come to the master bedroom suite which is, in a word, stunning. the original bedroom naturally is beautifully detailed with a remote control fireplace. It opens up to the second floor of a two-story rear addition which includes a bath and laundry adjoined to, what else, an Ikea cherry closet array that's been neatly configured to form its own room within the room.
The bath and laundry floor features basket-weave marble tile flooring, custom made in China just for this installation. Everywhere you look there are Vitrolite-covered walls. St. Louis has the nation's premier Vitrolite specialist, Tim Dunn, and his shining glass handiwork is everywhere you look in these rooms. The bath area leads out to a small rear porch featuring a Dura Deck "walkable membrane roof," just big enough for a couple of chairs and great for star-gazing.
Back downstairs you access the first floor of this addition through the kitchen. You walk out the former back door and down a wide set of stairs to ground level and an enormous glass enclosed angular entertainment room. Why angular? Here's where Barry's architecture and design background really become visible. The lines of the room extend from the addition out to an adjoining stone patio, fountain and garage tying these indoor and outdoor living spaces neatly together. Every aspect flows here and it's attention to detail that brings so much of it together. Even the addition's outside wall was covered with stone at the bottom to naturally tie it into the home's foundation.
The two-car garage was added in 2007 when the addition was done. It's a lot more than a two-car garage. It features a second-floor workshop with plenty of room for building Rietveld-inspired furniture, new benches for the walkway between the house and the garage or a unique wood gate for this outside hallway.
I say this with some admiration. This is a very comfortable home.