Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Perfection Takes the Prize

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Perfection Takes the Prize

Article excerpt

LARRY AND JAN Wilson are perfectionists to the nth degree, that is, if perfectionism itself isn't an nth degree.

This is a man, after all, whose Saab 9000 has windshield wipers on its headlights. OK, so maybe all new Saab 9000s have windshield wipers on their headlights, but Larry Wilson's would probably have them even if the rest didn't.

Jan Wilson says she is less the perfectionist than Larry, but she admitted it was her input into the design of their master bath that led them to have sinks, counter tops, cabinets and a mirror that duplicate the shape of the room's bay window.

To say that Larry and Jan are committed to the big old Victorian on Waterman Avenue that they have so lovingly restored is an understatement.

"This is our seventh house to redo, but it's the only one we've lived in," Larry Wilson said. "We originally were going to keep this only for investment purposes, but, as we redid it, I watched Jan fall in love."

"It is a happy home," Jan Wilson interjected. "It feels nice. It's a doll house, that's what it is to me. And I wanted a doll house."

Jan said the couple did not live in the house the two years it took to renovate. Larry, who works as the purchasing agent for an industrial soap company here, was the general contractor. Jan is a first-grade teacher at Captain Elementary School in the Clayton school district.

The couple's attention to detail and unerring eye for crackerjack craftsmanship made them this month's featured winners of the Post-Dispatch Interior Design Contest.

Their house had been lived in by descendants of the original owners until 1986, the Wilsons said, when a young man bought it, apparently with the intention of renovating it. But the man got married, and, after living in the house for about a year, he and his wife moved. That's when the Wilsons bought it.

"The home had rotted away," Larry Wilson said. "We took everything back to the bare brick on the outside and the inside. What I wanted was an old house with all the modern conveniences."

He succeeded.

The house was built in 1906 and has the spacious rooms and millwork common in homes of that era. …

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