Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

At Home: 1850s Federal-Style Home in Ladue Gets an Update

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

At Home: 1850s Federal-Style Home in Ladue Gets an Update

Article excerpt

"Our home was a complete disaster when Karen and I bought it in 1990," Martin Lammert says, recalling the turquoise-colored walls, 30-year-old shag carpeting, 20 cracked windows and a dirt floor basement. "The front door opened to a tiny foyer boxed in with a wall and door on either side. Immediately in front a steep stairway led upstairs, flanked by a narrow hallway to the kitchen."

Still, with a degree in architecture and art history, Lammert sensed the Federal-style home had "good bones." Later, research revealed it was built in the 1850s. "This must be one of the oldest homes in Ladue," he says. "We determined we are only the fourth owners in 160 years."

However, buyer's remorse set in after the second-floor ceiling collapsed the first month, and Karen Lammert fell down the steep stairway. "We knew we needed to start making changes," Lammert remembers.

Soon they had begun an extensive renovation that evolved in stages over 10 years. Early on all the interior walls were removed, resulting in an open floor plan that flows around all sides of the newly exposed stairway, which was widened and lengthened. Removing the interior walls also allowed the entire first floor to be bathed in natural light from the original large windows in every room. A porch in the back of the house was incorporated into what became a state-of-the-art kitchen.

Next a great room with a fireplace and one wall open to the kitchen was added. "We use the fireplace every night," Lammert says. In the center of the room a rooftop cupola functions as a skylight.

A new entry into the home and a guest bath were also added off the great room. Finally, a library was built off the great room, leading to a stairway and a spacious master bedroom suite over a new, heated two-car garage. French doors off the bedroom lead to a second-floor outdoor patio.

Each addition was offset from one another to create architectural interest and allow additional windows for the natural light the Lammerts appreciate. The garage and bedroom above was built to have the appearance of a barn on the outside, giving the property the resemblance of the farmhouse and outbuildings of a gentleman farmer. …

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