Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

At Home: Midcentury Fans Find Perfection in Preserved Charles King Home in Belleville

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

At Home: Midcentury Fans Find Perfection in Preserved Charles King Home in Belleville

Article excerpt

Midcentury architecture aficionados in St. Louis are familiar with the names of many of the leading local architects of that era, which spanned the late 1930s to the mid-1960s. Names such as William Bernoudy and Isadore Shank often appear in ads when the homes they designed are for sale.

In Belleville, the name Charles King conjures the same recognition for his midcentury contributions to that city. Between 1947 and 1962 King designed more than 80 homes and buildings in Belleville, and several in the St. Louis area.

None of this was known to Dave and Debbie Wiechert in 2012 when they were looking for a new home. "I picked up a rain-soaked newspaper to put in the trash and noticed a postage-stamp-size photo of a midcentury modern home for sale," she recalls.

"We love midcentury modern 'anything,' so we arranged for a showing. When we went inside, looked at each other, knew it was perfect for us, and made an offer that evening."

"We had no idea who Charles King was or that this was one of his homes until after we moved in, and Larry Betz, the president of the Belleville Historical Society stopped and told us," Debbie says. "The lady we purchased the home from was the original owner. King had designed it for her in 1957."

Perched just below the brow of a hill, the site is too steep for a driveway to the main floor. Entry is from a stairwell at basement level, and there is little hint the home is historically noteworthy until a guest ascends the stairs and dramatic floor-to-ceiling window walls give the appearance the living room is a tree house 30 feet in the air.

"It is like living in your own snow globe," Debbie says. We live eye to eye with raccoons we watch sleeping in the trees. There is one squirrel that covers up with leaves when it rains."

The owner took wonderful care preserving the integrity of the home, which is almost entirely original. Remaining in the small galley kitchen, and still functioning, is the original stainless steel Hotpoint refrigerator, oven and stove. …

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