Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

At Home: Arts and Crafts Home in Shaw Is Just the Downsize This Couple Needed

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

At Home: Arts and Crafts Home in Shaw Is Just the Downsize This Couple Needed

Article excerpt

"A lot of people think about downsizing, but we actually did it," Jeffrey Smith says about their recent move from a three-story Victorian residence into a cozy, story-and-a-half Arts and Crafts home just two blocks away.

"We spent 23 years decorating our other home to be 'over-the-top' Victorian throughout," Kris Smith recalls. "Now we are taking our time furnishing this house with traditional Arts and Crafts dcor."

Architectural differences between the homes are pronounced. The Victorian era of the late 1800s and early 1900s was characterized by elaborate decorative accents. The early 20th-century Arts and Crafts movement, a style popular when the Smiths' current home was built in 1918, eschewed the frills and embraced the natural beauty of wood and traditional craftsmanship.

The Arts and Crafts style is prevalent the moment the Smiths' front door is opened. An abundance of tall, wooden windows with vertical panes, wooden floors, and dark wooden trim around the floor and ceiling impart an immediate sensation of serenity and comfort.

Built-in leaded glass door bookcases flank a dark brown brick fireplace in the living room, as if inviting a visitor to snuggle up in a chair and read. The harmony of the dark wood theme flows into the open dining room where more tall windows are the backdrop to a cozy window seat that extends the length of the room.

On the side wall of the foyer, three stained-glass windows with a floral design provide western light and are typical of the Arts and Crafts movement.

"I am rediscovering how much I love light," Kris says. "You can see through the house from the front to the back, and from side to side. Our Victorian did not have those sightlines."

Dcor might be described as "eclectic family history." Two framed antique dolls in the entry foyer are from the early 1900s and belonged to Kris' great-grandmother who lived in Idaho near the Canadian border. "The Kalispel Native Americans presented them as gifts in appreciation for her hospitality when they camped and hunted near her property," she says.

Hanging nearby is a prized possession of a print of a 1876 Compton and Dry map of their neighborhood showing the location of the Smith home as a farm field. …

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