Looking around this property, you might just believe you’ve left the city far behind. The farmhouse, built 123 years ago, offers the open spaces of the country combined with Kirkwood’s small-town charm—not to mention the equine inhabitants. For the current homeowner, it was the perfect place to build a family home and establish their own thread in the tapestry of the neighborhood’s rich history.
What do you enjoy about Kirkwood?
My favorite thing is the community. My husband is a teacher, and we moved here from Arnold for his job. He talked me into Kirkwood by telling me about the people. Another thing is the walkability. We’re both from small towns originally and grew up being able to walk around. That’s not something you can always find in St. Louis. I love that you can walk to downtown Kirkwood. My family also is a big fan of Global Foods Market. My husband is German, so he can get all of the special things he likes there.
What attracted you to the property?
It’s actually our second home in Kirkwood. We ended up moving about two blocks. I’d been wanting to leave the city and get a farmhouse in the country. One evening, my husband came back from walking the dogs and told me he’d found my farmhouse right here in Kirkwood. It was a pretty dilapidated property, but it had the land I was looking for. Most people thought it would be torn down because it needed so much work.
How did the renovation process go?
It took us about five months to get an occupancy permit, and we had to rent a condo while it was being brought up to code. It gave us the chance to add things we wanted, like our open kitchen and living room space. That’s something we didn’t have in our previous home. We wanted a space for the family to be together. Our kids were small at the time, so I also wanted to be able to watch them while I was cooking. Our old house also didn’t have a lot that would accommodate a pool, which is something we always dreamed about.
Do you know anything about the home’s history?
It was built in 1900, and along with the original structure, there are two additions. The first was added in the 1940s and the second in the 1970s. One family had lived in the home for more than 30 years. The children, who are older adults now, actually visited and shared stories. Before we purchased the property, they actually toured it because they were sure it would be torn down by the next owner. People in the neighborhood also have shared their memories of the house. I love old houses, and it’s really cool to have a home with a 120-year history.
How would you describe your interior design style?
I would say it’s playful, fun and artsy. I always wanted my kids to grow up in a house that was filled with color, art and music.
Tell me about your outdoor spaces.
It’s nice that the pool is visible from the family room. On nicer days, it can function as an indoor-outdoor space. There’s also an attached covered patio. We mostly use it for time with friends and family, but we could also host larger parties out there like happy hours for the teachers at my husband’s school. When we built the pool, everyone told us not to bother because our kids would lose interest and stop using it, but my husband and I wanted it for ourselves. He’s a scuba diving instructor, so he’s always testing out new gear. The kids may have lost interest, but we certainly haven’t!
Do you have a favorite room?
I would say my favorite room is the library. My husband and I are both big readers. When we were in Germany, we visited an older couple that had a library in their home, and we always talked about how amazing it would be to have our own. I’ve been collecting antique books for a while, so when we purchased the house, it was the perfect opportunity to create one. I like to joke that it’s a cigar room where you can’t smoke.
How long have you raised miniature horses?
For around five years. I was a horseback rider until I injured my knee. I was told that I couldn’t ride anymore, which was a huge emotional blow. I wanted to have some interaction with horses, and that’s when I discovered miniature horses and the different things you could do with them. Before the pandemic, we did therapeutic outreach like visiting schools and hospitals.