We can’t always verbalize what makes a house feel like ‘home,’ but we know it in our bones when we come across it. That’s exactly how the Duel family, who moved from California to St. Louis in 2013, felt when they first saw their Frontenac home: like they’d stumbled on a little piece of the West Coast in the middle of St. Louis.
T&S | What attracted you to the home?
Alissa Duel | When my husband Barry became chief of urology at Cardinal Glennon, we came to St. Louis one weekend and looked at eight houses. This one, which was built in 1960, reminded us of Palm Springs and of home. Architecturally, it was unique. It has 6,700 square feet, all on one floor, and doesn’t have a basement. So we chose it because we knew we could make it a home, and even though neither of us had been to St. Louis before, we felt comfortable in this house.
T&S | What are some elements of the home you love?
AD | We love the big, open floor plan. We also love that there are so many windows and that every room has a beautiful view of the outside. The indoor pool is unique—it’s a four-season room and it looks beautiful even in winter or in the fall when the trees are turning colors.
T&S | Has your family gotten a lot of use from the pool?
AD | Yes. When it gets warmer out, the pool can be completely opened. And last year with the polar vortex, we were very popular because school would be closed and the kids could just come over and jump into the pool. The room acts kind of as a greenhouse, so it’s always around 70 degrees, no matter how cold it is outside. It’s a great place to sit and read the Sunday paper on the weekends.
T&S | Did you have to do much renovating or updating when you moved in?
AD | The home did need updating. We didn’t do any construction, but we freshened up every room with paint, carpet and furniture. The kitchen got the biggest face-lift. It was all white before. We kept the appliances, but gutted it from there. So now it has a new floor and we also changed out the cabinets and installed the marble countertop.
T&S | Where do you go for design inspiration?
AD | Most of the furniture we brought from California. Cure Design Group helped us with our overall design, and Arthur Pikula did all the cabinetry and also the floor, kitchen, bar and bathrooms. He helped us design exactly what we wanted our home to look like, which was a midcentury contemporary house, more minimalist and less traditional.
T&S | Tell me about the art.
AD | We love contemporary and emerging artists. Some of our art comes from Charlie Houska, who has a gallery in the Central West End, and Brother Mel Meyer, another local artist, did our sculptures and the round painting in our entry. We also have a painting in our dining room from Mike Hoffman. Other pieces we brought from Los Angeles.
Pictured: Barry and Alissa Duel
Photos: Suzy Gorman