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Holidays with History

Established more than 90 years ago and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004, Pasadena Hills is a charming piece of St. Louis history. For Pete Jusich and Mike Knoll (and their dogs, Herman and Hubert), it was the perfect place to find a home with the character and intricate details only available in older properties. They brought a uniquely modern approach to their 1930s Tudor while still remaining true to the original design.

What attracted you to the home?
We love that Pasadena Hills is a historic neighborhood, and there are so many incredible homes. The architecture drew us to the area. We’d been house hunting for quite a while, but we weren’t finding anything that fit what we were looking for. This house was perfect from the minute we walked in. We wanted a unique, older property. We loved the plasterwork in the living and dining rooms and the iron work on the staircase.

Do you know anything about its history?
The home was built in 1932 and designed by architect Thomas P. Barnett, who also designed the Cathedral Basilica and the entrance to the neighborhood. We don’t know much about the first homeowners, but we have the original blueprints. It was a very special project. The stone was hand-selected, and the family crest was put into the plasterwork and stained glass windows. The house sits on four lots, so the property is almost a full acre. It’s very impressive, especially considering it was built in an era when the economy wasn’t doing great.

Did you make any renovations?
Nothing major. We restored the fountain in the solarium. There also were basic renovations like updating bathrooms and other cosmetic work, but we didn’t do any significant construction.

Did the age of the house impact how you approached
the design?
We wanted to bring a more modern feel to the traditional Tudor style. We worked with local designer David Deatherage to find pieces that would fit the home but also were unique and quirky. A lot of the design is midcentury modern, but some of the pieces, like in the dining room, are a little more traditional. We tried to mix the old and new together.

Do you have a favorite room?
The living room really makes a statement. We really love the foyer as well. It has the original iron sconces and chandelier and beautiful stonework and ironwork.

How do you approach decorating for the holidays?
We have collected Christopher Radko ornaments for many years, and the Radko tree is our holiday foundation. We don’t decorate it with anything but the ornaments and lights. It is very traditional and works as the focal point of the room. We try to pick pieces that mix with the midcentury modern design. We use a lot of gold, silver and brass along with colors that work with our furniture and accent pieces. The living room has some pieces done in a lacquered blue, so that’s a color we carried throughout the decorations in the garland.

Any favorite holiday pieces?
The Radko tree. We also have a vintage wreath of ornaments that we put over the bar in the living room. On one of the credenzas, we have a tree with Jonathan Adler ornaments, which is definitely another of our favorite decorations.

Do you have a favorite holiday tradition?
Our first winter in the house, my family came and stayed with us. My sister, her husband and their children stayed overnight, and we had Christmas Eve with them. Then the rest of the family came over Christmas morning. That was a lot of fun. We also have an annual Christmas party that we’ve been doing for 10 years. It’s a big cookie bake with all of our friends.

How is the house for entertaining?
It’s incredible at any time of year, the holidays included. There’s a huge kitchen, dining room and butler’s pantry. The living room was designed to have two separate seating areas. If you have a small group, you can just use part of the space, or with a larger party, you can open it up and have everyone sit together. In the spring, summer and fall, the terrace off the living room is really nice for outdoor parties.

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