Life at the Top
Towering over Midtown, the Continental Life Building has been a mainstay of the St. Louis skyline for 90 years. With its distinctive Art Deco style, it’s a city landmark, but for Josh Gould, it’s also home. He enjoys the dramatic architecture and close proximity to the countless cultural gems of the Grand Center Arts District. And did we mention the views?
What do you like about Midtown?
I’m right next to Fox Theatre, and there are so many other wonderful art institutions here—smaller theater companies and galleries, and the Contemporary Art Museum is fantastic. Plus, there are tons of new restaurants popping up in the area. It’s a great place to be.
What attracted you to the building?
The history behind it is really interesting. It was built in 1930 to house Continental Life Insurance and Grand National Bank, and it’s the site of the largest unsolved bank robbery in Missouri history. Art Deco is one of my favorite styles, and this building is one of the best examples in the city. Plus, the panoramic, unobstructed views it offers are spectacular. It’s beautiful during the day, and at night, you can see the city lights extending for miles. It’s like a picture, but one that is constantly changing!
Did your love of Art Deco impact how you approached the design?
Very much. My side business is interior design, and Art Deco is my specialty. I wanted to focus on updating the style for modern living. It recalls Hollywood glamour. There are great, original architectural details, like the staircase, and I added a lot of mirrors, tufted surfaces, metallics and dark, rich colors.
Tell me about some of your art.
On the staircase, there’s a black and white piece called The Hunt. It’s by local artist Renee Raub-Ayers. It has a bit of a psychedelic look, but it’s still formal enough to fit in a space like this. I also have a lot of pieces that I inherited. The dining room table is one of my favorites. It was originally in my great aunt’s home in Palm Springs for years.
Do you entertain often?
Yes! The space is designed perfectly for entertaining, and it’s the ideal setting for a black-tie soiree. Every New Year’s Eve, I throw a huge party. I have 60 to 70 guests and bring in caterers, bartenders, a DJ and everything else a good party needs. It’s really spectacular.
What is your favorite room?
I would have to say the master bedroom. The biggest reason is the windows. Three sides of the room look out, so you get a view in almost every direction. I painted the walls a flat black so they fade into the background. Your eyes go straight to the windows, and the views become the focal point of the room. I love my bed, and when you lie in it, you’re looking out over the city. The crystal chandelier in that room also is very special. It’s an antique that I found, and it dates back to 1932