Secondhand Superheroes in St. Louis: 10 House Tours

Secondhand Superheroes in St. Louis: 10 House Tours

Janel Laban
Jul 26, 2011

I'm starting to think of St. Louis as the land of salvage and secondhand superheroes — nearly every House Tour that we publish from that city boasts great looks based on large part of the celebration and embrace of vintage design details. From thrifted furnishings to rescued architecture, the residents of St. Louis really seem to know how to do this right — click through for ten great examples of how saving the best of the past can enrich our homes today in the most stylish way.

SHOWN ABOVE Galen's Ad-hoc Apartment for the Arts
• Galen describes her style as: Eclectic, ad-hoc, and accretionary. I use an "amalgamated, fate-driven procurement process" if you will. Read: thrift shops, yard sales and dumpsters. To be candid, I gave up the affliction some time ago; now people just relentlessly give me stuff.

Tim's "Old Boot" of a Carriage House
Tim Tucker likens his carriage house in St. Louis' Benton Park neighborhood to an "old boot." The reference, which calls to mind neglected and timeworn materials, is apt. Inside his home is a what's what of architectural and industrial detritus from well-known and/or demolished buildings in the city. With its 16 ft. ceilings, and large scale elements, the place feels part home, part church, part warehouse, and all conversation worthy.

Hannah & Mike's Secondhand Success
Like most estate sale and thrift junkies, Hannah regularly manages decorative flotsam and jetsam. On most days you'll find her refinishing chair legs, reupholstering an ottoman, or repairing whatever booty she found that week. When rooms get overcrowded, she jettisons a piece or two via craigslist, and moves on. She says, "I think the whole house works due to everything being second-hand, worn and loved."

Donna & Lyla's Tiled Wonder
Donna and Lyla wouldn't dream of removing the Vitrolite tiles, or any of the other preserved features of their 1930s house. They love its art deco elements and have scoured eBay looking for fixtures to blend with the builder's original intent. A collection of radios from that same period populate shelves in the dining room.

Anna & Luby's Home Meets Showroom
Anna focuses on higher-end furniture and collectibles, while Luby deals in pop culture and toys. Strange bedfellows in theory, the two combined strike a nice accord. What could be spare and minimalist is punctuated by bright plastics, and nostalgic bits of childhood. And what could be a sea of endless bric-a-brac is tempered by the sophistication of clean lines. It's as if Graceland met Falling Water and the two fell in love.

David & Bevin's Curated Lifestyle
Much of their furniture is either secondhand, or built by David; the expansive garage doubles as his workshop and storage for found objects. In addition to his day job, and running Snowflake/Citystock (their gallery downstairs) with Bevin, he plans to start selling some of his pieces in the near future.

Nathan & Hannah's Mid-Century Modern Mission
Today, the insides of Ridgewood homes are a mixed bag, with contemporary renovations and "upgrades" ranging in style and quality. Enter Nathan and Hannah, part of a small community of people buying these homes and slowly restoring them to their original modest glory. Instead of adding on, for the past five years the couple has largely taken away, namely coats of of paint covering warm woodwork on sliding doors and ceiling beams throughout the house. They've also shown an admirable devotion to finding furniture appropriate in period and/or scale.

Joe's Sleek Nod to History
• Joe's whole home is a secondhand success story:St. Louis area residents may remember a fight to preserve the South Side Bank Tower in the late 90s, which was slated for demolition to make way for a national pharmacy chain. Luckily, history prevailed and the art deco beauty still holds its spot at the intersection of Grand and Gravois. Joe, an environmental designer, lives on the third floor of the hi-rise, which retains its original limestone features, and offers amazing rooftop views of the city.

Phil & Hali's Quintessential Loft
Upstairs is a quintessential loft, with signature exposed brick, original structural beams, galvanized ductwork, and the mechanics of an old counter-weight elevator rising up from the floor below.

Stacey & John's Crazy Quilt of An Apartment
Minimalists, avert your eyes. Stacey and John's apartment is the interior equivalent of a crazy quilt. It comprises an eclectic mosaic of recycled items, vintage fabrics, and reclaimed tidbits that Stacey brings in, mainly from thrift stores. She's not afraid of pattern and color, and mixes them liberally to good effect. A multitude of interesting curiosities are all creatively arranged.

Special thanks to Ann & Dabney, the bloggers behind every single one of these fantastic tours!

Images: Ann & Dabney

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