Where History and Modern Influences Are Beautifully Intertwined
This historic colonial home keeps its past alive while simultaneously telling a new story.
Story by Ann Butenas | Photos by Matt Kocourek
“When I first walked into the home, I felt like it was a Great Gatsby moment,” noted the homeowner of this delightful historic residence set to grace the stage of the Symphony Designers’ Showhouse this spring. This 49th Showhouse stands near the site of the 1864 Civil War Battle of Westport and was constructed in 1915, followed by extensive remodeling in the 1930s. Prior owners include Andrew and Bertha Young, William Volker, Gilmer and Dorothea Simpson Meriwether, and Frank and Debra Holladay. The current residents took possession of the home in 2013 and plan to make this place a strong part of their family’s own legacy. However, transitioning to this landmark of a home was quite a departure from their earlier roots.
“We had just completed building a brand new house in the St. Louis, area but never had the opportunity to live in it, as my husband took a new career opportunity here,” said the homeowner, whose family also includes five children. “When we found this home, we felt as if we had walked into a treasure.”
Located near Loose Park and the Country Club Plaza at 445 West 56th Street in Kansas City, Missouri, this 5,034 square foot treasure has definitely found the music within its four walls and is packed not only with rich history, but also with a generous helping of charm and unique style. Among its many notable features include a grotto, a secret garden in the back yard, three outdoor fountains, a cozy library with a fireplace, a sunroom overlooking the reflection garden, detailed wood work, and incredibly solid structural elements. Its light and open main level, complete with an expansive great room, dining room, office, kitchen and newly-added hearth room, is perfect tor entertaining. A porch on the side of the home adds to its friendly and welcoming touch.
On the second level are four bedrooms, each complete with its own full bathroom. Two additional bedroom suites occupy the third floor, each one flanking a generous common gathering area.
“From what we understand, the third floor was originally the servants’ rooms, and has since been converted into separate bedrooms along with a guest room area, guest bath and half bath,” noted the homeowner. “This floor has been redesigned to be more kid-friendly.”
The semi-completed basement enjoys a walkout view with ample windows to allow for natural light. A wine cellar is also located on this level. The remaining, unfinished part of the basement serves as storage space.
In preparation for the Showhouse celebration, the talented and creative team of hand-picked Kansas City designers worked room by room, transforming this piece of history into a veritable showcase.
“It is truly remarkable to have the whole house redone,” emphasized the homeowner. “We feel blessed and are impressed by the excellent use of space and the unique designs each of the designers have added. They simply asked us how we use each space and then came back with their ideas. There is definitely a ‘wow’ factor in each room, and they have perfectly incorporated all of our personalities into the different spaces.”
Not only has working with the designers been a wonderful experience for the homeowners, they have also come to appreciate the neighborhood in which they live.
“We love the Sunset Hills area for its vibrant community feel,” expressed the homeowner. “In some ways, it has that Mayberry essence to it. We knew it was the perfect fit for us when our kids said they wanted to live here!”