KIRKWOOD, Mo. _ Julie and Bob Kindle's 1909 Kirkwood farmhouse is tied with the threads of their travels. Little lobster wall hangings and buoys are mementos from Maine, where they vacation every few years for a dose of East Coast charm.
The mushroom-colored family room is home to 101 black-and-white photos (sadly, no Dalmatians) from their world travels.
And their kitchen boasts an impressive collection of 400 hot sauces from around the world with labels featuring caricatures of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and some designs too "colorful" to mention.
But while the Kindles have made the house their own, they retained the farmhouse feel, not wanting to sacrifice the old for the new.
"It's keeping the integrity of the home and respecting what was built here," Julie says.
The Kindles have been together for 20 years and married for 13 years. They settled down in Frontenac, but Julie missed the sidewalks and neighborhood camaraderie of her former residences.
And so the couple restarted their house search. As Julie scoured cities, she saw the Kirkwood farmhouse on the market. Though it looked like a teardown, it piqued her interest.
When the Kindles first toured the home, their agent wanted to walk out. But Julie saw promise in the little house, and Bob trusted her vision.
In 2010, they purchased it for $425,000 and immediately gutted it.
With the help of Craig Erb, their contractor, and Irv Haislar, president and owner of Haislar Construction Co. Inc., the Kindles expanded the house from 2,300 to 3,000 square feet and added a library, porch and breakfast nook. They also replaced wood floors, ceilings, light fixtures and doors.
Outside, they repainted the clapboard yellow. And they tore out the yard and replanted it, adding a patio table, cream-colored porch swing and flower boxes filled with hydrangeas, hostas and begonias. The new setup is charming and welcoming _ it even attracts a five-pigeon posse that makes a daily trip to the Kindles' house in search of food.
Yet there was so much that they kept _ many of the original wood floors, the transom on the door between the living room and family room, and the original 1909 fireplace. The fireplace, covered in layers of soot when the Kindles first toured the house, now gleams, a beautiful Italian marble.
After four months of renovations, the Kindles moved in and started to make the house theirs.
They lined the walls of their new library with bookshelves, inspired by photos in home decor magazines and books.
Three little buoys _ red, yellow and blue _ dangle on the doorknob to the library, and the adjoining porch reveals dozens more hanging on the cream-colored clapboard.
The porch is a favorite leisure spot. Neighbors join Julie and Bob, who are both retired, for leisurely afternoons of coffee (and wine, Julie says) on the porch's white chairs.
The house has some eccentric features. The downstairs cabinet and door handles include bunnies, a black-and-white swirl and a checkered pattern, all from home decor store MacKenzie-Childs.
In the family room, two brown taxidermy pheasants that Julie bought from an antiques store are perched atop a shelf. Julie frequents antiques stores like Ken Miesner's Flower Shoppe, where she found the wood pieces in the living room and dining room.
Despite all of the renovations and decorations, the interior _ filled with hardwood floors and beadboard ceilings _ preserves the character of the farmhouse.
The exterior keeps the farmhouse feel, too. Kirkwood requires residents of old homes to match the color and style of extensions with the rest of the house, and the Kindles kindly complied. "I didn't want it to look new," Julie says.
They are looking forward to vacations in Colorado, upstate New York, Michigan and Vermont for its fall foliage.
But when they return, they'll be greeted by their hot sauces and buoys, the black-and-white photos from their travels, starving pigeons and smooth wood, and everything else that makes the old Kirkwood farmhouse feel like their home.
(c)2019 St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Visit the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at www.stltoday.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
TO SUBSCRIBE TO AT HOME
This column/content is for subscribers only. It is sold separately and is not included in your Tribune News Service subscription. To subscribe, please contact Rick DeChantal at Tribune Content Agency, (866) 280-5210 or email@example.com, or you can purchase individual columns a la carte at www.tribunenewsservice.com .
PHOTOS (for help with images, contact 312-222-4194): ATHOME-MO-FARMHOUSE