Sunday, May 8, 2011

Field Trip! - Ladue Estates Open House Tour

Thanks to our friends at Modern STL for organizing this fantastic event that showcased 5 mid-century modern homes built in the Ladue Estates neighborhood between 1958 and 1961. I was lucky enough to attend this house tour this past weekend and marvel at these magnificent mid-century wonders right here in our home town of St.Louis, MO. If you are also a modernism enthusiat and live in or near the greater St. Louis, MO area, you may want to check out upcoming events sponsored by Modern STL by clicking on their name  which contains their link.

The Ladue Estates neighborhood was one of the first mid-century modern neighborhoods in the St. Louis area to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 26th, 2010. This was apparently no easy feat, because although these homes have great architectural significance, it has not always been customary here in St. Louis to see mid-century homes as important enough to receive this kind of standing and protection. You can read more about the citizen's of this neighborhoods journey to protect their neighborhood's great modern aesthetic on their own web page

Rocket Century sees this as a very significant stand on helping to preserve modern architecture and gems like these of this era.  We see an almost criminal like destruction of so many of these great homes and neighborhoods, strictly to grab the properties they stand on, tearing down the houses and replacing them with giant monstrosities of faux frontages and monster high ceilings. Once developers grab hold of these neighborhoods, it doesn't take long for them to be completely unrecognizable . When this became a threat to the Ladue Estates Neighborhood luckily the owners took notice and many of them worked together to take steps to protect the neighborhood's original style and design. 

We would like to share with you some of the pictures I took of the neighborhood on my tour, and to prove that 21st century families can live in these homes comfortably and with great style and without completely demolishing the original design intent of the homes.  

These pictures were taken with my iPhone, which actually did an okay job, but next time I'll have to remember a better camera. 

Built in 1958 the side-gabled main roof has two off center crossing gables which gives it it's multi-faceted look. The two off-center gables each feature three large fixed glass windows with trapezoid transoms.

Built in 1958, the low side gabled roof with a low, wide open end crossing gable provides great coverage for the umbrage entry porch and deep eaves for the dining and living areas along the front of the home.

The shadowbox accent around the garage windows is a great modern touch original to the house.

Total modernism geek squeal at this original GE metal cabinet kitchen in turquoise! The Three cabinets above the counter are all refrigerated! The current residents actually have learned to love it and find it quite workable.

This is the other side of the kitchen. On the opposite wall there is a row of more pantry height matching cabinets. All of this kitchen is still in great working order! Built to last!

Fun modern graphic details of the era still remain on this mailbox post for this house built in 1960.

Built in 1960, this home has a single gabled main roof with a high center crossing gable forming an umbrage porch. The double doors have fixed glass trapezoid transoms.

The entry way has this fabulous ledge lit with natural light from the above door transoms. The owner saved this from her father's days working for NASA. Again a little rocket geek squeal!

The Dining Room is directly off of the front entry and lit magnificently with the natural light from the large floor to ceiling trapezoid windows shown in the front facade of the house.

An open and inviting main gathering area with large original fireplace, three floor to ceiling trapezoid fixed windows that give the feeling of outside in, and still open to the kitchen area on the far right. 

A view of the same main living area from the kitchen. Again, look at all of that fabulous light pouring in!

Directly to the left of the main entry is this nice sitting area bathed with natural light from the triple rectangular large fixed windows shown in the front facade of the house. The owners choice to follow modern design elements of this era gives their living spaces great appeal.

The pop 70's terrarium is right at home with the modern design decor of the living room. They have created an fun modern rock garden in theirs that requires no maintenance! Click here to see the one we have listed for sale on our site.
The breakfast room looks complete with their vintage Saarinen tulip table with matching chairs.

This is one of the three bedrooms decorated in simple modern pop design and the perfectly simple Robert Indiana "LOVE" poster balances the floral. Again the large windows in this room bring the outside in and feature nice opening bottom windows original to the house.

The natural light in the master bedroom is great as well.

Although this bathroom has been renovated the owners kept with the original modern design concept.

There are three of these fabulous waffle privacy windows in the master bathroom that are also original to the house. They were smart and savvy by having the hardware all cleaned and re polished so it still looked like new.It is little touches like this that add great value back into original pieces and architecture. 

The spare third bedroom is a nice office and guest area. We love the fun retro twist of the Farrah poster framed in orange that so many teenagers had in the '70's.

Did we mention the fantastic natural light? Can't help it. This is the guest area of the office.

This home was not on the tour, but the modernism use of 3's in the window placement and the large center fireplace are apparent.

Built in 1961, this home shows a bit of a transition in the modern design to blend into some uses of more traditional elements seen in later designs of the subdivision. It has the modern low pitch hip style roof with two crossing hip roofs. There is a low brick wall that encloses an entry garden and stoop, and large fixed glass windows with divided lights. The interior of this house kept many of the modern elements of design layout.

The inside decor of this home was fun, colorful and modern eclectic. The owners use great whimsy in their display of collections and accent everything with bright splashes of color.

This is the dining room directly off the left of the entry as you walk in. They have a modern eclectic mix of furniture and accessories using bold greens and blues to accent the warm woods of their danish modern furniture.

This whimsical mod cat print adorns their dining room chairs. 

The mod cats are watching over on their floating shelves of green and blue pop.

The front living room is directly off of the front entry as well and is bathed in great natural light. The red screen and Calder style mobile are great pops of color.

These owners also have been green conscious in their redecoration. They like the original layout of the kitchen and the cabinets that were with the house when they purchased it were solid custom cabinets. They just didn't like the stark whiteness of them. So instead of tearing down perfectly good solid cabinets, they gave them a face lift of modern gray paint and new modern hardware. 

The counter tops were done in a recycled glass product which is also a very green approach.

The other side of the kitchen which is keeping with the original layout of the home.

This whimsical red knifed character is again a great use of pop color and a fun way to display their knives.

This circular stone mosaic is a great geometric modern back splash that compliments their cabinets and counters well.

The original turquoise tiles on the bathroom floor is a nice contrast to the warm wood floors of the hallway.

Another home on the same street, but not part of the tour. 

This home was not part of the tour either, but the front triple gables were so interesting I thought they were worth showing.


  1. These houses are great. Love the modern/retro simplicity (esp in the first one). We studied well-known architects when I was going to school for interior design, so I will be reading your blog a lot!

    Thanks for the follow :)

  2. Love the Mod cat collection =^.^=

  3. Thanks for the comments ladies. We will continue post information about the 20Th Century Modern products we sell as well as share some of the fun experiences like this house tour that inspire us. This was a great tour hosted by a local group called Modern STL that we joined because they share our values in preserving great architecture in the St. Louis area that depicts the modernism movement here. You can click on their name in the blog post for more information.
    If you are shopping for 20Th Century Modern finds check us out too at
    If you are a designer make sure you register your company to take advantage of trade options we offer.
    Thanks again.