Kitchen tour exclusive sneak peek by Dana King

Watch our journey to remodel Ned and Hillary’s kitchen. This video is part one. It’s the people and the craftsmanship behind the scenes. Come see the final reveal at the Junior League of St. Louis’s First Annual Kitchen Tour — A Gathering Place — on April 2. For more information about the tour click here.

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Here is a teaser for the big reveal:

Ned and Hillary’s kitchen bridges the periods since the home was built in 1905. And for that reason I  call it eclectic vintage. Inspiration for our design came not only from the home’s character, but also from Hillary’s antique food tins she has collected for years. Here was the starting point from which it unfolded.

Art deco lighting, yet to be revealed, draws you in and sets the stage for the vintage charmer. John at “A Light Above” salvaged antique shades in three different shapes, for pendants over the peninsula. He strung them on cloth cord for a contemporary feel.

The decorations and the lights remind you of a time before. Yet a more permanent and original feature uncovered a poignant story — a story that, if walls could talk, would have so much to say.

It started with a shallow bump-out that perplexed us. We wondered what to do with it. Work around it, with it? What the heck is it?

Hillary stared at it during dinner one night and wondered if it was an old brick chimney that we could perhaps expose. We chipped at the old plaster and, sure enough, there was brick and a hole where the old stovepipe once was.

Coincidently, here was where we planned to put our new modern stove top. Joe, of Joe Bennett Construction, cleaned the bricks and then vented the new hood out of the same hole.

The once mysterious bump-out is now revealed to not only create a stunning focal point to the room, but also provides a striking historical contrast. In my mind I travel back in time to observe a woman in a long dress cooking before a wood-burning stovepipe stove. Then flash forward to Hillary who gathers her family while she cooks beside the modern cook top with its sleek hood.

Many things have changed over the years, but one thing remains the same: the human need to gather one’s family around the hearth.

And so I believe the Junior League kitchen tour is aptly named: A Gathering Place.

Kitchens speak to the core of why I do what I do. Its not about me or my design. Rather, it’s about family. And if I can help make a difference to a family, then that’s the spice in my cake, the ice in my soda and the butter on my bun!

I wish the Junior League a successful launch of the kitchen tours to celebrate hearth and home. And to Ned and Hillary, a special thank you for sharing with us. May you gather many and love much in your new kitchen!

Kitchen Tours Exclusive Sneak Peek by Victoria Dreste

As the online sponsor of the Junior League’s Kitchen Tours, we are able to give you a sneak peak into some of the homes on the tour!  Here’s Vicki’s perspective on this amazing kitchen renovation!

Jenny and Todd Rausch are renovating a one hundred year old house.  The house, located in a historic area of Kirkwood, sat empty for three years. When they purchased the house Jenny was pregnant (with twins). The strong odors (stench) from the house kept her from seeing much of it before they made the purchase.

Rausch Kitchen In Progress

The renovations began, the twins were born. Their first Kirkwood home sold quickly leaving the Rausch family without a St. Louis home.  So Todd, Jenny, daughter Ellie, and the twins, Jack and Maggie began shuffling between a relative’s home in south county and their summer cottage in Illinois.

The kitchen and sunroom are part of the first phase of renovations.  Since Jenny and Todd are the owners of Karr Bick Kitchen and Bath, the kitchen is a very important part of the home. It is the heart and soul.


View into Sunroom

The kitchen has been designed for an active family. Because there wasn’t a single wall large enough to accommodate the refrigerator innovative design and clever planning prevailed. There are two smaller refrigerators flanking a doorway. Each one is enclosed with the same wood panels as the surrounding cabinets.

Two Refrigerators

Great attention to detail is found in the kitchen. The panels on the island have the distinctive linen fold pattern.  The linen fold detail was originally used in larger homes to designate space used to hold the households linens. The beautiful folded linen is a lovely, unique detail on the kitchen island. The perimeter cabinets and wood work have a custom time worn finish that adds character and charm.


Island with Linen Fold Pattern

The floor in the kitchen and sunroom is a limestone laid in a herringbone pattern. The look is reminiscent of a French country terrace.  The soapstone counters, limestone floor, custom finishes, linen fold detail, on demand water heat and historical location all add to the ambiance and functionality of this extremely well designed kitchen.  The home, the kitchen is amazing.


Cabinet Detail

You can view the  Great Day St louis segments featuring the Rausch home here.

Check out more of Vicki’s work and view her portfolio here.

Don’t forget to order tickets to the kitchen tours on April 2nd!  Click here for more info.


The Healthy Abode: Cabinets by Melanie Holden

When you make the decision to implement sustainable practices into your life, education is critical in order to understand what you’re truly looking for in sustainable products. So far, I’ve brushed on water-saving plumbing fixtures and countertops. Let’s chat about cabinets for a while…

Cabinetry is an important investment that creates a significant impact on your space. Not only the comfort-of-your-home kind of space, but also the environment where it was manufactured, all the way to the forest where it came from kind of space.

What’s the first thing you think when considering “green” cabinets? The material? Bamboo? Bamboo is a beautiful, durable, option; just remember to be very cautious of where it originates and how it is harvested. There are a few reliable resources for it, but many are not. Smith and Fong’s Ply-Boo is an excellent one. A very scrumptious one, actually…


How about cabinets made from reclaimed materials? Are those reclaimed materials local? How far have they been transported to get to the manufacturer, then to you? If your cabinets are made from virgin lumber (wood that has come directly from trees that have been cut down to make them), is that wood FSC Certified? So much to consider! Luckily, we have an excellent local resource called Greenhaus Cabinetsthat can meet any and all of those requests.

So, let’s go back to the responsibly harvested bamboo or hardwood. Remember, it is often manufactured as a veneer in lieu of solid wood. Why, you ask? There are a few reasons, but a notable one is to minimize the natural expansion and contraction that wood goes through with changes in temperature and humidity. Some solid wood cabinets aren’t particularly practical in a kitchen or bathroom. Especially in the Midwest. Want more to consider?

What is the cabinet made of under that veneer? How is the veneer attached to the substrate underneath? How is that veneer actually finished? It doesn’t make much sense to take a smart product like Ply-Boo, FSC Certified Maple, or Missouri Red Oak – only to use a smelly adhesive to attach the substrate that is laden with more VOC-purging chemicals – then smother it with a beautiful finish that happens to be loaded with yet more VOC’s! The horror!

Back up…not so sure what’s so awful about VOCs…or what they are for that matter? VOC stands for volatile organic compound. They are (often toxic) gases omitted from various products. They constantly vaporize into the atmosphere around you, polluting and infringing on your fresh air space. You know that new carpet smell – blame VOCs. Its no surprise that concentrations of many VOCs are higher indoors than out (one great reason for a well-ventilated house or building). Some common health effects are headaches, various irritations, nausea, or worse.

Thankfully, there are products like formaldehyde-free Pure Bond, a nontoxic soy-based plywood. Water and Soy-based finishes are available as well. Combined, these factors contribute to a VOC-free end product. Locally, Centorbi Custom Cabinetry does beautiful work, using formaldehyde-free plywood upon request.


When seriously considering new products to put into the sanctuary of your home, you need to open yourself to the idea of spending a little more money up front. These cabinets are not always price competitive with the throw-away cabinetry you can pick up at homecenters. However, in return you invest in lifetime quality and contribute to healthy living.

All of this, above and beyond your contribution to a healthier environment.

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