The Great Cyclone of 1986 ripped the 3rd story off this Lafayette home. Today, it’s being reconstructed.

This historic home was fully renovated. Several walls and built-in items were removed, opening up the living space and improving the overall layout of the home.

Features include:

  • New kitchen (French doors, bench, long island)
  • Master bath: new sink and bathroom tile
  • Finished 3rd floor storage area
  • Half bath with skylight
  • New roof dormer
  • New outdoor patio and walkway
  • New basement walls, storage and wine space

When the current homeowners bought this property, the interior of the original structure consisted of a mix of original and non-original framing, much of which was exposed without any drywall or plaster. Having been mostly vacant for over four decades, the structure lacked any sort of mechanical or plumbing systems, and had minimal electric wiring. With the construction of the home’s new and improved walls, new building systems were also installed.

The home’s original wooden staircase going from first to the second floor was maintained and refinished. Two existing fireplaces on the first floor were both replaced with historical replicas, and the two original mantels on the second and third story fireplaces were restored.

The dreary, unfinished basement of the home was transformed into a recreation room for the new residents. The severely uneven brick floor was removed by the owners; the ground was leveled, and a new concrete floor poured. In addition to the new lounge space, a full bathroom and dog-washing station were added to the basement.

In the process of renovation, roughly 25% of its existing stone façade and nearly 30% of the exterior masonry walls were reconstructed. The remaining existing windows within the home were replaced with historic replicas. At the front façade, the original exterior sills, intact but crumbling, were replaced with new sills, cast from the original mold.

At the front of the property, the bricks from the basement floor were salvaged and installed at the new front walkway, and a new decorative iron railing and gate was installed around the front yard. Over time, the original stone entry steps at the front entry had begun to pull away from the building. During renovation, these steps were removed and reset.

In the backyard, a new deck and stair was constructed at the rear door of the home, and a wooden fence was built to surround the new patio and backyard space of the home. In addition to replacing the roof of the main house, a new deck was constructed atop the flat roof of the second floor, providing a beautiful view of St. Louis from the back of the house. Access to the new rooftop deck was provided from the third story of the home by converting a window into a door and adding new interior stairs.

Upon purchasing the old home, the owners had clear, creative visions for what they wanted their dream home to become. With these ideas in mind, they selected everything from the tile, cabinets, colors and fixtures that had not previously existed. In the early spring months of this year, the newly renovated, historic home was finally completed and its residents, expressed that they “could not be happier with the result.”

This 1800’s-era cottage renovation in the Carondelet neighborhood, has the power to preserve history. For Marcia Dorsey, this history is personal, and for the surrounding area, it’s monumental.

The neighborhood was founded in 1767 by Clement DeLoure de Treget. The stone homes from the early to mid-18th century in the Carondelet and Patch neighborhoods provide a unique look at one of the earliest forms of architecture in the St. Louis region.

The small stone cottage at the corner of East Steins and Water Street used to be surrounded by brick and stone row houses built in the 1850’s, but these were demolished in the 1980s.

For decades, the remaining house at 124 E Steins sat empty and deteriorating, but it hadn’t always been that way. Marcia Dorsey remembers a time when the home was full of life.

She is the granddaughter of Italian immigrants, Romano & Nazarena Derussy Cogo, who once owned the property they now call, “Mio Nonni’s Casa”. The Cogos, along with their six children, lived in the larger home at the front of the lot, which they purchased in 1943. The stone cottage behind the main house was occupied intermittently by the family members, as the grown children began to marry and start families of their own.

Marcia, herself, lived with her parents and grandmother on the property until the age of seven.

When Marcia and her husband Tim purchased the 22ft wide-18ft deep cottage in, it was in need of a little TLC… and a roof. After re-constructing the walls and ceiling, the couple added electricity and plumbing. A previous basement was re-dug and a toilet and sink were installed. They added a porch, lighting and a security system.

Killeen Studio was contracted for permitting and coordination with State Historic Preservation Office. Every aspect of craftsmanship had to be carefully planned and approved. The addition of a porch was allowed, so long as the angle of the roof, the type or railing and the number of posts were reminiscent of the original time period.

To complete the truest rehabilitation, most of the stone used for the rehab was original, salvaged from the rubble. The additional stone needed was locally sourced. The 18-inch-thick walls were restored with the help of stonemason Lee Lindsey of Stone Works. Woodworker David Moore reconstructed the floor out of red oak lumber from an old barn and repurposed Civil war era windows.

Lightning designer Randy Burkette created a candlelit effect in the gallery, and Michael Kenyuck of Distinctive Design & Construction used wood timbers from an 1800s factory for the floor joists and beams.

The restoration of Mia Nonnis Casa was all about quality. Each element was hand selected to recreate the beauty of the original structure. The Dorsey’s are planning to open an art gallery and event space to share this beloved home.






St. Louis Magazine “Parents of Twitter Founder Convert 19th Century House into Art Gallery

St. Louis Magazine “The Vanishing Stone Houses of Carondelet”

STL Today “Marcia and Tim Dorsey preserve ‘Mio Nonni’s Casa,’ a stone house with a long Carondelet history”

“Historic Resources of Carondelet, East of Broadway, St. Louis,” National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form, 5/19/60

“Eleven Most Endangered Places, 2009: Stone House, 124 East Steins Street,” Landmarks Association of St. Louis.



This 1920’s Spanish revival-style home was transformed to accommodate the owner’s growing family of seven. The three-story, 4000 ft² wing addition was designed the match the existing home and provide a seamless transition to a sprawling outdoor entertainment area.

The first floor hosts a great room, garage, oversize laundry room and a climate controlled-insulated wine room. The original kitchen and dining room were renovated, and the adjacent walls removed to connect to the new great room addition. Hardwood flooring is extended from the kitchen to this open-concept space separated by the kitchen peninsula.

Crowned with a large chandelier, the great room features a two-story vaulted ceiling finished with stained slatted wood panels and recessed lightning. A great Palladian-style window spanning two-stories sits atop French style doors, allowing for ample natural light to spill over the stone fireplace below.

Nearby, a set of stairs leads to the second floor of the new wing, adding much-needed bedroom space and a spiraling three-story slide. The slide begins outside of the kids’ bedrooms and passes through the first-floor mudroom before ending in the basement.

The basement expansion includes a spa, interior gym, game room and basketball court. A challenge was placement of the basketball court. After considering an additional structure, the architect designed a plan to place the recreational space below the new three-car garage. To ensure safety and weight baring capability pre-stressed concrete slabs were used as flooring in the garage. The height of the home-owners jump shot was measured to determine the ceiling height of the basketball court.

Even the oversized laundry/mud room was designed to accommodate this large family and their two Great Danes. The room consists of multiple washer and dryer combinations, a row of storage cabinets and a specific area for washing their beloved dogs.

The Mediterranean remodel of this Richmond Heights kitchen brings the soulfulness of Italy to the heart of one St. Louis home. The homeowners wanted to embrace the Old World feel of traditional Italian design. Maintaining the integrity of the home’s original design was top priority.

Space was a concern, so the first priority was to add square footage. Design plans included an additional eight feet to the back of the kitchen and removal of a wall between the kitchen and an adjacent breakfast area to create a sense of openness.

Existing features of the home were incorporated including: arched openings, stucco walls, stained dark brown beamed ceilings and hardwood flooring.

A deep basin farmhouse sink with travertine back splash is topped by a large, arched window overlooking a new patio. A large arched window sits above the sink, which the homeowner notes inspired the remainder of the design. An antique butcher block was given a new top and re-purposed to serve as the kitchen island.

The cabinets are dark brown alder with added distressing, as is the decorative wood front on the French door refrigerator. The light fixtures, cabinet hardware and faucets are oil-rubbed bronze. The owners wanted a hard stone for the counter tops, deciding upon a less common concrete that was transformed into a distressed burgundy to fit the kitchen’s earthy tones and natural appeal. Stucco walls, scattered pottery, dark brown beamed ceilings and hardwood flooring complete the look.

The back patio was also redesigned to compliment the kitchen remodel and expansion.

After years in a small rented apartment, this young St. Louis couple dreamed of owning a new, custom-built home. Unlike most households, however, they faced a unique challenge: accessibility. Aiming to prove that a custom-built, fully accessible home could be both affordable and beautiful, they purchased a lot in historic Benton Park and began working with a local architect and home builder to design their dream home.

The challenge of fusing universal design principals with the neighborhood’s strict historic design requirements and a tight budget was significant, requiring multiple rounds of design revisions, problem-solving and meetings between the design team, neighborhood groups and government officials.

The 2,830 ft², single-story residence with attached garage is the culmination of those efforts. The front façade, designed to resemble a turn-of-the-century factory, has clean lines and limestone-accented brick. All the home’s passageways are “zero-entry,” providing flat, roll-in access.

Inside, the home is modern-rustic, with unique features such as repurposed barn doors and a wine-barrel vanity. The sloped ceiling, high transom windows and large glass patio doors provide a bright, airy setting for the open-concept kitchen/living/dining space. The flooring, chosen for durability, is faux wood laminate and stamped-and-stained concrete.

The kitchen is equipped with lowered granite counter tops and extra-wide walkways to access hardwood cabinets and stainless-steel appliances. A large island separates the kitchen from the living room. An indoor elevator leads to the finished basement, which doubles as a home office.

A vaulted ceiling gives the master suite a spacious feel. The ensuite bathroom features a large walk-in closet, double vanity, energy-efficient washer-dryer and wide roll-in shower with redwood bench.

Finally, smart technology is integrated throughout the home, including smartphone-operated garage doors, Nest heating and cooling, interconnected audio and a state-of-the-art security system.

Working with Mike Killeen in a fun, collaborative process, this Des Peres couple designed their dream home -- a single-story, prairie style house with horizontal lines, ample natural light, green features and modern touches. The 5400 ft² home includes a large clerestory skylight inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House in Chicago. The skylight's exterior brick detail presented design challenges for the structural engineer, who designed steel i-beams to support the weight. The clerestory windows, tall ceilings, and transoms give the home a bright, airy feel. The main floor has a combined kitchen, living and dining area with built-in shelves and cabinets. A large custom fireplace and integrated entertainment system preside over the great room. The residence includes three bedrooms, two project rooms, and 3 garage spaces, including a Corvette bay. A wide open staircase leads to the finished basement used for entertaining. The house has two full- and two half-bathrooms, all with built-in sinks and wall-mounted European-style fixtures. The master bathroom includes a walk-in shower, his-and-her sinks, separate toilet room and custom make-up vanity.

Inspired by a trip to Lake Tahoe, this Sunset Hills couple decided to transform a 1950's ranch home, located on an acre of heavily wooded land, into a modern mountain retreat.

Rear additions and a half-story loft were added to accommodate the long, narrow lot. New elements included a three car garage, master suite, two bedrooms, two decks, an office, game room and three-and-a-half bathrooms.

The design goal was to bring the outside in by providing unobstructed views of the surrounding woods, and by using the same materials for both interior and exterior finishes. For example, the same wrought-iron railing is used on decks, stairways and the loft. Additionally, pre-cast stone is used as wainscoting on the front elevation, kitchen islands, and master bathroom.

Exposed beams with historic warehouse flooring make-up both the kitchen ceiling and 2nd story flooring. With both sides visible, the plank undersides were individually sanded and finished prior to installation.

Embracing today's casual lifestyle, the kitchen features two islands with honed granite countertops, thus combining cooking and living into one space. The upper cabinets are suspended from the ceiling and reinforced by steel pipes that serve to conceal the wiring for the under- and in-cabinet lighting. Glass shelves and doors in the cabinets define the dining area while allowing filtered light.

The owners mixed new and old, such as a beautiful, 1904 pocket door that was repurposed "barn door" style as an entry to the Master en suite. Vanities on each side of the shower are made of rustic alder wood with honed granite tops. The faucets are reminiscent of an old well pump. Repurposed factory windows were converted into mirrors.

Professional landscaping, boulders acquired from a Fenton excavation site, and a crushed stone driveway complete this Tahoe inspired home.

The currently vacant lots in Benton Park are to be developed for residential use in order to maximize the potential of the property. A row of five, 2400 ft² townhouses have been designed by KSA to fill the space.



Killeen Studio Architects
3015 Salena Street
Suite 203
Saint Louis, MO 63118



P 314-771-0883

[email protected]

Remodeling and Home Design

Killeen Studio Architects

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