Project Spotlight – Rittenhouse

If you have been out and about in downtown Kirkwood recently, this award-winning residence by Srote & Co Architects | Planners | Interiors may look familiar. By adopting design characteristics of the adjacent commercial and residential properties the result is a home that blends seamlessly with the neighborhood and preserves the historic integrity of surrounding landmarks. It is our pleasure to share this award winning, Brownstone inspired residence with you today. Architecture by Srote & Co Architects and built by Tegethoff Homes.

THE DETAILS……..

Design of the home’s exterior consists of cut limestone detail and contrasting red brick that creates a timeless appearance and consistent with the architectural character of its Kirkwood location. Premium materials were also selected to enhance the aesthetic qualities of this home, including cut limestone window surrounds for every window, stone crown molding details, and copper gutters and downspouts.

Rittenhouse front elevation

The corner lot location which separates public, commercial and residential zoning posed the challenge of designing a comfortable yet secure family home. Special attention was given to the location of public and private spaces of the home and proper building materials were specified to control sound transmission.

At the back of the home, a screened-in porch with fireplace that completely opens to the outside using bi-fold glass and wood doors creates an inviting and functional indoor/outdoor living space. The convenience of an outdoor kitchen next to the living space was also included and leads to the pool and patio.

The upper deck terrace features a unique space to relax and enjoy the outdoor ambiance from above while keeping warm next to a masonry fireplace. The terrace fireplace is one of three incorporated into the design of this home.

PRESS & AWARDS –

Featured in St. Louis Homes + Lifestyles –Family Ties by Kim Hill

The Kirkwood Missouri Landmarks Commission, 2019 Favorite Building Awards “New Home of Merit”

USA & Americas Property Awards – Best Architecture Single Residence

We Have Been Busy Since Our Last Post!

With a new year comes new resolutions and staying in touch is at the top of our list! It has been way too long since our last post so with that in mind we are excited to introduce 2 new blog series. Oh, and we changed our name too!

NEW YEAR, NEW NAME!

Nearly 2 years after the departure of one of our founding partners we are beyond excited to officially introduce – Srote & Co Architects | Planners | Interiors! The name not only represents our principal architect, but also the entire talented team that constitutes a truly comprehensive architectural and design firm.

NEW BLOG SERIES.

Starting this week on The Composed Interior we are rolling out two new blog series. Make sure you don’t miss a post by following us at @sroteco and @thecomposedinterior on Instagram.

PROJECT SPOTLIGHT

Over the next few months we will be sharing a new project every other week on the blog. We are excited to share these projects with you and hope you find some inspiration for your own home!

WINTER SURVIVAL GUIDE

We were so anxious for 2020 to be over we forgot to figure out what to do with ourselves once it was! With the excitement of the holidays behind us, we are now faced with several months of winter remaining before the temperatures warm up and eventually draw us out of our hibernation. In our new blog series, Winter Survival Guide, we will share ideas and resources to nurture your mind, body and spirit to help you finish strong.

Happy New Year! We look forward to connecting with you in 2021!

Holiday Survival Guide 2018

How can Thanksgiving be Thursday?!?!?! It has happened again. 365 days have gone by since the last time I swore the holidays wouldn’t sneak up on me. And yet here I sit having done nothing, nada, zip to prepare for the holiday marathon that is now upon us. If you find yourself in a similar situation look no further. In an effort to save my sanity, and hopefully yours, we have compiled a guide to surviving this holiday season. From teachers’ gifts to recipes and unique finds we have you covered. Check our suggestions to get you in the holiday spirit…..

Just remember – deep breaths (and cocktails). We will get through this. Hopefully our survival guide will help ease some of the stress.

Fall Prevention Tips for Interiors

Falls can happen at any age and for any number of reasons. Loss of balance can occur from trip hazards, unexpected changes in elevation and compromised depth perception. I happen to come from a long line of “fallers” that can (and will!) fall without warning or provocation. So in honor of Fall Prevention Month we are sharing designer tips to minimize the fall risks in your interiors.

ORGANIZATION

Keep yourself organized. We live an extremely fast-paced life. Many times we are running in the house only to turn around a few minutes later and head right back out. This does not leave a lot of time to make sure everything you just brought in the house with you finds its way to the appropriate place. Take the time to get yourself organized and make the commitment to stay organized.

family entry lockers home organization

TIP: Keep entryways and walkways clear of clutter. Create built-in storage opportunities to keep items off the floor and ensure everything has its place.

LIGHTING

A thoughtfully considered lighting plan is key to any well-designed interior.  With our constant connection to technology our eyes are working harder than ever! Layer the levels of lighting (ambient, task and accent) within your space to create the ideal ambiance throughout the day and night.  Check out our blog post A Well Lit Interior for more on layering your lighting and inspiring applications.

led lighting on stairs

TIP: Keep hallways and stairways well lit.  The use of indirect lighting provides an all over glow that helps reduce glare and shadows that can affect your depth perception.

FLOORING

Consistency in material and/or material thickness will be the most beneficial considerations for this selection. Every flooring type has its pros and cons. It really is about using the materials you prefer and working with your designer and installer to determine the best product and application for your situation.

wood to tile threshold types

A raised and a flush transition.

TIP: The use of a single flooring materials throughout an entire residence is not necessarily realistic making transitions necessary to bridge the gap between the different materials thicknesses. Flush transitions are definitely preferred to a raised transition and tend to be more easily achievable in new construction than in a remodel.

TIP: When selecting a carpet the pile should be under 1/2 inch and a firm pad should be specified. Area rugs should always be secured to the floor tightly around the entire perimeter.

TIP: No tile can be entirely slip-proof there are industry tests and standards that determine the slip resistance of tiles. Next time you are in the market for tile consider a slip-resistant tile.

FALL FACTS – FROM THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION

  • Falls are the second leading cause of accidental or unintentional injury deaths worldwide.
  • Each year an estimated 646,000 individuals die from falls globally.
  • Adults older than 65 years of age suffer the greatest number of fatal falls.
  • 37.3 million falls that are severe enough to require medical attention occur each year.

Officer Matt Crosby

To say that I feel fortunate to be a part of the Srote & Co family would be a drastic understatement. I am so proud to be a part of this team and the work we produce, but mostly, I am proud of the people we are and what we stand for. For the past 19 months we have been working to design and build a home for paralyzed Rock Hill Police Officer – Matt Crosby.

JANUARY 2017 – HOW WE GOT INVOLVED

It started like every other morning- straight to the coffee pot and then to turn on the morning news for the weather and list of current accidents on 270. In general, the morning news serves as background noise but that day something caught my attention. It was an announcement for a Dine Out Event. This was January 2017 so I assumed the next words I heard would be “for Ballwin Police Office, Mike Flamion.” But instead they said “Rock Hill Police Officer, Matt Crosby.” My heart sank! I thought that another St. Louis officer had just been shot.  I immediately went online to get more information and came across an article from the St. Louis Post Dispatch.  Matt Crosby had not just been shot. In fact, he was shot nearly 7 years prior in the line of duty while responding to a domestic disturbance call.

As soon as I made it to the office that morning I shared what little I knew about Matt’s story with Dave Schaub and Robert Srote. I told them I wasn’t sure how I could help or even how to go about helping but wanted their okay to donate my time or services in whatever capacity they could be used. Without hesitation they told me absolutely and before I had figured out how to get in touch with the Crosby’s, Dave and Robert had decided that they would like to offer their architectural services if they were needed.

APRIL 8th, 2010 – THE SHOOTING

It was just another night on patrol for Officer Crosby until a domestic disturbance call came through in the late night hours. Crosby responded with his partner, Lt. Jorden Lewis. Upon arrival, they spotted the suspect as he ran back into his apartment. Crosby and Lewis approached the door, knocked and waited on the landing below. The suspect emerged with his hands at his side and then shot down at the officers with a .380. One bullet grazed Matt’s head, the other lodged in his spine. As a result of his injuries Matt is paralyzed from his chest down and his life and the life of his family has been forever changed.

A LONG ROAD AHEAD

To say the past 8 years have been difficult for the Crosby family would be an understatement. Matt has endured many setbacks and struggles and the psychological and physical healing continues today. As recently as July 2016, after a pressure wound developed under his leg from being left unattended too many nights in his wheelchair, Matt found himself at Mercy Hospital St. Louis for the first of three surgeries that would be required. When Dave, Robert and myself visited Matt for the first time in January of 2017, he was still bedridden recovering from these surgeries. He had literally spent the past 6 months of his life, in the back bedroom of his rental house, laying on his side. He was mentally and physically exhausted but still he  remained hopeful. Mostly due to a group of family, friends and complete strangers that call themselves The Crosby Crew, the very same group that organized the Dine Out Event that caught my attention!!! This amazing group of volunteers continue to raise funds and awareness on Matt’s behalf today.

IT TAKES A VILLAGE

Today Matt Crosby and his family’s lives are changing! Construction is underway on his new home and the foundation is nearing completion! This build truly is a labor of love and a testament to the spirit of St. Louis and its residents. In the years since Matt’s injury the Crosby’s have reached out to various organizations in an effort to provide him with an accessible home but to no avail. With no corporate sponsors or major donors associated with this effort we have turned to our local community to make this dream a reality. Dozens of local businesses have stepped up to give back and get involved in any way they can. As one of the people in our office who takes these calls I can tell you that I have been moved to tears by the generosity that has been extended.

GET BUSY LIVING, OR GET BUSY DYING

The line from Matt’s favorite movie is much more than a quote, it is the way he is living his life these days. Matt is in a unique situation and is using his experience to help others who would otherwise have no one that could relate to what they are going through. I firmly believe it was no coincidence that while Matt was at Mercy recovering from the first surgery on his pressure wound, a police officer from Ballwin was being rushed to the same hospital with severe gunshot wounds that would ultimately leave him paralyzed. That police officer was Mike Flamion. Matt met with Officer Flamion’s family and in many ways counseled them on what lay ahead.  Shortly after that experience, Matt found himself reaching out to the wife of Hazelwood Officer Craig Tudor after he was left paralyzed in an on duty traffic accident. It is hard to say what is in store for Matt Crosby in the coming years but today he is upbeat, positive, and an active participant in a life he is so thankful to have. In a recent post on the Friends of Officer Matt Crosby Facebook page, Matt had this to share –

“Today is my ALIVE day! 8 years ago today my life changed in the blink of an eye. I’ve endured so much during these last 8 years, but I am still standing (hold the jokes LOL). I’ve learned a lot about family, friends and definitely, myself! I’ve reignited my relationship with God and look at life in a whole different way. I thank God for keeping me on this earth and for blessing me with such amazing family and friends, without whom I wouldn’t be in such a positive place today! I feel I still have so much to offer the world. I strive to better myself and to be a better person everyday. Life is short people. So get busy living, while you still can! Live, love & laugh! “

HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED

Donations are still needed. A page has been set up for all material and labor donations on the Schaub & Co Architects – Officer Crosby Page.

To find out more about the Crosby Crew – Crosby Crew website or the Friends of Officer Matt Crosby Facebook page click on the links provided.

To stay up to date on the progress of the build follow Srote & Co on Instagram and Facebook for weekly construction updates.

REFERENCE MATERIALS

To learn more about Matt Crosby’s journey click on the links provided below –

Rock Hill police officer: ‘I’m still alive’

Paralyzed Rock Hill officer spends first year trying to cope

Confined to bed, disabled former Rock Hill police officer feels forgotten

Volunteers rallying to raise money for paralyzed Rock Hill officer

Cops and citizens look to help paralyzed Rock Hill officer with home improvements

Paralyzed Rock Hill officer to receive smart home

Groundbreaking for former Rock Hill officer’s accessible home

The Nature of Design

With what seems to be a never ending January in St. Louis I find myself desperate for sunshine on my skin, blooms on the trees and the chirping sounds of birds and crickets. As humans we have an innate connection to nature. We also spend, on average, 90% of our lives indoors with little to no connection to it. World populations are increasingly moving from rural to urban centers. With that comes more steel and concrete and less green spaces. So how do we fill the void while making a positive impact on our surroundings? That is where Biophilic Design comes in. It is the practice of incorporating nature in to our built environments and will continue to gain popularity as sustainability practices and urbanization trends build.

EFFECTS OF BIOPHILIC DESIGN

Research has shown that biophilic design reduces stress, promotes well-being, improves the ability to concentrate, boosts our creativity and expedites healing. Exhaustive research has been completed on the effects and applications of biophilic design. With all of the positive impacts it makes you wonder why more people aren’t embracing the principles in their own spaces. When you think about it more thought goes in to the habitats at our zoos than goes into creating our built environments.  For the purpose of this blog we are going to focus on a few ways to introduce the benefits of biophilic design in your home and office setting.

INCORPORATING BIOPHILIC DESIGN PRINCIPLES

Visual Connection to Naturea view of natural elements.group of potted indoor plants

Material Connection to Natureincorporating the use of materials and elements found in nature.natural fiber placemat

Presence of Water refers the ability to see, touch or hear the sound of water.indoor water feature

We would love to hear from you. Let us know how you are embracing nature in your space. Better yet, show us!

Spring Fever

One of the things I love most about living in the Midwest is getting to experience all 4 seasons. But right now I am Totally. Over. Winter. I can not wait for sunshine, Cardinal’s baseball, and less traffic on 270…. So basically the exact opposite of the current conditions in St. Louis. It is encouraging to see a few 60 degree days creeping into the forecast and before you know it we will be complaining about our allergies or how unbearable the heat is! Until we get there, here are a few things you can do right now to brighten your decor and spirits in anticipation of Spring.

SET THE SCENE

entry table with mirror and decorative accessoriesThe entry foyer is your first opportunity to introduce the overall vibe of your home to guests. This is typically one of the smaller spaces in the home so updating it is relatively inexpensive. You can use these suggestions to breathe life into your formal powder room too. For a quick fix I suggest – a new geometric or mutli-colored rug, introducing a fresh, clean scented candle or diffuser, and finishing it off with a few bright, fun accessories and a fresh floral to complete the look. Adding or switching out a piece of art with a mirror is a great way to brighten up and expand the space too!

TEXTILES & ACCESSORIES

Mixing in a few decorative pillows and accessories can make an immediate and noticeable impact. Remember we are just looking for a few statement pieces to get us through these next few weeks of Winter. Don’t dive in too quickly. The goal here is to not get overwhelmed and abandon the task. Quick fix – mix colored, patterned and textured pillows to create a look all your own, incorporate natural elements in the decor, and add a few pops of color throughout.seating area with bright and bold textiles and art

Are you counting down the days to nicer weather? We would love to know your tips and tricks that get you through these winter months. Already embracing spring decor? Show us what your favorite finds have been so far.

2018 Interior Trends

The trend forecast is always a bit tricky for me. I am not a designer that necessarily puts a lot of stock in the latest design trends. Actually, I don’t even have a specific design style I subscribe to. While trends are a great way to introduce consumers to products and materials they may not have had previous exposure to, at the end of the day your home should be an environment that reflects who you are and how you live. In years past I have turned to furniture and accessory markets, manufacturers websites, online publications and local showrooms to see what is on the design horizon. This year I am going to mix it up. My 2018 Interior Trend forecast is based on what I am experiencing with my clients in the St Louis Metro area.

LIGHTING

Lighting plays a major role in every project. In fact, one of the first considerations in the architectural design process is determining how the residence will be situated on the site, taking into consideration the orientation of the residence in relationship to the sun path. In addition to this natural lighting there are 3 main types of artificial lighting categories that should be incorporated. Check out our blog post A Well Lit Interior for more information on the different layers of lighting necessary for a properly illuminated space.

2 Trends In Lighting –

One is the embracing of LED technologies. I have to admit even I was intimidated by the ever-changing world of LED technology. We experienced such a rapid evolution in LED that just when you thought you knew what you were talking about the next greatest advancement had happened. I think we have finally begun to realize the potential and capabilities of LED and as a result have found the way to shape the conversation around the technology. Here are just a few of the ways LED is changing the lighting industry and our interiors.

LED tape lighting on stairs

Architecture by Srote & Co Architects

The other direction I see is maximizing the use of recessed lighting throughout a residence as the ambient source of light, and choosing your moments for a statement fixture. Areas that used to be a traditional location for a flush mount or pendant are now replaced with a recessed can light and sconces have become common place in bathrooms in lieu of the expected light bar.

MIXING FINISHES

One of the most often asked questions I get during the interior selection process is in regard to matching metal finishes. Do my door knobs need to match my plumbing fixtures? Should my plumbing and lighting fixtures be the same finish? It really depends on your aesthetic and the metals being considered. This bathroom is a perfect illustration of mixing gone right!vanity featuring mixed metal finishes

STATEMENT MIRRORS

Statement mirrors are a great way to add personality to any space and come in all sizes and price points. Besides the obvious function they provide, mirrors are a great way to expand spaces and break up the use of art in an area. The variety of frame styles and materials really allow you to make a statement without overpowering a space. Wayfair and Home Goods are two of my go-to resources when looking for readily available options. If you are not in a hurry Uttermost and Arteriors are great resources to explore.decorative accent mirror

2nd floor Laundry Room

I can’t believe it took us so long to realize that in a typical 1-1/2 story or 2 story home the majority of the laundry comes from the 2nd level. Why we spent years dragging all of it up and down the stairs is beyond me. In this scenario, the mudroom on the main level becomes dedicated to cubbies for storage and a planning zone with a stackable washer and dryer located in the owner’s suite. Laundry rooms are similar to formal powder rooms in that there are no rules when it comes to decorating them. It does not have to flow or communicate with the rest of the home so it is a fun place to take a risk. While laundry may not be the most exciting task doing it in one of these rooms sure would make it more enjoyable.

One’s To Watch

I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store for us! I have a few developing trends on my radar and am looking forward to seeing how much momentum they gain over the next 12 months. Our homes and the products we use in them continue to adapt and change to accommodate our fast paced lifestyles. With a renewed focus on health and well-being we are already seeing steam technology for cooking gaining popularity in our kitchen designs and the amazing health benefits it provides undeniable. Yoga and Pilates rooms, massage rooms, home gyms and saunas are becoming common place in our custom residences. We will see if it makes the list next year. Stay tuned!

Are you all ready incorporating any of these in your interior? We would love to see your space. If not, which one are you likely to try in 2018?

2017 Interior Trends Follow-Up

Every year I relentlessly scour my favorite magazines, manufacturers and online resources for new introductions in search of the next years “Next Big Thing”. It is that time of year again when we take a look back at our Interior Design Trends to see how well we did with our 2017 predictions. Stay tuned for our 2018 Forecast coming in January!

MIXING & MATCHING PATTERNS – While we did see mixing and matching it was mostly a textural difference than the bright, vibrant interiors featured below. As we continue to move through the gray and white craze we will certainly start to see some of these pops of colors making their way into our homes in 2018. HINT – Mixing and matching patterns becomes easier when anchored by a monochromatic or neutral backdrop.

ART-INSPIRED WALLPAPER – I should have said ALL WALLPAPER! 2017 was the year of wallpaper at Schaub + Srote. Large scale prints, grasscloth, and metallic finishes/embellishments made their way into almost every one of our projects. If you haven’t considered using a wallpaper recently I encourage you to take a look. It seems we all have a wallpaper memory of our childhood. Mine happens to be of my kitchen covered in country blue bows with ducks(and matching canisters for the countertop). I promise you these are not the papers that haunt your past!

NAVY AND DARK GREEN INTERIORS – It would be an understatement to say that Navy was a HIT! I really hope that the Dark Green picks up in popularity as we make our way through 2018. Both work great as a neutral and create a drama that can’t be found in brighter tones of the same colors. Although these were not selected as the color of the year by the leading paint companies they will be EVERYWHERE!

DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER!

Here are a few of the design trends we will say goodbye to in 2017 –

POLISHED METALS – So many amazing finishes were introduced to the market in 2017- all with a matte or brushed finish. Aged Pewter, Carbon, Architectural Bronze and Shadow are just a few that are featured in the new Waterworks catalog. Polished finishes haven’t completely disappeared they are just being layered with other finishes for visual interest.

“Warm metals like copper, brass and rose gold will continue to be on trend for autumn/winter 2016, but as we move into summer 2017 you’ll see a shift away from this super polished look,” says Diane Cocksey, Senior Interior Decorator at Freedom. “I expect you’ll see a more industrial aesthetic, with black steel and burnished metals taking over the home.”

MARBLE HOUSEWARES – While I do not see the marble countertop trend coming to an end anytime soon, I think we have cycled through the marble-everywhere phase. I have to admit I am a sucker for a marble and wood serving platter or cutting board but I am ready for the next big thing in housewares. Stay tuned for our 2018 Trend Forecast to see what that will be.

While marble is all the rage in the mass-produced homewares market, we can soon expect a sharp decline in interest. In 2017, be on the lookout for earthy textures like timber, clay and wicker to take its place.

FIDDLE LEAF FIGS ARE OUT, OLIVE TREES ARE IN – The trend is certainly still leaning toward bringing the outside in. I  find the Fiddle Leaf Fig to be extremely popular and I happen to be a fan. Incorporating natural elements in your space is a designer must have. Just be sure to pick whatever reflects your style and fits the scale of your space. Those are the only rules.

I am struggling with this one! Fiddle Leaf Figs are EVERYWHERE. EVERY. WHERE. Cost, maintenance and lifespan are cited as the major factors for the decline in popularity.

How do you think we did on these predictions for 2017.

Which trends did you love or leave?

Any prediction for 2018?

Alternative Windows and Doors

Today I want to discuss a newer wave of doors and windows that steer clear of the traditional looks and functionality we’ve seen in the past. Pivot, garage, and folding doors and windows have become hugely popular over the last 5 or so years and I believe the trend will continue to thrive. They not only offer your home design a unique, custom look, they allow for unobstructed views to the outdoors. Read about each option and see some of our favorite photos below.

PIVOT DOORS

Instead of hanging from hinges on a door frame as a traditional door would, pivot doors rotate on a set of pins mounted at the top and bottom of the door. Pivot doors appear to float in their frames and can provide a clean, modern and luxurious look for your space. These doors typically have a generous opening, much wider than the traditional doors you’re used to seeing.

GARAGE DOORS

Garage doors are no longer limited to protecting your vehicle. “Pull-up” doors as they are also called are a great way to create flexible spaces for socializing and letting the outdoors in! Whether acting as a retractable living space partition between rooms, as a window wall or exterior door alternative, garage doors are a unique feature and function to a home’s design.

FOLDING DOORS & WINDOWS

In traditional sliding door applications we are left with half of the door opening being blocked by a closed door. Folding, accordion-style doors allow for an almost completely open door frame. This type of door really allows the outside to become an extension of the home. They look especially beautifully when they span the entire length of a wall. Another great look is incorporating folding glass windows for a kitchen pass-through/walk-up bar!

What are your thoughts on these alternatives? Let me know in the comments!