Last week the Landmarks Association honored Mr. and Mrs. Egon Schwarz on the renovation of their Harris Armstrong house in Oakland, Missouri (Kirkwood Area). Mr Schwarz and his late wife, Dorothea, convinced Harris Armstrong to built their home on a Washington University professor's income. At first Harris said "no"....professors did not have enough money or taste to hire him, though Dorothea was persistent. The house became a little worn over the years and recently Egon and family decided to renovate the home. The home is elegant and now preserved for the future. Read more HERE
Last Sunday I went to The Sheldon's benefit- Places of the Spirit. We toured The Priory Church- designed by Gyo Obata of HOK, Temple Emanuel- designed by William Bernoudy, The Sheldon- designed by Louis C. Spiering and The Ethical Society- designed by Harris Armstrong. Did you know that The Sheldon was the first Ethical Society? I had never been in the new Ethical Society on Clayton Rd in Richmond Heights. It was a treat to see! Here are some pictures:
Check out this stunning Harris Armstrong house this Sunday. Very tranquil. Bring your swimsuit!
Preview this lovely home HERE
Stunning Harris Armstrong designed contemporary built in 1948. Located in an enclave of several Armstrong houses. This cedar home sits on a private, lushly landscaped .78 acre lot that will remind you of something you would see in the Pacific NW. Many large windows that let the light in and provide stunning views of your yard. Sleek, sophisticated kitchen adjoins a breakfast room which overlooks the backyard. The kitchen features a 6-burner Viking range with double ovens, a Sub-zero refrigerator, plenty of cabinets, granite counters and a breakfast bar. Family room off of the kitchen features a wood-burning stove. Separate Dining Room with a screened porch off of it that leads to the pool area. The second floor features a loft area and a family room with a corner fireplace. The main house includes 3+ bedrooms and 3.5 baths. Slate tile on the first floor and upstairs is hardwood and bamboo flooring. There is also a delightful guesthouse/studio with a full shower bath, woodburning stove and pine plank floor beside the 2 car detached garage. Lovely, large pool is featured in the backyard surrounded by a deck.
Open Sunday, June 2nd 1-3 PM
Listed by Ted Wight, Dielmann Sotheby’s International Realty, 314-607-5555
200 S Sappington was the 3rd and final residence that Harris Armstrong built for his family. The architectural diagram states that it was a home built for his wife.
The gardens are lovely and expansive. They have Chinese Larch trees in the yard which came from ancestors brought over for the 1904 World's Fair. I dug up two small saplings to start in my garden. They are very rare in this part of the country, though are prolific in the Armstrong conclave of S. Sapplington and Sappington Spur.
By chance, I contacted the owner of this important home to see if he would be interested in selling it. I was prompted by a Buyer who loved the home, though decided it was not for her. Well, I immediately thought of another Buyer who was hot and heavy for a cool, architectural house. We put the house under contract off of the market.
The home is going to be lovingly care for by this young, fashionable couple.
Architecture and historian, Andrew Raimist, wrote a nice blog post about the Harris Armstrong house located at 9999 Litzsinger in Ladue that is currently on the market.
Listed by Gina Bundy, Gladys Manion, 314-721-4755
Click HERE to read about this important home.
Yesterday I went through this stunning house in Ladue designed by Harris Armstrong. I just loved it. A true masterpiece. It sits on 3 acres in Ladue, so I am fearful that someone may want the lot.
"One of St. Louis' treasures by renowned architect Harris Armstrong, this property was designed totally around the idea of being a passive solar home. The expansive 49' great room provides the perfect setting for any gathering with its floor to ceiling glass walls providing serene views bringing the outdoors in. Multiple seating areas are all brought together by the impressive limestone fireplace set centerstage. The divided flr plan includes 4 bedrms (3 with flr to ceiling windows); The master suite and 2 bedrms with a Jack & Jill bath at one end, and a 4th bedroom suite on the other, adjoining the kitchen perfect for nanny or in-law quarters. The efficient L-shaped kitchen boasts stainless counters, 2 stainless sinks, white Geneva cabinets and tile flr. The lower level sports a rec room with stone fireplace, wet bar and terrazzo floors with built in shuffle board, powder room and walks out to an area perfect for pool. Another feature, 3-car garage plus carport for additional parking." $1,265,000
Listed by Gina Bundy, Gladys Manion, 314-721-4755
Last Summer I had the treat to visit with Egon and Irene Schwarz at their Harris Armstrong house in Oakland. Amy Burger from the Post was looking for a unique home with interesting owners....and I knew she had to meet the Schwarzs and see their lovely home.
Read Amy Burger's article in the Post Dispatch HERE.
My photos from last year can be seen HERE
"Unique mixed use property on the edge of Downtown Clayton. Originally designed by famed architect Harris Armstrong. Medical space on first floor and apartment on upper level. Large storage area in basement. Medical features seven exam rooms, two baths and large private office. Apartment features two bedroom, two bathrooms, laundry room and balcony with city views." $1,175,000
Listed by John Mathews, Dielmann Sotheby's International Realty, 314-725-0009
"This gorgeous mid-century multi-level home was designed by famous modernist architect Harris Armstrong, one of 8 tucked away on a quiet cul de sac, honored by Kirkwood as a Neighborhood of Distinction. Beautifully renovated while remaining true to Armstrong's original design, this home offers a fantastic open floor plan, soaring vaulted ceilings & lovely oak floors. Sunlight fills the spacious living room, with gas log fireplace & glass doors leading out to the private deck. The kitchen features 42 in. Kraftmaid maple cabinets, newer appliances, slate flooring, large pantry & convenient breakfast bar which opens to the living room & large dining area. Seven steps up to 3 spacious vaulted bedrooms & updated bath. Seven steps down to family rm, full bath & possible 4th sleeping rm. Add'l features include zoned HVAC, newer plumbing, windows & electric & 2 car garage." $239,900
Listed by Jane Spooner Keller Williams Realty St Louis 314-677-6434
Yesterday I had the treat of touring the Schwarz House designed by Harris Armstrong. The original owner still lives in the house and as you will see when viewing the photos....lived/lives a rich life. I was a little distracted at first looking at his MCM furniture and interesting art. I also got distracted and wandered through his garden, which was so pleasant....the Virginia Blue Bells were just opening up! The house is one of Armstrong's frame houses that features vaulted ceilings and plenty of windows. The house is renovated, so excuse the scaffolding. This house is not for sale.
The stunning Harris Armstrong home located at 3 Sappington Spur in Oakland, MO has officially changed hands. It was sold for $662,500. Read more about the house and Harris Armstrong HERE.
The home was listed by Mary Schwabe, Prudential Alliance Realtors, 314-997-7600
The house located at 3 Sappington Spur in Oakland just had a major price reduction from $800,000 to $699,000. Check out this LINK for more pics of this fabulous house and some of his other masterpieces. This pic is of the fabulous Master Bed Room that was renovated to include a wink to Harris Armstrong's ceiling in the Magic Chef Building on Kingshighway.....the U Haul location now.
Listed by Mary Schwabe, Prudential Alliance Realtors, 314-997-7600
Magic Chef Building Ceiling
This special 1930's international-styled house was designed by the famous Harris Armstrong. He lived in this house and developed an enclave of modernist homes in his cul-de-sac. Make sure that you look at yesterday's post for pics of the outside. Also check the Harris Armstrong link on the left column of this blog to see more of his great designs.
Check out the wonderful Harris Armstrong house that he built for himself! The owners of this house have been great stewards and have preserved and updated this house with care. It has gorgeous gardens, a view of Westborough's golf course and a pool.
More pics and info HERE
Come back tomorrow for some interior shots.
"Harris Armstrong designed this office building which was commissioned by the orthodontist Dr. Leo M. Shanley. The Shanley building was the first expression of the International style in this part of the country. Its design won Armstrong a silver medal at the Paris Exposition of 1937."
Check the blog tomorrow for a pictures of the house Harris Armstrong lived in himself.
Today I am featuring some of the houses designed by Harris Armstrong.
18 Jamestown Acres, Florissant
512 Woodleaf, Kirkwood
501 Woodleaf, Kirkwood
529 Woodleaf, Kirkwood
1 Sappington Spur, Oakland
951 Revere Dr. Town & Country
This interesting home has recently gone on the market in Kirkwood for $349,900. The owners think it may have been designed by Harris Armstrong. It does look like his design and is the right vintage.
I will check with Harris Armstrong expert, Andrew Raimist, and see what he says. Check back for an update!
Listed by Greg Leber, ReMax Premiere Realty 314-609-7390
Check out this LINK to find out more about this great Harris Armstrong home. It is not for sale now, though it is interesting to see this home and how it is similar to the Cori Home that Harris Armstong built in Glendale on Berry Road.
The Cori Home on Berry Road in Glendale.
Harris Armstrong is known for some of his modern buildings, like The Ethical Society on Clayton Road in Richmond Heights. Earlier in his career he was more traditional. Here is a charming 1937 Kirkwood home built with remnants of Laclede Landing.....brick, cobblestones,etc.
Okay modernist home fans....you can now buy an original Harris Armstrong deco home built in 1937. The home is only $65,000 and is located 158 miles from St. Louis in Moberly, Missouri. Wouldn't it be fun to have as a weekend get-a-way?
3 bedrooms, 1600 sq ft, 2/3rd an acre...the home needs some preservation....carpeting over wood floors, siding over the original siding...shutters added....though these modifications can be easily reversed.
This home needs a savior. I can only imagine what someone will do to this house that does not appreciate unique, modern architecture.
Check out this link for some pictures: ARMSTRONG
Architect Andrew Raimist brought this house to my attention. I asked him, "Why is there a Harris Armstrong modern house way out in Moberly?" He responded:
" I suspect the "story" behind this house is rather interesting indeed. The house is unusual for many reasons: it's design, it's client, it's location, and the fact that Armstrong did not seem to have taken any pictures nor published any articles about it.
In being an International Style / Art Deco / Art Moderne influenced design made a great deal of sense in relation to Armstrong's having won a Silver Medal from the French Government for the Shanley Building (Clayton, 1935) at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts) that year (i.e., 1937). Armstrong designed very few houses in this mode: using white stucco, flat roof, cantilever, and other European modernist attributes. The closest examples would be two cubic white painted brick homes: the Cori Residence in Glendale of 1935 and the Deffaa Residence in South Saint Louis of 1937.
The design is striking in its strong emphasis on the garage as the house's most striking visual element. In the 1930s, the design of garages on homes typically involved hiding the car altogether or creating garages that appeared to be carriage houses. Armstrong's love of long classic cars (see photo of Armstrong with his Rolls Royce) is reflected in the design although I don't know what sort of car the house's client owned. Armstrong's rendering for the Shanley Building published in 1935 features just such a car.
The client for the house was apparently a husband and wife with the family name Green. Armstrong's drawings for the house do not indicate the client's name nor the house's address. The set of construction documents is simply titled "A House to be Built in Moberly, Missouri." Why the name and location of the house were kept "secret" is a mystery.
Some possible explanations for Armstrong's apparent lack of acknowledgment and promotion of the project include:
Regardless the reason for the house's anonymity, Armstrong was careful to save the drawings and specifications for the project in his office files following his retirement from active practice in 1967 (some thirty years later). The perspective sketch of the house is taken from the title page of the specifications for its construction.
Some anecdotal, unsubstantiated stories from a recent owner of the house suggest the idea for an overtly modernist house in a rural town in mid-Missouri was the wife's idea. It seems Mr. Green was reasonably successful financially. He may have married someone from a more "cultured" urban part of the country. Apparently she was either trained as an interior designer or was fascinated with the Art Deco mode of interior design that was then viewed as being up-to-date and cosmopolitan.
After having made a substantial investment in the design and construction of the house, it seems the Greens didn't remain there for more than a year or two. Whether this was due to business opportunities, financial difficulties, personal issues, or other problems is not known.
Although Armstrong designed works throughout the Midwest and by the end of his career, throughout the United States, the Moberly house seems unusual in being located in a largely rural town far removed from Missouri's major metropolitan centers (Saint Louis and Kansas City). While Moberly is today within commuting distance of Columbia (where the University of Missouri is located), I'm not sure the roads of the 1930s in that area would have allowed for that kind of regular automobile transportation.
The house stands out dramatically contrasting the other homes and buildings in Moberly. Facing onto a substantial farm, the horizontal line of the garage and its cantilevered roof seem to relate the house to it's site in relatively flat, plains landscape. A railroad track cuts diagonally across the area, bringing a note of modernity and industry to this generally rural area. Some local residents have suggested the unusual house was known as the "Boat House" for many years, probably due to certain details that suggest a steamship such as pipe railings and an external spiral stair.
Armstrong was adept at documenting, photographing, and publicizing his work. Especially during the 1930s during the Depression, he was constantly looking to find clients sympathetic to modernist design. Making a living designing modern buildings in the generally conservative atmosphere of Saint Louis at the time was practically impossible without other means of support. Armstrong's wife Louise sold real estate and took on other jobs to help keep their small family fed and housed.
So why this project was simply known as "House to be Built in Moberly, Missouri" without photographs or other documentation remains a mystery. Perhaps evidence of the Green family, their business, and activities in the area are known to some area residents or recorded in a library or historical society.
I'm looking forward to the house being purchased by a sympathetic owner who might uncover more of the house's secrets and bring it back to a state allowing for its proper appreciation and enjoyment."