Fans of midcentury modern architecture for its open floor plans and easy flow, Dan and Karen Bruns wanted to find a ranch home in the style and had been collecting midcentury modern furniture for some time.
They found it in 2016 when they were looking to move from their Lindenwood Park home to a bigger home for their growing family, with twin daughters, Cece and Rosie, now 6.
The 1963-built raised ranch home they found will be featured on ModernSTL’s “The Heart of Crestwood Tour — From Midcentury to Modern” on May 14.
Dan grew up in Crestwood and his parents still live there, so when they stumbled upon this house, the location was a good fit, though it wasn’t necessarily love at first sight. While the house had been well maintained and was in good shape, it didn’t exactly fit their style. The rooms were all carpeted and wallpapered, and heavy draperies covered the windows. Yet Karen was able to look past the décor to see the potential.
“I convinced him,” she says. “We came and looked at this house and didn’t put an offer on it until a month later. There was a contract on it that fell through, so we came back and looked again.”
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One of the biggest selling points was the main suite addition, which was built in the 1970s with exposed brick, vaulted ceilings, a fireplace and a sliding door leading to a small deck. Karen loved the space so much that she briefly considered using it as the main living room, though now thoroughly appreciates having it as a private retreat.
The open living and dining room off the foyer features a wall of windows, allowing the space to flood with light during the day. Raised over the garage, it feels like a perch, overlooking the street below. “I love how the trees are always changing,” Dan says of the view.
The room is filled with the midcentury modern furniture and art the couple has collected over the years, mostly purchased at estate sales and on Facebook Marketplace.
On the other side of the living room wall is a cozy family room and a newly remodeled kitchen, which the Brunses completed in October 2021. While the kitchen was originally connected to the family room and dining room, the doorways were small and it felt closed off. They opened it completely to the family room and widened the opening to the dining room for an easier flow. They vaulted the ceiling and added beams to match those in the family room, making it feel even more spacious.
A consultant from Kitchen and Bath Design in Kirkwood helped the Brunses select and design the layout of the thermally fused laminate cabinets. They chose quartz countertops in white for the main work area and black for the new center island. A special custom panel was added to the end of the island and painted bright turquoise for a pop of color. Four stools tuck under the island dining space, where the family spends a lot of time hanging out, playing games and listening to music together. What once felt like a dark and closed-off space has become the heart of the home.
“It feels like it was always meant for this,” Dan says.
The rest of the projects the Brunses have undertaken have been DIY and mostly cosmetic changes. They pulled up carpeting throughout the house and restored the original hardwood floors. In the family room, they stained the original floating wood fireplace mantle. Karen considered painting the brick wall behind it, but has grown fond of the color variations that match the home’s exterior. “I’m glad Dan talked me out of it,” she says.
In one of the spare bedrooms, Dan and Karen created what they call an “adult chill room” with a record player, a small table for puzzles and other activities and a small nook, originally filled with shelves, that they turned into a built-in bench seat with storage created by Karen’s dad.
A fully finished basement playroom allows Cece and Rosie plenty of space to spread out with their toys, and exits to the garage. Karen recently updated the basement bathroom and plans to relocate the laundry room to the main floor as a next project.
The Brunses really love living in the Crestwood area, especially as their girls grow, and enjoy taking them to Crestwood Park and Laumeier Scultpure Park, both nearby. Karen’s parents also recently moved to the neighborhood just few blocks away, and the family has made friends with nearby neighbors, several of which will also have their homes on the upcoming tour. Dan and Karen look forward to sharing their home with other midcentury modern fans.
Ages • Dan is 41, and Karen is 40.
Occupations • Both are nurses. Karen is a case manager at an insurance company, and Dan works at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
Family • They have 6-year-old twin daughters, Cece and Rosie.
Photos: At home in Crestwood, a mid-century modern home is on the house tour
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