Happy Place

With a history of inspired collaborations, a homeowner and designer reunite to create an enchanting cottage fit for the grandkids.

By Jeanne Delathouder

Photography by Karen Palmer

Interior Design by MKS Designs


After creating six homes together, it’s safe to say that interior designer Maggie Jewell of MKS Designs and her long-time client are perfectly in sync with each other’s styles. Their most recent endeavor, a jewel box of a home nestled in the charming St. Louis neighborhood of Glendale, looks like a colorful dream come to life. The homeowner, a St. Louis resident of 27 years, had recently relocated to Florida to enjoy life on the coast. But when her daughter married, settled down in Glendale and was awaiting her first child, this grandmother-to-be had a change of heart. She knew that once her granddaughter was born, she would want a house nearby to watch her grow and, as she puts it, “do all the fun GiGi life with her.” So, the first thing she did was call on her faithful designer and friend, Maggie Jewell. 

“I knew she would know exactly how to turn one of these Kirkwood/Glendale charmers into something special just for me,” says the homeowner. “So I purchased a cozy cottage with classic painted white brick and black shutters, and I couldn’t get over how quickly I fell in love with this quaint and quiet street. The neighborhood is full of families walking dogs, children playing, and friendly neighbors. Plus, it’s just a quick six-minute walk to my daughter’s house, which is the most exciting part.” 

The owner and Maggie quickly got to work deciding what walls would stay and how they could open up the spaces to make the house more open and usable. “After walking through the home for the first time, I knew I wanted to keep the original feel but make it more functional,” says the designer. “We completely moved the kitchen into what was formerly the sitting room and took down walls to make the home more welcoming. The owner knew she wanted to incorporate hues of purple, so I ran with that to create a bright and airy feel. Using different textures, patterns and bright colors really brought this home to life.”

The design duo knew the kitchen was the first big decision they needed to tackle for this project. It was a tiny galley kitchen that had no storage or counter space. The sink was the size of a prep sink with no room for dishes, and there wasn’t an island for gathering around, eating, and socializing. “That is very important to me,” says the homeowner. “I love a kitchen that is open to the great room where everyone is hanging out and watching TV. That is why the kitchen and butler’s pantry are the highlights of this renovation and turned out to be the team’s biggest challenge. There were walls everywhere that closed the rooms off from one another. In addition, there was an exterior wall that couldn’t be removed or moved and two additional walls that created a separate dining room and TV area. So, they had to decide what walls would come down and move to open up all these areas.

They called on Mike Beck from BeckAllen Cabinetry to help them create the kitchen and butler’s pantry spaces. He figured out how to incorporate an island, larger sinks and lots of creative storage. Their plan for an open-concept kitchen, dining and living area soon became a reality. “I couldn’t believe how the downstairs had completely transformed,” says the homeowner. “Once we had selected all the kitchen cabinets and appliances, I left the rest of the project in Maggie’s hands. I told her I wanted to have an experience similar to an HGTV redo and reveal—and it was so much fun!”

“I was able to fully embrace my creative side with this project as the owner is not afraid of mixing colors, patterns and design elements,” says Maggie. “I like to mix antique and vintage furniture with new pieces, and she gave me full reign to design the home how I saw it. As a result, I feel each space was created to be a happy and warm place for all to enjoy.” 

Maggie implemented several special features into the home, including a custom banquette and two vintage Murano lemon chandeliers. In addition, she opted for a custom sofa from Expressions Furniture that is ideal for lounging and placed a vintage settee in the sunroom from Warson Woods Antique Mall that she had reupholstered. Beautiful lacquered pieces from Resplendent Crow decorate the sunroom and both bedrooms upstairs. “We also displayed original artwork and custom rugs throughout for a signature look,” notes Maggie.

Every detail was carefully considered—even the closet spaces. Since the owner loves to have organized, finished closets, they called on Jenny Elfrink of New Space Inspired Home Organization to design plans that would maximize all the closet spaces in the home. Almost anywhere you look, creative solutions were applied to nearly every square inch of this house. 

When the owner returned to St. Louis to finally come and see the finished remodel, she admits she was completely in awe of how Maggie had taken this house and turned it into a home. The massive banquette she had custom-built fit precisely into her dining area and created an intimate space for both morning coffee and big family dinners. The Murano lemon chandelier that hangs above the table lends the perfect touch to all the cheery bright pillows that accent the banquette. Maggie had also taken the time to hang the owner’s beloved house prayer right beside the front door. The choices of lighting and wallpaper — along with the grandeur of the art — truly bring each room to life. In addition, several original works by Madison Summerlin, one of the owner’s favorite artists, bring meaningful beauty to the home’s interiors. 

“Every space has its own personality, and each room invites you to sit, relax and let small details weave a story,” says the homeowner. “These pictures highlight the best of my cozy cottage, but you have to experience it in person to feel the vibrance and true joy of this home.”   


Interior Design by MKS Designs

Kitchen Beck/Allen Cabinetry

Kitchen Russo Stone Design

Antiques Warson Woods Gallery