Restoring Character and Charm

Homeowners find remodeling their historic home a rewarding experience.

By Gina Parsons

Photography by Anne Matheis

Kitchen Design: Dana King Design Build Remodeling


    Jimmy Rohrbaugh and Ignacio Lopez Costa love the character and charm of the old houses in St. Louis, particularly the historic houses in the Central West End and DeBaliviere Place areas.  “To us these homes are aesthetically more appealing than new construction, and we also love the history that comes with them,” Ignacio says. “Neither of us is a big fan of open floor plans and prefer to have distinct rooms with unique qualities. That’s something these old houses have that new construction often lacks.” 

Built in 1907, the house they purchased on Kingsbury Place in 2017 was livable, but looked a bit beaten-up and in need of updates. However, they absolutely loved the layout and flow of the rooms and thought it had tons of potential in its bones.

First, they refinished and repaired the floors of the entire house, then moved on to fixing the plaster and settling on a paint color palette. “After that we moved in, and slowly let the house speak to us before deciding on light fixtures, furniture, decor, et cetera,” Ignacio says.  

Updates to flooring, wainscoting, light fixtures, walls and other components either reinstilled some of the original dignity of the house or overwrote updates from the 1970s to 1990s.

They both love to cook and entertain, so the kitchen remodel was most important and is the biggest project so far. “We took our time before tackling the remodel of this kitchen, thinking carefully how to make it perfect for us,” Ignacio says.

They hired Dana King Design Build Remodeling to design and manage the kitchen remodel. Dana King designer Renna Barnes worked closely with them, to customize the remodeling elements and features to match their needs and taste.

The centerpiece of the kitchen, a two-level island, incorporates granite, with a walnut eating area. “It welcomes you to sit down, to entertain. It’s a great place to interact with people,” Dana says.

New appliances include a wine cooler and a Thermador range with multi-function heating settings. The steam setting bakes bread beautifully, Dana says.

Jimmy and Ignacio wanted white kitchen cabinets but didn’t want it to feel sterile, so the design integrated warm-toned walnut shelving plus blue accents. A mixture of metal tones gives a curated look. The kitchen remodel took about four months from demolition to completion and was worth it. “We are in love with our kitchen,” Ignacio says.

Jimmy and Ignacio say the remodel on the home never really ends. Their advice for fellow remodelers? “Find your style and don’t be afraid of a challenge,” Ignacio says. “Remodeling old houses can certainly be daunting, but we find it much easier and manageable when done in stages rather than all at once. We did have plenty of ‘uh-oh, what have we gotten ourselves into!’ moments, but it’s been overall a very rewarding experience and we couldn’t love the house more!”



Kitchen Design: Dana King Design Build Remodeling