Famous last words: “Remodeling a home will be much faster than building one.”
After selling their antebellum home in Lexington, Missouri, the Langdons moved to Parkville in 2008. With a large blended family, they eventually welcomed three grandchildren and realized they needed a bigger home. When they saw a house, built in 2000, for sale in the golf course community The National, they decided to buy it, renovate, and add on another wing.
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It just took longer than they thought it would.
“I love wood,” says Bob, an attorney with Langdon & Emison. From his farm near Lexington, he brought in walnut for the flooring on the main level, installed by Acme Floor Company, and oak for the upper level. Bredehoeft Millworks in Higginsville, Missouri, did the custom milling.
He also wanted the house to be casual with an open plan, but with fine antiques the couple has collected on their travels. “And we wanted plenty of room for the kids to have their friends over,” he says. The new wing provides bedrooms and hangout areas.
Margie, a realtor and the owner of the former Lexington Antique Company, envisioned “a livable house,” she says, “to let us entertain more people.” She adds, “We all love to cook.” Five kitchens—including the main kitchen, one for the kids, the lower level, outdoors and in the pool house—let everybody whip up an omelet, sear a steak, or grill a panini.
Working first with Bill Prelogar and then Kiley Darden of NSPJ Architects, the Langdons turned a suburban home into their true castle, with Missouri roots and European heritage. “The original home was a mix of styles,” says Darden. “The addition of the wing was a big challenge to fit on the site, but I love creative problem-solving.”
With all the details and the computer-assisted design (CAD), the project involved lots of site visits. “It meant not just checking, but quadruple checking,” says Darden with a laugh, “but it was a blast to work on.”
It all comes together when you walk in the front door and eye the wrought iron staircase. “We visited Blenheim Palace, Winston Churchill’s boyhood home in England, and took a photo of a staircase there, then had KC Forged replicate it for us,” says Bob.
To the right is Bob’s office, where his collection of Winchester rifles displayed above the fireplace recalls Missouri pioneer days. An antique mantel, the catalyst for the tone of the wood throughout the house, had to be retrofitted to work with the firebox, but blends seamlessly. An ornately framed oil of a sylvan scene by nineteenth-century European artist Jacobus Johannes van Poorten once hung in Margie’s antique store.
The master bedroom, in soft blues and French toile, features a heavily carved bedstead flanked by two antique French marble-topped side tables. Across the room, an Empire chest from 1848 Missouri blends right in. A contemporary painting, a Mother’s Day gift from Bob to Margie, was purchased on a trip to Hawaii.
In the master bath, cream cabinetry with an antique glaze is finished with French-style hardware from P. E. Guerin in New York City. Countertops in dark labradorite shift color as the light changes throughout the day. “It was expensive,” admits Margie, “but we reworked the design to make the best use of it.”
In the great room, a French Louis XVI armoire—from the time of Marie Antoinette—with a dome top and bird finials was purchased from an auction when a noted Beacon Hill French antique dealer retired. “We were in Boston and stayed an extra few days for the auction,” says Margie. Matching pale-blue velvet sofas invite conversation and cozy up to the double-sided fireplace.
In the dining room, a narrow antique table found in New Orleans nestles under a chandelier with cobalt glass that Margie found in San Francisco.
An Italian majolica pot from a trip to Ravello, Italy, provided the color scheme for the kitchen—blues, greens, with hints of yellow. The Langdons gave Roy King a photo of a carved antique piece and he replicated it in the dark wood cabinetry from British Traditions. Granite with a subtle wave of blue tops the generous island and kitchen counters. A French blue Lacanche range with multiple burners has a range hood in a marble and limestone mix by Francois & Company in Atlanta.
The kitchen flows into the hearth room, where the Francois & Company hearth features the Langdon family crest. A portrait, one of two oil paintings by Indulis Ranka, a Latvian artist who later turned to sculpture, is another souvenir of far-flung travels. “It’s one of Bob’s favorites,” says Margie.
In the kids’ gathering area, a double bookcase holds Bob’s collection of German steins and smokers. On the ceiling, CAD drawings mapped out the space for real plaster embellishments, created at Decorator’s Supply in Chicago and applied on-site. An 1844 Hungarian painted wedding trunk adds to the mix.
On the lower level, architect Kiley Darden had the biggest challenge in leveling out the floor and creating a coffered ceiling that hides functional ductwork and wiring. A long table of reclaimed wood from Nell Hill’s offers a dining spot, while the wine cellar with room for a thousand bottles is close at hand. A huge rectangular bar in a graphic- patterned granite lets the Langdons entertain large crowds. An antique print of a George Caleb Bingham painting of early Missouri hangs above the fireplace, ingeniously resurfaced. “Kiley showed me a cut-out of me standing next to the fireplace so I could see from the design how big it would be,” says Margie.
“Our house really says who we are. We love our family and we love our travels, and we want everyone to be comfortable here,” says Margie.
Kiley Darden, NSPJ Architects
Marsha Marsden, Madden McFarland Interiors
KC Forged & Custom Iron Works
Furniture & Accessories