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Holly Hills home bursts with color and retro-inspired design
At home with Bridgette and Ian Fyvie

Holly Hills home bursts with color and retro-inspired design

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If the decorative bowling balls outside Bridgette and Ian Fyvie’s home in Holly Hills doesn’t foreshadow what’s inside the house, maybe the “A Christmas Story” leg lamp glowing from the front window will.

Real estate agent Bridgette Fyvie describes her style as eclectic, retro-inspired and “maximalist — definitely not minimalist.”

Bridgette and Ian Fyvie bought their home in April of 2020 from the daughter of the original owners. They fell in love with the fixtures and charms of the house which had barely changed since its original construction in 1926. They have added splashes of themselves to the house as well with bright paint and wall paper to make walls and cabinets stand out. They consider their style to be midcentury modern mixed with whatever else they find interesting or appealing. Video by Colter Peterson, cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

Bright colors pop throughout the house. The Fyvies’ color palette ranges from bright greens to mustard yellows and hot pinks. In the kitchen, the Fyvies painted their cabinets a vibrant Fiestaware red. A pop-art Hank Williams overlooks the living room where furniture spans from a dark yellow accent chair to a tufted emerald-green sofa.

Before she became a real-estate agent at Garcia Properties, Bridgette Fyvie owned ShopHullabaloo Vintage, a vintage clothing and accessories company, for 14 years. During her vintage clothing searches, she also picked up furniture and decorations that largely garnish her house today.

On one kitchen wall, Bridgette installed jungle-themed wallpaper. Its pattern includes parrots with crowns, salamanders with top hats and muskrats reading books.

Stepping into the Fyvies’ kitchen feels like entering a diner in the 1950s. A vintage formica table sits to the side, records from some of the Fyvies’ favorite musicians hang on the walls. The only thing missing is doo-wop music booming from a jukebox.

A colorful, eclectic Holly Hills bungalow

In the kitchen, records from some of the Fyvies’ favorite artists hang above the cabinets. The couple painted the house’s original cabinets a bright red inspired by Fender guitars and 1950s automobiles.

Colter Peterson, cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

The Fyvies’ house was built in 1929. Only one other family owned the house, the father of which was a “very skilled handyman,” according to Bridgette. So, when the Fyvies moved into the house last April, it needed very few repairs. However, the damages that did need mending weren’t easy to fix, like the house’s plaster walls.

Textured, cream-colored plaster lines every wall on the ground floor of the Fyvie home. Almost every house in the city was originally built with plaster walls, Bridgette says, but few were fashioned with the raised, bumpy texture like the plaster in the Fyvie home.

“It’s beautiful, but when things happen to the walls, you’re sort of screwed,” Bridgette says. “We had to get plumbing work done and knock out one of the walls and rebuild it. There are only two people in St. Louis who can still do that kind of work. It’s like an art now.”

Another dying art repair: the vitrolite in the kitchen and upstairs bathroom. Vitrolite is a pigmented glass that homeowners commonly used in the 1920s and ’30s. In the Fyvies’ kitchen, milky green vitrolite tiles line the far right wall. In the upstairs bathroom, green, rectangular vitrolite tiles clash with baby pink walls.

Thanks to the house’s previous owner, most of the Fyvie house’s vitrolite remained intact. Despite vitrolite’s aesthetic appeal, it’s incredibly hard to repair, Bridgette says. Very few people work with vitrolite anymore. For repairs, the Fyvies called Tim Dunn, one of few vitrolite specialists who work in the U.S., and who also happens to be based in St. Louis.

Entering the basement from stairs by the kitchen, one is immediately reminded of the 1970s with the orange shag carpet, vintage lamp lighting and wood paneled walls. The couple plans on redoing the basement but putting new wood paneling back in.

“I think most people would come in here and think the wood paneling is awful, but we love it,” Bridgette says.

Throughout the house, and especially in the basement, the Fyvies’ love of the days of old shines through. It’s a love Bridgette Fyvie picked up early, when she’d go on thrifting trips with her family.

“My family didn’t have a lot of money growing up, so we had to be creative,” she says. “I’ve always been trying to turn kind of cool objects into really cool pieces. I just like to make things fun.”

A colorful, eclectic Holly Hills bungalow

Bridgette and Ian Fyvie pose for a photo for a photo in the living room of their Holly Hills home in St. Louis on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021. The Fyvies are only the second family to own the house, buying it from the original owner's daughter in April when she moved to assisted living in her 90s. Photo by Colter Peterson, cpeterson@post-dispatch.com

Bridgette and Ian Fyvie

Ages • Bridgette Fyvie is 45. Ian Fyvie is 50.

Occupations • She is a real-estate agent at Garcia Properties. He is a geospatial analyst at Woolpert.

Home • Holly Hills

Family • The Fyvies have two sons: Hendrix, 13, and Gibson, 10.

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