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Modernist gem by architect Isadore Shank preserved in Frontenac

Modernist gem by architect Isadore Shank preserved in Frontenac

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When they began house hunting six years ago, Aaron Luther and his wife, Evie, weren’t seeking an iconic modernist home, but once they saw this three-bedroom ranch on a private, wooded lot in Frontenac designed by famed local midcentury modern architect Isadore Shank, they simply fell in love.

One of Shank’s later works, built in 1979 for clients Joan and Eugene Kraus, the house had been virtually untouched for nearly three decades. Still possessed by its original owners, the home’s enormous windows were covered by thick draperies, and its teak parquet floors had turned black from years of wear.

Incredibly, Aaron says, they were able to look past the mostly cosmetic wear and tear to see their dream house lingering in its bones. In addition to the stunning architectural details, the private setting and central location were primary selling points.

Now the home’s second owners, the couple have lovingly preserved the house and restored it to its former glory, making only a few minor updates such as replacing the light blue Formica countertops in the kitchen with modern black granite. Joan Kraus had a penchant for blue, and all of the home’s cabinetry is pale blue on the inside — a feature they have left and embraced in her honor.

Take a video tour of this mid-century gem

Original slate floors greet guests in the soaring, light-filled foyer. The once-blackened teak parquet floors throughout the grand open living/dining area were refinished to shiny perfection. Mahogany paneling covers the walls and scores of built-in cabinets and storage spaces line the bedrooms and other living spaces — other signatures of Shank’s design style, which was highly influenced by the work of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Though the house is somewhat modest for its location at 3,200 square feet, its open floor plan, high ceilings and built-in features make it feel much more spacious. The walls of windows serve a primary function of modernist homes — bringing the outdoors in to promote a life in harmony with nature, providing a stunning backdrop that changes with each season. This is the feature Aaron enjoys most about living in the house.

“I love that external connection,” he says. “We have a great patio, but we seldom use it because we always feel connected to the outdoors.”

Aaron Luther

Age • 51

Occupation • Aaron works in healthcare operations

Home • Frontenac

Family • Aaron shares the home with his wife, Evie. He has two grown children.

Amy Bertrand is the editor of the Home & Away and the Let's Eat section of the Post-Dispatch. Follow her at, @abertrand on Twitter and on Pinterest at

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