The beautifully preserved 1955 ranch house owned by Mike Knoll and Jeff Daily sits perched atop a hill at the back of its private Ladue subdivision. Though the house was listed as a teardown, the couple, fans of midcentury modern design, “saved” the house when they purchased it in 2012 from family members of its original owners.
Having previously lived in San Diego and owned a weekend getaway house in the famed midcentury modern Racquet Club Estates in Palm Springs, Calif., they returned to Mike’s native St. Louis in 2010. After spending two years living in and rehabbing an old craftsman style house in the city, they were ready for another ranch and were lucky enough to discover this gem.
The house was mostly unaltered and in fairly good condition, but the couple cleaned it up, painted, wallpapered, replaced the flooring and brought the house back to its former glory. Visible from the front door is the spire of another of St. Louis’ midcentury architectural treasures: the Harris Armstrong-designed Ethical Society. The main living area is flooded with light from the walls of full-length windows that face both the front and back of the house.
The walls are painted in Ralph Lauren’s “Baltic Green,” a soft teal that shows off the home’s original light woodwork. In the small but efficient eat-in kitchen, Mike and Jeff restored the original wood cabinetry and updated with a new backsplash and countertops. They are currently working on completing the conversion of a former screened-porch into a cozy den, complete with perfect knotty pine paneling Mike salvaged from his dad’s basement.
The couple have filled the house with period-appropriate furniture and accessories, collected from antiques malls, eBay, Craigslist and various midcentury modern purveyors including MoModerne in St. Louis. A stunning curved, two-piece sectional sofa in the living room was custom made for the original owners and came with the house. They plan to reupholster it and bring it back to like-new condition.
Though several of the original ranch homes surrounding theirs have succumbed to teardown, with new, larger homes popping up in their place, Mike and Jeff are proud to have spared theirs and given it a new life.
Mike Knoll (left)
and Jeff Daily
Ages • Mike is 46, Jeff is 49
Occupations • Mike is a real estate agent with Keller Williams; Jeff is in property management
Home • Ladue