AT HOME MAGAZINE

Hidden gems: Williamsburg-style home has some surprise features

Their basement is an entertainment hub housing a pool table, shuffleboard, a large flat-screen TV, a gym, a workshop and perhaps most intriguing of all, a flight simulator room. (Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS)
Their basement is an entertainment hub housing a pool table, shuffleboard, a large flat-screen TV, a gym, a workshop and perhaps most intriguing of all, a flight simulator room. (Christian Gooden/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/TNS)
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AT HOME MAGAZINE ARTICLES

01:05AM | Sun, October 13, 2019

01:05AM | Sun, October 13, 2019

01:04AM | Sun, October 13, 2019

01:03AM | Sun, October 13, 2019

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TOWN AND COUNTRY, Mo. — Entering the white saltbox house in Town and Country, it seems only fitting to be greeted by a foyer decorated in 18th-century antiques and beautiful dark mahogany wide-paneled floors. What you don’t expect in the rest of the house are the hidden closets, the negative-edge pool or the flight simulator tucked under the stairs in the basement.

“The house was a wonderful surprise,” Linda Wiese says. “This is a very Williamsburg-inspired home so we loved that design. It was a lot of things that we were really looking for but so much more.”

When Doug and Linda Wiese were searching for their perfect home in 2013, they knew this was the style of home they were looking for. To find a negative-edge pool on the property was just an added bonus and, for Linda at least, felt like a good luck charm.

“I had a picture on my computer for years of this pool just surrounded by grass,” Linda says. “It’s kind of unique, and then we come here and that pool is here. We thought that’s a sign that this house is going to be perfect for us.”

Dr. George and Mary Vournas, the original owners of the house built in 1983, were the engineers behind the Williamsburg design, replicating a home from Tidewater, Va. They used Williamsburg-themed colors, such as a gold straw yellow, brick red and deep brown colors to tie all the rooms together.

“They seemed to care a lot about who bought the house because they put so much into it,” Doug says. “I mean the house has so much extra on the inside. It’s really beautiful.”

The light fixtures throughout the house were designed, handcrafted and hand-forged by Webster Groves artist William Kelly. One particular piece, a large chandelier over the kitchen table, features his iconic hand-forged leaves and is designed around an oak theme with an acorn-adorned center.

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Each room is equipped with a fireplace; however, the only working one is set in the hearth room adjacent to the kitchen.

“We loved this fireplace in here. When that’s on in the winter it’s just a really wonderful room,” Doug says. “This is a great room for having coffee, and you can watch it snowing.”

Hidden all around the house are secret closets. Each closet is inlaid in the wainscoting and can only be discovered by pushing on the right panel.

“(It’s) the oddest thing in the house, probably, and there’s no knob on it or there’s no indication that there’s a door, but if you press on it in the right spot, it will come out,” Doug says. “Our grandkids use one of them as a toy cabinet.”

When the Wieses first moved in, they transformed the traditional living room in the front of the house into a library, adding a piano for Doug to play, a large wooden desk and a bookcase.

“That’s a great place for us to sit and hang out,” Doug says, “We built that chess table.”

Just across the foyer is the dining room, where they have a large table surrounded by Game of Thrones-esque chairs. Adorned with ornamental rugs, a plate from Three Hens and a midcentury modern vase from Doug’s parents’ house, the long wood table in the center pulls the room together.

“I was very happy that the large table fit in there because it’s a great place for all of our family to get around,” Linda says. “It’s probably my favorite (room) in the house.”

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In the great room on the main floor, there’s a Hibachi, a traditional Japanese heating device, passed down from Linda’s mom’s side of the family in Japan.

Just outside the great room is a brick patio with a grill and an outdoor dining set. Across from this is the pool, which is pleasantly serene, with its bubbling fountain set in one side and its edges in line with the green grass, so that you can step off land directly into the water. The pool ranges from 4 to 10 feet deep and is great for doing laps, according to Linda.

The Wieses also have a basketball court out back, and while they love basketball, the couple has a house rule of not playing each other.

“He has height advantage,” Linda says.

“I can block her, but she’s fast,” Doug laughs.

Located in a former wine cellar below the stairs, is a flight simulator that was purchased mostly for Doug, who has a pilot’s license. The three-screened, multi-panel machine make you feel as if you’re actually flying a plane as you look out the windows on either side and control the gas pedal and steering.

“Flying is a hobby that I have,” Doug says. “I worked for Boeing for 36 years, and I always loved flying.”

In the basement workshop, the husband and wife duo design and create furniture together.

“We do a couple of craft shows in the fall,” Linda says. “We built a couple of dining room tables for our kids, a coffee table for my daughter ... We have a few bigger things for ourselves that we want to build.”

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