At home: 20-year restoration project brings Lafayette Square home back to life | Home & Garden

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John Herlihy and James Kristof’s blue exterior painted home was built in 1870 for John Jackson, president of the Pacific Railway, and was designed by architect George Ingham Barnett.



The first-floor parlor off the foyer includes a bay window facing Lafayette Park.  Bay windows are a feature found on all three floors of the residence. The 10-foot-high windows feature pocket shutters that fold flush with the side walls, eliminating the need for curtains.

Daniel Shular, Post-Dispatch



At home with John Herlihy and James Kristof

A second-floor guest bedroom painted a pale yellow with a four-poster bed contains one of the three bay windows on the front of the residence.  The view is into shady Lafayette Park.

Daniel Shular, Post-Dispatch



At home with John Herlihy and James Kristof

The arched entry into the dining room features pocket doors (hidden in the wall in the photo) that have arched tops to match the shape of the opening.

Daniel Shular, Post-Dispatch



At home with John Herlihy and James Kristof

One of the six fireplaces sits in one of the bedrooms on the second floor of John Herlihy and James Kristof’s home in Lafayette Square.

Daniel Shular, Post-Dispatch



At home with John Herlihy and James Kristof

A parlor in the home contains one of six marble fireplaces original to when the residence was built in 1870.

Daniel Shular, Post-Dispatch



At home with John Herlihy and James Kristof

The bay window in the front living room is one of three in the home and looks onto Tower Grove Park.  The crown molding above the windows is a feature of every room in the 7,500-square-foot home and was once hidden by a drop ceiling. Barely discernable alongside the 10-foot-high windows are pocket shutters that fold flush with the side walls, eliminating the need for curtains.

Daniel Shular, Post-Dispatch



At home with John Herlihy and James Kristof

In the kitchen, the couple painted an oversize diamond pattern onto one wall that adds a sense of sophistication to the room.  They also added a Dutch door (partially seen on the left) that leads to an outside porch and the formal garden installed this past spring. Plans include replacing the wood kitchen cabinets with white fronts and converting the dark Formica kitchen island top to marble. 

Daniel Shular, Post-Dispatch



At home with John Herlihy and James Kristof

A small soaking tub fits snuggly into a second-floor bath.

Daniel Shular, Post-Dispatch



At home with John Herlihy and James Kristof

Patio furniture and plants sit on a deck that overlooks the back yard of John Herlihy and James Kristof’s home in Lafayette Square.

Daniel Shular, Post-Dispatch



At home with John Herlihy and James Kristof

A nearly 50 foot tunnel runs from under John Herlihy and James Kristof’s home in Lafayette Square to a 10×10 room. John plans on making the space a wine cellar and tasting room once he and James are caught up on other projects in the house. 

Daniel Shular, Post-Dispatch

Entering the foyer of John Herlihy and James Kristof’s home is akin to stepping back 15 decades to the time the home was completed in 1870 for John Jackson, president of the Pacific Railway. The main hallway features large Greek architectural murals, highlighted by companion wainscoting and a border on the ceiling, as well as large, decorative corbels that add an air of opulence to the space.

“We have tried to furnish it in keeping with how it may have appeared when new,” Herlihy says. “Even our framed family portraits are muted or black and white.”

The stately residence was designed by George Ingham Barnett (1815–1898,) an architect who has been referred to as the “Dean of St. Louis Architecture.” In addition to the private mansions he designed, Barnett worked on renovations to the Old Courthouse, the Missouri Governor’s Mansion and several structures on the grounds of both the Missouri Botanical Garden and Tower Grove Park.



At home with John Herlihy and James Kristof

The residence features extensive woodwork. Two arched entries into the living and dining room feature pocket doors that have arched tops to match the shape of the opening. One of the doors on the left is partially closed.



Despite its impressive origin, the residence has not always appeared as pristine as it does today. Around the 1930s it was converted to a rooming house, and from the 1970s to 1999 it operated as a women’s shelter. In 1999 it was purchased by a developer who undertook a complete restoration of the house, taking it back to a single-family residence.

“The first year after we moved in the police would drop off people at our front door, not knowing it had returned to a private residence,” Herlihy remembers.

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