The 2018 Webster Groves Awards of Excellence presentation was held Dec. 6 at the Hawken House History Center Barn in Webster Groves.

The annual awards are sponsored by the city of Webster Groves, select boards and commissions, and the Webster Groves Historical Society.

This year’s recipients are:


Hawken House

Hawken House Restoration, 1115 S. Rock Hill Road - Honorable Mention, Craftsmanship

After years of severe settling, the Hawken House foundation could not hold the weight of the house. Evidence showed cracking in the interior and exterior walls and the north wall separating from the flooring of the second story.

There were large cracks around the windows that were two to three inches in width and threatened the structural integrity of the house.

Woods Basement Systems was contracted to install eight piers on the north wall and the east comer of the house to stabilize the building.

Mason Dave Balkenbush was hired to restore the original facade of the building while preserving the historical appearance. There was significant wall damage driven by unusual drought and wet conditions. The restoration is described as “exceptional.”


Bronner Residence

Bronner Residence, 315 S. Gore Ave. - Award of Excellence, Craftsmanship

The moment the buyers of this Dutch Colonial house closed on this three bedroom, 1-1/2 bath house it was a measured flurry of design and construction activity.

The new owners wanted to maintain the home’s original character while incorporating a very distinct modern farmhouse style.

The project includes 1,700 square feet of renovated space, 800 square feet of addition, new site work and outdoor spaces. Typical of its time, the house had a divided floor plan and a very small kitchen.

Detailed craftsmanship provides a cohesiveness between the original home and the new addition. Great care was taken to preserve important historical and architectural features. Wood trim and other materials were reused whenever possible. Custom millwork is found throughout the home with new but period-correct materials hand-crafted to replicate original trim.

Walls were opened between the dining room and kitchen, removing an existing window and adding two new windows flanking the stove.

Hardwood floors were added along with new cabinets, appliances, apron-front sink, counter-tops, lighting, appliances and crown molding. On the second floor of the addition a master bedroom suite was added.

Exterior work included replacing roof, siding, windows, front door, and lighting. A new front porch was poured as well as a new sidewalk to the street.


Bronner Residence

Bronner Residence, 315 S Gore Ave. - Honorable Mention, Architecture (rear addition)

The new owners wanted a two-story addition including master suite, better views into the yard, and improved flow. “They hit every mark and managed to rouse this understated house and transform it into a modern version completely reawakened,” according to the judges. The attention to detail in the architectural design, construction, and interior design came together to create a beautiful home that will be loved and enjoyed for many years to come.


Brown Residence

Brown Residential Addition, 401 Tuxedo Blvd. - Honorable Mention, Architecture

This residence is a 2-1/2 story frame, four-square residence constructed in 1914. This house has a hip roof, 1-over-1 windows, an attic dormer with hip roof, and a front porch with recessed panel columns. The house has been owned by members of the Brown family since 1958. The owners wished to construct a first floor family room and second floor master suite.

The addition was added to the west side of the residence. A wall between the existing kitchen and new family room was removed to connect the two rooms for modem living. A frame wrap around porch was constructed to connect the existing house and new addition. The new porch replaced a heavily modified front porch which was in disrepair.

“This project resulted in a historic residence which functions properly, improves the neighborhood appearance, and accurately duplicates historic details from the existing home,” according to the judges.


Browning Hall at Webster University

Browning Hall at Webster University, 8274 Big Bend Blvd. - Award of Excellence, Architecture

Browning Hall, Webster University’s newest academic building, is expected to help fill the needs of the community by offering robust liberal arts and sciences programs. Groundbreaking was held September 2015 and construction was completed in May of 2017. In October of 2017, the building was recognized for its design excellence by the American Institute of Architects, St. Louis Chapter.

The building contains 27 laboratories, 71 offices including faculty, staff, the Dean’s Suite, a 129-seat auditorium, and numerous commons areas.

The facility’s glass facade provides expansive views of the outdoors. The building is “L” shaped and located north of the East Academic Building. The two structures are joined to make it easier for students, faculty and staff to travel between buildings.

Browning Hall was designed to be LEED Silver and will undergo rigorous reviews by the United States Green Building Council to determine its sustainability level.


Browning Hall at Webster University

Browning Hall at Webster University, 8274 Big Bend Blvd. - Honorable Mention, Landscape

The landscape architect’s approach to site design for Browning Hall involved embracing storm water management as the focal point of the landscape. It includes two rain gardens, a vegetated roof and permeable pavement. The amphitheater lawn and green roof lawn terrace provide seating and gathering space for students, faculty and visitors.

An existing historic structure, now surrounded by rain gardens and the new facility’s transparent facade, has been embraced as a focal piece and educational opportunity. The permeable paver and structural soil system helps to manipulate the temperatures in the courtyard, cooling the space in summer and warming the space in winter. The courtyard serves as a multi-functional space while treating and infiltrating storm water from the surrounding site and vegetated roof. Rain gardens ground the building to the site and help to transition into the surrounding landscape and campus amenities.


Minges Residence

Minges Residence, 415 W. Kirkham Ave. - Honorable Mention, Historic Preservation

This home was built in 1870 by William Stokes and later purchased by Charles L. Merrill in 1883. In 1895, fire damaged the home, so Merrill rebuilt it with Classical Revival details seen today. As the years passed, the home fell into disrepair until purchased by Brian and Gretchen Minges.

The small wood front porch was replaced with a wide concrete porch to reflect the scale and grandeur of the home. New windows replicated the existing precisely. Existing chimney caps were saved, refurbished and re-installed.

The interior had its own set of challenges. For a family of five, getting three full bathrooms, a powder room, and easy access to the third floor was a must. The main stair was rebuilt from the first to the third floor. Access to the third floor provided 1,200 square feet of additional living space enabling a fourth bedroom, bathroom and additional living area.

The 1970’s era kitchen was stripped and updated with knotty alder cabinetry, solid surface countertops, premium appliances and custom lighting. An old servant pantry was removed to enlarge the Kitchen area and create an island with seating for five. The dining room wall to the kitchen was also opened to enable a clear view from front to rear of the home.

The master suite on the second floor was carved out of two small bedrooms and 1-1/2 bathrooms on the west side of the home. A spa-style bathroom was created.


Clark/Pranger Residence

Clark/Pranger Residence, 322 Clark Ave., Strothkamp Restoration - Award of Excellence, Historic Preservation

This 1897 Queen Anne Victorian was purchased by Strothkamp Restoration in November 2016. The 19th century home was originally owned by Harry Davenport Cowden who was married to Helen Ray Bierce, daughter to Ambrose Bierce. Ambrose was an American Civil War soldier, satirist, and writer who was said to visit his friend at this home in Webster.

Work included stripping all walls and ceilings back to original framing. Fireplaces were restored, floors refinished and custom woodwork appears throughout. The only wood molding left was around the curved windows and the base of columns in the entry, parlor and kitchen. Existing wood trim was painstakingly refurbished utilizing UV lighting and dental picks to strip away old paint.

The new owners sought out Burkart’s in Fox Park who custom made “knives” to replicate wood trim. A non-structural wall was removed between the parlor and kitchen. All wood flooring was removed and replaced with antique heart-of-pine, reclaimed from a 1880s country log home. Original windows remained in the house and were either restored or replicated.

The project included replacing deteriorating plumbing including new fixtures, lateral lines and water service.

The renaissance continues with new owners, “Marty” and Diana Pranger. The couple have plans for more improvements for increasing the beauty of this gracious old home and have asked Strothkamp to assist in bringing their vision to fruition.


700 Tuxedo Blvd.

700 Tuxedo Blvd. in Tuxedo Park, St. Louis B&B Inn - Award of Excellence, Historic Preservation/Adaptive Reuse

The Tuxedo Park St. Louis Bed & Breakfast Inn is in a former church listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Since opening its doors in 1895, this church has housed seven different congregations. The Queen Ann shingle style school house, Akron auditorium and sanctuary began restoration in December of 2016 after the buildings had sat vacant for more than 10 years. Massive renovation and restoration was required after water infiltration from a leaky roof and missing gutters made the building uninhabitable.

The next two years became a whirlwind of historic research; designs; city, state and federal approvals; new roof; new cedar shake siding; demolition of deteriorated finishes; restoration of plaster and woodwork; inspections; and finally, the preservation of a treasure.

Second floor classrooms and nursery rooms of the school house became four spacious guest rooms with private baths. Work included reproduction of wood trim, window and door casings. Original flooring and bead board wainscot were restored. There was painstaking repair and reproduction of the patterned bead ceiling in the kitchen and breakfast room. The owners added cabinetry, lighting and new appliances to make a one-of-a-kind kitchen. Reuse of architectural salvaged doors and transoms matched the character and pattern of the original.

The adjoining original Akron Plan auditorium, with its exterior curved wall, became the main guest gathering area. Guests relax in the 1908 sanctuary, which retains its 24-foot ceilings, original stained glass, and the only two original light fixtures not destroyed by water. The raised altar holds a private dining area for 24. The other areas of the building were renovated as private living spaces for the owners and their family.