From Old to Bold

traditional style shirtwaist home

Article by Tamara Day

Photography by Rustic White Interiors

Episode 4 brings us back to a traditional style shirtwaist home that I love to do because there are so many of them here in Kansas City! All shirtwaist homes have the same basic characteristics – brick or limestone first floor exterior, siding around the top, the staircase situated on one side of the house running from the basement up to the third floor, and the kitchen in the back of the home. You can read more about Kansas City shirtwaist style here! This home in particular makes a massive impression with all the limestone on the exterior – the pillars are wrapped in limestone and it has a tumbled stone look to it which is a little bit different than the other shirtwaist style homes I’ve done.

Chandelier: Kichler | Wall Sconces: Kichler


love the entryway of this style home – this house specifically had a little bit more spacious entryway and the woodwork was in great shape so we were able to save it all. It actually reminds me of last season’s Charlotte house. The space had so much existing charm! The window has that fun leaded glass detail in front of it which was just an artistic element to the space, it wasn’t actually the window. The slats in the face of the front bench were in great shape. We just added the beautiful chandelier (one of my faves) and the sconces flanking the window! We didn’t want to clutter up the space with a lot of pieces so we did this beautiful buffet and opted for no artwork to the left and right of the window.

Art: Elizabeth Lane | Fireplace Tile: Daltile® Glass Horizons™ 2 x 8 in Moonlight | Fireplace Mantel Paint: Functional Gray (Sherwin Williams) | Ceiling Light Fixture: Kichler | Wall Color: Repose Gray (Sherwin Williams)

Living Room

I was hoping to save that pretty green tile on the fireplace but unfortunately my contractor found that it started to crumble apart and so we had to replace it. BUT we did a beautiful blue glass tile that has an element of iridescence to it which added a lot of charm and character back to the fireplace. The mantle piece was a shame to have to paint, however it was the only option to really preserve the wood. It was so dry and so dehydrated – even painted you can still see some of the cracks – but at least we were able to save the woodwork and not have to change the mantle. Sanding it down to stain it again would have destroyed the entire thing so this was our best option.

We were lucky in that all the original windows were able to be saved – that original wavy glass! I felt like this space needed the bookcases – those were an extra I added in for furniture. It’s not the largest room but the bookcases added a cozy factor that I loved.

A lot of these shirtwaist style homes have pocket doors between the formal living and dining rooms but this one did not which was unusual but I did enjoy how it made both the dining and front living feel more spacious and open.

You can see the hardwoods flowing throughout all the rooms – all the hardwoods are original and I love when we’re able to save them!

Art: Katherine Bello | Art: Jenny Meyer-McCall | Chandeliers: Kichler

Dining Room

The dining room was a really beautiful space to get to put together. I love the idea of having such a large dining room. One element that adds a really elegant touch to the space and goes over-the-top is doing not one, but two beautiful light fixtures. Tell me you wouldn’t feel fancy sitting at that table under those lights! The bay window reminds me of Season 2’s Jefferson house where we did a built-in banquet, but this room was a little larger than that house and so we were able to embrace the entire space with a more formal setting of the table pulled out in the room and chairs surrounding.

Countertop: Daltile® Natural Stone Slab – Soapstone in Black Soapstone | Backsplash Tile: Daltile® Lavaliere™ Blossom Mosaic | Center Pendant Light: Kichler | Over Sink Light Fixture: Kichler | Sconces: Kichler


One of the things that I found really interesting in this house was the existing floorplan. The kitchen was in this horrible back room and super dilapidated. I’m not really sure how that layout for the first floor worked because you essentially had three bonus spaces with the front room as the formal, the current dining room as the living and then I guess dining where where we chose to move the kitchen? We ultimately chose to move the kitchen for a better and more modern flow for today’s families and that opened up the back space for a super functional pantry, laundry and mudroom.

Holy moly tile! These beautiful beams in the kitchen were such a statement and I was so thankful we were able to keep them as wood work for their historic charm.

We wanted to make the kitchen feel really spacious and not crowd it too much so the open shelving helps with that tremendously. But let’s talk tile because this tile is magnificent! Floor to ceiling / counter to ceiling around the entire space in beautiful tile is such an incredible statement. It really adds to the texture and character of the space with the marble and brass inlay. Changing that window was such a huge improvement – without changing it we could never have put the kitchen in this spot. We were able to save the upper part of the window and only lost the lower half. It wasn’t like you were looking out that window to a great view, it’s the neighbors house and really just a brick wall. We were able to still get the natural light coming into the kitchen but got to get rid of the unfortunate view so the final height of the window worked quite well.

We went with white shaker style cabinets because they’re a classic and timeless look, and balance nicely with the dark original woodwork. I love the beautiful soapstone countertops because it gives such a nice character to the space and I love the options you have with soapstone – you can leave it bare and get a chalky slate look, or oil it and get a nice slick black look. Both are very lovely. Then finally, the floating metal hood adds a touch of modern to the space!

Light Fixture: Kichler | Wallpaper: Wallquest Ystavat | Trim Work Paint: Oceanside (Sherwin Williams) | Floor Tile: Daltile® Lavaliere™ Petal Mosaic

Powder Room

Maybe my favorite powder room I’ve ever done!

The before of this powder room was super weird. First, you could originally walk into the bathroom from outside and second, it had a window into what is now the dining room and another door into what is the current kitchen. Basically, if you like to have nightmares about where you’re going to go to the bathroom, this is your bathroom because it’s just horrible. Zero privacy! We closed it up and completely changed the layout and footprint. By doing so, we made a great little defined space so that when you walked in the back door of the house you have a nice landing spot with a mud room / laundry room and bonus kitchen space – it was a much better flow. Now, you access the powder room off the dining room. Since we went through that much trouble to fix the flow and floor plan, I decided to make the powder room a show stopper with this beautiful marble and antique mirror inlaid tile. We added the beautiful molding to the walls, went dramatic with a jewel blue and chose the super fun people paper in black and white that made the paint color pop! It’s like wallpaper conversation! It’s a talking point of the house to have so much color in the space.

Pantry Wall Color: Juneberry (Sherwin Williams) | Floor: Daltile® Lavaliere™ Melody Mosaic LV23 | Light Fixture: Kichler


Wall Color: Regatta (Sherwin Williams) | Floor Tile: Daltile® Lavaliere™ Melody Mosaic | Light Fixture: Kichler

Mudspace / Laundry

Countertop: Daltile® Natural Stone Slab – Soapstone in Black Soapstone | Backsplash: Daltile® Lavaliere™ Intermix Mosaic | Light Fixture: Kichler | Wall Color: Repose Gray (Sherwin Williams)

Coffee Bar

Maybe one of my favorite scenes of filming to date is Nora helping me pick the tile for this coffee bar space. I probably would have just used the same tile as the kitchen, but Nora loved this tile and we needed to find a spot for it and this seemed like the perfect location. It’s from the same collection as the kitchen tile so it ties in nicely but gives the space its own identity. Who doesn’t love a space for a coffee bar? Every kitchen should have a dedicated spot for a coffee maker – dedicated importance right there for sure.

Wall Color: Repose Gray (Sherwin Williams) | Trim Color: Functional Gray (Sherwin Williams) | Pendant Lights: Kichler | Center Light Fixture: Kichler | Art on left nightstand: | Art above bed: Claire Gowdy | Art on right nightstand: Kenneth Stanley

Art: Tracy Thomas

Main Bedroom

I love putting pendant lights over nightstands instead of lamps when it’s an option and I felt like this main bedroom space just called for it – it kind of reminded me of the Warwick house from Season 1 were we did something very similar. I love these lights because they have a lovely glow but it won’t ever be bright and shiny in your eyes.

We had to make a lot of changes to this bedroom to make it spacious enough. We got rid of the tiny closet – literally you could have fit maybe one outfit in there! It was so teeny tiny, and could in no way function for any modern family so it had to go. We had to reconfigure the entire space because, although it was a good size bedroom with the bedroom side and the sitting area side, there were the super weird eighties columns. Dad and I weren’t sure if they were original and structural or what, but come to find out they were particle board, completely unnecessary and terrible. Apparently aesthetically pleasing to someone at some point in time but not me!

Light Fixture: Kichler

Main Closet

The sitting room side of the bedroom was the perfect spot to create a HUGE walk-in closet, a private toilet and then take the main bathroom to the next level.

Sconces: Kichler | Countertop: Daltile® Natural Stone Slab – Soapstone in Black Soapstone | Vanity Backsplash: Daltile® Lavaliere™ Imaginare Mosaic | Hardware Pulls: Addison Weeks Hardware | Vanity Paint Color: Breathless (Sherwin Williams) | Art: Leslie Beck

Shower Wall (Sides) + Bathroom Floor: Daltile® Marble 12 x 24 in Carrara White (Honed) | Back Shower Wall (Behind Tub): Daltile® Lavaliere™ Imaginare Mosaic | Shower Floor: Daltile® Marble Oval Mosaic in Carrara White (Honed)

Main Bathroom

The main bathroom was already set up in somewhat of a wet room situation so why not embrace it but do it better? You know me, I took it over the top with the tile of course. We wrapped the room in large marble tiles and did the accent wall behind the tub and behind the vanity in this elegant marble with mother of pearl inlaid tile work. For the wet room, we added a gorgeous floating free standing tub with just a slight step down into the shower area which felt so functional and beautiful at the same time.

Countertop: Daltile® Natural Stone Slab – Soapstone in Black Soapstone | Vanity Backsplash: Daltile® Lavaliere™ Imaginare Mosaic | Hardware Pulls: Addison Weeks Hardware | Vanity Paint Color: Breathless (Sherwin Williams)

I wanted to add just a smidge of color to the space so I went with a subtle blush pink that I love so much and perfectly compliments the fun hardware choice with these Addison Weeks pulls. By using the same soapstone countertop as the kitchen, we have continuity in our finishes but in here the dark counters really pop against the lighter finishes.

The main bathroom is definitely an over-the-top area of the house but was completely worth the splurge because it was already plumbed for the wetroom mostly, we just had to move the shower a little bit to create this fabulous master bathroom that anyone would love!

Light Fixture: Kichler | Ceiling Paint Color: New Hope Gray (Benjamin Moore) | Wall Color: Repose Gray (Sherwin Williams) | Trim Color: Functional Gray (Sherwin Williams) | Art: Tara Andris

Guest Bedroom

The second floor trimwork was already painted and it wasn’t in the budget to strip the woodwork. Instead of painting it white, we went with a gray color, which I think was very warming to all the spaces. Instead of just white walls and ceilings, we did white walls AND a blue ceiling so you could really see that fabulous chandelier. Because of the bonus room off this bedroom, we had to leave a pathway open so we kept it simple with the layout and I just love this sky painting from Tara Andris – I would love to see that every morning when I wake up.

Wall Color: Repose Gray (Sherwin Williams) | Trim Color: Functional Gray (Sherwin Williams) | Sconce: Kichler

Bonus Room

The extra awesome part of this space was the bonus room on the back. This was just a cozy bonus living space on the 2nd floor. There’s so much flexibility with this bedroom and bonus room – it could be a kids room with a playroom or an office with a sitting area – it’s really multi-functional! We kept the closet for extra storage, added the bench seat with built-in shelving that Jeff from Remporium built. Because the ceilings were low we went with wall sconces to light the space.

Vanity Countertop: Daltile® ONE Quartz Surfaces® Micro Flecks in Morning Frost | Walls: Daltile® Lavaliere™ Shapestry Mosaic | Floor Tile: Daltile® Marble 12 x 24 in Venetian Calacatta (Honed) | Shower/Tub Walls: Daltile® Artigiano™ 3 x 12 in Italian Alps | Ceiling + Wall Wallpaper: Wallquest Orkanen | Ceiling Light: Kichler | Vanity Light: Kichler | Vanity Paint Color: Naval (Sherwin Williams)

Hall Bathroom

What a fun space! 3 different tiles – the floor, the shower and the wall all the way around. Again, we used the same tile collection with marble and brass inlay but a new shape for continuity throughout the house. And then drew the eye up with a wallpapered ceiling! Up close the wallpaper is a deep green with navy blue dots and so we embraced the navy blue dots with the navy blue vanity. This is one of those spaces that is small but mighty in style for sure!

Third Floor

The third floors spaces in these hundred year old shirtwaist homes are always quite funky with the low ceilings, the weird dormers and angles but it’s great space for kids or just bonus living. This house was no exception with this fun loft area that we were able to turn it into a really wonderful living space. I know my kids would love to hang out up here!

Third Floor Bedroom

We styled the bonus room as a bedroom – I know we covered a few windows with the bed but it was in favor of adding square footage and living space to the home which is highly sought after for a modern family.

Floor Tile: Daltile® Color Wheel™ 1.5 Hex Mosaic in Matte Arctic White | Shower Walls: Daltile® Color Wheel™ Linear 2 x 8 in Matte Chalkboard | Vanity Light Fixture: Kichler

Third Floor Bathroom

There’s no doubt this is a tiny and odd-shaped bathroom but how cute is that little shower?! It definitely had it’s challenges but doing a bold gray tile adds to the charm and character of the space. And why not embrace the fun whimsical nature with a little wicker lion?


Our fourth house of the season brought us back to our favorite Kansas City architectural style! I especially love getting to do these old shirtwaist homes in the heart of Kansas City and see the transformative effect they have in their neighborhoods. Let me know what was your favorite space in the comments below!

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