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Turning a house into a home

Dr. Allison Winkler discusses turning a brand new house into a home filled with details honoring her past while curating a space to create beautiful moments and memories. 

"My vision esoterically was to build a home where all my kids' friends come to hang out. We wanted enough room for the kids to play in the house and a big yard with a pool for them to play outside. I want to have the kind of home where people leave a swimsuit and have a code to our front door." Allison Winkler, D.M.D. owner of Kirkwood Family Dental.

"We don't have family in St. Louis," said Allison. "I wanted to create a family-friendly home where we entertain our friends."

Allison's home is filled with little odes to cherished times in her past. Wanting to replicate the style of the 1920s English Tudor home she grew up in, she chose white brick for a modern twist on a classic Tudor. "The front door of this house is similar to my childhood home in Seattle. My kids have window seats in their bedrooms, similar to what I had growing up. The floor in my daughter's bathroom is a basket weave tile that reminds me and my husband, Rob, of our first apartment in Boston. My husband loves going to the Ritz for our anniversary and wanted that same type of Carrara Marble in our house."  

When asked if Rob had a significant influence on the design of the house, Allison said, "He cares a lot more about functionality than aesthetics. He cared a lot about automated light switches and the location of the speakers in the ceilings." Rob also chose the builder, Don Stockell of Stockell Custom Homes. "We liked that they are a small company with a great portfolio and an energy star rating. Most importantly, Don allowed us to purchase our design elements." 

"We have done projects where the owner did not work with an interior designer; unfortunately, it showed. However, not so with Allison," said Don. "Allison's finish selections are what sets this home apart. She chose all the exterior finishes – stone, windows, doors, shingles, metal roofing, and paint colors. She also chose all the interior finishes – flooring, stairs, cabinets, appliances, countertops, plumbing fixtures, doors, millwork, and paint colors. She did a better job than some interior designers we have worked with."

"I don't have a knack for design. I have a knack for googling things, " said Allison. "Designers have a knack for design. I'm good at knowing what I like and making decisions." Allison describes her process for designing her dream home. "I would find pictures I liked on Instagram and then search those designers' blogs. That's how I spent most of my maternity leave." Would she recommend internet DIY design to others? "If you have the time and it's something you enjoy, you can make your home exactly what you want," said Allison. "Just make sure to have a clear vision before you start." 

Allison's favorite design elements include the plaster fireplace in the great room, the double-sided fireplace in the primary bedroom, and the giant stone fireplace on the back patio. "Our bricklayer was excellent," said Allison. "He and I laid out the brick pattern to make it look like this fireplace has been here for centuries." Additional Instagram-inspired design spaces include a balcony in the primary bedroom complete with a Nespresso coffee bar for an early morning coffee before the kids are up, a 1st-floor guest room, a 12' island, 2nd-floor laundry, Amish cabinets, one color throughout the house, beautiful wallpaper in the primary bathroom, and an enormous playroom on the second floor. 

"I have kept in mind, through this whole process, no matter the challenges, how grateful and privileged I am to build this in the first place," Allison noted. 

As expected, there were some challenges and delays due to supply chain issues in this current builders' market. Ken Rice, Director of Field Operations for Stockell Custom Homes, said, "We keep things moving to work around supply chain issues. Our customers trust us, and we take that seriously." 

Stockell Custom Homes are zero energy ready. "Geothermal ground service heat is installed, and the whole house is ready for solar panels. A third party tests the indoor air quality and energy efficiency. And the exterior is completely waterproofed," stated Don Stockell. "Aside from our quality craftsmanship, Allison's attention to detail sets this home apart. She built the exact home she wanted." 

"I want to have the kind of home where people leave a swimsuit and have a code to our front door."

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