Growing family plants roots in remodeled Victorian farmhouse in Kirkwood | Home & Garden

Elva Mankin

Brandt and Johnson nicknamed the farmhouse, built in 1883, Strohm House after its original owner/builder, Columbus Strohm. The Strohm family resided there until the 1940s. Johnson made the twin beds in the […]

As a contractor with Kirkwood-based Anderson Building Co., Brad Johnson is no stranger to restoring the area’s historic homes to their glory. It is one of the firm’s specialties. While working on one such home a few years ago, Johnson developed a professional curiosity about a vacant Victorian farmhouse that was across the street. Its owner was an elderly woman who had moved to a nursing home, leaving it empty and in a state of disrepair.

“Knowing that most houses like this in the area would get torn down, I started asking around about it and ended up in a conversation with the owner’s son,” Johnson says. “He was concerned about selling to someone who might tear it down, so I was lucky enough to acquire it.”

When Johnson and his wife, Rachel Brandt, began researching the house, they discovered it was built in 1883 by a farmer/carpenter named Columbus Strohm. Naturally, they nicknamed it Strohm House. They closed on the house in 2018 and got to work making it structurally sound and livable — a process that took about six months.

Having already sold their previous house in Glendale, the couple moved in with Brandt’s parents with their two young boys and two dogs until they could finally move to their new home. All the while, they documented the renovation on Instagram on the account @strohmhouse.

They had their work cut out for them. Johnson says the home’s exterior had lots of holes and pieces falling off. Inside, the plaster was crumbling and the ceilings had holes as well, and there was some structural damage in the basement. Most of the rooms were covered in layer upon layer of wallpaper. After stripping all of the wallpaper and patching the holes, they decided to initially paint the entire interior white.

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