Revitalizing & Repurposing Historic Homes: Former fraternity house turns single-family residence with an elegant and modern makeover

If you’ve been to a college town, you know the sultry history of fraternity houses. The big, old homes carry years’ worth of memories; leaving us wishing the walls could talk.

The historic “Westminster Place” on faculty row is no exception. This well known home in Manhattan, Kansas – home of Kansas State University – has been home to a fraternity (1971-1986), Presbyterian college students (1930-1971), and five families (1908-1930, 1986-present).

The original construction of this home was well documented; as the electricity, water, and cement sidewalks were quite metropolitan for the time. Professor J.H. Sweet built the home in 1908 across the street from Manhattan’s 45-acre city park. Once dubbed a “gathering place for many, where all are welcome” this home has offered warm hospitality for over 100 years.

In 2017, a renovation restored this historic home to a modern version of its elegant style. The homeowners, a fun-loving, stylish couple, who have lived in Manhattan since 1993, enjoy entertaining and always have a house full of friends and family. In their daily life, they have kept alive the tradition of the “gathering place,” which is walking distance from campus, Aggieville, and downtown.

In this remodel, we resituated the kitchen so that it now resides in the entire space of the old kitchen and dining room, allowing a much larger space for casual hosting. Since everyone tends to congregate in the kitchen, we incorporated a custom coffee bar and wine bar around a gigantic 10’ x 5’ marble island. For a modern look, we used Miele appliances, which gave us high-quality appliances with the option to integrate the fronts.

While the kitchen is designed to be the focal point, the multiple living areas and dining area are absolutely stunning. One living area is a part of the kitchen – next to the bar, of course – because this where you’ll catch people watching a game.

The other living area is rich and warm where the beamed ceilings and wood floors are brought to life by deep blue and grey colors in luxurious textures like velvet and tweed. The dining room table has a larger wood grain and dramatic lighting – a modern, vintage statement. There are various seating options in this living-dining room combo, including upholstered ottomans tucked in for extra spots.

The main floor of the home includes a master suite, with an attached office. Because it is very open to the living and dining areas, we also focused on making this retreat functional and beautiful. The master bathroom originally gave up too much space to a whirlpool tub, leaving the homeowner with a pedestal sink and a tiny closet. By reorienting the room, we now have significantly more storage, a gorgeous shower, and a walk-in closet.

The designers at AsterHouse Design; Amanda Purdom and Eryn Smith, partnered with our friend Davis Brants to create a floor plan, interior design, and furnishings plan that brought together the elegance, hospitality and charm of the home owner, while remembering the history and traditional style of the space.

The result is spectacular; a home where many people will continue to gather and where (we’ve noticed) all are welcome.

General Contractor: Duell Construction

Interior Design: AsterHouse Design and Davis Brants Design

Furnishings: AsterHouse Design and Davis Brants Design

Cabinets: Custom Wood Products

Electronics: RediSystems

labels: Furniture, Residential - Before & After, Residential Portfolio, Styling