Learn More About This Unique Architectural Style in Our Area
Visit the Kansas City area – and more broadly, the Midwest – and you’re likely to run into a unique piece of residential architecture: the Kansas City shirtwaist.
Slightly modified from a traditional American foursquare in that the first level is built from quarried limestone, or later, brick, the Kansas City shirtwaist is a spacious, symmetrical two-to-three story house.
Popularized regionally from 1900 to 1920, the shirtwaist is unique. To own one is to own a piece of Kansas City history – which means you want to preserve its original character as best you can.
Here’s what you can expect from shirtwaist ownership and considerations before you begin home remodeling in Kansas City.
Outside the Kansas City Shirtwaist
Built in the same era as some craftsmen houses, the Kansas City shirtwaist certainly borrows from the “handcrafted” look, including those wide rafters and wooden detailing you’d expect from homes of this age.
The original Kansas City shirtwaist first floor is made of locally-quarried limestone, but later years relied on brick. The large front porch is another iconic feature, usually made of brick or stone. Upper levels have wood lap siding, but stucco has become common, particularly as siding has been replaced over the years.
A symmetrical exterior mimics that of an American foursquare. To top it off, you’ll find a steeply gabled roof, with a triangle shape formed by two sections of the roofline at the gable. Flared eaves may overhang the sides of the house as well.
Inside the Kansas City Shirtwaist
Inside, the shirtwaist has high ceilings with bedrooms on the upper floors. The entire first floor is living space, with the kitchen positioned at the back of the house.
Generally, the stairs leading upstairs are at the side of the house, and extend from the basement to the top floors; staircases are never split up. You’ll find exterior doors positioned between the first and basement levels and exiting to the driveway, plus an extra back door in the kitchen.
Three-story shirtwaists often have smaller top floors, due to the slope of the roof, so these spaces can be uniquely shaped. These rooms make excellent guest or family rooms, or home offices for the work-from-home set.
Most often, Kansas City shirtwaist homeowners complain about closet sizes – but that’s to be expected in older homes built during eras in which people simply didn’t own huge wardrobes. However, with the larger footprint of the shirtwaist, you can generally carve out additional closet space during the Kansas City home remodeling process.
Unexpected Kansas City Home Remodeling Tasks
If you’re unfamiliar with characteristics of different residential architectural styles, then you may be surprised to learn that not all professionals in home renovation near you are well-versed in remodeling the shirtwaist, either!
In fact, the wrong home remodeling company may find that certain tasks are quite difficult when it comes to preserving the character and story of a home of this age. And many companies simply aren’t up to the job.
Older homes, like the Kansas City shirtwaist, require extra care during the home remodeling process. This includes re-glazing old lead pane glass windows – because getting rid of them all would be a travesty!
Hand-scraping of old paint – and taking precautions for old lead paint – is also necessary. For homes that have been stuccoed rather than had their wood siding replaced, you will need to repair any trim that’s been accidentally embedded over the years.
Replacing damaged rafter tails – those wooden elements that sit just below the eaves – is also difficult because the lumber must be custom-fabricated. Modern lumber yards simply do not carry the unique lumber sizes used on these historic homes.
Care must be taken, even down to choosing paint colors, if you’re looking to let your home’s history speak for itself during a remodeling project. Color schemes popular at the time your historic home was built were generally narrow, and choosing the wrong color simply won’t suit your Kansas City shirtwaist.
Relying on an expert Kansas City home remodeling company that specializes in houses built in the 1940s and earlier is absolutely necessary for preserving character and special features, while adding modern functionality to your interior spaces.
Where to Find a Kansas City Shirtwaist
The most common neighborhoods in which to find great examples of the shirtwaist are between downtown and the Plaza. You’ll find them in Midtown, Hyde Park, Volker, Roanoke, and even areas of the historic Northeast.
Of course, there are plenty of other neighborhoods where the stately shirtwaist stands. If you’re looking to own a piece of our city’s past, an experienced real estate agent can help you secure one of your very own in an ideal neighborhood for you and your lifestyle.
Architectural Craftsmen Performs Historic Home Renovations Near You
Treat your Kansas CIty shirtwaist with kid gloves as you pay homage to years past during your historic home remodel. Architectural Craftsmen is ready to assess your home’s condition and dream up gorgeous transformations without compromising the integrity of the original architecture.
Meet with our team to learn more about what you can expect from one of our expert historic home remodels.