CHESTERFIELD — A couple from West County St. Louis are renovating one of the oldest homes here in hopes of giving it new purpose as an event space and wine bar.
Scott and Shelley Ririe purchased the 2-acre property at 14319 Olive Boulevard in May 2021, taking a home that for nearly 30 years housed the Old House in Hog Hollow antique store.
The brick house-turned-antique-shop on the property is a Chesterfield historical landmark and a former pig farm dating back to 1859. Former owner Betty Brandt sold the property when she reached retirement, Scott Ririe said.
The Riries plan to keep the name, but the interior of the 4,200 square foot building is getting major updates. Their plans include a new back patio and terrace with 15 tables for the wine bar and outdoor events, a stone cellar for wine tastings, and the renovation of the entire historic house. The family also plans to open a small shop in the building that will sell specialty foods and beverages and trinkets, said general manager Heather Everett.
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The couple bought the building for $530,000. Scott Ririe estimated they will spend around $850,000 on renovations, including sewer and electrical work, floor refinishing and other updates.
Ririe is a real estate developer, entrepreneur and co-founder of CTS Group, a building energy services company specializing in school district retrofits, which he and a business partner sold in 2020. The Riries own a number of businesses and properties, including co-ownership in a Branson boat dealership.
“I’m always interested in property, whether it’s a vacant property, a distressed property, or an opportunity property like this,” he said. “We were concerned that it would not be taken care of or demolished, but we wanted to revive the house and take it to another level.”
The Riries’ big ideas for the historic home depend on Chesterfield town plans being approved and the property rezoning for new use. The project did not have a public hearing, city planning director Justin Wyse said this week.
Despite some concerns from nearby neighbors in the Mansions at Spyglass Summit neighborhood, Shelley Ririe said she hopes the project will have a smooth opening by July.
“Everything has been approved so far, so I think we’re in a good position,” Shelley Ririe said.
Shelley Ririe said the history of the property and the character of the house is what prompted them to invest.
The house was built by German immigrant Jacob Frederick Raven in 1859 using bricks made on the property, according to an account on the Chesterfield Historic and Landmark Preservation Committee website. Stone markers behind the house indicate where an original individual kitchen once stood.
In 1898, Félix and Pauline Queathem bought the house and owned it for almost 50 years. They built additions and updated with electrical and interior plumbing, according to the account.
Their pig farm gave the area the name ‘Hog Hollow’, but the family also called it ‘Panorama’ because of the stunning views from the hill at the time.
After the house changed hands several times in 100 years, a group of five women from St. Louis County who hoped to open a teahouse and gift shop bought it in the 1980s. Chesterfield was no not yet incorporated, so St. Louis County first approved the historic home for commercial use in 1983. This approval followed a long series of negotiations and initial opposition from neighbors, who were against a proposed beer garden on the property at the time, according to Post-Dispatch reports.
Everett, general manager of the new venture, said the planned wine bar would host a variety of events, including Missouri and international winery tastings, musical entertainment, cigar nights and arts nights at which people can learn to paint while sipping wine.
The space will also be open for event rentals with the option to hire catering from O’Kanes Kitchen, Everett said. Maximum occupancy for events has not been set, but the house’s multiple meeting spaces will be better suited to smaller events such as family celebrations, holiday reunions, team building sessions, and reunions.
Long term, the owners hope to plant vines on the property to add to the atmosphere, Everett said. For now, the updates focus on maintaining the character of the house.
“We want it to age like fine wine,” she said with a smile.
Initially, the wine bar plans to close at 9 p.m. and be open Thursday through Sunday, she said.
The Riries have lived in the Chesterfield area for nearly 40 years and have made headlines in recent years for their significant charitable giving, including donating $3.5 million to the athletics program at Cornell College in Iowa and $7.5 million to the Ole Miss Athletics at the University of Mississippi.
Scott Ririe said he hoped the old house in Hog Hollow would become a popular gathering place for the Chesterfields and showcase fine local wines.
“Like a lot of people, I used to turn my nose up at Missouri wines at first, but we’ve found wines that are really good,” he said. “We will try to find the diamonds in the rough and bring them to as many people as possible.”