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A Partial Home Remodel in Wildwood

The homeowners of this beautiful residence in Wildwood came to us needing a fireplace and atrium remodel, opting for a rustic look with a modern twist. Aptitude owner Matt Mierek and his team have perfected the art of co-creating project designs with clients, a vital skill in construction work that you won’t find with an inexperienced contractor.

From start to finish, this high-end partial home remodel took about three and a half weeks to complete, and the homeowners couldn’t be happier with the result. Keep reading to learn more about how Matt worked with them to come up with the perfect project solution.

What was the client looking to accomplish with this project?

They originally came to us through a referral from another client in their subdivision and were looking to renovate the atrium of their home, with the fireplace as a focal point. The existing fireplace had been built out with drywall and had brass doors, which didn’t fit with the rest of their home.  

We ended up pulling that out and replacing it with a tall chimney and modern stacked stone, with a hearth and capstone on top. We also added lighting on each side of the chimney section to accentuate the paintings and artwork on the wall that they had. There was a lot of thought involved in crafting the new fireplace, and those details are what draw your eye to it. The whole thing turned out really nicely.

How did you identify this client’s particular style and come up with a corresponding design?

They like a rustic look, but not to the point where it feels like the interior of a cabin. So the key was coming up with materials and a fireplace design that combined both rustic and modern elements but also felt very personal to the homeowners. Over the years we’ve gotten really good at figuring out how to recognize and personalize a client’s general style, which means the end result might be a nontraditional take on what “rustic” or “modern” typically looks like.

What specific design materials and techniques did you use to create that personalized aesthetic?

The capped sandstone ties the distinct elements together, and we had it custom-made for the hearth by a fabricator in Chesterfield. From there, we landed on the idea to use stacked stone for the rest of the fireplace and to take the design all the way up to the ceiling, instead of stopping it a few feet above the mantle, to really make it pop. Once you have the first few design elements nailed down, it’s kind of like putting together a puzzle to get to the perfect solution.

When we work with clients on project design, we’re now at a point where we can come up with ideas that they’ll like very quickly, because of our decades of experience. Once you see the space and talk to the homeowners, it’s pretty easy to tell what’ll look good. We can pinpoint their wants and needs and help them make decisions quicker.

What is your strategy or philosophy when collaborating with a client?

I really enjoy talking to clients and working out the finer points of that process. I’m sure most people don’t even realize that I do this, but when I show up at a client’s home for a walk-through, I’m taking in the whole look and feel of the space: the design, how the landscaping has been done, the furniture, decor, art and more. I also start asking questions and taking note of what they like and don’t like.

The highest compliment we receive from clients is really that continuing relationship, whether it’s work on another project or getting together for a round of golf. Our goal is to work with people long term and to go above and beyond what their initial expectations may be.


Private Residential Remodel


Wildwood, MO



900 sq/ft


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