Plaza Condo's Bright and Brilliant Artwork

Plaza condo blooms with sunlight and contemporary artwork.



 

In one of those high-rise condominiums just south of the Country Club Plaza that fascinate many suburbanites because of its urban flair, a Lenexa couple has found a weekend oasis.

   The couple, avid art collectors, initially wanted a second home to display their contemporary art collection, which includes an impressive array of paintings, sculptures, glasswork and photographs. But their light, chic condo at the Sulgrave Regency with its spectacular Plaza view has turned into much more than a place to house art.

   Their weekend getaway, just minutes from their primary home, is what the lady of the house calls “their fun place.” It brims with a sophistication that many a New York apartment-dweller would envy and has easy access to some of Kansas City’s top attractions.

   "When we first bought this place three years ago, we really had no intention of using it very much,” she says, preferring not to be identified for privacy reasons. “We saw it and thought, ‘OK, maybe we’ll use it just once or twice a month.’ Turns out, we’re here every weekend and every Wednesday. The nice thing about this is it’s not a lake home where you have to travel three hours to get there. Because we work in Shawnee, it’s very doable as far as coming anytime we want. We park our car and walk everywhere.”

   When the couple’s son went to school in New York a few years back, they visited him frequently and started to enjoy urban life and the feeling of connectedness to the surroundings that it brings. Now, when they visit other big cities like Chicago or San Francisco, they park and walk and don’t set eyes on their rental car until it’s time to head to the airport.

   Happily nestled in their Plaza condo, the couple, married 43 years, enjoys visiting neighborhood eateries and Kansas City attractions that they never did before.

   “I have lived here my whole life,” says the lady of the house. “I had never gone to the Liberty Memorial. When we’re here on weekends, we’ll go do things like that. We went to the museum and I thought, ‘Why have I not been here before? It’s fabulous.’ We have so many great things here in Kansas City.”

   The couple turned to Kathleen Ramsey of Ramsey Interiors to help with the design and renovation of their 1,200-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-bath condo. New lighting, sound and electrical systems were installed and the master bath was remodeled. Ramsey’s goal for the home was simple.

   “They wanted this home to be different from their current home,” Ramsey notes. “They wanted to utilize a lot of their contemporary artwork, so the goal was to not compete with the artwork with the furnishings and the layout, but to enhance the artwork. We left the walls kind of a gray-white, which is a nice backdrop to all the artwork.”

  Ramsey enjoyed working with the couple, who were “willing to stretch outside their box and have a little more fun with the elements, like the fabrics,” such as in the master bedroom, which is full of color. “That’s not something I would typically do because bedrooms are made to be more restful. But since this was to be a getaway and was just going to be a fun place, we amped up the color in it.”

   Ramsey had worked with the design of the couple’s Lenexa home, which houses their traditional art collection. They started seriously collecting contemporary art about 17 years ago.

   “We didn’t start out with contemporary; we just evolved and watched our tastes expand and change,” says the homeowner. “The more we’re exposed to it, I’m more attracted to the color.”

  Her favorite artists include local sculptor Tom Corbin, and Hung Liu, Marek Zyga, Drew Tal, Erte, Erin Cone, Christopher Martin, Eric Zener and Noel Hart. She can rattle off each of their names in an instant as she shows their artwork to a visitor during a tour at her condo, which she says is conducive to meeting neighbors.

   “At our home in Lenexa, we’re working, we drive in the garage, we very rarely see our neighbors,” she says. “Here, we see people. My husband uses the spa, so he’s made friends. Everyone is very friendly. A lot them are weekenders like us, some of the condos are rented, some residents live here full time. We always have nice little social events. Our whole lives have changed in three years.”

  One of her favorite places is the balcony, a place that inspires both tranquility and socializing.

   “We sit on the balcony all the time,” she says. “We have breakfast out there. We’re out there at night with friends. It’s great. It’s cozy.”

  Cozy is a perfect description of their home-away-from-home that showcases the artwork they love.