Renewed Spirit

Tucked away in Leawood’s upscale residential Wilshire Place neighborhood, two young superheroes are enjoying a powerful superhero snack indeed — bacon! That’s right; the salty and delicious treat apparently hits the spot when it comes to fighting crime and protecting the home front.

At the end of a picturesque cul-de-sac, the home recently remodeled by Evan-Talan Homes has evolved into a dream come true for one busy couple and their two young boys. And despite the fact that dust is still settling from interior renovations, they are all getting cozy — smallish superheroes included.

What’s unique about these homeowners is that they are no strangers to home-building. In fact, they have previously built two homes together. For this constructive couple, this latest project presented the opportunity to completely rework a home from the inside out.

The Wilshire Place residence, built in 2003, was destined to become an object of the homeowners’ affection. After selling their Tuscany Reserve home, which they had built, they decided to temporarily rent in the Wilshire Place neighborhood as planning got underway for building their dream home. What they didn’t expect to find was a slice of heaven among the many families and children in the area.

According to the homeowners, “There were kids everywhere and all the homeowners were our age and we fell in love with the neighborhood. So the next question was, ‘now what are we going to do?’”
Fortunately for them, an existing home on the market sealed the deal of where the family would ultimately land — but the home would need some updating.

“We were just going to make one or two little changes to it and then we pretty much gutted the entire thing,” say the homeowners. As it so often happens, one or two changes dramatically metamorphosed: the house now has all-new plumbing and light fixtures, wall colors, rebuilt mantels, new cabinets and hardware, new tile by Kenny’s and totally revamped landscaping (for optimum superhero play space, of course). Essentially there wasn’t a square inch of the house that wasn’t touched by the new homeowners and their vision.

A completely different experience from their previous home endeavors which started at the pouring of the foundation, this project required working with existing space to create playful environs that would be comfortable and accommodating as well as sophisticated and stylish.

“We just wanted more of a lighter, brighter, happier, peaceful, transitional style,” says the couple.

Easy livin’

The main floor is a flowing fusion of expansive living space with a great room and formal dining room, which leads into a combined space for the kitchen, a small entertainment nook and breakfast area.

Outside, the kids have room to roam, just off a two-level patio that’s perfect for entertaining, under a canopy of large, mature trees. It provides for the perfect amount of sunlight in the morning and the kids can play under a natural shady umbrella over the lower patio.

With a sly grin, one homeowner says, “Spraying off the patio with the hose has become a fun pastime.” A superhero’s work is never done.

Inside the garage door entrance into the home is one feature that every family needs — the bag drop. The homeowners converted an old cabinet into cubbies for their boys complete with hooks for backpacks and jackets. Opposite the essential catch-all is a large cork board for displaying A+ papers and handmade art projects.

The kitchen showcases yet another testament to how simple changes can provide innovative change. While opting to retain the existing granite, the homeowners instead replaced older appliances, cabinets and hardware. Enhancing the home’s peaceful color palette, reflections of silver and pewter complement the distressed white cabinetry.

Renewed style

The secret throughout the house, however, lies in the accessories, which have simply been … spray-painted.

“I’ve gone a little overboard spray-painting things,” says one of the homeowners with a hearty laugh. The couple has cleverly utilized items from their former décor style and given them a facelift of sorts to fit into the new space.

The faux painting and resourceful thinking stem from the character of this couple who opted to update instead of build because “home” found them, before they found it.

The four-bedroom, three-full-and-two-half-bath home is undeniably cozy while offering classy notes. Take the formal dining room, for example. Upholstered chairs and a velvety winged-backed bench, below beautiful artwork, flank an accommodating dining table. A shimmering chandelier from Wilson Lighting adds a pretty glow to the room.

The homeowners love the space so much that any gathering is reason enough to use it.

“We’ve had friends over and just had carry-out Chinese in the dining room,” they say.

Levels of entertainment

It’s clear that impromptu gatherings and girls’ and guys’ nights in are essential to this young family. As a result, the lower level was designed with entertainment in mind.

As the only level of the home to have its floor plan restructured, the basement now boasts a beautiful bar, cabinetry and custom wine cellar by Built to Fit Cabinets. There is also a poker nook and bountiful playroom — with French doors to hide the superhero clutter from guests.

“In the rental home we didn’t have a bar and we didn’t have a wine cellar and here we got to do it,” says one of the homeowners.

The wine cellar is particularly interesting as the homeowners designed it themselves. Finding ultra-chic wire racks, bottles of fine wine shine like jewelry in a case. Large windows welcome sunlight, keeping the space airy and bright. But as night falls, the multiple TVs and comfy wrap-around couch beg for family nights with plenty of popcorn.


Creature comforts

The upstairs, via the wide-open three-tiered staircase is the quintessential floor for creature comforts. The boys’ — ahem superheroes’ — rooms share a Jack-and-Jill bath that is punctuated by whimsical turtle drawer pulls and accessories. Their rooms are quaint and welcoming, the perfect respite at day’s end.

The master bedroom and bath are spacious and warm, and a small sitting area has already become a treasured spot to unwind.

“I’ve always wanted [a little sitting area] and it’s a little bit sentimental to me because I am using my glider chair from when the boys were babies,” says one homeowner with a giggle. She says it provided the perfect relief from the recent hustle and bustle of the end of summer.

The bathroom features his-and-hers vanities and a large L-shaped walk-in shower. More silver accessories pepper the space, and the homeowner proudly confesses she discovers knickknacks in stores ranging from Hobby Lobby to trendy Kansas City boutiques.


Bright ideas

When asked to identify their favorite things in the house, one thing remains a constant — the lighting. The homeowners replaced all the lighting with the help of Wilson Lighting, and after finishing renovations their detailed choices brought the design together.

Standing in the open foyer, one homeowner professes, “I love standing here because I can see all the light fixtures. They are my favorite things in the house.”

Under the illumination of the new glistening lighting, the couple seems pleasantly at ease. Thanks to small and large updates, they are sure to enjoy their new home in the days to come. As the family settles into fall with the whirlwind renovations behind them, the fruits of their labor will become crystal clear. There will be no question that the time and energy this couple took to truly make this home their own was well worth the effort.

photos:  William & Jill DiMartino