The McMonagles' Artful Home in Hallbrook Farms
Leawood couple loves color and the idea of not taking themselves too seriously.
It may not be the typical piece of furniture you’d find in a living room, but somehow the shuffleboard table in Lauren and Ryan McMonagle’s Hallbrook Farms home in Leawood fits their lifestyle perfectly. Besides, it just so happens to be beautiful.
“When we grow up so much that we don’t want it, we can put it in the basement,” says Lauren, a busy and playful mother of four ranging in age from 5 to 10, the youngest being a set of twins. “But people enjoy it so much. I wanted something that brings people together, an activity for our family. I didn’t want to buy another piece of furniture and put more decorative things on it. I wanted a shuffleboard table pretty enough that I would have bought it as a piece of furniture.”
That sense of fun permeates the McMonagles traditional-style home and their overall philosophy of not taking themselves too seriously. After all, they also have a metal dinosaur sculpture named Bob in their living room. But what also is particularly striking is the vast and colorful artwork that adorns their walls. Since their 2001 marriage, Ryan’s career has prompted moves to Dallas, Boston, Denver, Santa Fe, San Diego and now Kansas City for the last year and a half. They have collected art in every city they’ve lived in. Ryan is the chief financial officer of Utility One Source.
“Ryan and I got married right after college. We met really young,” Lauren says, explaining they met at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. “We grew up and developed our tastes together. Early on, we were very Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware. We’ve gotten a little bit more eclectic over the years. I would say all the places we’ve lived have influenced our style.”
That style, says their interior designer, Sara Noble of Noble Designs, provided great bones for her to renovate their living room, entry hallway and dining room.
“They had good pieces to work with, and they are a super kind and fun couple anyway, and they’re open to doing fresh, new stuff,” Noble says. “Things like adding cowhide pillows, funky lamps and just a few things to give it a fresh feel.”
The dining room redesign took some persuasion, however. After removing the dated wallpaper, Noble suggested painting the walls hunter green and the ceiling blush. The couple at first balked at the idea but ultimately agreed with Noble’s idea and couldn’t be happier with the result. Noble also raised the wall trim higher than a typical chair-rail height so as to have room for decorative molding on the bottom for a bit of interest. The dramatic Regina Andrew chandelier, made of blown smoky glass and a brushed brass finish; Barbara Cosgrove lamps on the buffet table, which was the first piece of nice furniture the couple bought; long dining table adorned with silver, crystal and brass candlesticks and custom-made chairs; and Kate Spade rug finishes the room. And, of course, there’s the art. Edgar Keuling paintings on either side of the buffet are the first pieces of art the couple bought.
The adjacent entry hallway similarly has a dramatic piece of art the couple bought at an estate sale in Santa Fe, as does the living room’s mixed-media, three-panel artwork called a triptych that was done by a college friend of Lauren’s named Carrie Pittman.
The living room was designed to be the nicest room in the house, yet it is inviting and comfortable, a place where people actually want to hang out.
“I’m a big believer in mixing high- and low-end,” Noble says. “There are things that I think it’s worth putting your money into, and there are things where we can do Target and West Elm. Upholstered furniture is a good thing to put your money into. When you buy that cheap, it will show crushing before too long. If you put some money into that, it will last. Side tables and accessories are a good place to cheat and go a little bit cheaper. Lighting is a good place to spend the money. Big, bulky lamps make a statement, which I think is really important.”
Lauren says she and her family couldn’t be happier with their move to Kansas City.
“Some of the other places we’ve lived were truly beautiful — the mountains in Colorado, and New Mexico is the land of enchantment, and the California beach, but it’s the people here that make Kansas City special,” she says. “And it’s pretty here, too. I didn’t expect the hills and trees. Our transition here was so easy because of the awesome community, the people. It is a cliché that Midwesterners are nice, but it’s because it’s true.”
Design: Noble Designs
Contract work: Complete Renovations
Paint: Benjamin Moore
Walls: Tarrytown Green HC-134
Niches: Black Jack 2133-20
Ceiling and lamp shades: Pensacola Pink 1184
Lamps: Barbara Cosgrove
Chairs: Custom through Lee Industries
Table: Lillian August, available through Noble Designs
Rug: Kate Spade (discontinued, but similar looks are available)
Side table: West Elm
Chair: Custom through Noble Designs
Lamps: Robert Abbey, also available from Noble Designs
Sofa: Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams