All It Took Was Some R & R: Reuse and Repurpose!
When you stick to your own tastes, then the design you ultimately create is never out of style.
Story by Ann Butenas | Photos by Matt Kocourek
It is the clever eye and insightful imagination that sees possibility written all over a space where others might see limitations. The cozy Overland Park home of husband and wife Craig Adcock and Teresa Erb clearly illustrates that it is possible to marry a multitude of styles without any of them playing a dominant role. If anything, they all play well together and that is the inherent beauty of this one-of-a-kind, redesigned, repurposed and simply charming kitchen.
When Craig and Teresa realized this particular home would most likely be their home for many, many years to come, they knew it had to reflect and represent their lifestyle. In an effort to bring their dreams to fruition, the couple met with local architect, Wolfgang Trost, a notable professional known for his stellar work in residential settings. Settling in together on more than one occasion (where a bottle of wine may or may not have been involved!), notes were compared, ideas were sparked, pen was put to paper, and the end results, well, they just speak for themselves. This is one kitchen remodel that truly stands out on its own and has been given the complete freedom to simply be itself.
Even though one could never argue against Craig’s creative abilities, he confessed to his primary source of design magic and inspiration.
“Teresa is the wizard behind the curtain,” confessed Craig. “She is the cool one. She just told me not to make it (the design) too weird.”
This 1971 split-level home has held its own over the years, but when Craig and Teresa moved in about 15 years ago, this house had no idea what was in store for it! Its prior kitchen façade of monochromatic colors (and a shamefully flowered wallpaper border which actually kick-started this whole project, as Teresa was not a fan!) gave way to the unrivaled imagination of its homeowners for an “anything goes” appeal. If it fits, it works, and interestingly enough, it seems that no matter what item or element factored into this place, it naturally seems to just fit right in. Rhyme or reason may hold no firm place in this space, but no matter where you look, there is definitely a great story to be told.
“I worked in collaboration with a client who is a cook, a baker, a BBQ enthusiast and so much more,” Trost said. “Craig and Teresa certainly had a lot of ideas and together we were able to magically transform this home.”
To classify the style of this kitchen into one word is nearly impossible. With so many elements of differing designs and backgrounds, one may ask, “Is it punk? Industrial? Eclectic?” In reality, it is probably just up to the homeowners to decide what feels comfortable for them and any guests who drop by can simply admire it for the way it speaks to them. In either case, it definitely sparks a great deal of conversation, as this kitchen is never at a loss for self-expression.
Not one to simply toss anything and everything away, Craig relies on repurposing items as one of his primary modes of décor, and that trait lends itself incredibly well to the ambiance of this space. A restaurateur and entrepreneur by trade, Craig wanted to incorporate restaurant efficiencies with the conveniences of home into the updated kitchen. As one who wears numerous entrepreneurial hats, Craig is owner of Table Ocho, a personalized and themed dining experience; Belly-Up Barbeque, a catering service; and Jude’s Rum Cakes. His days are typically spent exercising his culinary prowess, so why not provide that same atmosphere at home, but on a highly unique scale? And while Teresa maintains a job in the corporate arena at Google, she also helps Craig with all of his endeavors. However, there is a slight difference of opinion at times.
“Teresa is a bit more black and white than I am,” he smiled. “She often has to reign me in.”
Craig’s willingness to continually color outside the lines of traditional home décor stands in seemingly opposition to his previous life, however. He relocated to Kansas City in 1996 from El Paso, Texas, which is where he and Teresa met when they were serving in the Army. Upon moving to the metro area, Craig worked at Sprint, but after 12 years was itching to do something else.
“I have always enjoyed cooking and was pretty much a reckless abandon kind of cook,” he laughed. “I did create some really bad stuff back in the day! However, I resolved to learn how to barbeque and cook fish on the grill in 1999 and Teresa and I also got into wine in a big way, traveling to California where I cooked and grilled, introducing Kansas City’s awesome seasonings to boutique owners out there. As one event led to another, Craig began to trade his services for wine and soon showcased his now-famous decadent gourmet rum cakes which took off, well, like hot cakes. (Hint – the secret is in the homemade rum. Enough said.)
“Essentially, I am a barbeque guy who happens to make rum cakes and do an occasional food festival,” mused Craig. And even though he said he’d never own a restaurant, well, Table Ocho was an idea born from an experience when the couple visited Peru several years ago, and if you want a great steak or the best paella in town, then call Table Ocho. You won’t be disappointed.
But circling back around to the kitchen, it’s clear that the couple’s passion for travel, dining, wine, entertaining and just expressing their unique style have all found a home in this culinary sanctuary of sorts.
“We bring a lot of stuff back from our travels,” noted Craig.
Hand-painted tile flooring from Mexico greets you at the front door, an influence from the couple’s military days in El Paso, Texas.
“We have 45 different tiles set in no particular pattern,” noted Craig. “It all just seems to flow.” This tile flooring repeats itself in the laundry room, as well.
The floating rustic wooden stairwell with hand iron work and glass contiguous to the front door was a new addition to the home. Previously, in order to access the basement, one had to go through the garage.
Contiguous to the 48” America’s Test Kitchen-like stove (not commercial grade but certainly an improvement on the residential size) is a peg board, designed by good friend Travis and which stands as Craig’s tribute to Julia Child, making his cooking instruments readily available.
“The wood used is actually the backside of the old paneling that used to be in the living room,” said Craig. Not one to miss an opportunity to make full use of every square inch of space, Craig made sure the stainless steel counter below the peg board had hinges placed in the back so it can lift up for storage. The orange hood above the range is a nod to the color of the Golden Gate Bridge, Craig’s ode to one of his favorite places.
Trost chimed in, “Craig found creative and unique applications for the elements he found for this space, and he has friends skilled in metals and wood working who helped him repurpose the items.”
The kitchen cabinets enjoy retro knobs, all of which are from the 1940s – 1960s, which Craig obtained from his buddy Kenny. “We like to repurpose unique items and finds from the past and make them treasure,” quipped Craig.
And what established cook and caterer couldn’t use concrete countertops?
Craig pointed out, “The concrete countertops from Concrete Designs are remarkable. They are custom-designed and include accommodation for commercial faucets and were set by Seth at Concrete Designs in Lenexa. We absolutely love them!”
The mobile island in the center of the kitchen came courtesy of a friend whose dad was a high school shop teacher in Lexington, Missouri in the 1970s.
“My friend Kenny Keaton brought it to life by cutting the original one into 3 ½ x 3 ½ tables, one for the kitchen and the other is used in another room for our computer,” said Craig.
Larger windows replaced the smaller ones and were set on an angle by the two farmhouse sinks to allow for more natural light. The ceiling above was elevated in order to accomplish this. Further, an area was punched out to accommodate the refrigerator and allow for the laundry room next to it. The glass on the counter here is made of recycled materials from Ripple Glass.
The chalk boards came from an old school near Emporia and which Craig scored for just $10.00 each and his friend Scott cut them to size.
The hanging fixture above the sinks is an old bird feeder made of Mississippi Mud that Craig’s dad converted into a light.
Just off the kitchen, the mismatched chairs around the reclaimed barn wood dining room table are not a mistake and are a result of a chair party/open house that Craig and Teresa hosted, asking each guest to bring a unique chair and then leave it. The result? Mismatched perfection that cannot be argued. The light hanging above the table came from Chile. A nearby mini bar stands at the ready to entertain, repurposed from the old original wall paneling in the living room. Additionally, the fireplace inserts are from the early 1900s, which Craig discovered sitting outside an antique shop on State Line Road.
“The owner said those had sat outside for 20 years but knew that someone would eventually snag them,” smiled Craig.
Despite juggling multiple jobs simultaneously, Craig shows no signs of losing any sort of professional ambition. In fact, he hopes to do some kitchen consulting and design in the near future, and if this project is any indication of his prowess and potential for success in that arena, then he has already cornered the market!
Architect: Wolfgang Trost | Principal Builder: Ray Clough | Retro Bar, Railing and Iron Work, Shelving, Peg Board: Meta Goods/Travis Thomton | Reclaimed Wood Projects/Antique Knobs & Pulls: Keaton’s Refinishing | Barnwood/Maple Table Tops: John Stuerke | Audio/Stereo: Gilbert Ye | Countertops: Ripple Glass | Concrete Countertops: Concrete Designs | Tile Work/Backsplash: Shaughn Sprague | Custom Hood Painting: EPR | Stainless Steel Counter Wrap: Metro Metal Sales | Appliances: True Refrigerator and Ice machine, DCS Range | Wood Flooring: Custom Flooring