Are We In Kansas Anymore?

4597 0

It took just the right hill to create this mountain-like, modern home.

Story by Ann Butenas    |    Photography by Matt Kocourek

Designing and building a home with a charming Colorado vibe is not necessarily the easiest of tasks to complete on the prairie lands of Kansas. However, when the rules of architecture are applied with just a whisper of Frank Lloyd Wright inspiration and are then given the latitude to create their own agenda, the results are stunningly perfect.

When the owners of this one-of-a-kind residence were contemplating a new home, they had a certain style and design in mind, but encountered a few stumbling blocks along the way. To achieve a modern floorplan in a traditional town would take concentrated effort. After interviewing a few architects, they eventually met Dan Webster, owner of Extraordinary Homes, a local architecture, construction and real estate firm.

“We saw what Dan had done with other homes and then showed him this lot,” stated the homeowners. “He said he could build it without any retaining walls, which appealed to us, as we find them to be a distraction. Dan told us he could build the home into the hill with the trees behind it, essentially creating a reverse story and a half home.”

Once the homeowners had confidence in the basic infrastructure of the home, the intimate details were then set into motion, overseen by Kathleen Fogel, President of Extraordinary Homes and whom Webster credits as the true genius behind every design. Upon meeting the clients, Fogel was excited to initiate the project, confident the final results would fully meet all expectations of the clients.

“Even though they told us we were a good fit for them, in reality they were a perfect fit for us,” she noted.

With respect to the homeowners, there was no hemming and hawing involved. Once all parts and pieces were ready to engage, the trust was there.

“Upon meeting Dan and Kathleen, we knew we had found a team who could build exactly what we wanted,” said the owners.

Going from initial concept to first spade took appreciable research and insight, and Fogel was more than willing to exercise her design prowess and put it to work for her clients, leaving all preconceived ideas as to what a “modern” home truly is far away from the equation. Fogel explained the lines between contemporary and modern can often become blurred. However, this particular home defines modern in its own confident way.

“I studied the lot, the green space and the neighborhood,” noted Fogel, “I then interviewed the clients and learned about their lifestyle and how they planned to use the home.”

Reflecting the beauty of the surrounding nature of its environment, this home clearly understands its role. The crisp, clean lines of the exterior blend seamlessly into the same architectural footprint within. Using layers of wood, stone and metal, the exterior personality continues to the interior expression without interruption.

“This is a good-sized, tree covered lot on a hill, which made it the perfect lot on which to build this particular home,” Fogel indicated, who, along with the team of experts at Extraordinary Homes designed, built and provided all of the interior finishes and elements in addition to the pool and landscape design, making the company a one-stop shop for the clients.

A total of 5,719 square feet, this house utilizes nearly every square inch of space. While basically operating as two full floors, it technically has four levels. The main level includes the master suite, kitchen, two living areas, a laundry room and a mud room, the latter two of which are just off the entry to the three-car garage.

Going down a half flight of stairs one is led to a bedroom, as well as to the homeowner’s office. Down another half flight sits another bedroom, which is essentially stacked on another bedroom down yet another half flight. On the lowest level is the basement, which contains the game room, movie room, and small kitchen area. An additional office just off the main kitchen upstairs looks directly onto the lanai and outdoor kitchen and living area, another exciting dimension of the home.

“The outdoor fireplace was designed to hold up the entire corresponding roof without the need for traditional columns, thereby creating a floating effect to the roof,” noted Fogel.

The entire residence is extremely disciplined in color and texture. Each level creates additional interest in the home. Working from the outside in, this home was expressly designed to set forth a Colorado vibe. The walkway up to the main entry of the house is comprised of a raised wood platform, which is high enough to give it a floating effect yet low enough to not require a hand railing, which would distract from its overall look. The corresponding landscaping was deliberate in design, as well, making full use of big boulders with interest and appropriately placed aspens and evergreens.

Generous expanses of glass and accompanying floor to ceiling windows allow for the natural light to flow through this home, amplifying the spacious and open look. The place blends functional living areas and communal living areas with ease. The entire flow of the home allows for seamless movement from one area to another. It offers a refined modern interior with perfect amounts of hardwood floors, exposed beams and striking stonework, creating a lavish impression without any sense of arrogant bravado. This home simply knows what it is and the purpose for which it was created and takes pride in bringing both form and function fully into the picture. Even the open tread stairs in the home allow for light to easily flow through and filter light down to the lowest level of the home.

While the homeowners relish every space in the home, they do have a few favorite spots in which to relax. For example, the outdoor kitchen and living area is more than just an extension of the home; it stands more as a partner to the structure, offering a personal invitation to relax and breathe in the moment, no matter the weather or time of year.

“We love to come out here when it rains or snows,” smiled the homeowners. “It is so peaceful and relaxing to just sit down and enjoy the view.”

The homeowners also appreciate the innovative use in design elements in places one might not necessarily refer to as a “favorite” spot in the home.

“We love the guest bathroom,” said the homeowners. “It has a beautiful floor to ceiling window that provides a great view. We had an extra opaque door and really didn’t know what to do with it. It was Kathleen’s idea to put that on rails and use it as a window covering for that bathroom. We just really love it.”

The homeowners are continually in awe of the final product in which they now live.

“We love the way this house was designed,” they stated. “The most forward room in the house is the office, which gives us the opportunity to not only look back into the trees but also forward and down the cul-de-sac. The design of the house was done in such a way that you can look through about half of the house from no matter where you sit. This was a first class job in design, plans and construction, and they made the entire process really easy.”

Clearly everything about this home has a place and a purpose.

“It’s not just about the look,” expressed Fogel. “It is also about the function, as living is the purpose of this home.”


  • Builder/Contractor: Dan Webster Extraordinary Homes
  • Architect: Dan Webster/Kathleen Fogel
  • Appliances: Factory Direct Appliance
  • Audio/Video: Echo Systems (formerly Intergrated Electronics)
  • Cabinets: Gillpatrick Woodworks LLC
  • Countertops: Premier Surfaces (formerly Top Master)
  • Doors: Interior – Milano Doors
  • Drywall: Wallboard Specialties
  • Electrician: Teague Electric Construction
  • Excavation: JAG Excavating
  • Fireplace: Midwest Fireplace
  • Flooring Hardwood: Kenny’s Tile & Floor Covering
  • Foundation: Johnson County Basement
  • Framing: Lumber One
  • Garage Doors: Radio Controlled Garage Door
  • Garage Floor: K&E Flatwork LLC
  • Garage Storage: Overhead Door
  • Glass & Mirrors: Olathe Glass
  • Hardware: Signature Hardware
  • Heating & Cooling: Lancaster Bros. Heating & Cooling
  • Home Security: Simply Safe
  • Home Theater: Echo Systems (formerly Intergrated Electronics)
  • Light Fixtures: Wilson Fans & Lighting
  • Lumber: McCray Lumber
  • Masonry: TG Construction
  • Paint: Paint Pro
  • Plumbing: Mike Cox Plumbing
  • Plumbing Fixtures: Signature Hardware
  • Roofing Contractor: Jaberian Roofing Co.
  • Staircase Railings: Al Stevens Construction LLC
  • Stone Company: TG Construction
  • Tile: AMC Custom Tile LLC
  • Trim Work: Brian Bodenhausen
  • Windows: Midwest Glass & Glazing LLC
  • Landscaping: Arbor Masters Tree & Landscape
  • Landscape Lighting: Arbor Masters Tree & Landscape
  • Pool/Spa: Complete Pools
  • Pool House Lights: Complete Pools
  • Stone Company: TG Construction
  • Sprinkler System: Arbor Masters Tree & Landscape

About The Author