This luxurious Leawood residence draws inspiration from the Northeastern shoreline.
Story by Rachael Hedgcoth | Photos by Paul Bonnichsen
When Robin and Eric Reynolds decided about three years ago that it was time for a new home, they had a specific style in mind.
Defined by straight lines, airy environs, and functional elegance, the new home would ideally be a fresh departure from the rustic elements, earthy hues, and darker woods of the couple’s classically Italian home at that time in Tuscany Reserve.
In late 2014, they joined forces with renowned Kansas City home industry experts – architect Scott Bickford of Bickford and Co., and custom builder Kirk Cornelius of Cornelius Homes – to bring their vision to fruition.
Design by Direction
Above all, the couple wanted a home that offered functionality for their busy family of five.
They also desired a family-oriented neighborhood, proximity to their kids’ schools, and an accommodating living environment for their children.
They decided to build on a nearly half-acre lot in Leawood’s exclusive Highlands Creek community located just minutes from popular shopping, dining, and entertainment destinations.
After much discussion and research, Bickford produced plans for an 8,600-square-foot estate, complete with five bedrooms, six full baths, three half baths, and four garages.
The house would feature a daylight lower level, an engaging main level, and a second floor with three bedroom suites and a loft.
Transitioning from Old World European charm to quintessentially American Cape Cod-inspired character required attention to architectural details such as clean lines, an open floor plan, and minimal ornamentation.
“The exterior styling of the home is inspired by Northeastern coastal architecture found throughout the Eastern Seaboard, including Cape Cod,” says Bickford. “‘Nantucket’ and ‘shingle style’ are other terms used to describe this architecture. While this home is not true to any of them, it is inspired by them. The gable roofs, gray shingles, and white trim are the primary hallmarks of this style.”
After 15 months of construction, the Reynolds family settled into their new home. They say the home has been all they had hoped for – and more.
Eric and Robin, CEO and COO, respectively, of Overland Park, Kan.,-based event media company TriStar, are no strangers to organization and efficiency.
It was these qualities that helped keep the home’s construction on track, on time, and on budget.
“Robin was the driving force behind all of the design work,” says builder Cornelius. “She has a good sense of style and is exceedingly well organized.”
This passion for detail and Bickford’s and Cornelius’ dedication to quality helped ensure this home was exceptional from the first line drawn to the last tile installed.
A study of the home’s exterior reveals a balanced composition of linear elements, a steeply pitched, gable roof, and expansive windows.
Gray HardieShingle® James Hardie siding trimmed in white and topped by a dark gray concrete tile roof lends coastal sensibility to the property.
A bluestone-paved walkway welcomes guests to this residence which sits on a deep lot bordered by immaculate landscaping and privacy-enhancing trees.
Inside the home, warm shades of white, soaring ceilings, and abundant amounts of daylight make the main floor one of the family’s favorite spots to relax and unwind.
“While the exterior of the home is influenced by the Eastern Seaboard, the interior is influenced by today’s lifestyle,” says Bickford. “The open floor plan, large pantry, and large back-of-house areas are amenities people are requesting today.”
Complete with an elegant kitchen featuring white enameled cabinetry, white wood plank ceilings, and white oak flooring, the spacious main floor is also home to the master bedroom suite, dining room, breakfast room, and a stylish butler’s pantry.
But it is the white-washed, cozy lanai room that steals the family’s hearts.
A Space for All Seasons
“We probably spend 80 percent of our time in the lanai,” says Robin of the crisp room.
Dressed in casual splendor thanks to comfy seating, a sleek bar with onyx countertops, white-washed wood ceilings with gray beams, and ceramic wood-like tile flooring, the lanai room beckons with its weathered tranquility.
But there is much more than meets the eye in this smartly executed room. With heating and cooling zoning separate from the rest of the house, the lanai is an al fresco gem.
Sliding glass doors make it possible for this room to be closed off from the breakfast and kitchen area and opened to the backyard oasis.
Additionally, a large sliding barn door cleverly conceals the butler’s pantry when the family wants to enjoy fresh air inside.
Above all, Robin wanted the main floor – and this room, in particular – to provide a vantage point to outside.
“I wanted to be able to see the kids in the backyard,” says Robin. “I also wanted to be able to walk out from the main level to the backyard. This whole house is about function.”
To that end, the lanai offers easy access to the outdoor living area where the picturesque poolscape is a welcome retreat for family and friends.
The T-shaped pool features a reef entry, an infinity-edge waterfall, and is flanked by travertine pool decking as well as a large pergola outfitted with a grilling area, built-in sink, refrigerator, and bluestone counters.
Plenty of seating, a linear firepit, soothing sounds of water, and lush greenery top off this outdoor sanctuary ideal for everything from catching some rays and grilling steaks to lounging on a raft or simply enjoying conversation.
Bright and Breezy
So much of what makes this home spectacular lies in the fusion of materials used throughout the home.
Whether white oak, rustic wood grains, marble tile, paneled wainscot, or painted brick, the various materials give this home an appeal that is both modern and enduring.
Robin added décor, lighting, and furnishings to create elegant serenity, and worked with Pat Connor of Leawood’s renowned interior design company Madden-McFarland to select just the right furniture and draperies.
“I wanted straight lines, square patterns, light colors,” says Robin. “I wanted something kind of timeless. Pat was instrumental in helping to bring the home together.”
To achieve the look she was seeking, Robin bid farewell to her darker, chunky, Tuscan furniture from the previous home and incorporated light, airy new furnishings while paying special attention to light fixtures.
The home’s ornate chandeliers, pendant lighting, and accent sconces were selected through Overland Park, Kan.,-based Wilson Lighting.
“Lighting is one of my favorite things,” says Robin. “An amazing light fixture can be a statement piece; it’s like jewelry for the home.”
From the bedroom suites on the second floor, and the gathering areas on the main floor, to the lower level’s home theater, poker room, guest suite, wine cellar, and bar’s view out to the pool’s cascading waterfall, there is much to love about this benevolent estate.
But perhaps it is the home’s sheer authenticity that shines brightest.
“I’ve built three homes, and I will never build again with anyone else but Kirk,” says Robin. “He’s as honest as the day is long. Everything about him is quality. That’s just who he is.”
She says that architect Bickford brought a lot of good ideas to the table, as well, and that the entire building experience simply could not have been any more pleasant.
Apparently, the feeling was mutual, as Cornelius says, “They were my dream clients.”
When all was said and done, expert collaboration led to a luxurious residence that fulfilled the homeowners’ quest for something unique.
“I like change; I wanted something that wasn’t the norm,” says Robin. “And we really got the home we were looking for.”
Certainly, this beautiful home is testament to the fact that, sometimes, something out of the ordinary can translate into something truly extraordinary.