Tuscan charm and Old World elegance define this exquisite downstairs space.
Story by Rachael Hedgcoth | Photography by Paul Bonnichsen
To experience a sense of authentic Tuscan spirit, one need only set foot inside this gorgeous estate located in the south Overland Park, Kan., gated community of Rockwood Falls.
An appreciation of all things simple, sturdy and elegant underscores the comprehensive design of this 8,000-square-foot, three-floor residence nestled on several treed acres.
Created by custom homebuilder Forner-La Voy Builders, Inc., this architectural gem was completed in December 2015. Home to a couple with teenage and grown children, the estate was designed to be a secluded retreat for family and friends.
The entire home is impressive in scope and substance and no details were spared when it came to finishing out the beautifully appointed 3,340-square-foot lower level.
“We really wanted to make sure the lower level felt like the rest of the house,” said James La Voy of Forner-La Voy Homebuilders.
Functional design, quality materials and rustic luxury are testament to that mission and define the unique downstairs space which includes a recreational area, full guest suite, wine cellar, powder bath and exercise room.
Natural light from the lush outdoors is also a given thanks to sliding glass doors at either end of the lower level and banks of windows in the central and back staircases.
A mix of recessed can lighting, lamps and ornate light fixtures further ensure programmable light scenes to fit any mood.
There is no mistaking the influence of Italian design in this soothing space.
Rugged natural stone, polished marble, travertine tile and distressed wood are among the elements that tell a tale of Tuscan allure.
From the main circular staircase – which showcases stained concrete steps with marble risers, an antiqued wooden handrailing and wrought iron spindles – to the 8-foot knotty alder doors and the Antico travertine flooring, strength and durability were driving design goals.
“We used a lot of tile for its durability and its ease of maintenance,” said La Voy. “Also, area rugs can be added for warmth and style.”
Natural materials were also incorporated in the stylish bar where stone columns, a mirrored backsplash and glass shelving fuse with a brushed-titanium granite bar and leather accent panels on the bar’s main column.
Seeded glass pendant lights, flat black pebble tile on the back countertop and distressed wooden ceiling beams give this bar gently aged appeal while an undercounter refrigerator and GE Advantium oven grant modern convenience.
The natural stone is continued in the rec room where a rugged stone column helps separate the billiards area from the carpeted home theatre and shuffleboard area.
Swirl, Sniff & Savor
Throughout the lower level, creative design touches add understated charm and showcase the builder’s attention to detail. Consider the granite drink shelf cleverly added to the rec area’s stone column and the eye-catching river rock path that leads toward the powder bath.
Additionally, adjacent to the main staircase, a tall vase sits atop a white frosted glass disk that can be illuminated for dramatic uplighting effects.
But without a doubt, the lower level’s most creative production is the spacious wine cellar.
Directly opposite the main staircase, insulated, exterior-grade double doors and expansive double-paned windows offer a peek into this stunning stone hideaway.
The room features roughly 200 square feet of climate-controlled space outfitted in native stone walls, 10-foot groin vaulted brick ceilings and custom-designed mahogany wine racks. Three equally-sized sections are divided by ornate stone archways and each section features a vaulted ceiling.
The room boasts a 1,500-bottle capacity and includes space for individual bottles, bulk storage, case storage and decorative displays.
Every inch of this distinctive cellar was thoughtfully maximized, from the limestone ledge under the custom cabinetry to the granite bar-topped wine barrel.
Rustic oil-rubbed bronze sconces and lanterns above patterned tile flooring add Tuscan character to the intimate cellar environs.
Additionally, four wine barrel head signs laser-engraved with family-specific milestones – including the couple’s wedding anniversary – impart a personalized touch to the cellar decor.
Whether lounging in the guest quarters or rec space, exercising in the sleek home gym or simply enjoying fresh air on one of the lower level’s two outdoor patios, this winsome space begs its occupants to let go of the day’s demands and simply soak up Old World tranquility.
The “welcome mat” is always out at this gracious home and it’s no surprise that family and friends frequently visit.
“The homeowners desired a home where they would have plenty of room for their kids and a great space to entertain friends and family,” said La Voy.
Through a beautiful arrangement of rustic warmth, simple sophistication and timeworn style, this benevolent estate summons a Tuscan state of mind … where la vita è sempre bella.
Builder: Forner–La Voy Builders | Appliances: Nebraska Furniture Mart | Audio/Video: Applause Custom Sight & Sound | Cabinets: Built To Fit | Carpet: Madden-McFarland Interiors | Countertops: Braco Stone & Sturgis Materials | Drywall: Greener Drywall | Electrical: Elite 1 Electric | Fixtures (Lighting): Wilson Fans & Lighting and Bronze Age Design | Hardware: Wilson Fans & Lighting | Hardwood: Acme Flooring | HVAC: Apex Heating and Air Conditioning | HVAC (Wine): Cellar Pro | Lumber: Owen Lumber Co. | Mirrors: Olathe Glass