Contemporary Country Living

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Manifesting the best of both worlds, a Kansas City couple brings stylish city living to the elegant countryside with their newly constructed home in Kearney, Missouri.

Story by Jeanne de Lathouder     /     Photography by Matt Kocourek

After securing an ideal property for their new build, a young couple heard plenty of the usual rumors that swirl about during the planning stages — that constructing a home from the ground up can be a stressful and grueling process. But they also heard that Kansas City interior designer Jennifer Surface could prevent those unpleasantries — and even make it fun. As fate would have it, the three of them were brought together at a backyard barbecue on a toasty summer evening when they met. “We were both grabbing a beer at the same time when I ran into Brian Staton,” says Jennifer of Surface to Surface Interior Design & Construction. “He asked if I was still doing interior design, to which I answered with a smile, forever and always.”

Brian and his wife, Tracy, were about to break ground on their new 4,500-square-foot home, located just enough outside Kearney, Missouri, to give it a peaceful, rural vibe. Following an initial consultation and a walk-through of the new home in the framing process, Jennifer instinctively knew what to do and dove in with her signature-style verve. “Nothing makes a project more exciting than when I have complete trust,” notes the designer, “and I did from the start with Brian and Tracy. Their confidence empowered me to dare and dream, thinking endlessly about the possibilities. And here we are, two years after our first discussion, and they are all moved into their beautiful home.”

Nestled within the serene outskirts along picturesque Oakridge Drive, the dwelling shines as a quintessential example of modern living seamlessly blended with country charm. The architectural gem, crafted by Syler Construction, emanates sophistication and warmth, offering a haven for anyone who embraces contemporary design yet yearns for that touch of tranquility only nature can provide. A thoughtful design choice, the home’s reverse-style layout maximizes the surrounding views and elevates the living experience by placing the main living areas on the upper level, with additional bedrooms and recreational spaces on the lower level.

“As soon as you step through the front door, you’re immediately enveloped by an aura of natural, neutral, and timeless elegance — the hallmark of Jennifer Surface’s vision,” says Tracy. “She meticulously curated sleek, contemporary furnishings from illustrious brands, including Restoration Hardware, Arhaus, and NFM Design Gallery, that resonate with the home’s modern aesthetic while ensuring comfort and functionality.”

Adhering to the spacious and airy aesthetic, Jennifer welcomed boundaries without drywall in the couple’s open floor plan. She didn’t hesitate to introduce striking statement lighting that demands attention dangling from the high ceilings. Comfortable, scale-appropriate furnishings and timeless classic design proved the perfect recipe for relaxation and solitude for this young family. A well-balanced selection and placement of accessories and materials was paramount. “I encourage designs that live beyond their expectations,” notes Jennifer. “My style is not about trends that go away as fast as they appear. I like to include a few trendy accents but prefer lasting versatility with a clean, neutral base. I chose a white wall color that subtly complements the décor palette with visual intrigue — a crisp background that draws you in, sits assuredly in the background, and allows everything else to take center stage.”

Jennifer’s trademark selection of textures amplifies light, enhances the ambiance, and generates a polished sophistication. A symphony of finishes in the kitchen, including brushed-gold fixtures, a lustrous waterfall-edge quartzite island, and a gleaming linear pendant overhead, lends a bold, modern look tamed with elegance. Stained wood shelves, a stained island base, and recessed ceiling treatments detailed with rustic wood planks counterbalance the glossy surfaces, imbuing the spaces with warmth and a connection to the outdoors. Paying homage to nature, Jennifer added a custom centerpiece made with curly willow tree branch tips and placed it on a custom six-foot-square live-edge dining table. An artist as well as a designer, she also created five original works to elevate the décor. And, of course, no project of Jennifer’s is complete without an oversized custom mirror to create visual impact, amplifying the light and reflecting the scenic surroundings inside and out.

“Jennifer’s touch is evident throughout the space,” notes Brian, “from the bespoke artwork adorning the walls to the custom-designed light fixtures. Each piece is thoughtfully selected to complement the home’s architecture and the natural beauty of its setting. Handcrafted cabinetry by Miller’s Custom Cabinets is a testament to the artisanal quality and attention to detail permeating every corner of our residence. These functional storage solutions are more than mere conveniences — they are integral to the home’s design narrative.”

Amidst the home’s many splendors, the upcoming addition of a custom 25 x 48-foot free-form swimming pool by Northland Pool promises to elevate the outdoor living experience to new heights. Slated for completion in June, this aquatic oasis will be the crowning jewel in the property’s array of amenities. “I would be remiss not to mention the involvement of the couple’s daughters, who are in college,” says Jennifer. “They both loved the black-and-white color scheme and are so excited about their new house — especially the swimming pool they can’t wait to enjoy with all their friends.”

Considered more than just a home — the couple view their residence as a masterclass in design, a breathing example of the synergy between structure and setting, and a sanctuary offering respite from the bustle of city life without straying too far from the conveniences of Kansas City. For them, it stands as a beacon of contemporary country living, where every detail is a brushstroke in a larger masterpiece, crafted with passion and an unwavering commitment to excellence.

“Jennifer’s innate talent for blending textures, colors, and materials has masterfully transformed our living spaces into a harmonious symphony of style and comfort,” says Tracy. “With her thoughtful approach to the functionality of each room and flair for timeless aesthetics, she has created an environment that is not only visually stunning but also deeply personal and reflective of our unique vision. Her ability to  capture the essence of our desires for this home, coupled with her effortless collaboration, made the entire design process a truly enjoyable and fulfilling experience.” 

Some of the most outstanding design features include a staircase architecturally centered in the middle of the layout leading to a cozy lower-level lounge, an upper-level custom bar area incorporating a sleek tile backdrop, an adjacent chat room with black leather swivel chairs paired with a chic stone-topped cocktail table, and an ultra-luxurious primary bedroom and en suite bathroom. “We aimed for the perfect mesh of transitional and contemporary design,” adds Jennifer, “and I think it truly translates my dedication to creating spaces of beauty, inspiration, and uniqueness. I could not have enjoyed working with both Tracy and Brian more. They are fun, young, and cool and were so involved in making all the selections. Driving away for the last time was hard — yet it was the ultimate reward.”


  • Builder: Syler Construction
  • Project Designer & Interior Designer: Surface to Surface Interior Design
  • Cabinetry: Miller’s Custom Cabinets
  • Custom Art & Custom Mirrors: Surface to Surface Interior Design
  • Custom Table: Couth KC
  • Furniture: Restoration Hardware, Design Gallery at NFM, Wayfair, Au Haus
  • Lighting: Wilson Lighting, Lamps Plus
  • Pool: Enchanting Pools KC

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