This Modern House

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Built on a foundation of unique blends of old and new styles.

Story by Michelle Mastro     |     Photography by Matt Kocourek

Modern home design has seen an increase in popularity. Just ask the maker of this new modern home build. The house sits atop a hill in a neighborhood decked out in mostly traditional bungalow style houses. However, a recent influx  of modern style abodes — this new home included — has bequeathed a feeling that contemporary style is on the rise. Still, even among all the neighborhood’s new, more modern houses, this new build feels like a world apart. And it’s all thanks to the homebuilder’s unique vision.

The home is an interesting mix of styles. “Sometimes modern style homes can come off cold, and we wanted to avoid that,” Jim Hesse of Renew Design Build, the builder behind the beautiful house, explains. Hence all the lived-in elements in the house, from the clean, white walls and black framed windows to the wood tones, including the wood ceilings, usually found in modern farmhouse style homes.

The lot this modern home sits on originally included a neglected home that had to be torn down. “It was a very cute bungalow, but it had been buried for years under dead trees and draped in vines,” he says. “The paint was peeling, and the gutters were falling down.” But Hesse knew the hilly lot had potential and that   anyone looking for a home would love it. 

Hesse has a sense for what homeowners are looking for. This probably comes from having an art background and an eye for design. “A lot of builders don’t have that art background, so many builders might be limited by their overall vision — they are thinking about budget, which drives a lot of their decision making,” he says, adding “it’s the fun stuff like walls of windows that come at a huge expense.” 

Which is why he typically builds more traditional-style homes. Most buyers want a classic-style home complete with front gables and peaked roofs. But for this home project, Hesse wanted to try something a bit different, something more modern and fitting his preferred style of home. “With modern homes, you tend to lose about 50 percent of the market because not everyone likes this kind of style,” he explains. 

Luckily, the homeowner of this abode wanted the modern look too. “I liked the flat roof, the floor-to-ceiling windows, and especially the long runs of clerestory windows at the ceiling providing an immense amount of light,” she said. These windows punctuate several rooms, while massive glass sliding doors connect the grand room, the main living space, to the side yard. “I like the feeling of more open spaces and ambient light,” says the homeowner. So many windows can make a new build more expensive, but she liked the windows across the entire front. “It allows the natural light to spill across the great room, which vaults up to 13-foot-tall ceilings.” All this glass offers a classic Midcentury Modern take on Hesse’s modern, contemporary style, helping usher the great outdoors into the home.

Standing on a prominent hilltop, the house overlooks the neighborhood and has spectacular views. The house also comes with another hill at the back, creating a sense of seclusion and adding to the nature theme. The outdoor spaces are integrated into the indoor spaces with a walkout in the back. Hesse says this feature was an important part of the design adding to the home’s overall flow, not just an afterthought. “With all these features, the house feels private, and there’s a huge sycamore tree out back that provides shade and gives another connection to nature,” says the homeowner.

This nice blending of nature and modern styles takes place in the home’s material design choices as well. The exterior consists of mixed materials like wood and more modern, contemporary cladding juxtaposed against batten and board. “I think it’s okay to break the rules in home design,” says Hesse, who explains the home blends styles inside too.

Take for example the luxury-minded bathrooms. Rather than using solid shower pans made from plastic or fiberglass, Hesse opted to mix several different types of stone. Basalt and marble pebbles make up the floor of the showers with varying porcelains peppering the shower walls. “All the showers have a frameless glass surround,” says Hesse. “It gives the shower an open feeling that seems very modern but blends well with the classic stone.” Since the showers don’t have a railing across the top, the glass feels like it is floating in the air. 

The mix of modern and classic styles are just some of the repeating motifs in the house. “We try to think about the whole of the house when designing a home,” says Hesse. “There’s a cohesiveness with the flow of the floor plans and the material choices.” For example, some of the steel beams for structural support are exposed in parts of the house to add texture, leaning toward more industrial aspects. The house also consists of Midcentury Modern elements, like the Decora style blocks at the outdoor kitchen space as well as the wood plywood divider screen with interesting graining patterns. “These echo the warm wood tones in other elements in the house,” says Hesse.

The home piqued many buyers’ interests. “We’ve had 30 plus showings before we were even done building,” he reveals. He adds, “A lot of people are building more modern homes now, and this house is a perfect example.” The new homeowner couldn’t agree more.


  • Builder/Contractor: Jim Hesse / Renew Design Build LLC
  • Interior Designer: Design Endeavors
  • Project Designer: Kelley Hesse
  • Architect: Dave Herron / Herron + Partners
  • Appliances / Outdoor Grill: Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery
  • Art & Furniture (Indoor & Outdoor): Design Endeavors
  • Cabinets: Cabinets by King
  • Countertops: Central Surfaces
  • Doors Front Entry: Doors4Home
  • Fireplace: Complete Home Concepts
  • Floating Staircase: ViewRail Mono Stair
  • Flooring Carpeting: Southside Carpet
  • Flooring Hardwood: SVB Wood Floors
  • Foundation: Premier Foundations
  • Garage Doors: Raynor Garage Doors of Kansas City
  • Glass & Mirrors: Westport Glass & Mirror
  • Heating & Cooling: United Heating & Cooling
  • Home Audio/Video/Security: Teague, iCtrl
  • Lumber: Lumber One
  • Paint: Sherwin Williams
  • Painter: AG Painting & Repair Inc.
  • Plumbing: Miller Plumbing
  • Roofing: Buck Roofing
  • Staircase Railings / Trimwork: Herrera Construction LLC
  • Stone Company: House of Rocks
  • Tile Install: Tile Creative
  • Tile Materials: TileBar
  • Windows, Doors Interior / Patio: McCray Lumber
  • Decorative Wall Panel / Divider: Soelberg Industries
  • Landscaping: Rosehill Gardens
  • Outdoor Privacy Wall: Tesselle Breeze Blocks
  • Landscape Lighting: Teague
  • Stone Company: House of Rocks
  • Outdoor Firetable: Baide Home

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