Lush Life

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Sara Antin isn’t Mother Nature but she’s sure close. 

Story by Gloria Gale    |    Photography by Matt Kocourek

Landscape designer Sara Antin’s is at her best when her hands are deep in the soil.  

For the past 22 years, Sara has demonstrated an affinity for the natural world.  “I quickly realized I loved working outdoors giving the same attention to a plot of ground that I would to interior  spaces. As a result her expressive gardening can be seen in properties throughout he city.  



Sitting down with the owner of Outside-Interiors, it’s apparent that this is a woman with a definite mindset about how and where she lives. 

“I was born and raised in Leawood and it’s always been my preference to live right here.  Actually, I really like the quietness of the public spaces. There’s many pocket parks; the trees and vegetation are mature and each street has a very distinctive, lived in feel.”  

Sara has indeed taken advantage of Leawood’s beauty. She’s lived in three different neighborhood homes imbuing  each with her distinctive touch. Not content with just making a stylish interior, her talent  is readily on display. 



Outside areas are just an extension of more rooms to design

Previously, Sara lived in a two-story where she had transformed the entire home into  an oasis of style. However, her resolve was tested in 2012. 

An auto accident left her wheelchair-bound. “I was really in bad shape. I basically had to learn to walk again. I realized I couldn’t take care of my multi-level home. It was time to move,” she said. 



With enough grit and a lot of physical therapy, Sara decided to look for another home in Leawood. Because Leawood boasts many 1950’s ranch-style homes, her journey couldn’t have been more fortunate. 

“At the end of a quiet cul de sac, I happened to see people moving boxes, when I stopped and asked if they were selling their home. I had an opportunity right in front of me.”



Kismet!

Not only was her future home a ranch, but it was one with a history that brimmed with serendipity.

From the moment Sara stepped inside, she had a flash of deja vu. The house, initially built for the Ewing Kauffman family, was vaguely familiar to her. 



“As it turns out, my mother and Muriel were friendly. I happened to be with my mom the day she met Muriel at her house.  Ironically, even though I was a child I still can recall the memory, I remember walking into this home as a little girl and thinking, ‘You can see outside everywhere’.” 



The past becomes the present

Since Sara was about to become the third owner, she had sparse knowledge of the previous owner’s design ideas. “I know that this home was originally built by the late neighborhood architect, Joseph W. McCoskrie, who integrated a Mid-Century Modern style.” 

Starting with an abundance of windows Sara sits in the east-facing living room every morning to have coffee. “In my business, a central inspiration point is the possibility that the outside of the home can become more of an extension of its interior. So, naturally I never design a garden without going inside the home to understand the interplay between outside and inside.”



She didn’t waste time planting the home’s front walkway with scaly wag hollies, azaleas, annuals and perennials – all meant to flood the exterior’s first impression with color. Masses of colorful plantings spill from the window boxes, stone, and ceramic containers. The home exterior is painted cream with deep gray accents that only heightens the showy ornamental foliage. 

Whereas the front L-shaped property brims with color; Zen-like spaces prevail in the backyard.  

A shaded intimate patio off the family room perches above the grounds below. Here, her animals, two cats and a dog, can hang out on what Sara calls their ‘catio’.  



On the lower level walk-out to the backyard, a small reflecting pond is the keystone to the brick and concrete sitting area. Sara refers to this as an outdoor room that also houses a fireplace and fountain. Decorative yews and boxwood are used as borders around this area along with various species of mop-headed hydrangea. These plants do well in shade or sun and accent many of the yard’s winding footpaths. 

Even her son, Evan says, “My mom has always crafted her homes and her gardens to be visually appealing, intentional, inviting and cozy but this home is her best work to date. Her style is timeless and every space is truly a moment that you want to spend time in.” 

“I love my house and so do my boys, Evan and Garrett. They’re both artists and claim talents of their own. But, when   they’re here, whether indoors or outside, they recognize how inviting this home has become.”  



Resources

  • Landscape Design: Sara Antin
  • Sculptures: Eva Reynolds Fine Art Gallery
  • Contemporary Fine Art Photography: Stephen Bullock

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