Floating Fantasy

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An Architectural Remodel with Family in Mind.

Story by Judy Goppert     |     Photography by Samantha Ward at Picture KC

When Tim Becker decided to build a home, he was drawn to  the charm and style of this Leawood neighborhood. Attracted to the design and quality of homes there, upon finding many were built by Mack Colt Homes, it was an easy choice to have Mack Colt build this original home of dreams. Years later, Tim and his wife, Thu Nguyen, decided it was time to show this family haven a bit of love.

“We decided to do this renovation so we could entertain family,” Thu noted. “We have six children who now live out of the house, and lots of nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and friends. This past Thanksgiving, we had 45 people in the house, and we were able to be in each other’s conversation!”

This process actually started as a kitchen remodel. Tim explained, “When we started talking about it, we decided we wanted to get rid of walls so we could see right through from the front of the house to the kitchen. The floating stairwell used to have walls on each side, which made the house really dark. Then that turned into a whole home remodel and necessitated moving walls, then replacing all the windows to be floor to ceiling. Clint Evans with NSPJ Architects made the front door mimic the windows, and it is very congruent all around. We talked to Andy Homoly and voiced our opinion, and they came up with something we liked.”

This is the third update to this home, as a couple of years ago they updated the master bedroom and added a steam shower to it and a larger closet. With this latest remodel, the faux balcony on the front of the house was changed to create a Romeo and Juliet porch, which you can walk up a few stairs to in one of the upstairs bedrooms. 

“It’s a nice place to enjoy coffee or a cocktail and read a book,” Thu smiled.

The star of the show is that floating staircase, dreamed up and a collaboration of Mark Sudermann with Sid & Co. Sudermann Interior Design, and NSPJ. It is truly an architectural feat. Mark also worked with the couple on their home in Palm Springs. 

“I have known Tim for about five years, and this Leawood project started a few years ago and he reached out to schedule a meeting and introduced Thu. We hit it off immediately! I was excited to be a part of this collaboration working with Homoly Design + Build and NSPJ Architects was fantastic,” Mark Sudermann noted. “Tim and Thu expressed they would like a little more modern aesthetic with warm touches, and I ran with it. Most projects begin with one main concept which will drive the rest, and this was the floating and glass center staircase, tearing down all the walls that separated the spaces and opening up the floor plan was the starting point.”

He added that the fireplaces were also a major design element, and selection of all the large format stone was an important decision, as were the lighting selections from Hammerton, a line of artisan-crafted decorative pieces comprised of rock, stone and metal. They provide a different feel in each room. 

“It is my job as a designer to ‘shrink their universe’ and offer what I feel are the best options. Storage was also high on the importance list, and we achieved it with the walk-in pantry and great cabinetry in the mud and laundry halls,” Mark noted. “When making color, fabric and rug selections, we work toward a classic sense of timelessness and want the home to have a calming feel they will enjoy in their home for many years.”

Thu treasures the kitchen as she enjoys cooking and entertaining. The larger island neatly houses the sink, appliances, and ample storage while offering seating for guests on the opposite side. “The kitchen is made for cooking, and it does its job! I love all the space to store my coffeemaker, mixers and such,” smiled Thu.

Tim and Thu were very happy with the way Homoly stayed on their timeline, and had a good experience with all the people working on the project. They spent 13 months in an apartment near Crown Center while it was being completed, and never worried as things moved along.

“They kept everything clean and worked steadily to complete the project,” Tim related. 

Robert Girard, Business Developer for Homoly, took pride in working closely with Tim and Thu, noting, “She looked up high-end luxury design and remodeling companies and found us! We got along well on the phone, and I told her I would come by and look at the project and that’s how it all got started. We brought Clint into the project because I have worked with them for years. We met the architect onsite with Thu and Tim, and they expressed what they wanted. They love their house and neighborhood and wanted to update it to look more modern. When we completely took out the stairway and opened up the dining room, it was amazing.”

He also continued that as they walked around outside the house, he noticed a lot of brownstone and darkness. Thu wanted to lighten it up, and Garrett Wilson, the principal onsite architect with NSPJ, helped her by suggesting the German Schmear process on the exterior to change the color. 

“They expressed that this remodel was for the grandchildren so they would love visiting Grandpa’s house, more modernized,” he said. “This couple was nice to work with.”

Clint Evans, Co-President of NSPJ, met Tim and Thu through a trusted builder alliance and reiterated that this was all the clients’ vision for the main living spaces.

“The original builder-level home had darker spaces with partitioned rooms, in particular the dining room, which was completely walled off from the staircase and the rest of the home,” Clint continued. “To achieve their goals, that wall would need to be completely removed, which was a huge structural feat to also provide the support for the floating staircase. The  result is an effortless transition between spaces.”

Knowing the clients wanted to replace the windows spurred the idea of vastly opening the original window openings and, in certain instances, relocating the windows for symmetrical balance to achieve the wide-open views that promote an inside-out lifestyle. 

He explained that the oversized steel-looking windows along the front were designed to mimic European-style French doors that could walk out onto the newly created front terrace area.  The terrace serves as an unconventional welcoming space for visitors and invites them to lounge in this “outdoor room.”   

“Working closely with such a high caliber designer as Mark Sudermann allowed the spaces to feel so effortless, modern yet warm. Dazzling lighting provided the ‘jewelry’ for the perfect finish touches to the interiors. The clients were very open to allowing us the design flexibility to re-imagine the entire home’s exterior aesthetics. The result on the exterior is equally dramatic, going from dark fenestrations of paint and stone to a more uniform and elegantly refined lighter colorway with elevated finish materials,” Clint commented.

Speaking of the outdoor space, their personal oasis exists in the backyard with the pool done by Flynn Custom Renovations, who also refreshed their master bedroom and bath. 

“Spring and summer are the most beautiful seasons in the house. We have a lot of flowers that bloom and have added some new trees and shrubbery to the yard around the pool in the back,” Thu mused. “We go to Palm Springs a lot and Tim loves Palm trees, so we have two Palm trees in the back, while all the other potted plants have some kind of palm.” 

Tim is an attorney with Dollar, Burns, Becker & Hershewe, and Thu owns her own salon in the Power and Light District, and when they come home to this sparkling masterpiece, stress surely melts away.


  • Builder/Contractor: Homoly Design + Build
  • Architect: NSPJ Architects
  • Interior Designer: SID & CO – Sudermann Interior Design
  • Original Builder: Mack Colt Homes
  • Appliances: Factory Direct Appliance
  • Cabinets: Miller Cabinets
  • Countertops: Signature Solid Surface
  • Fireplace: Midwest Fireplace
  • Flooring Hardwood: Kimminau Floors
  • Garage Doors: Raynor Garage Door
  • Garage Flooring: GrindHouse Surfacing
  • Hardware: Locks & Pulls
  • Heating & Cooling: United Heating & Cooling
  • Home Audio/Video & Home Security: Teague Electric
  • Light Fixtures: Wilson Lighting
  • Plumbing Fixtures: Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery
  • Window Coverings: View Solutions Group
  • Backyard Pool and Area: Flynn Custom Renovations

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