Life By Design: LA-Style

2703 0

Kansas City Northland condo embraces a modern West Coast vibe.

Story by Rachael Hedgcoth   |   Photos by Matthew Anderson

Tanner Wilkens is one industrious guy.

As a customer service advisor for Kansas City, Mo.,-based Kwik Kar Automotive Professionals, he handles many of the company’s day-to-day operations along with his younger brother, Randy.

Owned by the brothers’ mother, Sheila Will, who does the accounting, and their step-father, Harlan Will, who conducts all the auto auction-related activity, the family-owned and -operated Kwik Kar has been delivering superior service to the Kansas City area since 2004.

On the clock or off the clock, it’s clear that this family is a tight-knit bunch.

Case in point: Wilkens’ Northland condo.

An Iowa transplant who’s been firmly rooted in Kansas City’s Northland for 10 years, Wilkens decided to downsize from his spacious townhome in late 2016.

He wanted to be a little closer to downtown – where he works weekends at The Monarch Bar – but he especially wanted to be freed up from housecleaning and lawn care during his evenings and weekends.

After months of site searching, Wilkens sold his tri-level, 2,500-square-foot townhome in favor of a more minimal – but no less luxurious – 1,100-square-foot, fourth-floor unit in the coveted Ravello at Briarcliff condominiums situated on the bluffs of the Missouri River.

As luck would have it, when Wilkens went to see a second-floor unit that was listed, he discovered that his mother’s good friend lived in the same building.

She said, “Why don’t you be my neighbor and move into this other unit for sale across from me on the fourth floor?”

And that was how it all began.

collectively creative

After moving into the top-level condo, Wilkens made some changes to the one-bedroom, one-and-a-half-bath space which featured soaring 10-foot ceilings, crown molding, granite countertops, and windows framing picturesque views of lush cliffs and vibrant evening sunsets.

With his brother’s help, he added some light fixtures, gave the master closet a designer makeover, added a curved accent wall in the bedroom, and incorporated an eye-catching mirrored stainless-steel fountain in the entry.

Wilkens further enlisted the services of a local contractor to help modify outlets so that no cords would be visible behind any appliances.

The brothers also designed a striking accent wall full of 3D square panels in the dining area, installed the kitchen backsplash’s clear glass tile and LED accent lighting, and mounted a versatile LED fireplace in the living room.

A true family affair, Wilkens and his brother did much of the construction themselves, while their mother, a talented faux painter, topped off the brothers’ creations with color.

She painted the fountain’s crimson background, the smoky 3D square dining wall, and the shimmering shade of ivory on the bedroom’s textured accent wall.

Most of Wilkens’ accessories, furnishings, and light fixtures were sourced locally, but some were found online, as well.

“I’d have an idea, I’d tell my brother and my mom, and we’d put our heads together to figure it all out,” said Wilkens. “I’d dream it up and my brother would dig into it.”

But even after all the changes, Wilkens had not quite settled on a motif for his condo.

“I just wasn’t sure what I wanted,”  he said.

sleek and chic

In early 2017, a trip to Southern California to visit friends provided just the shot of inspiration he needed.

After soaking up the sights of Hollywood and exploring Beverly Hills’ ritzy Rodeo Drive, Wilkens began envisioning his condo celebrating a trendy, modern LA spirit.

“I wanted to bring this LA style back home to Kansas City,” said Wilkens. “I really wanted something different.”

Following the California trip, he began assembling the West Coast-inspired elements that would elevate his condo’s energy to the next level.

Fast forward to July 2018.

Immaculately dressed in hues of grey, white, and coral set against earthy tile and hardwood flooring, Wilkens’ condo exudes a bold sense of urban savoir faire paired with coordinated functionality.

Defined by simple lines, easy elegance, and designer flair thrown in for good measure, Wilkens sculpted his perfect retreat complete with inventive and luxurious appointments.

Ornate black and white wallpaper in the bathrooms and posh vanity room, a rehabilitated antique vanity fit for a rock star, a die-cut wall decal of iconic designer logos, and two dramatic six-foot-tall white mannequins set against theatrical curtain backdrops helped deliver the LA pizazz that Wilkens had imagined.

work hard, play hard

Since dramatically minimizing his living space, Wilkens couldn’t be happier with condo living.

Perks include the Ravello property’s upscale pool, hot tub, fire pit, and exercise facilities.

Reflecting on the process of making the most of every inch of his condo space, the charismatic Wilkens seems to be thoroughly enjoying his sharp and stylish home.

“I wanted to do it right the first time,” he said. “I made sure every decision was correct. I’m a city kid and I love eating out and enjoying nightlife. This is my vacation home and I can live like it’s a hotel.”

Sophisticated and ultra-modern, Wilkens’ condo serves not only as his personal refuge from busy days, but also his go-to spot when it comes to hosting get-togethers.

A truly social and gracious guy, Wilkens has held Mardi Gras, Cinco de Mayo, and Valentine’s masquerade parties. He also opens his doors for a pre-Thanksgiving party every year. His guest list includes family, friends, neighbors, and even the couple who previously owned his condo.

According to Wilkens, residents at The Ravello are truly like family. He has even created a Facebook page where the Ravello tenants can keep in touch.

“If you have a party, you better invite your neighbors!” he laughed. “It’s just a blast here.”


Condo Building: The Ravello, Braircliff Condominiums

Contractor: Remo LLC

Vanity Refinishing: Glam House

Custom Blinds & Shutters: One Stop Decorating

Hardwood Floor & Tile Restoration: LuBlu LLC

Furniture: Nebraska Furniture Mart, IKEA

Carpet: Nebraska Furniture Mart, IKEA

Accessories: Z Gallerie

Wallpaper Installation: Cathy’s Wallpapering

Custom Wall Art: Stream Line Print & Design

Mannequinns: Beverly Hills, CA

Lighting & Mirrors: AllModern

LED Custom Lighting:

Wall Coverings: Graham & Brown

Water Fountain: Bluworld of Water

About The Author