Creative interior design transforms a modest home into a modern European dream.
Story by Ann Butenas | Photography by Matthew Anderson
This original 1955 mid-century modern home situated on a private lot in Prairie Village, Kansas, provided the perfect opportunity for interior designer Whitney Coulas to showcase her design skills. After gutting the home down to the studs, Whitney took initial measurements, reconfigured the floor plan, and created 3-D renderings of what the future space would be.
While the footprint of the home is practical, the interior design selections are imaginative and striking. Whitney, who is also the homeowner, brought her vision to life with clean lines, a minimalistic approach, and a modern aesthetic. The end result is elegant and sophisticated, yet relaxed.
And she left no stone unturned when it came to this design.
“Everything about this home is new except for the original brick fireplace and the exposed beams in the living room, which I had rebuilt,” she noted. She ripped out the former 2 ¼” red oak hardwood flooring in favor of 7 ½” wide plank French oak throughout the home.
Previously, a load-bearing wall held a dominant place within the main level, which was removed to create an open floor plan. The formerly outdated kitchen is now a strong focal point when you first walk in. Whitney had the kitchen cabinets custom-made and stained in smoked alder, accompanied with warm white paint on the island. Brass hardware accents complete the look. The integrated paneled refrigerator works in harmony with the seamless slab backsplash, adding a touch of European influence. The original sliding doors to the deck were replaced with beautiful French doors to complement the space.
“I relocated all of the doors and windows, except the entrance to the deck,” she indicated.
Another wall was removed to make space for the guest bathroom. It features black marble and oversized concrete tile, balanced with a custom floating vanity that adds to the modern aesthetic. The backlit mirror paired with the natural light that flows in through the newly-installed custom window highlights the mid-century architecture.
For added flair and contrast, Whitney turned to her passion for cars to inspire some of the features, such as the tinted glass in the shower, the custom-wrapped hood in the kitchen, and the powder-coated hardware in the master bath.
The old living room now occupies a larger footprint, as Whitney removed multiple walls, creating open harmony between the kitchen and the living area.
“I kept the original fireplace and the existing beams and paired them with natural wide plank oak to make the space feel updated,” she noted. Whitney also painted the bricks white and added black fire rock for an edgier look.
The master suite is perfection defined, with Whitney creating a contemporary oasis by capitalizing on the unused potential.
“In the bedroom, I added a door where there was previously a small window,” she explained. “I wanted to take advantage of the southern exposure to allow for more natural light, so I added the slider and a balcony.”
Whitney incorporated low-profile furniture in the room to allow for the clean lines that define a modern and relaxed space. She created a master en suite by joining the old hallway bathroom with the linen closet. She designed and installed a custom-made floating vanity to mimic her bedroom furniture. The tubular wall sconces, white marble, and brass fixtures add warmth to the atmosphere.
Whitney achieved her vision with ease, despite all the challenges and time it took to pull it together.
“I knew I wanted a modern look, but I wanted it to appear effortless,” she reflected. “In my opinion the best design looks the easiest to do.”