Both beautiful and functional, this Lee’s Summit residence enjoys inspiration in every room.
Story by Ann Butenas | Photography by Matthew Anderson
What do you do when you want to build a home but also desire enough land for an on-site building? You partner with an award-winning construction team and discover you don’t need that stand-alone shop; you just need an experienced builder who can design and produce what you didn’t know you really needed…and more.
Located in The Canyon subdivision in Lee’s Summit, this is more than just a home; it is a tranquil retreat nestled in a picturesque setting with a cornucopia of modern design features that draw you in at every corner. When you walk across the threshold, you don’t just step into a home; you embrace an experience. While it required some “rolling up the sleeves and wiping the sweat from your brow” mentality to get the job done, the end result for the homeowners was well worth it. When they initially decided to build a new home, they knew they wanted some extra land to accommodate a stand-alone shop, but after excessively searching, they still had not encountered the perfect location. The owners wanted privacy but not necessarily something that required a two-lane dirt road to access and few to no neighbors within sight.
“We were looking for three to five acres so we could have a pool and a building specifically for our cars, motorcycles, and other ‘toys,’ but we just had no luck in our search efforts,” noted the homeowners. “We eventually came across a Starr home that was not quite what we wanted in terms of location but we loved the way it was built.”
The homeowners then began looking for vacant lots and contacted Starr Homes. They had a meeting with Bob Osterlund from Starr at a vacant lot they found to discuss their vision.
“It was a large, flat lot with no trees,” indicated the homeowner. “We needed the ability to build a house, building and pool. Bob actually told us building a suspended garage would be cheaper per square foot than building an additional structure, but the lot had to be right. He knew of the perfect lot, which brought us to The Canyon.”
For the homeowners, it was love at first sight, and the work was soon commenced.
“It is actually nice to have the addition we desired as part of the house, as it makes it more convenient for us,” stated the homeowners. “This is a lovely neighborhood with lots of hills, which are nice for walking. The developer and the builder worked with us to make the garage fit in the most attractive way, and the landscaper helped us with privacy.”
The L-shaped suspended garage is accessed from the back driveway of the home with a single and double garage door. This design effectively creates the space of a five-car garage without the additional garage doors. The lift is located in this area. Three additional garage spaces are located in the front of the home. A hidden back staircase between the garages gives the owners another avenue by which to reach the upper level.
“That helps to keep the house clean so we are not tracking dirt from the garage through the house,” said the homeowners.
A reverse floor plan, this home was built with more than just the owners in mind. They desired a place that would comfortably welcome their mothers, grandkids or other family members and friends whenever they came to visit. While the main level is the primary living space of the owners, the lower level has two guest bedrooms complete with their own en suites and is a perfect place to accommodate guests.
This particular floorplan actually stems from a home located in Cedar Creek. The eaves and lower pitch to the roof give a nod to a Frank Lloyd Wright design without being too modern or futuristic looking.
“We took a plan and morphed it into what we wanted,” noted the homeowners. “It was a big process and was definitely a challenge to the engineers and the architects, but this is the end product. We love the floor plan and the openness of it.”
Working with a designer, the homeowners enjoyed decorating the home to suit their tastes and styles. They visited numerous places in and around Kansas City to find just the perfect pieces.
“We like clean lines but also lots of color. It was fun to put together, and fortunately we have similar tastes,” smiled the homeowners. “We didn’t realize building a home is so much work, but they (Starr) make it organized.”
With roughly 5,200 square feet of living space, the homeowners make great use of nearly every square inch. On the main level is the master suite with en suite, which includes an expansive closet and steam shower with dual body sprays. An additional bedroom with a closet and bathroom located on the upper level is used as an office. Another focal point on the main level is the gourmet-chef’s dream kitchen, which is always in motion, as the owners enjoy entertaining and cooking. The outdoor grill station on the upper lanai simply adds to the fun. A lower lanai stands contiguous to the pool area.
“The pool designer and landscaper worked together with us to place the pool,” noted the owners. “It ended up morphing from having just a raised retaining wall into having the upper patio. We then decided we needed some water falls into the pool along that wall.”
There was a problem with the topography of the lot in that there is about a 30’-40’ drop from the northwest corner to the back southeast corner of the lot.
“We were trying to save as many trees as we possibly could,” said the homeowners. “We couldn’t flatten the back very far out without having to take out some of the nice 30-foot oak trees around the pool area, so that was strictly off limits.”
Adding the upper patio required moving the pool closer to the house than originally intended to save the trees.
“We didn’t want solid concrete all the way up to the house, so we had them put in the soft scape next to the house to break it all up,” indicated the homeowners. “We also had them terrace the wall that wraps around from the house to the raised patio area behind the pool to help it all flow together. Additionally, that allowed us to not have a fence at the top of the wall to meet code.”
At the end of the day, there are plenty of opportunities to relax by the lower level bar, play some arcade games, watch a movie on the 110-inch drop-down projection screen, or enjoy a stress-busting workout in the fitness room that offers a great view of the outdoor pool area.
“Building this home was a good experience for us,” reflected the owners. “The house we based this upon had a square stairway but we liked the circular stairway. It was difficult to fit and make it work, but it definitely opened up the entire space. We really love it all.”
Builder: Starr Homes | Interior Designer: Dwell Interiors | Architect: ELJ Originals | Pool: Swim Things | Landscaping: Next to Nature | Fence: Burge Fence | Home Automation: Select Living Systems | Framing: B&P Framing | Trim Work: Baker & Vidal Fine Carpentry | Stone Company: Builder’s Stone & Masonry | Cabinets: Cabinets by King | Plumbing: Century Plumbing | Roofing: Century Roofing | Lumber: Christensen Lumber KC | Electrician: Crown Electrical Services | Flooring Carpeting: Favinger Flooring | Appliances: Ferguson- Factory Direct | Drywall: First Impression Drywall | Glass & Mirrors: Fountain Glass | Garage Floor: Granite Garage Floors | Excavation: Jim Schlagle Excavating LLC | Foundation: Johnson County Basements | Fireplace: Midwest Fireplace Co | Doors, Windows, Hardware: Kansas City Building Supply | Garage Doors: Overhead Door | Flooring Hardwood/Tile: Kenny’s Tile & Flooring | Painter: P&JP Painting | Heating & Cooling: Prairie Center Heating & Cooling | Flooring: Subfloor Solutions | Light Fixtures: Wilson Lighting