Avid golfers who love to entertain, a Kansas City couple create an idyllic retreat overlooking the sweeping fairways of the Blue Hills Country Club.
Story by Jeanne de Lathouder | Photos by Matt Kocourek
After raising their children and living in a two-story colonial home for more than 20 years, a Kansas City couple decided they were up for a change. Now that their children were married and starting families of their own, the two of them opted for a different look — less formal and more open for entertaining.
“We wanted a house style that would be inviting and timeless,” says the homeowner, who is now a new grandmother. “We are empty nesters with married children and one grandchild, so we wanted enough room for them all to stay here and for us to have space as their families grow,” she adds.
They looked at properties around the Blue Hills Country Club for at least five years with their realtor, Jim Gamble, of Keller Williams before a lot finally became available. Immediately they began looking at architectural styles that would befit a home situated on the golf course overlooking two fairways.
“We must have driven around what seems like a million houses before settling on a transitional style with colors that blend with nature,” the homeowner recalls. “I took photos of so many houses and even had neighborhood security called on me once to report a person taking pictures,” she laughs.
Based on the superb location of the lot, the couple wanted their house to blend seamlessly with the landscape and also take advantage of the view — lots of windows and outdoor spaces where they could sit and enjoy all the constant activity. They also wanted a functional and flexible floorplan — a reverse story and half where they could live on the first floor and house guests could have the lower level to themselves. Low maintenance materials including stucco, concrete roof tiles, hardwood floors, rock, and wood beams were essential to the couple’s new casual empty-nester lifestyle, and they even made plans for an office that could be used as a bedroom with a full closet and en suite bath.
“We wanted our house to be comfortable enough to sit down and grab a beer, yet polished enough to feel sophisticated,” says the homeowner. “It’s an adult house but grandkids can feel at home here too,” she adds.
When it was time to build, the couple’s realtor suggested Jeff Robinson of J. S. Robinson Fine Homes because of his stellar track record constructing some of the most extraordinary homes at Loch Lloyd Country Club. Loaded with photos, Pinterest pictures, and magazine tear-outs, the couple met with Jeff and told him they didn’t want to spend time designing a custom home from scratch, but instead preferred to simply customize one of his existing plans.
“When I first met with this couple, I wanted to get a big-picture view of their goals and what they wanted to accomplish with this house,” says Jeff. “Right away it became very apparent that it was really important to them to build a home that was going to be excellent for entertaining — and not just on the inside, but on the outside as well. So, we decided that the kitchen would be the core of the house, and outside we would focus on a really nice big patio area with a fireplace and grilling area that overlooks the golf course. That area would still be very private but have really nice long views,” he notes.
“We couldn’t be happier with Jeff, and unlike many homeowners that build, we still like our builder,” jokes the homeowner. “When we first met with him, he had only two questions for us — do we want a dining room and where do we want our laundry room. After we told him no dining room and a laundry room by the garage, we were in possession of our first house plan. We had that plan faster than the city and the HOA could approve it,” she laughs.
When construction began, the couple focused on creating a big open-space kitchen where everyone could gather and be together. Self-described avid sports fans, they wanted their TV to be prominent and situated in an informal and inviting family setting. And because their new home is just off the golf course, the homeowners anticipated lots of impromptu entertaining in a casual environment.
“We like to come off the golf course and grab a cold drink, so the beverage drawers and wine refrigerator in the kitchen were must-haves,” the homeowner says. “We also put in a butler’s pantry to serve for the bar and to store tableware. The glass-front cabinet doors allow for family silver and crystal to be displayed,” she adds.
For the interior palette, the couple decided on neutral hues accented with subtle pops of color. They hired Betsy Judd of Judd Designs to help them with furniture choices, window treatments, lighting, space planning, and decorating. Betsy was essential in keeping them on track and on budget, ensuring all the while that their personal style remain consistent throughout the entire house, both inside and out. As a result, the rooms emit a decidedly carefree and happy vibe, and white trim and cabinetry make the house feel clean and light. All the living spaces — family room, kitchen, and eating area — flow together effortlessly, and a walk-in pantry provides an enclosed private cove for stashing things away.
“I don’t like electronics plugged in on the counter, so the walk-in pantry gives us another working area for our coffee maker and toaster,” says the homeowner. “We also wanted plenty of counter space and seating so everyone can be involved if they’re in the kitchen,” she adds.
The couple’s pristine bright-white palette continues in both the master bedroom and bath. Clad in elegant white marble, the luxurious bathroom features a free-standing tub that creates a timeless spa-like atmosphere with a modern edge. The heated marble floor is a must for cooler days and the family’s early morning wakeups before a workout.
On the lower level, the downstairs space doubles as a second family room and includes a spacious bar area and a pool table. Large windows allow for lots of natural light to prevent a dark basement feel, yet the space offers an inviting and cozy spot for entertaining and house guests.
But without a doubt, the best part of the house for these hospitable homeowners, are the outdoor spaces, which were strategically designed for entertaining and for the family to just enjoy themselves. Both passionate golfers, the couple can step onto the golf course and play anytime they want, or they can simply enjoy watching others play from the comfort of their porch. An outdoor grilling area with a TV for watching football and baseball games, a fireplace, a ceiling fan, and heaters allow usage of the spaces for at least three seasons out of the year. The covered porch invites family and guests to sit down and relax on both sunny and rainy days, and fall is especially idyllic on the golf course with cooler weather and vibrant foliage. On the lanai, large sliding glass doors can be pulled open so the breezy porch can become an extension of the living area.
“Entertaining and bringing the outdoors in were definitely huge components of the theme for this house,” says Jeff. “The homeowners were such a big part of the team and really worked hard to accomplish everything they had in mind for this home. They are a really fun and amazing family — full of energy and life, and very grateful for what they have,” he adds.
“We loved to see the progress of our house and enjoyed walking through it each day,” says the homeowner. “My husband and I both lost our dads several years ago — one was an entertainer who also loved golf, the other was more of a homebody who liked to sit on the porch. But both dads were always interested in new construction and looking at new houses, so now when the two of us sit on the porch taking in the view, we think of them and know they would have loved this house and would have been so proud of us,” she adds.
- Architect/Home Designer:Foster Technical Services
- Builder/Contractor:J.S. Robinson Fine Homes
- Interior Designer: Judd Designs
- Realtor: Jim Gamble Keller Willliams
- Development: Blue Hill Country Club
- Appliances: Factory Direct Appliance
- Audio / Video: Advanced-Audio and Video
- Cabinets: Built to Fit Cabinets
- Countertops: Evolve Granite
- Doors: Kansas City Building Supply
- Drywall: Wallboard Specialities
- Electrician: Elite 1 Electric
- Excavation: Jim Schlaegel Excavating
- Fireplace: Midwest Fireplace
- Flooring Carpeting / Hardwood: Prosource Wholesale Floor Coverings
- Foundation: J.T. Foundation
- Framing: Todd Hooker Framing
- Garage Doors: Raynor Garage Door of Kansas City
- Glass & Mirrors: Fountain Glass
- Hardscaping (Sidewalks, Patio, Drive): M&H Flatwork
- Hardware: Wilson Fans & Lighting
- Heating & Cooling: Bryant Heating & Cooling
- Light Fixtures: Wilson Fans & Lighting
- Lumber: Sun Lumber
- Masonry: AKA Masonry
- Paint: Sherwin Williams
- Painter: Gecko Painting
- Plumbing: Fred Pflumm Plumbing
- Roofing: Century Roofing
- Tile: Prosource Wholesale Floor Coverings
- Trim Work: Fred Powers
- Windows: Pella Windows
- Landscaping – Trees: Arbor Masters
- Landscaping – Sod: Myers Turf
- Landscaping Lighting / Sprinkler System: Paramount Landscape