Slainte to Ireland

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Bolstered by their Irish heritage, one couple wanted a cultural vibe to flow through their recent basement renovation.  

Story by Gloria Gale    |    Photography by Matt Kocourek

Once Lorie and Mark Concannon decided it was time to downsize from their 6,000 square foot suburban home to one half that size these new empty-nesters jumped in their convertible and began their search.

Sunday drives around the Plaza neighborhoods soon led to their future residence — a beauty in Sunset Hills where many homes still retain their original pedigree. 

Lorie had her eye on one house that was a real gem; a 1935 Tudor boasting embellishments from copper gutters, a stone facade, and slate roof — the epitome of the Cotswold’s aesthetic.

Faith and Begorrah! Loved the exterior details but the interior would need refining

“With an older home there’s always areas that need updating. First on our agenda was remodeling the kitchen. That’s when we partnered with Lisa Otterness, designer with Leawood’s Classic Kitchens Design Studio,” says Lorie.  

“I interviewed my share of designers, but Lisa was so calm, often settling my jitters plus infinite questions.  She turned out to be easy and a joy to work with.” 

That positive experience led the Concannons to call on Lisa once again a few years later as they embarked on yet another renovation.

It was Mark’s vision to remodel the basement with not just Old-World charm but a place to entertain friends and family. Lorie found an oversized map of Ireland – a perfect focal point.

Lisa, in conversation with the couple, recalls, “The more we talked, the more I discovered that Lorie and Mark had a real kinship for Ireland.” They had visited twice, noting Mark has family in County Wicklow. The three agreed the task ahead was fashioning not just a functional room but one reminiscent of an Irish pub. 

A Neglected Space About to Be Transformed

Lisa and the Concannons tackled the remodel step-by-step. They brought contractor, Bob Altenhofen on board   then identified the areas within the 600 sq-ft room they would keep. It wasn’t much. They gutted the entire basement only keeping the 60 sq-ft foot area of the bar, the room’s fireplace and vintage terrazzo floor.

After determining they couldn’t reconfigure the entire bar area because of the existing ductwork they stayed within these parameters to maximize function.

They conserved space in the bar by using down-sized appliances; a mini bar fridge, microwave, plus decorative shelving. They replaced the 12’ x 12’ Travertine floor with basket-pattered marble flooring. A large map of Ireland was the hung on the back wall as visual focal point.

Carefully mimicking a traditional pub’s wooden canopy, Lisa trimmed the coffered ceiling with iconic Celtic knots then used Shamrock medallions on the architectural corbels. The medallions were such a distinctive touch they were repeated on the dry bar wall at the back of the room. All woodwork throughout the room was distressed cherry wood with a black glaze.  

Completing the look, is the ubiquitous brass foot rail.  

Adjacent to the bar, the fireplace has been reclad with distressed brick. Every pub needs that cozy feel. Brick, along with a gas fireplace, further enhances this tenfold. “As a bonus we discovered beautiful dark green marble on the fireplace surround once we tore the old surround off.” 

The couple agreed to keep the two star medallions embedded in the room’s original terrazzo floor. “Once the floor was refurbished, these focal points boost the entire room’s vintage appeal,” says Lisa. 

Taking the club-like nature of the space a step further, the room was painted in a warm brown color.  

Lorie found leather and velvet furnishings, copper coach lights for the dry sink wall and added a curated selection of artwork. “Mark did his part sourcing a shuffleboard as his favorite find that sits along one wall.”

“With all the comforts in this room, whether we entertain or not, we find ourselves headed down here because it’s so comfortable.  Even our two sons, Jared and Ryan, drop by frequently.” 

It seems raising a pint to celebrate has become more than a pipe dream for The Concannons.

The entire room that took about a year from start to finish is now designed with all of the creature comforts, that embodies a vintage pub. “Someone always comments that they feel like they’ve suddenly been transported to Ireland. Everyone agrees that’s a pretty good validation of both Lisa and our effort.” 


  • Lead Designer:  Lisa Otterness, Classic Kitchens Design Studio
  • Contractor:  Bob Altenhofen
  • Bar Area Marble:  Sutherlands
  • Cabinet and Bar Hardware:  Locks and Pulls
  • Ceiling Paint:  Benjamin Moore & Lenox Tan
  • Copper Sink and Faucet:  Neenan Company
  • Green Velvet Chair and Leather Couch:  Nell Hills
  • Original Tile Refurbish:  Midwest Tile and Stone 
  • Wall Paint:  Benjamin Moore & Tamarind 

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