The Endless Vacation

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With commanding views of Lake Quivira, Trish and Mike Hanko’s exquisite waterfront home gracefully blends a mix of modern lines with organic forms and serene earth-inspired colors.  

Story by Jeanne de Lathouder     |     Photography by Matt Kocourek

For a Kansas City couple who love the lake life, the posh resort-style country club community of Lake Quivira was the perfect spot for building their brand-new home. Located in Johnson County, the lake and country club are conveniently situated just 25 minutes from downtown, yet far enough away to convey a charming vacation feel with amenities including golf, equestrian, boating, tennis, and an array of social activities for adults and children. 

Trish is a long-time resident of Lake Quivira for over 23 years, and her husband, Mike, has resided there for nearly 13 years. A native of Maryland, Mike had previously lived on the Chesapeake Bay and relished the idea of living within steps of the water once again. So — as many people at the lake aspire to do — the two of them searched for several years before finding the ideal lot on Lakeshore Drive to build their second home together.

“We envisioned a contemporary home straight out of Aspen, CO, in this gorgeous natural setting on a sloped and wooded lot,” says Trish. “Lake Quivira has naturally stunning beauty and an abundance of protected green space and wildlife with scenic, wooded trails. In the 1930s, it was the public site of the Quivira Botanical Garden with numerous natural springs where people visited on picnics to fill their bottles with healing Quivira water,” she adds.

They purchased and tore down an original lake-view home in the community that was built in the 1930s to become the homesite. A spiritual cleansing and housecleaning were performed onsite to clear old energy from almost a century ago and bless the new home.  

“Mike and I wanted to create our entertaining area in front of the home overlooking the lake, where we knew our family would relax and spend most of their time,” explains Trish. “We wanted to create living areas that would remind us of being on vacation in resort-style areas,” she notes. 

Trish believes the goal of interior design is to have your home tell your story, and it should be infused with your own personal style. She and her husband, Mike, enjoy international travel and architecture, which gave her the tools and inspiration to use in her own designs in the role of interior designer. 

The couple called on architect Scott Bickford for the architectural design. He knew the lot would be challenging from the start, as the home and pool would be built into the side of a hill overlooking the lake and the home’s private dock site. Partial to modern design, Scott was excited about the project and wanted to make this home unique by flipping the typical backyard to the front yard to provide expansive views of the lake and breathtaking entertaining spaces. He expressed to the owners that creating this home would require numerous trades with a lot of energy. 

“And, so it did,” tells Trish. “We can’t deny it wasn’t a painless time in our lives,” she added. 

Totaling 5,387 square feet, including four bedrooms, five baths, a four-car tandem garage, and a two-golf-cart garage, the Hanko’s lake dwelling boasts a 29-foot living room ceiling — but no problem, as the house is equipped with a hydraulic elevator to move about swiftly. A forensic engineering firm was called in to ensure everything  was completed accurately and without defects, and an additional landscape architect was also added to the design team. Because the home has an upgraded structure, numerous structural engineers were involved during the building process. This upgraded structural support that Scott added enabled the homeowners to incorporate imported Italian marble floor tiles typically seen only in commercial venues. These floor tiles are two and a half by six feet long and make a bold and exotic statement upon entering the home. 

The main level is perfectly elevated to make both the panoramic view of the lake and the infinity pool and spa visible from the main living spaces. The infinity pool’s disappearing edge merges with the lake and extends into the horizon, exuding “a floating-across-the-water feeling,” says Trish. The pool is conveniently just steps away from the master bedroom, living room, and kitchen. The edge of the top infinity pool is flush with the wall leading down to the second pool, allowing the water to cascade over the edge as hidden pumps create a spectacular 26-foot-wide multi-lighted waterfall into the lower pool. The waterfall is only a few feet above the street level, providing jaw-dropping curb appeal for neighbors to enjoy as they walk or boat by. Two decorative gas fire bowls have a dominant position at the infinity edge and embrace elements of nature, water, and fire. 

The overall design style of the Hanko’s home is organic contemporary — a well-balanced mix of modern lines contrasted with natural forms, fibers, and neutral colors. Most of the materials used for the design came from nature and are environmentally friendly. At the entry, Trish incorporated bleached liana wood vines hand-selected from the Indonesian rainforest to intertwine as a custom-made, sculptural piece of art.

The kitchen’s architecture is designed with a clean-lined modern aesthetic accented with Italian pendant lighting, Bosch and Gaggenau appliances, frameless, high-gloss custom cabinetry imported from Spain, and stunning copper metallic glass foil tiles imported from the UK. The space is filled with highly crafted furnishings made of organic materials that include natural paper, exotic woods, bamboo, pebble, and quartz. 

In the living room, open-weave chairs from Philippine furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue are woven with natural manila hemp abaca. The aged-teak antique table, originally a camel cart from the Middle East, has been converted into a coffee table. An oatmeal-hued Loloi hand-woven Indian wool rug anchors the room and creates softness underfoot. 

In the master bedroom, earth-friendly materials include a mid-century modern platform bed made of solid and exotic Tiger bamboo. Restoration Hardware cotton sheets and a distressed linen duvet cover — all embellished with a lively primitive pattern —bring sumptuous texture to this calming sanctuary. A tasseled and fringed throw loomed from a blend of bamboo, wool, and linen complements the set, adding a modern finishing touch, and geometrically patterned vine branches above the bed compose a compelling work of art.

In the master bath, a volcanic rock known as basalt and sourced in Sicily was used as the backsplash tile along with a soapstone countertop, stone vessel sinks, and marble tile flooring. The shower features a steam room with aromatherapy and chroma light therapy with bench seating, and a freestanding oversize tub with a heated towel warmer nearby creates a modern focal point that transforms the space into a luxurious spa retreat.

“For our son, Booker, I designed a vibrant camping theme in his bedroom,” says Trish. “I’m not sure he realizes that few kids’ rooms have 17-foot ceilings, a Pottery Barn treehouse bunk bed, and a modern, floating staircase imported from Italy that leads up a wall to his own private loft area where there are even more killer views of the lake,” she adds. Designed in a colorful palette of orange, citron, turquoise, and gray, his room is accented with a nearly 10-foot vintage canoe wall hanging, contemporary hanging pod seating, a personalized global map marking all the fabulous places he’s traveled, a loft wall that has been painted into a whiteboard, a large telescope, and a brightly colored faux antler chandelier.  

Black walnut wood clads the floating staircase, the kitchen bar table, and cabinet embellishments in the living room. Trish incorporated green wood and renewable resources throughout, including chamcha wood and teak wood wall tiles sourced from Thailand in the office and master laundry room. 

Mexican pebble stones inspired by Trish’s travels to Mexican and Central American spas are incorporated throughout the pool and patio area. An impressive 20+ lanterns strategically placed inside and out on the lanai and patio emit a warm glow that evokes the energy of the tropics all year long.

“Our large patio can seat over 50 people in tables comfortably by the pool,” says Trish, “and it’s a great, elevated spot to entertain our family and watch the huge fireworks display the lake holds every year on the 4th of July. We moved into this new house over two years ago, and even our handsome Bernese Mountain dog, Belvedere, enjoys his new, upgraded lake views,” she added. “With a lot of perseverance, passion, and resilience, our vision for this lake house was finally brought to life.” 


  • Builder/Contractor: Starr Homes
  • Interior Designer: Homeowner
  • Architect: Bickford and Company
  • Landscape Architect: Meier Landscape Design
  • Kitchen Architecture and Design: Regarding Kitchens & Profile
  • Cabinets: Profile Cabinets
  • Countertops: Rocktops
  • Drainage & Erosion Control: Gordon Energy
  • Electrician: CR Electrical
  • Elevator: Remi Elevator
  • Flooring: Classic Floors & Design Center
  • Structural Engineering: Apex Engineers
  • Forensic Engineer: Semke Forensic
  • Foundation: Premier Foundation
  • Furniture: Kenneth Cobonpue – New York
  • Patio Furniture: Restoration Hardware
  • Garage Doors: Raynor Garage Door
  • Glass & Mirrors: Fountain Glass
  • Heating and Cooling: United Heating & Cooling
  • Lighting: Lightology
  • Lumber: McCray Lumber & Schutte Lumber
  • Plumbing: Miller Plumbing
  • Roofing: Aspen Contracting
  • Stone: Semco Outdoor
  • Windows & Doors: Western Window Systems

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