Unexpected Modern Luxury in Kansas City

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This thoughtfully designed modern home in the Northland showcases a resort-like ambiance through highly innovative and unanticipated touches.

Story by Ann Butenas    |    Photography by Paul Bonnichsen

If ever there was a carefully curated collection of design elements, this artisan home would stand at the pinnacle of perfection in that regard. Russ Groshans, owner of the award-winning Casa Bella Construction, worked with Tom McDonough of KC Architecture to design this luxurious residence, known as The Moderno. It is a jaw-dropping, breath-taking presentation of style, talent, innovation, creativity, and ingenuity that will forever imprint itself on your mind. 

This 4,775 square foot reverse plan backs up to a wooded preserve in The Preserve at Forest Ridge Estates, one of the Northland’s most exclusive and luxurious subdivisions. No matter which direction you take upon crossing its threshold, an impressive “wow” factor is seen at every turn.  From the moment you first walk in, it is evident a bit of interior design risk was taken. However, that type of risk is what truly sets apart the artist from the artisan. In this case, it was flawlessly undertaken and perfectly executed.

An Outstanding Supporting Cast of Design Elements

Built specifically for the Artisan Home Tour of Greater Kansas City that took place earlier this year, this spectacular home features a cornucopia of impeccable design elements that include fire and water features in the front landscaping; a pavestone driveway; a two-story commercial waterfall just inside the entry; custom floating stairs; a built-in king-sized bed, headboard, and floating nightstands in the master suite; a lower level wellness room; a custom pet room; a professional home gym; expansive connected patios behind the house; large glass panel and steel modern garage doors; upgraded kitchen appliances; and so much more. The attention to detail in and around this home is highly meticulous, well-crafted, and elegant.

A Gallery of the Unexpected

The Moderno is definitely a modern luxury home that is greatly at ease in this exquisite setting, and it makes no apologies for the statement it delivers.

“When designing and building this home, I drew inspiration from luxury resorts I’ve enjoyed while traveling over the years. I wanted to infuse that luxury resort/spa feeling throughout the home. I wanted the homeowners to experience the feeling of being on an exotic vacation without ever having to leave home,” said Groshans.  He emphasized that he wanted an unapologetically modern edge for this home, creating a true oasis.

The Designer’s Touch

Working alongside Groshans is interior designer, Amber Jury. An artist by trade, Jury comes by her craft naturally and is in a league of her own when it comes to her talents.

“She is amazing at what she does,” marveled Groshans, who wanted every room and space to have something special. I’ve worked with many talented designers over the years, but Amber’s talents and abilities are unparalleled. 

“We worked well over a year on this project, putting the necessary time, energy, and effort into each individual area,” said Jury, who incorporated well-appointed design features throughout the home that serve to inspire, engage, and delight in measures seemingly never before seen or experienced.

The Tour of a Lifetime

As you cross the threshold into this $1.8 million home, notes of modern Italian architecture are evident. It is warm and inviting but also has an element of the nouveau riche. By blending and mixing various textures, including warm, rich woods, quartz, and a punch of color accents in the furniture working alongside stark white walls and black trim windows frames, Groshans and Jury have elevated the definition of modern luxury.

Upon entering the home, you are greeted by an innovative floor presentation comprised of recessed light trays flush with the floor and covered with ½” thick glass, under which river rock has been placed. This immediately sets the tone for the resort-like theme. Of course, the two-story waterfall contiguous to the entry way, with a living wall on the opposite side, plays a significant role in that regard.

Across from the waterfall on the main floor is the home office.

“I wanted this space to be private, but not to feel isolated,” expressed Groshans, who fashioned an aquarium concept through the incorporation of an expansive window and built-in desk.

“This way, you can see the waterfall, entry and TV  from the office,” he said. “I call it command central.”

The 3-D walnut wood tiled wall in the office is one feature of the home Jury deeply appreciates.

“At first we were going to simply use wall covering for that area, but then this idea came along,” she stated. “It was expensive, but it adds a new and fresh feature, which is what I like to bring to my designs.”

The Kansas City skyline mural in the lower-level bar area is equally unique. Jury found a local veteran-owned metal fabricator company for this piece, and she chose this design for good reason.

“I wanted to pay homage to Kansas City and also wanted to do something never seen on a bar before,” she emphasized.

This extremely heavy, LED backlit piece has a tile border around its perimeter, which dances around it and plays into the light. The gallery of wine bottles on the adjacent wall help to keep the eye moving through this area, along with the reclaimed wood beams on the ceiling.

“The dark beams add drama and grab your attention,” noted Jury, who specializes in bringing texture into her designs in a way that brings warmth into modern style.

The wellness room is another standout in this home. Again, Jury relied on texture to bring personality to the space.

“The Valhallan brand wallpaper is a specialty wallpaper, and it has a raked look to it,” she noted. “It’s iridescent when the light hits it, creating a very soothing effect.”

The nearby doghouse was Groshan’s idea, which Jury immediately embraced and brought to life.

“The artwork inside is actually photos of our dog,” she said. “The exterior was wood planking used in conjunction with Graphix stone, which is also what we used in the outdoor landscaping for the retaining walls.”

Next to the doghouse is the in-home gym. Warm and inviting, it gives you the feeling of a well-designed commercial gym without the crowds. The lower level is also home to a nice living space and extra bedrooms.

The master suite on the main level offers a variety of exciting upgrades, such as a built-in, king-size bed, a textured tile wall, and access to the custom Kansas City deck, which can also be accessed from the other side via the dining room. The spa-like master bathroom provides a feeling of a vacation retreat, with a luxurious soaker tub, dual rain showerheads, and the same countertops as used in the kitchen and the office.

Just as relaxing as the master bedroom – and not to be outdone – the deck enjoys a warm wood ceiling, a hanging candleholder statement piece, Belgard tile flooring, and copious windows to invite the light in.

The kitchen is a visual masterpiece, as well.

“We installed a waterfall edge quartz countertop and rode that up the backsplash,” indicated Jury, who also mixed in textured tile by the refrigerator.  

Next to the kitchen is the dynamic living room, introduced by a showstopping light fixture and a mixed media fireplace.

“The backlit onyx shows the light playing with the veining,” expressed Jury.

With so much to see and experience in this home, it feels as if this is just a summary of all it has to offer. Just like a resort vacation, it has to be experienced to be fully appreciated. Groshans fully understands that concept.

“To be a true artisan home, it must stand out from the rest of the crowd,” he emphasized. “It should cause people to slow down and turn their heads when they drive by.”

By all appearances the Moderno has definitely become a fan favorite.


Builder: Casa Bella Construction

Interior Design: Amber Jury, Casa Bella Construction

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