Kansas City Home & Garden Magazine – May 2009

Kansas City Home & Garden has released its May 2009 issue. Featured in this issue are articles on a rebuilt home in Mission Hills, Montebella, showing the age of a home, faux finishing, Grand Lakes real estate, salt water pools, Greensburg Kansas, Vitamin D, and gardening.

Downsized Space, Enhanced Life
Soon-to-be empty nesters scrapped plans for a home on the links for a loft in a vibrant college town.

After living for years in a 3,600-square-foot home in Lawrence with almost an acre of land, Lisa and Brent Flanders were planning to move to another expansive new house with a large yard overlooking a golf course. After a year and a half designing their home, but before they broke ground, second thoughts about tending to landscaping and wasted space made them change their minds. 

The soon-to-be empty nesters instead chose a downtown Lawrence loft one block off Massachusetts Street, a popular district with unique shops, bars and restaurants.

“We now have 2,500 square feet, and even though space is a premium, I have never felt like I’ve lost anything — I feel like I’ve gained a lot,” Lisa says. “When you go downstairs and walk out the door, the life of Lawrence is right there in front of you.”

Home Finding Direction
A hands-on homeowner discovers her own distinctive style amid a daunting remodeling job.

Georgian Rules
A Mission Hills rebuild becomes an instant architectural classic.

When Piper-Wind Architects and Joel Fritzel Construction were tapped by a Mission Hills homeowner to collaborate on a massive design project, the firms’ owners approached the challenge with a synchronicity of vision and passion.

The 15,000-square-foot home, plus cabana and lush grounds, took a year to meticulously design, followed by three years of construction and finishing. John and Joel concur that the experience was seamless, a rarity for a project of this magnitude.

The home’s exterior is built with antique reclaimed brick, and the wood trim at the front entrance and on the dormers and railings is decay- and rot-resistant Spanish cedar. The roof is a striking Vermont slate.

Best of Both Worlds
Luxury homes offer a unique sense of place with the feel of Italian countryside but views of the downtown skyline.

The Northland’s newest subdivision, Montebella, is now under construction on a bluff high above the Missouri River valley, offering sweeping vistas of the natural environment as well as the architecture of downtown Kansas City’s skyline.

Brothers John and David Barth of Barth Development Group have carved the community from the hillside to maximize the views. As John says, “A skyline view is a rare commodity. There are only so many unobstructed views available and to also have a river view is amazing.”

Located in Platte County on 9 Highway west of I-635 between Riverside and Parkville, the neighborhood is adjacent to award-winning Park Hill South High School. Another benefit John points out is that although conveniently located close to downtown and with quick access to all parts of town, Montebella is not located in Kansas City, Mo., rather Riverside, meaning it’s not subject to downtown’s 1-percent earnings tax.

When It’s Good to Show Age
Homeowners turn to stylish items with a past to add interior panache.

The possibility and personal fulfillment of living an eco-savvy life without sacrificing style and taste is a reality. As the green movement gains forward momentum, more of us are discovering the pleasure and beauty of adapting antiques, vintage, reclaimed and repurposed furnishings and accessories for interiors. Color, vibrancy, texture and life are found in furniture with a sumptuous patina and accessories made from discarded items that tickle the imagination.

Long-lasting heirloom quality is another reason people gravitate toward antiques. “We never have anything in our store that’s pressed wood. We have furniture that’s stood the test of time and will continue to march through the years,” Jane says.

The Finesse of Faux
If you want what you haven’t got, faux finishing can give it to you.

Maybe you have oak cabinets but want cherry. A wood door but you want iron. New drywall but you want 500-year-old-looking plaster. If you can’t get the real thing, faux finishing could be your solution. The word ‘faux’ is French for ‘false’ and historically stems from artists painting surfaces to look like other materials that were not available or affordable to their client. Today, faux is still a popular choice as a finish and can be applied to nearly any surface in the home, from walls to furniture.

But not all faux is the same. Some faux finishing can be super colorful or busy and some can be subtle. It can be classic or trendy. Back before paint was as good as it is today, plaster was used to cover walls, and different types of plaster gave different looks — high sheen or earthy texture — depending on the region of the world. All of these plasters still exist and are more abundant than ever.

Grand Standings
Investing in real estate at Grand Lake can be as easy-going as the waterways.

The peaceful, quiet getaway that is Grand Lake could be more than just a getaway. For many people, it is a full-time or part-time place to call home.

Whether you’re looking for a vacation home or a permanent vacation, there’s plenty of high-quality real estate — just ask all the homeowners who live in the popular Grove and Langley areas, where the majority of the population lives close to shopping venues, schools, restaurants and entertainment areas.

Pass the Salt
Saltwater pools gain in popularity among homeowners in search of less harsh and more eco-friendly waters.

Green hair; red, burning eyes; and itchy skin. No, it’s not the creature from the black lagoon, but a dip in a standard chlorine pool can make anyone bear a striking resemblance. In an effort to relax and swim in friendlier waters, many homeowners are turning away from the harsh chemicals in their pools to a much more innocuous element — salt.

Saltwater pools can be a softer, cleaner and fresher alternative to the discomfort of chlorine pools. “The comfort level of water is enhanced in the saltwater pool,” says Rick Banks, owner of Westbanks Aquascapes. “Softer water is nicer to hair and skin.”

Saltwater pools aren’t necessarily a novel idea since the technology has been around for quite some time. However, the recent preference for saltwater systems is more a reflection of the current greener state of mind many homeowners have adopted.

An Experimental Journey
This Kansas City, Mo., garden defies following recommended design guidelines — it simply (and beautifully) blossoms with the whims of a homeowner’s favorite pieces.

After living in a modern ranch house, tirelessly trying to spruce it up with architectural details, David and Judy Aull gave up on it and moved into a more historical home — a Normandy farmhouse filled with charm and history. At that time, in 1998, neither Judy nor David was interested in gardening.

The previous owners had bestowed them with an English garden in the backyard, surrounded on all sides by huge pine trees, some flower beds and a few overgrown plants. Also remaining were a gazebo sheltering an 18th-century English stone fountain, 19th-century French wrought iron fencing, 19th-century English wall fountain and antique well, and brick pathways and patio, uneven in some spots. The history was there, but Judy didn’t fully understand what she had or what it could be until she toured the herb garden at the John Wornall House Museum with a friend. Inspired, she immediately began to grow a green thumb.

Don’t Forget the “D”
Vitamin D is quickly becoming a common household name since recent studies have linked low levels to osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, even death — and everything in between.

Vitamin D has long been overlooked and is now one of the two most essential nutrients commonly deficient in about 30-50 percent of the population.

A fat-soluble vitamin that’s essential for increased absorption of calcium and phosphorus from the gastrointestinal tract, this vitamin is found in fish and cod liver oils, fortified dairy products and is produced in the skin when exposed to sunlight. It’s a known fact that this nutrient is vital for bone health, but recent studies have shown it’s also important for optimal functioning of many organs and tissues, as well as the cardiovascular system. “Vitamin D is not so much a vitamin but a hormone,” says Dr. James O’Keefe, cardiologist at St. Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, UMKC professor and author of 165 scientific publications. “It activates genes throughout the body and in this way improves the health and function of many organs. The implications of vitamin D go far beyond bone and muscle health.”

The Greening of Greensburg
A small Kansas town makes a big mark in eco-friendly living.

Once the ferocious winds of the massive EF5 tornado diminished on May 4, 2007, the innovative rebuilding plans for the obliterated two-square-mile town began. In 24 months, the Kiowa County burg has become a literal laboratory of living sustainability and earned   itself a spotlight on the national and international map of eco-friendly trends and cutting-edge products.

The stunning take-charge leadership in tiny Greensburg is proof positive that environmentally conscious living is attainable in both the public and private sectors when collaborative teamwork and a striking vision dovetail.


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