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I've been lucky enough to have a wide range of projects over the past twenty years--it never gets dull. The project type is varied: residential, commercial, entertainment, civic, urban, suburban, rural. I like to think the surface appearance of the projects varies, too--they are specifically tailored to each client. But there are commonalities I hope run through all of them: inspiration drawn from site and context, a simple solution to program and careful attention to detailing. Here are a few of the highlights.

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Front Facade
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Rear Facade
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Kitchen
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Alley

This home had many of the attributes of turn-of-the-century Chicago rowhouses--a beautiful facade and a great street, paired with a warren-like plan and little interior daylight. A hodge-podge of rear additions had cluttered the rear of the house and its courtyard. The goal of the renovation was to open up the plan for more views through the house (front to back), and create more openings on the roof and rear of the house for daylight to come in. The primary addition was a 'glass cube' at the rear of the house, letting east light flood into the lower family room, kitchen and upper office. A sunny roof garden and sitting room topped the cube.

Renovation and Addition
Gold Coast Residence
Chicago, Illinois
w/Wheeler Kearns Architects
(photos courtesy of Wheeler Kearns)

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Front Facade
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Rear Facade
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Living Room
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Master Bath
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View of Front Facade from Courtyard
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Front Door
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Courtyard Seating
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Courtyard Fountain

Download: An essay about this home from the book "The Place To Themselves".

Download: An article about this home from "Custom Home" magazine.

The clients for this home had spent many years traveling, especially in Japan, and had fallen in love with Japanese courtyard houses. When they found this 10-acre site in Indiana, one of their few requests was that it have a courtyard. This request was easy to fulfill, especially when we started building off the precedent of vernacular farmstead arrangments, clustering buildings to form entry courtyards and 'kitchen gardens'. Paralleling Japanese simplicity with Shaker minimalism also seemed a natural fit for this site. Especially striking was the diversity of views--rolling meadow bounded by forest, a nearby hillside that glowed with fall foliage, and a distant view that ended at the Indiana dunes, miles away. We tried to capture as much of this as possible, situating the 'big house' as a kind of lighthouse, with large windows facing north, south and east.

New Construction
Indiana Residence
Valparaiso, Indiana
w/Wheeler Kearns Architects
(photos courtesy of Wheeler Kearns)

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Hospitality Room
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Brewery Entrance
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Tour Stair

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Brewery Tanks

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Alley and Bridge

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Future Bottling Area

Who wouldn't want to design a brewery? Especially with creative clients, committed to helping revitalize downtown Kansas City. This new brewery, set adjacent to their existing brewery, had a site highly visible from a nearby elevated highway and surrounded by everything from turn-of-the century brick warehouses to 1970's precast commercial buildings. This design tried to join that conversation. The east facade, facing the busy highway, was developed as a 'display case' for the shining brew kettles. The tip (and entry) of the building was sheared away to show an informative cross-section through the brewhouse (which was the client's idea, by the way). The overall aesthetic of the building was that of a no-nonsense concrete warehouse emerging from a traditional brick shell, both nods to the surrounding buildings.

2007 International Illumination Award (IESNA)
2010 Kansas City "Community Treasures" Award

New Construction
Boulevard Brewery
Kansas City, Missouri
w/360 Architecture
(photos courtesy of 360)

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Southeast Corner

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Northeast Corner


Front Desk
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Break Room
   
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Overlooking Conference Area
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Second Floor Library

I've been lucky to have quite a lot of creative, open-minded clients, and this was another one. The basic program was for an office for 6-8 graphic designers, but with the added caveat that the building be convertible to a live-work residence, should some future user have that need. These programmatic requests were paired with a very unusual site in one of Kansas City's oldest urban neighborhoods. To the rear of the lot was a historic residential area that had been undergoing a major revival in the past decade, and now included everything from beautiful turn-of-the century brick rowhouses to sleek new contemporary homes. The front of the lot had a panoramic view of the downtown skyline, thanks to its position on the edge of a bluff.
 
So, how to take all that into account? It started with an assessment of what the typical historic neighborhood characteristics were: minimal front setback, a tall rowhouse proportion, side porches, projected fireplace masses and staircase bay windows, and often, masonry primary structures with wood additions to the rear (containing kitchens and bathrooms). All these ingredients were pushed through an 'architectural filter', leaving a simplified, modern version of what might have once been there. The front of the resulting building, then, was pulled open to create a large-scaled two-story conference room, facing the equally large-scale view of downtown high-rises.

2008 International Interior Design Association (IIDA) Gold Award
2006 Kansas City Economic Development Council Cornerstone Award

New Construction
Design Ranch Office
Kansas City, Missouri
w/360 Architecture
(photos courtesy of 360)

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Seating Bowl and Suites

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Stair and Elevator Tower

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Suite Corridor and Signage
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Concourse and Field
   

Designing this minor-league ballpark was also a great experience, even on a very limited budget. This ballpark was part of a much larger suburban master plan, which included several other entertainment venues and a major retail center. The primary goal here was to make a ballpark that was comfortable and easy to use--a close, intimate seating bowl, roomy concourses, plenty of clean restrooms, a wide range of concessions, and a continuous path around the field to connect them all. The building was seen was a light steel pavilion surrounded by heavy brick boxes (containing restrooms and concessions). Suites were colorfully painted lanterns 'hung' from the rafters.

New Construction
Ballpark for the KCK T-Bones
Kansas City, Kansas
w/360 Architecture
(photos courtesy of 360)

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Original House in Foreground
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Approach to House
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Floor Plan
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East Facade
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"Before" Photo of Original House
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"After" Photo of Renovated House and Addition

This site for this home had many things in common with the Indiana home above, but in this case it was 80-acres of beautiful rolling farmland, sloping to the south with a view for miles. The primary difference was the existence of a fairly dilapidated stone farmhouse, measuring about 15' by 30'. It had wonderful character and presence, sitting atop a hill at the end of a long drive. It was easy to imagine how this might have appeared a hundred years ago, alone in the prairie, a landmark in the distance for a weary traveler. Preserving that character was the number one goal for me. Needless to say, to make this a viable home for modern family, an addition that quadrupled the size was necessary. The addition, very simply, took the form of a long, low glass pavilion--hugging the ground and allowing the historic home to remain the tallest point on the horizon. The addition opened and directed itself to the long-distance views and south sun. As an added bonus, we were able to incorporate some matching stone foundation, using stone salvaged from a farm in the client's family.

Renovation and Addition
Lawrence Residence
Lawrence, Kansas

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North/Front of House

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Northwest Corner

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Main Living Space

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Living Room

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North/Front of House

Kitchen/Dining
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Northwest Corner

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Kitchen
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Living Room
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Bedroom with Office Mezzanine overlook
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Ground Floor Plan
   

This weekend residence was for a Kansas City couple who purchased an empty lot in Arrow Rock, Missouri several years earlier. If you haven't been to Arrow Rock, it's a really beautiful little village adjacent a large national park. The entire town is on the historic register, and as such, has a set of design guidelines that require new builds to be designed in a fitting, traditional way. This little house (about 1000sf), although it looks like a Shaker-meets-Queen Anne cottage on the outside, is quite contemporary on the inside. Its centerpiece is a large open entertaining area with a vaulted ceiling.

New Construction
Arrow Rock Residence I
Arrow Rock, Missouri
(Photos courtesy of client)

   

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South/Front of House

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Ground Floor Plan

   

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Dining/Kitchen

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Master Suite Hall

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Living Room

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Detail at Living Room Sliding Doors

   
   

This weekend residence, again for a Kansas City couple, is right across the street from Arrow Rock House I. It had a more expansive program: three bedrooms and 2.5 baths, totaling about 2700sf. It's also on a bigger lot that already contains a big horse barn, an existing garage and a historic log cabin! As with Arrow Rock House I, the design had to fit the historic design guidelines of the village. The couple, now retired, are enjoying getting back to nature with their horses and grandchildren. (Interior design by Collective Design Studio in Overland Park, KS.)

New Construction
Arrow Rock Residence II
Arrow Rock, Missouri
(Photos courtesy of Collective Design) 

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Front of Studio

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Interior

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Interior
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Interior
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Interior
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Studio Plan
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Office
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Bathroom

If you've made it this far in the website, you've probably figured out that in addition to be an architect, I also make pots! This little building, located in a city neighborhood of modest 1920's bungalows, was built in 1905 as the neighborhood grocery store. It probably stopped being a grocery in the 1950's, and had a succession of lives after that: pet store, carpenter shop, church, office. By 2013, when we bought it to use as my pottery studio, it was ready for a major renovation. We gutted it down to the original beadboard, took out the rotting wood frame floor and exterior siding--and started fresh.

2013 Merit Award for New Construction in a Historic Context / Historic Kansas City Foundation

Remodel
rafter e studio
Kansas City, Missouri