Tivol’s marketing director Adam Gebhardt created a space that’s a real gem.
Story by Denise Alden | Photos by Bob Greenspan
“Above all else, do something interesting.” That’s Adam Gebhardt’s design mantra. The 36-year-old marketing director has tried more than a fair share of styles, growing with each experience and refining his taste, until he has reached this pinnacle on a quiet side street of the Country Club Plaza. The allure of work, shopping, dining and happy hour all within four blocks of home is not lost on him, and he embraces the package as part of an enviable lifestyle.
From his rural Missouri roots to stints in suburban Kansas, Brookside and downtown KC, Adam has not only found a place to set down some roots for the first time in his adult life, but honed a style that is definitively his, filled with familial and found objects suggestive of his journey. Moody and masculine, sophisticated yet unpretentious, Adam’s apartment is both a private respite and cocktail party-ready come 5 o’clock. “A space should be a personal narrative,” Adam says. He shares his here.
Q. You picked a historical building to call home. How do you make its antiquity mesh with today’s standards and style?
A: This is truly the cleverest space I’ve ever lived in. Although it’s just under 1,000 square feet, the rooms are generously sized. I have a formal entry, formal dining, a large living room, good-sized bedrooms, and I’ve hosted parties for 50 people. My floor plan is virtually untouched since the building was constructed in the early 1920s by Nelle Peters. For nearly a century, people have been moving in and out, yet it’s still in pretty good shape, and modern living fits right in. I also love that it was designed by a woman during an era in which that wasn’t the norm. Nelle obviously knew what she was doing. But adding a few more electrical outlets wouldn’t have killed her.
Q. What was your goal for transforming the space?
A: When I moved in, I was coming out of a relationship and had only a small amount of furniture and art left to my name. The apartment was a tad rough, but it had potential, and I wanted to have fun with it. I am no doubt a man on a budget, so I spent two years scouring Craigslist, antique markets and garage sales—and begging a few key pieces from my mother, who has great taste. It’s the most spend-savvy I’ve ever been on a home, and ironically, it’s become my favorite of all the places that I’ve lived.
Q. Who are your design icons? Who else, or what else, has influenced your style?
A: I spent the first 10 years of my life in the backseat of my mother’s car as she and my stepfather decorated and shopped for their house after they were first married. They were opinionated and had great aesthetics, my mom especially, and I learned a lot from her. But as an adult, I’ve learned a lot from trial and error, travel, exposure to art and culture, and from past relationships. In a weird way, I mentally link interior spaces with living life. You change and grow, lose and win, and hopefully get better with time.
Almost everything I own has a story as to how it was acquired. I love that feeling, and I love walking through the door every night and seeing a physical manifestation of my life experience.
Q. Considering your day job, do you think the glitz and glamour has rubbed off on your decorating sensibilities?
A: I think my job at Tivol has influenced my style to a certain extent, but maybe not necessarily in a way you would expect. I am extremely lucky right now. I have a highly creative and impactful job at one of the most well-respected and long-lived businesses in the city. I have always been interested in style and fashion, but the company has provided me with an education in refinement and quality.
Q. How do you entertain?
A. I love to entertain and to throw dinner and cocktail parties alike. That said, I’ve only learned to cook within the last two or three years. I can’t lie—there were a few dinners that were pretty touch-and-go. Thankfully, everyone survived, and the accidental poisoning hotline wasn’t called. I think I’ve greatly improved since then, but if things ever get really bad, Gram & Dun is a block away. It’s dinner disaster’s Plan B.