Design & Remodeling

Kansas City’s Studio Build Creates a Modern Marvel

The outside may look traditional, but the interior is anything but…

Story By Katy Schamberger  |  Photos by Bob Greenspan

The exterior of Amy and Derek Martin’s Johnson County home is attractive yet unsuspecting—and that’s exactly what Amy loves about their recently renovated home.

“If you drove up or walked to the front door, you’d have no idea what’s inside,” she says. “When people come over, they’re really surprised. I’ve even had people say they thought they were at the wrong house.”

The team at Studio Build removed an interior wall in the Martins’ Overland Park home to create a spacious open-plan layout with distinct areas for lounging and dining.

The reason for the surprise? The home’s exterior reflects a more traditional aesthetic that’s common to the neighborhood. Step inside, though, and you’re immediately treated to a modern interior and a picturesque view of the Indian Trail Parkway system thanks to a wall of windows that were installed as part of the renovation.

Amy, a photographer, and Derek, a FedEx pilot, lived in their home for a year before they decided to start the project, which encompassed a redesign of the home’s kitchen, dining and living rooms, as well as a new deck attached to the back of the house. Amy says they had always planned on making some changes to the home, especially to take advantage of the home’s dramatic backyard view.

Reducing waste during the renovation process was important to the couple, who made an effort to make sure their older materials were put to good use through other projects.

When it came time to select a builder and architect, Amy reached out to Jerad Foster of Studio Build after seeing some of his work in other homes.

“He had one house in particular in Hyde Park where he removed a wall and did all of these windows, which is what inspired me,” Amy says. “We had a couple of meetings with them about how we wanted to live in the house, then they came back with a suggested design.”

Before the transformation could begin, the Studio Build team prepped the space with a demolition that gave Amy and Derek a chance to put some of the older materials to good use.

“We had some of the demolition traded out for the kitchen cabinets,” Amy says, which one of the team members removed and installed in his mother’s home.

Adds Amy, “Reuse is important to me. There’s a lot of waste in a remodel, so anything we could reuse, we did. And we took all of our fixtures to ReStore.”

To take advantage of the Martin home’s stunning backyard, the kitchen remodel included the addition of this modern table with a view that also serves as an island. | Studio Build Kansas City

Once the remodeling project began, a cozy yet traditional kitchen morphed into a sleek, airier space complete with a sizable kitchen island and rich wood cabinets designed and fabricated by Studio Build that create a pleasing contrast with modern touches like hanging light fixtures and stainless steel appliances. To complement the new kitchen, Jerad suggested pulling down an interior wall to transform a hard-to-use space into a dining room.

“We hadn’t thought about it, but it made total sense,” Amy says. “Once we removed that wall, it opened up the whole space.”

The Johnson County home’s deck was made over sooner than expected, so designer Jerad Foster got creative to accommodate their budget.

Other interior features were specially designed to help maximize the home’s idyllic location and view.

“The mornings are just lovely out back,” Amy says. “My husband really wanted a place where he could sit, have his coffee, open up his laptop and have the backyard laid out before him, which is how we came up with the idea for the placement of the island that turns into a kitchen table.”

Of course, no remodeling project is without an unexpected development, and the Martin house was no exception.

“When we originally came up with the design, we broke it up into three phases to accommodate our budget,” Amy says. “The deck and the fireplace were supposed to be phase two, but we started to realize when we put all the windows on the house that we didn’t want to look at the old deck. We hadn’t thought that part through!”

As a result, a large, no-frills deck was transformed into a modern outdoor space complete with a fireplace and a deck railing created from galvanized cattle panels that’s not only an unexpected addition—it’s one of Amy’s favorite parts of the home.

Bold pops of color through the family’s art pieces add brightness to a neutral room. | Studio Build Kansas City

“We wanted to use cable rails so they wouldn’t block the view,” she says. “They were outside of our budget, so Jerad came up with the idea to use the cattle panels. That’s one of the best things about working with him: He’s so creative.”

Now that the Martins have officially caught the remodeling bug, they have plans for future projects to help extend a modern aesthetic through a larger part of the home.

“Our master bathroom needs some love, but I think the next phase will be the front door and the walkway to the house,” Amy says. “We want to give just a hint of modern.”