Keeping the Character

A traditional cottage home builds on its original charm through thoughtful additions.

Story by Brooke McGrath  |  Photos by Matt Kocourek

Situated off of Lee Boulevard on 1.3 acres is a stone-faced post-war home that has received lots of love during its 68 years. Its most recent addition—a screened-in porch and master suite—will continue to please the Renwick family for decades to come.

Randy and Karen Renwick’s Leawood home has been updated several times over that past few years, but special attention was paid to maintaining its original character with each project, integrating original features in new designs. In 2000, the Renwicks purchased the home from the original family who built it, “pretty much sight unseen,” Karen says. “Randy had always had his eye on this property.”

Though well cared for, it was in need of some updates, so they called in architect Bruce Wendlandt, a high school friend and college classmate of Randy’s, to expand on the original cozy square footage of roughly 1,800. By simply adding on without changing much of the original structure and floor plan, the home gained a master suite from converted attic space (now the daughter’s loft) and bathroom, an expanded kitchen and new great room.

“The fun is in the journey,” Wendlandt says of the character and originality of the floor plan. “I like all the angles, twists and turns along the way. There’s a place for everything, and everything in its place.”

That sat well with the homeowners for 14 years (except for another kitchen update) until Randy and Karen decided they wanted more of an enclosed outdoor living area and a master on the main level. So in 2014, Wendlandt, again with contractor Koenig Building & Restoration, started on their screened-in porch with access to the new master suite.

“We’ve always wanted a screened-in porch but just couldn’t figure out where to put it,” Karen says. “That’s where Bruce really demonstrated his talent and was able to design a porch perfect for us, which we use all the time.”

The classic design and materials used in the new screened-in porch pay homage to the traditional nature of the home. “[You’ll find] lots of symmetry and unconditional design and attention to sight lines,” Wendlandt says of the porch. No matter where you stand in the space—or in any space designed by Wendlandt, for that matter—you can see to the outside.

In keeping consistent with the use of quality materials throughout home, reclaimed brick pavers line the floor of the new screened-in porch, while the gray-painted cedar shakes as well as the stone match the front exterior. The fireplace, constructed of brick and reclaimed stone found on the property, mirrors the one in the living room, which was, at one time, the exterior fireplace. Wendlandt even worked around the structure of the existing windows.

“The roofline was most challenging at the screened porch addition so as to not lose the clerestory windows and light at the existing great room,” he says.

Randy has a screened door that leads out to his grill; the other side of the porch walks up to the yard or into the family room/kitchen area. The coffered ceiling with beadboard insets shades the space, while new lanterns, a Casablanca fan from Wilson Lighting and pillows from Target add the final touches to the new “outside” room.

“We use the porch for coffee in the morning, wine at night, and we watched most of the Royals games out there, too,” Karen adds. “We have found that the porch has a cozy feel but actually is bigger than it looks. We hosted 22 Lancer Dancers for dinner on the porch, and it was perfect.”

Moving inside, a transitional palette takes over in the new master. With design help from Kathy Euston and home furnishings from Nell Hill’s, the master bedroom is elegant yet minimalist with thoughtful details. A clerestory bounces light off of the sea green walls, while a custom-designed window seat with pullout drawers, thanks to Kathy, is attached to a bay window. From this vantage point, you can see how the hillside was pushed back to make room for the new retaining wall.

“It’s a recall of a theme, some things going on in the master are the same as in the living room,” Wendlandt mentions, while “the trim outline calls attention to the interesting roofline.”

Out of the bedroom and down the short hallway, where you’ll pass by direct access to the new screened-in porch, the white oak Elmwood Reclaimed floors run into the bathroom space, which can be closed off via French doors. Double mirrored vanities sit back-to-back with a spacious shower complete with his-and-hers closets just beyond at the end of the hall. Within the bath’s clean, transitional design are granite cabinets, Brizo faucets, Kohler basins, soft-close drawers, and a bit of bling in acrylic knobs on cabinets designed by Kathy. A built-in bench seat with inset niche and towel bar make the shower extremely functional.

Finally, after years of additions and updates—including two additional bedrooms and bathrooms above a new four-car garage—the home, now at 4,835 square feet, is complete.

“We are proud that we have kept the Old Leawood charm throughout all of our additions and have been able to recycle original materials to help maintain the original character of the house,” Randy says. “We are happy with our home sweet home the way it is now and just want to kick back and enjoy it.”

“Someone will have to get a crowbar to haul us out of here,” Karen adds.