Black and White
Words by Cynthia Billhartz Gregorian | Photos by Laurie Kilgore
“Bright and airy” meets “moody and shiny” in a new build that grounds itself in duality.
he ink had barely dried on the contract for Willis Custom Homes to build near the sixth hole of the Loch Lloyd golf course when interior designer Marci Gutheil’s phone rang. It was the couple who had just signed that contract. They wanted her to help them make their future home light, airy and timeless for entertaining.
They knew that getting Marci’s input early—before breaking ground—was key to tweaking the floor plan and meeting their stylistic vision through their choices in flooring, cabinetry, paint colors, wall coverings and lighting.
The homeowner and Marci gave a tour of the living and entertaining areas of the now-completed four-bedroom, four-bath, reverse-level home one afternoon.
“I wanted something clean, and I love black and white with pops of color,” the homeowner says. “But I also wanted ‘cozy and comfortable.’ A lot of Patrick Willis’ homes are very contemporary, very modern, and Marci and I worked together just to make it more timeless.”
Marci, who was working with ML Designs at the time but has since spun off into Luna Interiors, wanted to go big with certain details and accessories. After all, she jokes, she is from Texas (where bigger is always better). The homeowner, who felt an instant connection with Marci, was fully on board and ready to follow the designer’s lead.
The more extensive design modifications began at the home’s front entrance.
The original plans called for a pair of standard-sized doors with a transom window. Instead, they opted for grand, 10-foot-tall arched alder wood doors, lending the space an added layer of substance and elegance.
Inside the foyer, what would otherwise be large blank walls are now trimmed with picture molding, while an iron stair railing runs to the lower level. It features a graphic pattern that plays well with a large, graphic black-and-ivory rug adorning the hardwood floor.
A charcoal-gray Hooker console table along one wall exhibits a “medieval meets modern” style. It’s topped by a pair of large white table lamps by Gabby, arched mirrors from Amazon, branches of greenery in a large white vessel and a chunky ornamental wooden chain. A pair of round ottomans from Arteriors, covered in a gray sculpted velvet tucked beneath the console, can be rolled into the main living space to help accommodate large parties.
Marci sourced many of the home’s luxury furnishings at trade showroom Designer’s Library in Overland Park but explains that she’s a believer in high-low mixes—hence those Amazon mirrors.
Throughout the home, touches of gold and a host of natural materials complement the black-and-white color scheme and light oak plank floors.
The main living space is an open concept, comprising a kitchen, dining area and formal living room featuring light neutral tones, luxury finishes and big, bold light fixtures. The only exception to the airy palette is a “bourbon lounge” tucked into an alcove off the dining area.
It’s a moody cocoon of floor-to-ceiling cabinets painted in Benjamin Moore’s inky Tricorn Black and punctuated by a backsplash of large, soft mottled gold tiles that were delayed for months by a workers’ strike in Italy. Banker wire is affixed to the fronts of the upper cabinets, allowing lit displays of glass and crystal drinkware to sparkle. Conversely, the lower cabinets conceal a refrigerator and dishwasher.
A bar with stools in front of the alcove—a feature on the original floor plans—was eliminated. Instead, Marci added a pair of green velvet swivel armchairs facing the lounge.
The dining area features a round table beneath an Arteriors triple-tier Prescott chandelier of gold-leaf iron. This luxe fixture complements the gleaming gold interiors of the sizeable white dome-shaded pendants above the kitchen island.
Marci wanted to add personalized art to the dining area as well, so she asked the homeowner to name her favorite place or thing. The result? A large, framed color photo of The Arch of Cabo San Lucas hanging above a black floating buffet cabinet underlit by LEDs and topped with a chunk of graphic black-and-white marble. The image is printed on metallic paper, giving the 2-D water a realistic shimmer.
“Without having a ton of wall space in this area, we knew that this was going to have to be eye-catching,” Marci notes.
The vast kitchen island is constructed of white oak cabinets and a Silestone Miami White waterfall countertop that can withstand the rigors of the homeowners’ love for entertaining and cooking. A pull-out spice cabinet and built-in wood cutting board next to the stove demonstrate the kitchen’s high level of functionality—a must-have when cooking regularly for family and friends.
The remaining kitchen cabinets are white and paired with a countertop and backsplash of thickly veined black-and-white marble. The space is rounded out by Thermador appliances, including a cabinet-concealed refrigerator freezer.
An adjacent cabinet- and counter-lined room serves as a convenient butler’s pantry. It even has a door to hide clutter.
Overall, one of the more eye-catching parts of the kitchen is the wall of lower cabinets topped by a large window that overlooks a sunroom. The original house plans called for the wall to feature a sliding glass door, but there’s already a sliding glass door around the corner.
The formal living room is outfitted with white upholstered furnishings—all in performance fabrics. With its generous use of black-and-white textiles and natural materials, the adjacent sunroom has a bit of a safari vibe, Marci notes. She and the homeowners changed the space from a screened-in porch with a stone fireplace to a walled-in sunroom surrounded by windows and a sleek stucco fireplace. The window coverings, shades on a multi-tier ceiling light, baskets and barstools are made of seagrass and rattan.
The cohesive design scheme continues on the lower level, which features a family room with a striking, counter-height table that seats six and is outfitted with a waterfall top of black-and-white marble.
“I didn’t want a traditional bar because my boys like to have friends over to play cards, so they can sit on both sides and play,” the homeowner says.
The table fronts another bar with a gleaming black tile backsplash and solid brass-and-glass Palmer shelves laden with liquor bottles. A nearby, glass-doored wine display lights up to show off the homeowners’ wine collection.
The homeowner’s favorite bathroom in the house is just off the family room. It features an underlit, black floating vanity made of black-and-white panda marble with a waterfall front. The bathroom and walk-in shower walls are sheathed in a porcelain tile molded and colored to resemble raw beadboard. The homeowner loves the interplay of contrasting patterns and how it still manages to reference the style of the rest of the home. She’s amazed and satisfied with the boldness and cohesiveness of the project.
“She and I really tried to keep the warmth of the house but then put these modern touches in,” Marci says. “That’s something that we were very mindful of while we were designing the house.”
Interior Designer: Luna Interiors, @lunainteriorstyle
Builder: Willis Custom Homes, @williscustomhomeskc
New Home Community: Loch Lloyd
Art: Custom artwork arranged by designer, framed at Art & Frame Warehouse
Cabinets: Harris Cabinet Design
Countertops: Stone Surface Inc.
Furniture: KDR Designer Showrooms
To-The-Trade Showrooms: Designer’s Library; KDR Designer Showrooms
Hardware: Modern Matter
Lighting Fixtures: Wilson Lighting
Plumbing Fixtures: Ferguson
Wall Coverings: Schumacher
Windows: Pella Windows & Doors
Window Coverings: Fabricut
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