Fall 2021

Captivating Mix

Written by Andrea Darr  |  Photos by Josie Henderson

The Captiva model home garners awards and attention with its mix of coastal hues and mountain vibes.


or husband-and-wife team Bruce and Toni Rieke, owners of B.L. Rieke Custom Homes, design starts with a feeling. At The Captiva, their award-winning model home at Timber Rock in Lenexa, the desired feeling was a sense of arrival. Inspired by a family trip to Fort Myers, Florida, Toni brought home the idea for cool coastal colors, soft textures and comfort in everything.

“We want this house to feel restful and like a relaxing vacation at home—a place you love and enjoy, where you let go and feel comfortable,” Toni says.

Warm, rustic touches, including the company’s signature timbers and stonework, provide balance.

“The western look is in our wheelhouse; we’ll always stay true to that,” Bruce says.

While soothing overall, the interiors are imbued with subtle design details. Shiplap boards and driftwood decor can be found throughout. The couple also credits a collection of talented subcontractors—from the masons and trim carpenters to the iron and lighting artists—for bringing their best work to the project.

“We like to touch every part of the house with something of interest, but it’s still soft,” Toni says. “There are places to wow, but there’s not so much going on that the brain can’t catch up because it’s overstimulated.”

The floor plan supports a leisurely lifestyle, with an open living, dining, and kitchen space upstairs and more recreational space on the lower level—including an extensive bar, an electric fireplace, and differentiated areas to lounge and play.

Landscaping makes the difference in the feeling of an escape" ~ John says.

More privately, the primary suite promises rejuvenation in a spacious bathroom accentuated with a soaker tub against a tiled accent wall.

And if work must get done at home, a quiet, light-filled office/flex space is set aside up front.

The floor plan is designed efficiently for daily needs, from the four-car epoxy-floor garage to the intentional flow of the mudroom, drop zone, pantry and laundry all in one back hall.

The nearby kitchen meets all the demands for cooking while stylistically elevating itself with a mix of stained and painted cabinets and quartz backsplash and countertops.

We want this house to feel restful and like a relaxing vacation at home—a place you love and enjoy, where you let go and feel comfortable.” - Toni Rieke, interior designer

Yet the decorative finishes are almost secondary to the outdoor views that provide both connection with and access to nature. To this end, more “rooms” exist on the outside of the house. A step away from the lower level is the lanai, where swinging chairs hang from the ceiling on a cool patio and, above it, a deck is accessible from the main level at tree-top height.

“It feels like you’re in Colorado when you’re here,” Toni adds.

Bruce was responsible for that. As the community’s developer, he helped preserve decades-old native species and even some 200-year-old oaks in the rocky basin below.

The Arbor Day Foundation, which previously owned the land, released 99 acres for development, requesting proposals from a handful of developers. Bruce simply shared his vision of molding the streets to the terrain, playing to the ridges and hugging houses along the valley.

“There was no dog-and-pony show; we just talked about my vision to keep the trees,” Bruce says. “I wanted the size of the lots to be an opportunity to save the trees, versus smaller lots where you have to clear most of them.”

That appealed to all parties, including future residents, who now have a truly unique environment in a new development.

Bruce also intuited that he’d need to allocate enough funds for professional landscaping to smooth the transition between the natural and built environments. He hired landscape architect John Constant, owner of EPIC Landscape Productions, to create the multiple layers and nuances that define this parcel of land, from the public entry and clubhouse to The Captiva’s private property.

“Landscaping makes the difference in the feeling of an escape,” John says.

He leaned into the natural, forested edge of the property line with the addition of terraced stone steps that lead down to a boulder-encircled fire pit and a separate wooden swing for two.

The front yard—former pasture land—was more of a blank slate, which John sculpted with several sizable planted berms, anchoring a carved-boulder seat in one and showcasing a stone monument with custom lighting in another.

“Scale and proportion are the most important design principles,” John explains. “A lot this large needs something that wows. If you screw it up, it feels empty.”

He also created a continuity of curves across the front facade, starting from a curvilinear mix of materials in the driveway and the walkway to the front entry then visually fading out around the house with a 12-inch-high terrace wall.

Both outside and inside, The Captiva has all the hallmarks of a true getaway. Moreover, the whole community mentality is one of gathering and enjoyment.

“It’s like you’re living in a resort community. Residents drive their golf carts around, and there’s something happening every night. I’ve never seen a neighborhood that’s so active,” Bruce muses.

Just like any good family vacation, The Captiva is memorable.

“We created our own storybook,” Bruce says, as he reiterates the home’s greatest hits. “The swings, the bench, the monument, the beams—these are things people remember. This house will come back to me in conversations five to
10 years from now, it’s that good.”


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Dark sliding doors on an angled approach reveal the spacious primary bath, highlighting a soaker tub and walk-in shower.


General Contractor and Interior Design: B.L. Rieke Custom Home Builders

Custom Iron Fabricator: Bronze Age Designs

Cabinets + Laminate: Miller’s Custom Cabinets

Fireplace Inserts: Midwest Fireplace

Flooring + Tile: ProSource of Lenexa

Garage Doors:  Builders Overhead Doors

Granite Fabricator: CFK

Hardware: Locks & Pulls

Hardwood Flooring: SVB

Flooring Appliances: Ferguson Enterprises

HVAC: Harrington Bros.

Landscaping + Irrigation: EPIC Landscape

Productions Light Fixtures: Rensenhouse of Lights

Low Voltage Lights: Pro Technology Solutions

Mirrors + Shower Doors: Fountain Glass

Plumbing: Sam Male Plumbing

Plumbing Supplier: Ferguson Enterprises

Roofing (Concrete Tile): Imperial Roofing

Stone + Brick: Superior

Masonry Tile: Timberland Tile & Stone

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Keith Sauro


What is your publishing background? 

My father was in printing with GSA as I was growing up and I was able to spend time at his plant. I never met anyone that took so much pride in his job as my father. This was my first introduction to printing.

At the age of 24 I answered an employment ad for an account executive position with Relocating in Kansas City magazine. This company also published Kansas City Homes Gardens. I found that I loved working with small businesses and learning I had a good ear in listening for problems and helping to solve them. I then was asked to help the company expand. My wife and I moved to Las Vegas to launch relocating in Las Vegas magazine during the boom. My first Publisher role. I continued to sharpen my skillset and understanding for Publishing. In Las Vegas my son Evan was born and we wanted to find a way to get back to KC  and I was approached by the Ashley group a division of Cahners Publishing, to launch The Kansas City Home Book, a hard cover annual luxury design book. After two years, and a very successful launch, I was asked to come back to KCH&G as Publisher. My life had now come full circle. These experiences and design products I managed and created help formulate what design KC is today. 

What is your favorite issue?

Every issue is always exciting. When I pick up the first issue at the printer, it still feels like Christmas every time. However, for me our premier issue will always be my favorite. To take something from concept to actual inception is an amazing feeling, and it was always have a warm spot in my heart!

What is your home’s design style?

I am a minimalist…. I hate clutter (although you can’t tell that from my office always), I even have a hard time putting things on the walls… I like clean and simple, and lots of color.

Where and how do you like to spend time at home?

I absolutely love my primary bedroom, bath, and shower. Not that I spend all my time there, but every morning it makes me happy getting ready for the day.

If you could live anywhere, where and what would your dream home be?

Laguna Beach, CA right on the water. When I lived in Las Vegas we would drive the high dessert several times a year and enjoy Laguna

If you could make your current home better, what would you do? 

Raise my basements ceiling so I could have a golf simulator.

What are your best memories of home when growing up? 

I was born into an Italian family in Boston. I was raised in East Boston, and my memories of Sunday dinners with my whole family are some of the fondest memories of my life. As a result, I love to entrtain and cook. Growing up, we didn’t have much, but we didn’t do without. My parents were great providers.

Do you have a personal motto or life philosophy? 

The World is very round. You get back what you put out. I live and die by that motto.

Jared Webb

Director of Sales and Digital Marketing

What is your publishing background? 

From a fairly young age, around age 10 or 11, I had always wanted to work in publishing, especially in news publishing. I wanted to be a journalist but quickly discovered in college that my skill set was better suited for the marketing and advertising side. I started my publishing background with a community newspaper called the Northeast News, in Historic Northeast Kansas City, Mo., then moved up to The Kansas City Star for more than 18 years. 

What is your favorite DKC issue? 

It’s always the next issue coming up! As a team, we are always trying to push the envelope and improve. The features continue to get better and better! However, if I had to choose one that has already been published, it would be Summer 2022. I love the cover and the trend-setting articles!

What is your home’s design style?

A mess—ha, just kidding…kind of. It is a mix of a farmhouse and a lodge. The focal point is the living room fireplace that extends up in a vaulted ceiling. My wife handles the interior of the home; the exterior is where I rock—literally, I love landscape rocks. The front exterior has a Cape Cod-style landscape—think Table Rock Lake/Ozark mountains campfire feel. My jam is outdoors!  

Where and how do you like to spend time at home?

In front of the fireplace or in the backyard around the fire pit near our water fountain. I love water, earth and fire.

If you could live anywhere, where and what would your dream home be?

A 1.5- story timber home in the woods near a lake—Lake Tahoe, perhaps?  

If you could make your current home better, what would you do? 

Add an addition to expand our dining room for hosting dinner parties. And a bigger walk-in closet for my wife. 

What are your best memories of home when growing up? 

I grew up in the best home and best floor plan ever, in my ever-so-humble opinion. It was a 1.5-story home with a finished basement in DeSoto, Kansas! It had a wraparound porch, an attic fan, and killer entertainment in the basement for 1990s standards! It was great.  

Do you have a personal motto or life philosophy? 

Motto: Do your best at whatever you do, don’t sweat the small things, and all things are small things. Life philosophy: The Lord God is sovereign and in control—let go, surrender your life to Him and allow Him to work in your life.  

Lonny Cohen

Senior Account Executive

What is your publishing background? 

Being a housing geek comes naturally to me because of my background in publications involved in the housing and design industry. I’ve been with Kansas City Homes & Gardens and RELO Magazine—and for many years, as a staff vice president of the Home Builders Association, one of my responsibilities included the design, editorial, implementation and sales of the two Parade of Homes guidebooks that the association produced each year.

What is your favorite DKC issue? 

I fell in love with designKC two years before we started publishing it, and each time a new issue comes, I’d say that the new issue is my favorite!

What is your home’s design style?

Having grown up with antiques, I still like the clean lines of American antiques, but I love the eclectic touches that I continue to find for my home.

Where and how do you like to spend time at home? 

As the weather gets nicer, my favorite place is reading on the patio while my dog sleeps.

Are there any home goods you can’t live without? 

I love to cook, but like so many of us, I need to rely on shortcuts, so in my kitchen I need my slow cooker and my food processor. While they’re just basic, I save so much time when I cook and couldn’t live without them.

If you could live anywhere, where and what would your dream home be? 

A beachfront home somewhere in Florida. While my style in Kansas City is an eclectic mix of American antiques and new, the home on the beach would be very beachy, light and open.

What are your best memories of home when growing up? 

My favorite memory of home was the end of each day when our family of four would have dinner and share our stories from our day’s experiences. When I was in high school, my mom went to work as a designer, and the world of design became part of our family and the conversation around the dinner table.

Do you have a personal motto or life philosophy? 

“Never assume anything except possibly a two percent loan!”

Denise Carver

Production Coordinator & Circulation

What is your publishing background?   

None! My background was as a lead dental assistant for more than 20 years. This has been an exciting and fun journey for me.

What is your favorite DKC issue? 

That’s too hard to answer as they’re all wonderful. 

Which of our features have resonated most with you?

I would have to say there are two:  “Home or Museum” in Winter 2021 and “Captivating Mix” in Fall 2021.

What is your home’s design style?

I’m a simple country girl, so I love the rustic, western country feel of a home!  

Where and how do you like to spend time at home? 

Outside, anytime I can, relaxing on my deck or playing in the dirt—I love to garden. Or in my craft room, creating pyrography art (the art of wood burning)—it’s my Zen me-time!

If you could live anywhere, where and what would your dream home be? 

On acreage in the country with a Victorian-style home, featuring a big wraparound porch, and, of course, lots of farm animals, especially horses, as I love to ride! And I wouldn’t forget all my pups, goats and chickens!

If you could make your current home better, what would you do? 

Remodel the primary bathroom and expand the deck to a second lower level, with a fire pit as the central attraction.

What are your best memories of home when growing up? 

Our family camping lake trips. Summers at my grandmas. Swimming in the creeks.   Digging for crawdads in the ditch in front of our house. Raising rabbits and chickens with my daddy.  

Do you have a personal motto or life philosophy? 

Motto: Faith over fear! Philosophy: You can have excuses or results, but you can not have both! 

Andrea Darr


What is your publishing background? 

I have always loved reading books and magazines—I got my first subscription to Architectural Digest at age 17—and knew as a kid that I wanted to be in publishing. I earned a degree in Magazine Journalism from the University of Kansas in 2001. Shortly after graduating, I got my first job at Kansas City Homes & Gardens, and stayed for a decade, only leaving the position of Editor-in-Chief once my first daughter was born. I worked as a freelance writer for other local publications for the next decade while raising my girls and running a successful Airbnb on my property in KCK. When Publisher Keith Sauro called me in 2021 to launch DesignKC, I was ready for a new challenge and excited to use full creative license to create a publication—a full brand—that best represents KC from my experienced perspective.   

What is your favorite DKC issue? 

I think of all of them as my babies and can’t choose one over the other! Whatever the next one is always excites me the most. 

Which of our features have resonated most with you?

Everything in these pages resonates with me on some level! No matter the topic or design style, I most appreciate stories where homeowners are true to themselves and create just-right homes that express their personalities and make for a beautiful and functional life. 

What is your home’s design style?

I live in a 1922 bungalow and also own a twin 1933 bungalow next door that we rent out as an Airbnb on 18 acres near The Legends. Both houses have similarities in floor plan, but mine is more modern and cluttered with family life; our inn has mid-century modern influences and feels more like a retreat, as we designed it exclusively for guests. 

Where and how do you like to spend time at home? 

I am a homebody who loves to putter around the house in my slippers. We often leave the doors wide open and transition between indoors and outdoors often and easily during good weather. I love to lounge in the hammock on the back deck with a book and a glass of wine, watching the sunset from our clear view of the horizon line and sometimes getting out our hefty telescope to ponder the moon and stars. 

Are there any home goods you can’t live without? 

A hand vac for the debris that blows in from said doors being open all the time and the shed fur from our four cats. 

If you could live anywhere, where and what would your dream home be? 

As a lifelong Kansan, it’s hard to imagine living anywhere else. I love to travel and I love the easy access to anywhere that living in the middle provides. I am definitely happy at the bay of a beach or cozied up among the pines in the mountains, and I feel a strong pull toward the Southwest. No matter where I live, I don’t need a large house, just a functional one, somewhat minimal, with only the things and people I love most in it. 

If you could make your current home better, what would you do? 

Add a primary suite and give my girls each their own bedroom and bathroom—it’s getting tight in here! 

What are your best memories of home when growing up? 

My parents made a hobby of moving or building houses every few years, so I grew up with constant change—always picking new floor plans and tile, visiting job sites and refreshing my own room. It was fun to always have a project! And that experience was where my love for home design blossomed and embedded itself into my soul to this day.

Ryan Litts

Art Director

What is your publishing background?

I have been doing graphic design for nearly 25 years. I had my own business for 11 years working on websites, graphic design and publications. I have published countless magazines and periodicals over the years.

What is your favorite DKC issue? 

The first issue. It was the culmination of a vision, dedication and a lot of hard work. It is great to work with a group of passionate people all pulling together in the same direction. We strive to make each issue better than the last and have fun while we are doing it.

Which of our features have resonated most with you?

Not a feature, but I loved “The City Farm Girl” featuring chicken foot stools in our Creative Type department in Summer 2022. I just loved those things. 

What is your home’s design style?

“Country Comfy.” Is that a style? I like for people to walk in and feel cozy and right at home when they are at our home.

Where and how do you like to spend time at home? 

Outside. I love to be outside as much as possible since I spend the majority of time in my office. 

Are there any home goods you can’t live without?

A coffee maker. I love to start my day with a good cup of coffee.

If you could live anywhere, where and what would your dream home be?

I would love to have land overlooking a lake, pond or stream where I could fish anytime I want. Also, there needs to be trees and nature—kind of where we are now. 

If you could make your current home better, what would you do? 

Recreate our downstairs living area. I would love to take out the wall in our kitchen and open it up to our living room so we could have a friendlier space to entertain. Probably the bedroom and bath area, too. 

What are your best memories of home when growing up? 

I grew up having my grandparents as our next-door neighbors. Their front door was always open, and aunts, uncles and cousins were always stopping by. Also, the land we had was great—it was about five acres of mountain terrain and a boy’s paradise.

Do you have a personal motto or life philosophy?

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.