Words by Megan Felling | Photos by Bob Greenspan
A Prairie Village pool and outdoor living project vibes with mid-century modern and Palm Springs style.
When Kyle and Ashley Walchshauser were looking for a new home, the one requirement they both had was a backyard pool—both of them had grown up with one in their backyards. They found the perfect fit in a Prairie Village ranch with an inground pool and covered patio—and became only the second owners of the 1978 home.
After living in the house for several years, the Walchshausers began planning how to improve the flow of the outdoor area and create a space they could use year-round.
“The original deck was disjointed,” says Ashley, who studied interior design in college and has a background in commercial design. “We wanted to have all the space be usable and to be an extension of the home.”
Ashley noticed signs on projects around town for Studio Build and liked the mid-century modern flavor of their work. “It is definitely our style,” she says. “We knew immediately that they were a good fit.”
After hiring the firm, Kyle couldn’t have been more impressed. “We liked that they are a design-build firm, handling many things in-house. They were very responsive and collaborative, offering us every option,” he says.
The couple loves to entertain, and Kyle loves to grill, so their goals included redoing the pool and deck with three essential parts: a three-season covered room comprising a kitchen, dining space and a living room with a large-screen television; a separate seating area with a fireplace; and a hot tub off the primary suite. For entertaining, incorporating a bathroom outside of the house was essential.
“We started the project in early 2020—right as the pandemic hit—and there were challenges with the supply chain, but Studio Build was great about trying to negate the issues by selecting a different product or making sure that we ordered everything way in advance,” Ashley recalls. “The old pool had been concrete, but it was really difficult to get concrete, so Jerad Foster (Studio Build’s founding partner) encouraged us to look at different types of pools. He went above and beyond doing research. I think we ordered the pool almost a year in advance.”
They chose to install a fiberglass saltwater pool from Aqua Blue Designs, located in Grandview. It has heating and cooling functions so it can be used most of the year.
“Their home has some modern features inside, so that was the inspiration for a mid-century modern, Palm Springs-style outdoor living space with multiple defined areas,” says Studio Build’s Chris Penland, who served as the project architect. “We designed an open-air three-season room with roll-down screens for privacy. Fans and electric heaters keep the family room comfortable in all weather.”
For the kitchen, they chose Hestan outdoor appliances, which are manufactured in Europe and available locally through Factory Direct Appliance. Ashley had seen them at the Great Lenexa BBQ Battle several years ago and loved the color. They were worth the delayed delivery time with their matching color and style.
The focal point of the walkout-level deck is the fireplace, made of three-dimensional textured concrete tiles, manufactured by Kaza and painted bright orange. “It was originally planned to be white, but the family had recently painted a bathroom orange and loved the pop of color,” Chris says.
The final piece was a hot tub added just off the primary suite. It needed to be private but also accessible to the pool and seating areas. The couple says it was a great addition and use it several times a week.
Fortunately, the expansive yard already featured several large trees for privacy and beautiful views from the new deck. Unfortunately, new city codes required that gutters be extended to the property line, so part of the yard had to be trenched. The Walchshausers took it in stride.
“We realized it would be worth it to grade the property and avoid any future issues,” Kyle explains. “We also took advantage of the opportunity to upgrade the electrical while the renovation was happening so that we’d already be prepared for later needs. That was another great recommendation from Jerad.”
The final result? “We love it,” Ashley says. “The kids have really enjoyed the pool, and we’ve hosted a lot of events here. We’ve actually just contacted Studio Build to start talking about renovating the inside kitchen and living areas, also.”
Follow on Instagram @studiobuild
Architect: Studio Build
Contractor: Foster’s Inc.
Engineer: Stand Structural Engineering
Countertops: Carthage Stoneworks
Pool: Aqua Blue Designs
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