Fall 2021

Picture Perfect

Written by Katy Ryan Schamberger  |  Photos by Nate Sheets

A full-scale collaboration between SixTwentyOne and Lisa Schmitz Interior Design transformed a client’s Deck into this resort-style oasis.


home renovation can often be just as focused on function as it is on form. After all, it doesn’t matter how eye-catching a space is if it’s not usable.

Lisa Schmitz, principal of Lisa Schmitz Interior Design, and senior designer Kristyn Iman protected that balance between polish and practicality at the home of a Prairie Village-based client for seven years, where they’ve gradually updated spaces to introduce openness, natural light and connectivity. The client’s latest project: a complete refresh of the backyard.

What was originally envisioned as a smaller-scale outdoor update quickly morphed into a more extensive renovation of the space—approximately 2,500 square feet total.

For this technical aspect, Lisa tapped Kara Bouillette, Dan Brown and Jacob Littrell, cofounders of architectural firm SixTwentyOne.

“Their vision exceeded what we or the client expected,” Lisa says.

As the project progressed, the team kept uncovering opportunities to make the spaces better.

“The outdoor project started as a deck remodel,” Dan says. “There were smaller, disparate spaces that created these small pockets of hard-to-use space. The client wanted someone to come out and reimagine how the spaces could work better together while also providing additional functionality, such as covered space to help decrease some of the area’s direct sun exposure.”

The redesign offers a number of individual spaces for dining, sitting by the fire, relaxing with a cocktail, or watching the grandkids play on the sport court, yet, as Dan explains, “even though those spaces have individual uses, they’re all connected to each other. We spent a lot of time sitting and standing to make sure we could see each other. The client wanted that connection maintained.”

That feeling of connection extends inside the home, too, minimizing the typical barriers between indoors and out.

“We paid attention to the views inside because there’s so much glass,” Lisa says. “In the great room, you can look through the windows into the new outdoor lounge space. You can also stand at one end of the house and look out of the windows at the other end.”

The interplay among spaces guided purposeful updates to some of the home’s key interior spaces, building upon previous work to create an even more inviting final result.

The thoughtful reimagination focused on the client’s office, where the husband immerses himself in a beloved pastime: stamp collecting. The exterior views from this room were of particular importance—given how much time the client spends in this part of the house. Kara also spent “a lot of time” sitting at the client’s desk, absorbing the view through too-small windows and an inconveniently placed tree. She identified ways to make it better, including a larger picture window.

The more airy, light-filled canvas compelled Lisa and Kristyn to incorporate streamlined custom cabinets designed to conceal the client’s supplies and collections. Slender metal floating shelves and strategically placed lighting add function without detracting from the view.

The project also included the redesign of a small interior lounge, whose size constraints made the room unappealing for anything other than brief use, as well as a rarely used exercise room, which was mostly closed off from the house—a feeling of disconnection that was exacerbated by the room’s floor, built at a lower level than the surrounding rooms.

Elevating the floor and combining that with the lounge created a larger, more open gathering space with fluid access to the deck. Numerous large windows were installed to help diminish the barrier between outside and in.

Collectively, the project brought new energy, function and delight into an already lovely home. And for SixTwentyOne—which celebrated its two-year business anniversary in June—the result embodies their approach and commitment to clients.

“One of our founding ideals is to prioritize balance and avoid excess,” Dan says. “If you look at this project, nothing is without purpose. There’s nothing you can take away without affecting the overall function of the space. Every part of this project is uniquely programmed so that they’re cohesive yet also special in their own right.”


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Architecture: SixTwentyOne

Interior Design: Lisa Schmitz Interior Design

Landscape Design: Aesthetic

Outdoor Lighting Consultant: Clint Paugh

Lighting Design Consultation

Structural Engineer: Apex Engineers

General Contractor: Ambassador Construction Company

Electrical Contractor: Teague Electric

Interior Cabinetry: Royal Fixture Company

Interior & Exterior Counters: Carthage Stoneworks

Metal Fabricator Cabinets, Shelving, Wall Detailing): Line & Ornament

Metal Fabricator (Planters): Metal Works by Design

Metal Fabricator (Guardrails and Handrails): Wrought Iron Works

Structural Steel: Steel Beam Services

Interior Fireplace: Fireplace Center KC

Exterior Fireplace: Accucraft Fireplaces

Audio, Visual, Lighting Controls: Simplify Automated Environments

Brick: Glen-Gery

Green Roof: Roof Top Sedums

Cafe chairs: Emeco

Swinging chairs: Paola Lenti

Woven cord chairs: Roda

Coffee tables: SPOI; Blu dot

Scoop chairs: Gloster Loungers and chairs: Pedrali

Planters: Vondom

Outdoor couch: RH

Framed photographs: Ilka Kramer

Lounge room artwork: Armin Muhsam

Lamp: Flos 

Lounge room chair: BB Italia

Table: Sancal 

Couch on loan: Museo

Rug: West Elm Striad

Lounge chairs: Herman Miller

Paper mache sculpture: PaperTile

Pendant: Marset

Dried floral arrangement: Beco Flowers

1 Comment

  • Marilyn Shannon

    Just received the design KC issue. It is a wonderful surprise and I enjoyed looking at everything inside. Just one tiny comment about the letter from the editor. Where you are writing that you had a conversation between publisher and you the correct grammar should be between Keith Sauro and me. You wrote Keith Sauro and I.

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