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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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
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
Outdoor couch: RH
Framed photographs: Ilka Kramer
Lounge room artwork: Armin Muhsam
Lounge room chair: BB Italia
Couch on loan: Museo
Rug: West Elm Striad
Lounge chairs: Herman Miller
Paper mache sculpture: PaperTile
Dried floral arrangement: Beco Flowers