Words by Kimberly Winter Stern | Photos by Brynn Burns
A passion for curated estate sale finds and solid design infuses a 22-year-old Shawnee home with a remarkable wow factor.
ucked away off K-7 in Shawnee—and situated on three acres in a lushly wooded neighborhood—is one couple’s little piece of nirvana. Drawn to the area’s gently rolling topography and sense of solitude 12 years ago, Kelly Krehbiel and her husband, Scott, purchased a spacious home custom built in 2000. Despite the overall ambience of living in an oasis, she had grown weary of the home’s clunky layout, especially a main level that no longer served the couple’s lifestyle.
“When this home was built, it was trendy to have a formal dining room and other spaces that were typically underutilized, squandering valuable square footage,” Kelly says. “Over the years I did a few minor cosmetic facelifts in the house, just so I could live with some of the quirkiness and lack of function. It was okay for a long time—and then one day, something needed to change.”
Kelly considered moving, listed the family’s home and embarked on an arduous and monotonous self-directed tour of homes. These were mostly new builds where she continually encountered design features intended for the masses—features that didn’t align with her vision and distinct style.
“It was repetitive, seeing the same ideas over and over just in different floor plans,” she admits. Kelly finally realized that she, Scott and their two sons didn’t need to move but that their current home needed redefining. “Also, I grew up in the country and appreciated the serenity and beauty we are fortunate enough to experience in our neighborhood. I wasn’t sure I could find that again.”
Kelly, an avid collector of objects, accessories and art discovered from scouring estate sales, followed Overland Park–based Brasstacks Design + Build’s Instagram account and liked the firm’s design approach. “It was something I’d never seen before, rule number one for me.” She appreciated Brasstacks’ juxtaposition of warm style and modern living, prompting her to contact founders Molly and Kevin Jarvis to inquire about transforming her kitchen, hearth room and living room.
“I knew they would need to vet the project because I wanted anything but the typical pretty white kitchen with stainless steel appliances that’s common on Pinterest,” Kelly says. Her existing kitchen was white, but she knew there was enough natural light in the room to pull off a moodier color palette. “When the Brasstacks team visited, saw the existing space and listened to more of my must-haves, Kevin immediately hit upon what would become the centerpiece of my new kitchen: a long, asymmetrical island.”
Brasstacks Design + Build senior designer Regan Romero and designer Madison Armbruster were tasked with reimagining the main level public spaces in the Krehbiel residence—and achieving the homeowner’s aspiration of “relevant design, incorporating old and new.”
For Regan, the process started with the hip black leather jacket that Kelly wore to their first meeting.
“Kelly’s aura oozes creativity, beginning with how she dresses,” Regan says. “That stand-apart-from-the-crowd attitude inspires and motivates me as a designer—I’m fueled by highly innovative individuals. Her vibe is ‘let’s mash up modern with vintage, but keep it sophisticated, elegant and timeless.’ With Kelly, I felt empowered to think out of the box and was eager to do the next big thing to accomplish her goals.”
Kelly knew the project was complicated from a design-construction perspective.
“Things had to be moved, walls taken down,” she says. “I can decorate anything, but I couldn’t envision the floor plan that would ultimately make sense. Brasstacks presented me with three different renderings, and we ended up meshing two of them. It was a highly collaborative exercise and inspiring to work with Regan, who pushed me in directions I wouldn’t have necessarily gone.”
The biggest compliment I get when friends come to the house is ‘I’ve never seen anything like this before!’”
~ homeowner Kelly Krehbiel
Madison loved seeing the fine details of the Krehbiel project unfold, including the island by cabinetmaker Brian Halverson—a beautiful piece of furniture topped by Belvedere granite in leather finish—and the spice racks that he created on either side of the Thermador range. “Kelly has an adventurous spirit and an excellent eye for design,” she says.
Kelly found Brian’s meticulous attention to detail and the final results to be extraordinary.
“If you hire a good design-build company like Brasstacks, you know the tradesmen they work with are on their level of excellence, too,” she says. “I wanted the feel of built-in furniture, not only in the kitchen but also in the hearth room, to give that space a more loungy feel with the custom banquette. It took a long time, but that was expected. Everyone wants things quick today—instant gratification. This was slow design.”
The living room’s focus was to balance the height of the soaring ceiling and to create warmth. One solution was to add stunning ripple-fold draperies, which Regan says add “drama, fluidity and a softness” to the room. Kelly’s collected furniture—including a pillowy, deliciously tufted sofa, a pair of swivel chairs and one-of-a-kind art—adds a brilliant stroke of modern elegance. Portola Paints’ Lime Wash in Kingdom was used on the walls in the kitchen, lounge and living room, creating a subtle patina that adds movement and interest throughout the space.
But the living room’s pièce de résistance is a breathtaking custom fireplace wall with a large niche for a rotating display of Kelly’s coveted estate sale finds. The gorgeous still-life is one that Regan and Madison fangirled over when it was completed—and still adore today.
Kelly shares the designers’ obsession with the fireplace and all the atmospheric touches of the entire design project, calling it “warm and inviting, but a very cool, well-executed space.”
“Everything is unique, from the built-in cabinetry, banquette and fireplace to the treasures I’ve procured over the past 15 years,” Kelly says. “The biggest compliment I get when friends come to the house is ‘I’ve never seen anything like this before!’”
General Contractor: Brasstacks Design + Build
Project Manager: Gabe Battis
Interior Designer: Regan Romero
Plumbers: iPlumb KC
HVAC: Rasmussen Air & Gas Energy
Countertops: Carthage Stoneworks
Cabinets: Halverson Carpentry
Painters: Santos Painting
Flooring: DCQ Wood Flooring
Electrical: Wire It Up
Framing: Bowlin Construction