Winter 2024

Tackled Like A Pro

Words by Kimberly Winter Stern  |  Photos by Nate Sheets

A former gridiron star and a chic lifestyle influencer transform a Leawood home into a sublimely posh residence.

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breathtaking Chanel boutique-inspired closet for her; an elite athlete’s workout room for him. A stunning kitchen equipped for experimenting, entertaining and creating everyday meals for him; a texture-laden, attention-to-detail interior design motif for her.

And so went the meticulous renovation of the sumptuous Leawood residence owned by former Kansas City Chief Mitchell Schwartz—a standout NFL offensive right tackle, All-Pro Tackle and Super Bowl LIV winner—and his wife, Brooke, an über-fashionable lifestyle influencer and design aficionado.

Mitchell, a California native who played four seasons for the Cleveland Browns and five seasons for the Chiefs, and Brooke, a Cleveland native (where the couple met) decided to stay in Kansas City following his retirement from the NFL in 2021. On the hunt for a house, one Leawood neighborhood sparked their imagination. The convenient location was a plus, offering easy access to suburban restaurants and shopping, a quick drive to the city and proximity to 1 Arrowhead Drive and Arrowhead Stadium—perfect for when the couple cheers on Mitchell’s former teammates at GEHA Field come gameday.

It was April 2020 when the Schwartzes bought their dream home nestled in the secluded neighborhood and started mapping out an extensive renovation that would take the better part of three years.

“Before we even started work on the house, Mitch and I decided, when we eventually have kids, this is the place we want everyone to hang out,” Brooke says. “Warm, welcoming, inviting—we wanted to create a comfortable place for everyday life and a retreat for us, but a place to entertain friends and family, too.”

Situated on an expansive lot adjacent to a picturesque pond, the Schwartzes’ home is as exquisite as you would expect. From the impeccable exterior—including a lush, sophisticated pool area and epic outdoor kitchen—to the sweeping entry staircase and Spanish-style arched doorways, gorgeous details abound, many of which guided the redesign.

How you feel in a space, live in it and share it is just as important as how it looks.” - Brooke Schwartz

To accommodate their lifestyle, they envisioned a major overhaul of the home’s existing heavy and dark Tuscan interior. The Schwartzes enlisted Tim Cunningham Homes to gut the first and lower levels; interior designer Kristen Ridler, ASID, who helped design the couple’s first Kansas City home in Johnson County, to collaborate with Brooke on breathing life into their vision of a luxe modern restoration; and Bob Gillpatrick of Gillpatrick Woodworks to craft architectural casework and cabinets.

“The relationships developed with the team of pros we assembled are the most beautiful things resulting from the renovation,” Brooke says. “It was seamless—everyone listened to each other and valued the others’ opinions. They were all assets throughout the process.”

Kristen immediately clicked with Brooke’s bold design aesthetic—and the couple’s approach to the home’s renovation.

“Transforming a home can be a stressful and overwhelming experience, but Brooke and Mitch were not only great clients to work with, they are also wonderful people,” she says. “Brooke and I thrived together during the design process. Mitch loved the technical details exemplified throughout the kitchen. It’s extremely rewarding to see them enjoying their Kansas City home.”

Brooke’s penchant for classic design and playful infusions of modern funk steered the home’s renovation. A champion of well-executed style, Mitchell—who is also a passionate golfer, collector of sports memorabilia and an avid cook and barbecue enthusiast with his own brand (Mitch in the Kitch®) and thriving YouTube audience—informed the direction of many of the home’s amenities.

Together, the couple leaned into the challenges of reinterpreting the space, with Brooke playing the role of “design quarterback.”

“Honestly,” Mitchell says, “Brooke is the one with the eye for design—I’m not strong with the visuals. She had free rein to create a home for us, and it’s perfect. In fact, we really get perspective on how much we love the house when walking through the door after traveling. We didn’t cut corners—it’s our home for the foreseeable future, and we wanted it done right.”

 

Effortlessly pairing neutral tones and shades of black with bold pops of color, Brooke and Kristen incorporated studies in texture and timeless forms complemented by unexpected choices in accessories, lighting fixtures and fabrics in every room throughout the home. One room highlighting Brooke’s design sensibility is the symmetrical closet she shares with Mitchell.

“If we were building a home from scratch, a his-and-her closet would have made sense,” Mitchell says. “But from a space and efficiency standpoint, our closet works very well.”

Often the backdrop for her Instagram feed, Brooke’s closet, painted an unconventional black, struts a distinctive boutique vibe with gorgeous fixtures and sexy lighting thanks to a modern chandelier from Visual Comfort. The large-format, black-and-white marble tile floor plays off the aesthetic of Chanel, Brooke’s favorite designer.

Mitchell’s undisputed domain, the spacious kitchen boasts custom cabinetry, a custom knife drawer, Wolf and Sub-Zero appliances and an oversized island clad in marble, lending to the space’s sleek minimalist feel.

“I know zero percent about finding my way around the kitchen,” Brooke admits, “and I’m not being modest. Mitch is an excellent cook, and we often joke he’s my personal chef. During his football career, he would meal prep for me before going to training camp every summer.”

Steps away from the main kitchen is a well-equipped outdoor cooking and entertaining pavilion where the couple and their beloved Pomeranians, Pumpkin and Cupcake, host frequent gatherings. As the barbecue MVP, Mitchell demonstrates his prowess on several grills in the al fresco kitchen.

Whether nesting or hosting, cooking for two or 20, posting social media content, working out or chilling poolside, the Schwartzes couldn’t be more enamored with the result of their home’s renovation, which Mitchell acknowledges Brooke tackled like a pro.

“How you feel in a space, live in it and share it,” Brooke says, “is just as important as how it looks.” 

Contractor: Tim Cunningham Homes, timcunninghamhomes.com

Interior Designer: Kristen Ridler Interior Design, @kristenridlerdesign

Custom Woodwork: Gillpatrick Woodworks, @gillpatrickwoodworks

@mitchschwartz71

@brooke.lynn.19

Resources

Contractor: Tim Cunningham Homes 
Interior Designer: Kristen Ridler Design 
Appliances: Nebraska Furniture Mart 
Cabinets and Closet: Gillpatrick Woodworks 
Countertops: Rocktops 
Furnishings: Kristen Ridler Design Custom Sourced and RH  

Hardware: Locks & Pulls 
Lighting Fixtures: Wilson Lighting 
Plumbing Fixtures: Ferguson 
Wall Coverings: KDR Designer Showrooms 
Windows: Pella 
Window Coverings: One Stop Decorating

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