Spring 2022

The Lake House

Words by Kimberly Winter Stern  |  Photos by Matthew Anderson

A relaxed and refined outdoor pavilion blurs the indoor–outdoor experience for Lee’s Summit homeowners.


estled in a private family compound off Woods Chapel Road in Lee’s Summit, a 27-year-old red cedar home perched on a quarter-acre pond has provided abundant inspiration for its owners.

A respite from the congestion and hustle of a dense urban environment, the property has few close neighbors—except for the homeowners’ in-laws—plenty of wildlife and a miniature forest comprising mature pin oak, maple, pine, cedar and bald cypress trees.

The couple, a retired CFO of a Kansas City architectural firm and a contractor, grew up in different parts of rural Missouri, surrounded by nature, and still appreciate how the seasons can define the outdoor experience.

“It’s a magical eight acres that feels remote but is in close proximity to all the conveniences the city offers,” the homeowner says. “My in-laws live in a 100-year-old stone home—reported to have been built by the Jackson County sheriff presiding over Kansas City’s fabled Pendergast era—and there’s a quaint 105-year-old white barn on a stone foundation, in addition to our house on the property.”

In January 2019, the couple enlisted Geri Higgins of Portfolio Kitchen & Home to capture their vision and to extend their aesthetic into an expansive outdoor space. Geri and her team of Kelly Greenfield and Brian Burchfiel were already familiar with the Woods Chapel home. The owners, fond of cooking and entertaining, hired them 15 years ago to create a sleek and efficient kitchen that would also complement their art collection.

“They understood our objective and exceeded our expectations,” says the homeowner, admitting she is creative but not a designer. “Geri is a great listener and innovator, and she, Kelly and Brian have provided design and technical expertise over the years to keep our home evolving.”

Now affectionately dubbed the Lake House by the homeowners, the stunning outdoor pavilion accommodates dinner parties, holiday celebrations and family gatherings as easily as serene mornings tucked into a chair with a cup of coffee, watching the sunrise illuminate the pond. In spring and summer, the couple sips wine at sunset, listening to the cadence of bullfrogs’ calls.

“They now savor a unique and transformative outdoor experience without getting in the car and driving somewhere,” Geri says. “Part of their daily ritual, this space is truly like a vacation at home—and what makes this project exceptional is the utilization of beautiful materials and a seamless flow and continuity in design from the home to outdoors.”

Distinctive and fluid in its design, the 1,725-square-foot pavilion was built by Next to Nature in collaboration with the homeowner’s construction company and boasts a culinary powerhouse—a gourmet-inspired kitchen. The space’s earthy tones are complemented by pops of color from accent pillows in the seating areas and the vivid tones of the lush gardens, and an inviting dining space with a table for twelve is punctuated by a metal light fixture the homeowners purchased at the Plaza Art Fair.

Six propane heaters and nine ceiling fans ensure comfort nearly year-round, and two televisions stream movies and Mizzou and Chiefs games. Multiple lighting variations by Adam Lang of Next to Nature spotlight the terraced gardens and landscaping, seasonal pot plantings by Tanner Jones of Colonial Gardens, the pond and the pavilion.

The Lake House has provided an entirely different space for the couple to connect with one another, friends and family.

“It’s a place for us to thrive, just steps away from our home,” says the homeowner. “We love the energy that’s here and the vision that our design team helped bring to life.”



Design Team: Portfolio Kitchen & Home
Landscapers: Next to Nature; Colonial Gardens
Appliances: Factory Direct (Fire Magic; ASKO; Sub Zero; Perlick)
Cabinets: Custom Portfolio Cabinetry
Countertops: Carthage Stoneworks (Quartzite)
Lighting Fixtures: local artists
Furniture: Restoration Hardware; Crate & Barrel
Propane Heaters: Fire Magic

Design Team: Portfolio Kitchen & Home
Appliances: Factory Direct
Cabinets: Custom Portfolio Cabinetry
Lighting Fixtures: Portfolio Kitchen & Home
Plumbing Fixtures: Grohe

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *