Subscribe Follow or share

Spring 2023

European Essence

Designer Karin Ross brings big ideas and boutique style to a French Provincial kitchen.

Words by Savannah Rieke Newson  |  Photos by Randy Van


The greatest challenges often bring the greatest rewards. Belgian-born designer Karin Ross of Karin Ross Designs fearlessly embraces this fact of life, especially in regard to her love of remodeling and culture-immersive design.

A well-traveled connoisseur, Karin spent many of her formative years living and traveling in Europe. She also earned her degree in Italy, which further sparked the designer’s passion and appreciation for the finer things in life.

“Italians are very good at appreciating quality,” she says. “Their style of living is a culture, not a trend.”

Since landing in Kansas City, her authentic style has transformed many homes throughout the metro area, including this remodeled boutique kitchen.

Luxurious yet light, this French Provincial-inspired space features a timeless transitional flair, seamless functionality and perfectly placed high-end details—a striking difference from its former state. Originally, it was a typical, dated suburban kitchen with a cramped square floor plan, only two walls for appliances and very little square footage.

“This space was challenging,” Karin says. “I needed to make sure I could create the look without being overbearing or diluting the details.”

Using her prowess and well-honed eye for design, she overcame these and other challenges to fulfill her clients’ dream of a perfect-for-them custom kitchen. For example, she used smart and unique kitchen placements—such as moving the island to where the breakfast table would be—to give the illusion of a larger, brighter space. She also had floor-to-ceiling cabinets made to provide a spot for the refrigerator and help maximize wall, counter and storage space.

“I spent over 100 hours with my clients to understand them,” she explains. “I worked to capture the magic and build around my clients’ needs and wants.”

Other enchanting details include Cambria countertops, GE Café appliances, and a luxe set of light fixtures, faucets and hardware with matching champagne finishes. The custom shelves, range hood and cabinetry are also carefully selected “hero” elements.

The final pièce de résistance is a Karin Ross signature: elevating the space with high-end products imported from Europe. In this case, the products are the patterned floor tiles, champagne foil tile backsplash, metal handles and crown molding.

“I spare no expense on one or a few special, authentic elements,” Karin says, speaking for all her design projects, each with unique goals and challenges. “Life is short. Don’t deny yourself what you like and truly want in your home.”


Connect with them on Instagram: @karinrossdesigns

Shaped to Perfection

Inspired by her worldly travels, designer Julie Baker thoughtfully remodels her personal bathroom.

Words by Savannah Rieke Newson  |  Photos by Josie Henderson


Life is not always like a sweet box of chocolates. Sometimes, you do know what you are going to get. This is especially true for designer Julie Baker. As the name of her design firm—Shaping Your Space—suggests, she knew precisely what kind of space she wanted in her bathroom and how to shape it into her vision of perfection.

Inspired by memories of dreamy vacations and five-star resorts, Julie visualized her and her husband’s future bathroom as the pinnacle of timeless luxury: a high-end, spa-like retreat. She planned to embellish it with lavish details, ultra-functional upgrades and other lifestyle-enhancing features.

“The goal was adding in the things that felt like luxury to us,” Julie explains. “What things do we notice and love in a resort on vacation? Then I thought through what made sense for us and how we could add [them].”

The couple’s bathroom was ideal for a remodel; it included a skylight, an opaque window, and an already optimized layout that could accommodate their desired improvements. However, they still made several modifications—such as removing the large jetted tub—to prepare for their more extravagant upgrades.

Julie’s dream list was inspired by: “steam showers in Banff, heated towel bars in Zermatt, a vanity with tons of natural light in Cabo, lighted magnifying mirrors in Paris, and a fireplace adjacent to a vanity in Colorado.”

“This room is full of all the features we have collected through our travels over the years,” she says.

The designer’s favorite addition is her makeup vanity, now located where the tub used to be. Glamorously customized and cleverly placed, the L-shaped alcove enjoys abundant natural lighting, built-in jewelry inserts, an LED-lit mirror, wood shelving, and—best of all—its own fireplace.

“The makeup vanity is a game changer in my daily routine,” Julie says. “I added outlets and USB ports into two drawers—one for hair dryers and such, and the other for my phone, iPad, etc.”

Other new upgrades include a tiled walk-in steam shower; a fancy Toto toilet with a heated seat and a closet designed by California Closets.

Finally, Julie employed modern eclectic and classically feminine styles for the decor and final selections to fuse everything together. She added natural stone, stained-wood vanities, wallpaper, gold finishes and other vintage furnishings to create a romantic, Great Gatsby-era feel.

Since its completion, the couple has enjoyed every blissful moment spent in their perfectly molded dream space. Though Julie finds it hard to leave her beautiful bathroom every morning, she is also happy knowing this sweet and sentimental piece of home is always there for her.


Connect with them on Instagram: @shapingyourspace

You may also like these articles.

Leave a Reply

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