Winter 2024

 A New Legacy

Words by Andrea Darr  |  Photos by Josie Henderson

A Fairway family revamps a deteriorating 1935 Tudor Revival with attention to historical accuracy and artistry.


fter a well-traveled life in the Marine Corps, Brian Strack, his wife, Penelope, and their daughter, Vivian, were looking to settle in Kansas City, where Brian had grown up. While browsing MLS listings, they hit upon a 1935 Tudor Revival in Fairway that intrigued them, so they sent his parents to do a walk-through. Penelope followed up with a flight to Kansas City to do an in-person viewing, and the deal was done.

What she saw with her eyes was an aging home that needed a lot of work: a new roof, chimney, trim and stucco repairs, and mechanical updates, for starters. But what she visualized was something else entirely: a restored historical home fit for modern living.

The Stracks moved into the home as it was. “My best piece of advice: You have to live with it for six months or a year,” Penelope says. “We took the opportunity to really think about what we wanted.”

During that time, the couple’s scope expanded. The list grew to include an updated primary closet and bathroom, an upstairs laundry facility, a mudroom, an enlarged kitchen and a two-car garage and driveway. They also compiled an aspirational list with an orangery, studio, security room, gentleman’s library and guest apartment.

Meanwhile, they contacted remodelers who specialize in older homes. Architectural Craftsmen floated to the top. Owners Mary and Joe Thompson focus on restoring pre-World War II homes, preserving their architectural heritage.

“They got to the point where they either needed to redo it or tear it down,” Mary recalls. “We said, ‘Do not tear it down; we’ve got this.’”

And they did. “We delivered everything but the library,” Mary says.

But it took a bigger team to accomplish the nearly overwhelming task. The Thompsons hired Joel Perry of Indwell Architecture & Design to draw up the plans and Elizabeth Rishel of Orion Design to help with space planning and finishes.

“We usually handle projects from start to finish, but this was like building a new house, bringing all the parts and pieces together,” Mary says, adding, “It was a great collaboration.”

The footprint was pushed out eight feet and they nabbed space from the existing garage to accommodate the renovations. The mother-in-law suite was added above a new two-car garage, connected by a back hall entry.

Aesthetically, all decisions pointed toward the past. From the arched doorways to the trim work and light fixtures, the details feel timelessly familiar.

“It was important to figure out what the home was telling us to do,” Mary says. “We wanted the historical elements blended in.”

As an artist, Penelope was heavily involved in the project design and material selections, even fashioning the brass base of the powder bath sink. Her love of color gave Elizabeth joy. 

“With this home, we wanted it to feel like an English Tudor, with warm woods and yummy, creamy cabinets that brighten what could have been a dark space,” Elizabeth says.

Teal, navy and green run throughout the house but are the stars of the show in the kitchen.

“Penelope came to the table with the range in mind,” Elizabeth says.

As a convection appliance, the ILVE Majestic II has that perfect blend of classic looks paired with modern convenience—and it sure is eye-catching in teal.

“I call him my hot Italian lover,” Penelope jests.

She is grateful for the process that resulted in such a beautiful, functional home. Now the family who hadn’t had a permanent home of their own has one for the generations to come.

As a final touch, Joe routed the address into the beam above the existing garage and painted it gold. It carries the feeling of a legacy.

“I’ve got a good cat, a good kid and a good husband,” Penelope says. “It is a gorgeous life.”


Architect: Indwell Architecture & Design,

Contractor/Designer: Architectural Craftsmen, @architecturalcraftsmen

Designer: Orion Design, @oriondesigninc

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