Words by Kimberly Winter Stern | Photos by Matthew Anderson
New owners become custodians of a 1928 Loose Park Georgian Colonial Revival and spectacularly elevate the home’s interior.
or two years, Christie Geier-Pratt and Donna Kirsopp, CKBR, of Schloegel Design Remodel, huddled at 10 a.m. every Thursday in a 5,400-square-foot Georgian Colonial Revival perched on a coveted in-city acre-plus lot across from Loose Park, one of Kansas City’s most renowned neighborhoods.
The overarching objective of the weekly collaborative confabs: make the early 20th century home functional for fourth owners Christie and her husband, Tim Pratt. It was a tall order, attaining a balance between classic beauty and an energetic vibe by meticulously modernizing the aesthetic, while maintaining the home’s historical integrity, character and architectural details.
Indeed, this was not a balancing act for the fainthearted—or the impatient.
Overall, the project—which touched every square inch of the home—took two years to complete. Donna identified three sub-projects: The first phase included the upstairs suites, entry, living room and dining room; the second phase encompassed the butler’s pantry, laundry room, two powder bathrooms, kitchen, hearth room and wine room. The final phase captured the library addition.
In some respects, Christie was surprised to find herself at this juncture. Several years prior, she and Tim completed a painstaking renovation of a Sunset Place villa-style home—an exquisite residence flooded with natural light and mixed design influences. But in the summer of 2019—when the empty nesters spied a coveted Loose Park home for sale—the avowed non-Colonial person stood on the columned portico of a stately Georgian Colonial Revival.
Tentatively opening the door—painted a jolting shade of turquoise—Christie stepped into the foyer and felt her trusted Leo intuition rev into overdrive.
“The house…was warm and embracing and felt like a well-fitting shoe or a go-to dress you cherish,” she says. “I could see our family in it, celebrating Christmases and birthdays and experiencing routine, intimate, everyday life.”
Tim—an enthusiastic lover of Colonials—was smitten, even though the interior needed embellishing, polishing and updating. The couple came away that fortuitous day, agreeing, “This could be our forever home.”
Reversing the downsizing mode they previously were in, Christie and Tim purchased the Loose Park stunner. Though Christie felt the approaching tsunami of a major renovation, the home’s charming karma alleviated any concerns about a daunting overhaul.
“The pastoral setting across from Loose Park contributes to the home’s personality,” she says. “Even in its outdated condition, the home brimmed with its past iterations and spoke to me of its future. Tim and I now endearingly call it the ‘Park House,’ honoring the former owners who cared for and treasured this historic residence.”
Eager to launch the home’s transformation to accommodate her family’s bustling lifestyle—including frequent visits from the couple’s two grown children and four grandchildren under eight years old—Christie enlisted the expertise of Donna, her longtime designer.
“I knew this renovation was going to be a complex, challenging and protracted endeavor,” Christie says. “But I also knew Schloegel was the only company qualified to deliver an exemplary product. Donna and her team, who worked with me on the Sunset project, are always patient, excellent listeners and helpful with ideas and solutions for my ‘vision,’ as it became known. Suffice it to say that Tim and I are thrilled with the results.”
A serial documenter, Christie prepared the renovation’s archival articulation—an oversized three-ring binder for compiling inspiration, photographs, sketches, resources, contractors, swatches and musings.
“Each of my home renovations has a dedicated scrapbook,” she says. “I consider it essential not just in the actual design process, but also to transfer to the next homeowner as a valuable reference tool. After all, I’m just a custodian of this house.”
Phase One of the renovation, Donna recounts, was updating the home’s archaic heating system, which required the removal of 22 radiators scattered between the main and upper levels and “precisely matching the millwork and hardwoods throughout the home,” she says.
Even as Christie’s vision evolved and the project scope expanded significantly, Donna masterfully executed design guidelines, navigated edits and revisions, and performed troubleshooting when necessary.
A throwback to yesteryear, the home’s second-floor sleeping porch was combined with a bedroom to create a serene guest room. In addition, the bedroom’s existing closet and a portion of the room were used to add a full ensuite. Donna, a consummate problem solver, acknowledges that “relocating plumbing supply lines from the second story is challenging in a home this age, but it was accomplished, and the finished rooms beautifully achieve Christie’s vision.”
Madden-McFarland’s Connie Church-Fey, an Allied ASID member, collaborated with Donna, Donna’s team and Christie to curate fresh design elements, interior furnishings, custom drapery, wallcoverings and lighting.
“Christie had many lovely pieces to place alongside new acquisitions,” says Connie, familiar with the homeowner’s aesthetic from past projects. “Monochromatic tones and gorgeous fabrics, with understated and contrasting textures, were utilized to realize the home’s elegance and sophistication.”
In a stroke of divine serendipity, the grandson of Wilbur F. Coen Sr.—the Georgian Colonial Revival’s original owner—lives several doors from Christie and Tim. On occasion, the couple hosts their neighbor, who spent his childhood and holidays visiting his grandparents in their well-appointed home.
“It’s karma,” Christie insists. “[It] gently reminds me I’m just a custodian of this glorious home.”
Contractor: Schloegel Design Remodel
Interior Designer: Madden McFarland Interiors
Engineer: Bob D. Campbell & Company
Cabinets: Crown Cabinetry; Crestwood
Hardwood Flooring: Kimminau
Fabrication: Dimensional Stoneworks; CKF
Plumbing Showroom: Neenan Company
Hardware: Locks & Pulls
Lighting Fixtures: Rensen House of Lights
Paint: R & S Painting
Roofing: Vaught Roofing; Fidler on the Roof KC Windows: Marvin
You may also like these articles.
Have you been searching for a way to bring the outdoors to your indoors? How about live-edge furniture? Live-edge tables have a natural edge on at least one side—rather than a sharp, clean cut—retaining the natural beauty and distinctive pattern of the wood’s grain.