Fall 2021

Ranch Dressing

Written by Anne Kniggendorf   |  Photos by Josie Henderson


he only home Bruce Wendlandt knew as a child was a white ranch house built in 1958 on a quiet street in Leawood. His artist mother, Helen, lived in the house until her passing in 2018.

He and his two siblings divided their mother’s paintings three ways but were less certain about what they would do with the house.

Bruce, an architect, showed the house to some professional contacts, who asked how he would redesign the dated interior. The job was bigger than they were interested in pursuing.

And that’s when he remembered a suggestion his wife, Francie, had made: the two of them could sell the Cape Cod in Prairie Village where they’d raised their five children and move into the now-empty house.

For the next 10 or so months, Bruce and his general contractor, Dave Wood, overhauled the floor plan, opening it up in places to modernize it. Francie, a cardiac nurse, acted as interior designer.

The symmetrical design of the primary bathroom balances the visual force of the floor. A marble-clad wall on one side features frosted glass doors on either end, with a standalone tub and brass etagere between them. The doors open to a walk-in shower and a water closet with a toilet and bidet.

Bruce says their approach was “keeping the best of the good stuff then making other stuff better.”

He converted the primary bedroom into a suite by adding a walk-in closet and bathroom.

“Then we changed this front living room. Growing up, it was the room you don’t go into, ‘Don’t get it dirty, don’t …’ It never got used,” Bruce explains.

The space is now a formal dining room with a contemporary glass-topped table paired with an antique hutch and buffet. Bruce says it’s also where he added a feature that was the “biggest bang for the buck” in the remodel: a frosted glass sliding door between the dining room and the living room. When the door is open, there’s a feeling of connection from the front of the house to the back, as well as between the inside and outside.

“You wouldn’t think this is such a big deal, but it’s amazing what it did,” Bruce says.

Transitions also became a theme in the decorating decisions Francie made—perhaps unintentionally appropriate for the metamorphosis the house was undergoing as it aesthetically shifted from mother to son.

In fact, after many evenings of scrolling through design sites, Francie figured out that the look she kept going back to was actually called transitional.

“That mix of some contemporary stuff with older pieces or maybe even antique furniture,” she says. Her mother-in-law’s art features prominently alongside prints and other pieces the couple has collected.

Though Bruce made many changes in the process of the redesign, he also really appreciated a choice his mother had made years ago.

In 2010, a couple of years after Bruce’s father died, the house was badly in need of repainting.

“I told Mom there’s no way we’re putting paint on that board and batten siding. It needs to be replaced,” Bruce recalls. He wanted to update to shingle siding or horizontal lap siding.

His mother stood firm. “No,” she told him, “I want it exactly like when your father was alive.” So, they ordered all new Hardie Board board and batten siding to replace the old.

Bruce says, “I’m so glad she pushed that decision, because I so love the board and batten now, just the clean crispness of it.”

Francie made decisions with a mother’s eye of her own; she wanted the house to be the place their children still wanted to be.

“Everybody hangs out in the kitchen. Even when you shush them to another room, they come back,” she says.

The couple  also elected to replace the bookshelves that had flanked the brick fireplace with windows to further open the space—which the couple especially appreciated since the house is under 2,200 square feet.

“A smaller home can be just as exciting,” Bruce says. “The key thing, if you look around, is how does it open up? What is the proper space planning so that it flows well and works well? You can have a smaller structure, and, if it’s laid out properly,
it lives large, and that’s the goal.”


Connect with them at



Architect: Wendlandt & Stallbaumer Architects 

General Contractor: Wood Remodeling 

Interior Design: Francie Wendlandt

Landscape Design: Jeffrey Preuss

Windows + Exterior Doors: Marvin; KC Millwork

Custom Entry Door: KC Millwork

Overhead Doors: Renner

Roof: Buck Roofing

Gutters: Just Rite Guttering

Exterior & Interior Painting: Gregg’s Painting

Hardwood Floors: CMP Hardwood Floor 

Tile: The Tile Shop 

Tile Setting: James Allen 

Wall Paper Hanging: Jeff Fuller 

Cabinetry + Quartz Countertops: CKF Kitchen 

Island Countertop: Elmwood Reclaimed Timber 

HVAC: United Heating & Cooling 

Plumbing: AM/PM Plumbing, Tom Gieseke 

Electrical: Morse Electric Foundation: Mike 

DeBrabander Flatwork: David Gilsdorf Concrete 

Dry Creek: Complete Outdoor Expressions 

Site Grading: Rieke Grading 

Limestone Fence Posts: Sturgis Materials 

Custom Iron Dining Table: Bronze Age Design

Custom Wood Fencing: Bruce Wendlandt


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Keith Sauro


What is your publishing background? 

My father was in printing with GSA as I was growing up and I was able to spend time at his plant. I never met anyone that took so much pride in his job as my father. This was my first introduction to printing.

At the age of 24 I answered an employment ad for an account executive position with Relocating in Kansas City magazine. This company also published Kansas City Homes Gardens. I found that I loved working with small businesses and learning I had a good ear in listening for problems and helping to solve them. I then was asked to help the company expand. My wife and I moved to Las Vegas to launch relocating in Las Vegas magazine during the boom. My first Publisher role. I continued to sharpen my skillset and understanding for Publishing. In Las Vegas my son Evan was born and we wanted to find a way to get back to KC  and I was approached by the Ashley group a division of Cahners Publishing, to launch The Kansas City Home Book, a hard cover annual luxury design book. After two years, and a very successful launch, I was asked to come back to KCH&G as Publisher. My life had now come full circle. These experiences and design products I managed and created help formulate what design KC is today. 

What is your favorite issue?

Every issue is always exciting. When I pick up the first issue at the printer, it still feels like Christmas every time. However, for me our premier issue will always be my favorite. To take something from concept to actual inception is an amazing feeling, and it was always have a warm spot in my heart!

What is your home’s design style?

I am a minimalist…. I hate clutter (although you can’t tell that from my office always), I even have a hard time putting things on the walls… I like clean and simple, and lots of color.

Where and how do you like to spend time at home?

I absolutely love my primary bedroom, bath, and shower. Not that I spend all my time there, but every morning it makes me happy getting ready for the day.

If you could live anywhere, where and what would your dream home be?

Laguna Beach, CA right on the water. When I lived in Las Vegas we would drive the high dessert several times a year and enjoy Laguna

If you could make your current home better, what would you do? 

Raise my basements ceiling so I could have a golf simulator.

What are your best memories of home when growing up? 

I was born into an Italian family in Boston. I was raised in East Boston, and my memories of Sunday dinners with my whole family are some of the fondest memories of my life. As a result, I love to entrtain and cook. Growing up, we didn’t have much, but we didn’t do without. My parents were great providers.

Do you have a personal motto or life philosophy? 

The World is very round. You get back what you put out. I live and die by that motto.

Jared Webb

Director of Sales and Digital Marketing

What is your publishing background? 

From a fairly young age, around age 10 or 11, I had always wanted to work in publishing, especially in news publishing. I wanted to be a journalist but quickly discovered in college that my skill set was better suited for the marketing and advertising side. I started my publishing background with a community newspaper called the Northeast News, in Historic Northeast Kansas City, Mo., then moved up to The Kansas City Star for more than 18 years. 

What is your favorite DKC issue? 

It’s always the next issue coming up! As a team, we are always trying to push the envelope and improve. The features continue to get better and better! However, if I had to choose one that has already been published, it would be Summer 2022. I love the cover and the trend-setting articles!

What is your home’s design style?

A mess—ha, just kidding…kind of. It is a mix of a farmhouse and a lodge. The focal point is the living room fireplace that extends up in a vaulted ceiling. My wife handles the interior of the home; the exterior is where I rock—literally, I love landscape rocks. The front exterior has a Cape Cod-style landscape—think Table Rock Lake/Ozark mountains campfire feel. My jam is outdoors!  

Where and how do you like to spend time at home?

In front of the fireplace or in the backyard around the fire pit near our water fountain. I love water, earth and fire.

If you could live anywhere, where and what would your dream home be?

A 1.5- story timber home in the woods near a lake—Lake Tahoe, perhaps?  

If you could make your current home better, what would you do? 

Add an addition to expand our dining room for hosting dinner parties. And a bigger walk-in closet for my wife. 

What are your best memories of home when growing up? 

I grew up in the best home and best floor plan ever, in my ever-so-humble opinion. It was a 1.5-story home with a finished basement in DeSoto, Kansas! It had a wraparound porch, an attic fan, and killer entertainment in the basement for 1990s standards! It was great.  

Do you have a personal motto or life philosophy? 

Motto: Do your best at whatever you do, don’t sweat the small things, and all things are small things. Life philosophy: The Lord God is sovereign and in control—let go, surrender your life to Him and allow Him to work in your life.  

Lonny Cohen

Senior Account Executive

What is your publishing background? 

Being a housing geek comes naturally to me because of my background in publications involved in the housing and design industry. I’ve been with Kansas City Homes & Gardens and RELO Magazine—and for many years, as a staff vice president of the Home Builders Association, one of my responsibilities included the design, editorial, implementation and sales of the two Parade of Homes guidebooks that the association produced each year.

What is your favorite DKC issue? 

I fell in love with designKC two years before we started publishing it, and each time a new issue comes, I’d say that the new issue is my favorite!

What is your home’s design style?

Having grown up with antiques, I still like the clean lines of American antiques, but I love the eclectic touches that I continue to find for my home.

Where and how do you like to spend time at home? 

As the weather gets nicer, my favorite place is reading on the patio while my dog sleeps.

Are there any home goods you can’t live without? 

I love to cook, but like so many of us, I need to rely on shortcuts, so in my kitchen I need my slow cooker and my food processor. While they’re just basic, I save so much time when I cook and couldn’t live without them.

If you could live anywhere, where and what would your dream home be? 

A beachfront home somewhere in Florida. While my style in Kansas City is an eclectic mix of American antiques and new, the home on the beach would be very beachy, light and open.

What are your best memories of home when growing up? 

My favorite memory of home was the end of each day when our family of four would have dinner and share our stories from our day’s experiences. When I was in high school, my mom went to work as a designer, and the world of design became part of our family and the conversation around the dinner table.

Do you have a personal motto or life philosophy? 

“Never assume anything except possibly a two percent loan!”

Denise Carver

Production Coordinator & Circulation

What is your publishing background?   

None! My background was as a lead dental assistant for more than 20 years. This has been an exciting and fun journey for me.

What is your favorite DKC issue? 

That’s too hard to answer as they’re all wonderful. 

Which of our features have resonated most with you?

I would have to say there are two:  “Home or Museum” in Winter 2021 and “Captivating Mix” in Fall 2021.

What is your home’s design style?

I’m a simple country girl, so I love the rustic, western country feel of a home!  

Where and how do you like to spend time at home? 

Outside, anytime I can, relaxing on my deck or playing in the dirt—I love to garden. Or in my craft room, creating pyrography art (the art of wood burning)—it’s my Zen me-time!

If you could live anywhere, where and what would your dream home be? 

On acreage in the country with a Victorian-style home, featuring a big wraparound porch, and, of course, lots of farm animals, especially horses, as I love to ride! And I wouldn’t forget all my pups, goats and chickens!

If you could make your current home better, what would you do? 

Remodel the primary bathroom and expand the deck to a second lower level, with a fire pit as the central attraction.

What are your best memories of home when growing up? 

Our family camping lake trips. Summers at my grandmas. Swimming in the creeks.   Digging for crawdads in the ditch in front of our house. Raising rabbits and chickens with my daddy.  

Do you have a personal motto or life philosophy? 

Motto: Faith over fear! Philosophy: You can have excuses or results, but you can not have both! 

Andrea Darr


What is your publishing background? 

I have always loved reading books and magazines—I got my first subscription to Architectural Digest at age 17—and knew as a kid that I wanted to be in publishing. I earned a degree in Magazine Journalism from the University of Kansas in 2001. Shortly after graduating, I got my first job at Kansas City Homes & Gardens, and stayed for a decade, only leaving the position of Editor-in-Chief once my first daughter was born. I worked as a freelance writer for other local publications for the next decade while raising my girls and running a successful Airbnb on my property in KCK. When Publisher Keith Sauro called me in 2021 to launch DesignKC, I was ready for a new challenge and excited to use full creative license to create a publication—a full brand—that best represents KC from my experienced perspective.   

What is your favorite DKC issue? 

I think of all of them as my babies and can’t choose one over the other! Whatever the next one is always excites me the most. 

Which of our features have resonated most with you?

Everything in these pages resonates with me on some level! No matter the topic or design style, I most appreciate stories where homeowners are true to themselves and create just-right homes that express their personalities and make for a beautiful and functional life. 

What is your home’s design style?

I live in a 1922 bungalow and also own a twin 1933 bungalow next door that we rent out as an Airbnb on 18 acres near The Legends. Both houses have similarities in floor plan, but mine is more modern and cluttered with family life; our inn has mid-century modern influences and feels more like a retreat, as we designed it exclusively for guests. 

Where and how do you like to spend time at home? 

I am a homebody who loves to putter around the house in my slippers. We often leave the doors wide open and transition between indoors and outdoors often and easily during good weather. I love to lounge in the hammock on the back deck with a book and a glass of wine, watching the sunset from our clear view of the horizon line and sometimes getting out our hefty telescope to ponder the moon and stars. 

Are there any home goods you can’t live without? 

A hand vac for the debris that blows in from said doors being open all the time and the shed fur from our four cats. 

If you could live anywhere, where and what would your dream home be? 

As a lifelong Kansan, it’s hard to imagine living anywhere else. I love to travel and I love the easy access to anywhere that living in the middle provides. I am definitely happy at the bay of a beach or cozied up among the pines in the mountains, and I feel a strong pull toward the Southwest. No matter where I live, I don’t need a large house, just a functional one, somewhat minimal, with only the things and people I love most in it. 

If you could make your current home better, what would you do? 

Add a primary suite and give my girls each their own bedroom and bathroom—it’s getting tight in here! 

What are your best memories of home when growing up? 

My parents made a hobby of moving or building houses every few years, so I grew up with constant change—always picking new floor plans and tile, visiting job sites and refreshing my own room. It was fun to always have a project! And that experience was where my love for home design blossomed and embedded itself into my soul to this day.

Ryan Litts

Art Director

What is your publishing background?

I have been doing graphic design for nearly 25 years. I had my own business for 11 years working on websites, graphic design and publications. I have published countless magazines and periodicals over the years.

What is your favorite DKC issue? 

The first issue. It was the culmination of a vision, dedication and a lot of hard work. It is great to work with a group of passionate people all pulling together in the same direction. We strive to make each issue better than the last and have fun while we are doing it.

Which of our features have resonated most with you?

Not a feature, but I loved “The City Farm Girl” featuring chicken foot stools in our Creative Type department in Summer 2022. I just loved those things. 

What is your home’s design style?

“Country Comfy.” Is that a style? I like for people to walk in and feel cozy and right at home when they are at our home.

Where and how do you like to spend time at home? 

Outside. I love to be outside as much as possible since I spend the majority of time in my office. 

Are there any home goods you can’t live without?

A coffee maker. I love to start my day with a good cup of coffee.

If you could live anywhere, where and what would your dream home be?

I would love to have land overlooking a lake, pond or stream where I could fish anytime I want. Also, there needs to be trees and nature—kind of where we are now. 

If you could make your current home better, what would you do? 

Recreate our downstairs living area. I would love to take out the wall in our kitchen and open it up to our living room so we could have a friendlier space to entertain. Probably the bedroom and bath area, too. 

What are your best memories of home when growing up? 

I grew up having my grandparents as our next-door neighbors. Their front door was always open, and aunts, uncles and cousins were always stopping by. Also, the land we had was great—it was about five acres of mountain terrain and a boy’s paradise.

Do you have a personal motto or life philosophy?

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.