Homes With a View (and a Purpose)

Ten local builders are skillfully crafting high-end homes that will showcase innovative design concepts, on tour to benefit a local charity, for the HBA’s premiere Artisan Home Tour.

Story by Brooke McGrath  |   Photos by James Maidhof

If you build it—a big, beautiful home, that is—tourgoers will come.

Partnering with the Ronald McDonald House Charities-Kansas City, the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City (KCHBA) signed up 10 local builders, whose homes had to pass a rigorous architectural review, for its first-ever high-end homes tour. Each participating builder grabbed his or her best assets in a construction team of architects, designers, subcontractors and vendors to put together a home—each listed around $1 million—unlike anything they’ve built before, featuring efficient floor plans, quality craftsmanship, durable materials and stunning details.

For Rodrock Homes, its home’s inspiration stemmed from a trip to Lake Tahoe. Inspired by the area’s rustic, natural wilderness, this “modern mountain” floor plan, as it has been coined, “uses local materials and exposed craftsmanship in a modern way,” designer Kristen Ridler explains.

Located in Summerwood Estates in Overland Park, this “made-from-scratch” home’s exclusive details—within its 5,345 square feet—include a reclaimed wood ceiling from a 1920s Missouri barn in the great room, a reclaimed wood-slab countertop with live edge in a powder bath and Macaubas Quartzite kitchen counters that blend seamlessly into the backsplash. Setting a dramatic tone in the entry is a two-story floating metal staircase that had to be brought in by a crane and is paired with a mahogany front door that originated as a sketch by the designer.

“Our Telluride plan is bringing many new ideas to the Kansas City market that have been successful in other parts of the country,” says Jeff Reglin, chief marketing officer for Rodrock Homes. “It will be a style that will be new to many people in our area.”

Chris Ragland, owner of Homes by Chris and past president of the KCHBA, upped her game by designing a well-thought-out reverse floor plan in Kansas City, Missouri, in a transitional style showcasing new products—and, there’s no formal dining room, which follows the change in trends.

“The home features a lot of clean lines, with sophisticated details like black interior doors,” she says. “We really strived to make it an artisan home with [upgrades like] the latest in foundation waterproofing, aluminum-clad windows and upgraded insulation.”

Many oohs and ahhs will come in the form of eye-catching hardware like crystal knobs, sleek upgraded inset cabinetry and innovative light fixtures not seen on the market yet. Some tourgoers, however, might take note of the lower level’s wine cellar and the hidden passageway to the suspended garage from the bar.

At 6,000 square feet, Willis Custom Homes’ Clydesdale plan in Loch Lloyd measures the largest on tour, and with that comes a list of notable features: elegance in design and functionality; energy efficiency; and comfortable, luxurious living in an integrated main level. Yes, this home, too, has a gourmet kitchen, upscale master and finished lower level (check out the wine room!), but its extensive, integrated indoor/outdoor entertaining spaces, a continuing trend and main request by homeowners, might just put it over the top. It all starts in the four-season sunroom, with faux-washed wood ceiling and tile floors resembling  gray-washed wood planks, that leads out, through two 16-foot sliding glass walls, to a multitiered flagstone patio with fire pit, waterfall and outdoor kitchen with pergola. Even the lower-level walkout boasts its own private patio. Both inside and out, this home is well-equipped to entertain whenever and all year long.

Though the design and construction teams enjoy building homes that expand their creative palettes—after all, it is what they do—a big draw for many participants was the charity of choice. To kick off the new relationship, the Home Builders Association Foundation granted a generous donation to the Wylie House, the newest Ronald McDonald home.

“It’s an absolutely wonderful organization, and I’m so excited to be a part of it,” Ragland says. “Everyone knows someone who has been touched by the Ronald McDonald House.”

Set aside some time during September 12-20 to tour these local homes open daily from noon-7 p.m. Take a friend, family member or real estate agent (for the right price, it could be yours!) and enjoy touring for a cause. Tickets are $10 for a single home and $25 for a full tour ($30 at the door).

Other participating builders include: Ambassador Construction, Casa Bella Construction, Don Julian Builders, Lambie Custom Homes, Covenant Custom Homes, J.S. Robinson Fine Homes and Starr Homes.