Two years ago, I connected with a scout in charge of discovering homes to be featured in magazines and websites. I had recently completed a big renovation of my (now previous) home in Brookside. After asking for before + after transformation photos of my house, my family and the exterior, I received the news that Better Homes and Gardens was interested in shooting my home for their magazine! I was incredibly excited. I have been a magazine lover since my days of Teen Magazine subscriptions in the '90s, and at one point had ten design magazines subscriptions at once. I had been pulling images (quite literally pulling, as at one point that meant tearing pages out and sticking them in a binder to save!) from inspiration magazines for years. So I was honestly floored to have my own home in a national magazine - it’s been one of my biggest highlights since opening Golden & Pine.
In early July of 2019, BHG sent a photographer to Kansas City to shoot my home. A stylist came a day ahead and fluffed everything, which meant moving rugs and pillows around as well as adding massive bouquets of lilacs and hydrangeas to most surfaces. After the shoot, I didn’t hear anything for a long time, and though maybe it would never be published… Until this past winter, when a writer reached out to me about the feature. And within a few short months, my previous Brookside home was published in the April 2021 issue of BHG! In a fun kismet detail, I was with my kids in Barnes & Noble on the day of Golden & Pine’s 5 year anniversary when I pulled down the issue and discovered our family in it! My seven year old was very excited about his newfound fame.
I wasn’t able to share pictures of my home until BHG published it, so I am extremely excited to finally get to share this renovation I completed in late 2017!
My husband and I closed on this location after a few months spent searching for a space I could turn into an open concept. So many houses in this area have stairs immediately at the entrance, that separate the kitchen from the living space. I knew that an open concept was super important for the way my young family was to live.
In addition to the potential I saw for an open living space, my husband and I loved the lead glass windows, the living room built-ins, the bedroom size and the fantastic porches off both the living room and master that had been enclosed at some point in the past. The main thing I did not jive with my style was the dark woodwork and the deep jewel toned paint.
I found a contractor willing to take on my vision and got to work. The first thing I asked was how many walls could be taken down. In the previous floor layout, the kitchen, dining room and living room were all closed off from one another. All walls between kitchen, dining and living were able to be removed, and made possible by installing new supports in the basement as well as leaving headers that referenced the original layout.
Everything was painted white (Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee) to brighten things up. I was worried the house would be dark, but once all the trim, walls and moldings were painted, the space was full of reflected natural sunlight.
My love of design is firmly rooted in a modern aesthetic. However, this was a 100 year-old home with lead glass windows, so I needed to merge historical details with clean light and bright colors to get a look that incorporated the history of the house as well as my personal style. I chose a statement chandelier to go over the dining room table, as a nod to the more traditional style of the house, and put a clean-lined table and natural-fiber rattan chairs in a modern shape beneath it.
I did not touch the charming original windows (other than to paint them) or the former telephone nook in the stairway landing, but did repurpose the nook as a plant shelf.
The floors were refinished throughout the house, and I was thrilled with the outcome. I learned (through some trial + error) that the orange tone of so many Kansas City wood floors comes from the coating of polyurethane, which drastically changes the color. So I instead went with a Bona Natural Floor Sealer. It’s water based and has a hint of whitening to it, which achieves that light matte wood that feels so warm and simple. I’m honestly not sure I’d ever use anything else!
In the kitchen, the previous layout was spacious but lacked the center island everyone dreams about. To ensure our layout worked, I had to coverup one window to place the range (which I consider sacrilegious!) but gave myself some grace by changing the side door to a full height glass version to make up for it.
After years of living in rentals with busy granite countertops, bright white counters were at the top of my wish list. I went with Cambria Quartz in White Cliff and chose sleek, white appliances as an alternative to all of the stainless steel appliances that filled kitchens at the time.
I chose light-toned maple cabinets that were just a shade darker than our white oak floors, and went with clean, simple lines to keep it modern. No shaker, no scrolls, no flourishes - just the way I like it. I then settled on slightly more historic looking brass hardware to reference the age of the house as well as Schoolhouse Electric sconces and pendants, as no one puts a modern spin on vintage better than Schoolhouse.
In my years of cooking as a dietitian and avid home cook, I amassed quite a collection of white dishes. To show them off, I built a storage wall with four glass-front doors. On either side, I was able to tuck in a broom closet and a pantry, and anywhere I could put a drawer I opted for that over a cabinet. I love being able to pull drawers open and see everything I want, as opposed to inevitably losing things in a pile at the back of the cabinet. I filled a corner with open shelves to house our everyday glassware, plates and bowls plus a few pretty art pieces, planters and my favorite cookbooks.
In the entryway and on the living room fireplace, I was desperate to jump on the patterned tile trend. I knew that anything too bold or geometric would have been wrong for the house, so I found a Scroll Grey and Black patterned tile that, while definitely current, referenced shapes that could have been found 100 years ago. I used this tile on the off-center fireplace and removed all trim, adding a simple wood mantle in its place.
I did mount a TV above the fireplace, which I know is controversial. But I have learned to make peace with that setup...when you take out walls and really value windows, it is often the only spot in my houses that it fits.
The former porch had been enclosed at some point in the past, and was the perfect (slightly removed) location for our toddlers to play. I grew to love the original maroon tiling in the house, but knew the original exterior stucco walls had to go. I opted for a clean, white shiplap, and it was such a pretty sight-line from the first floor of the house.
As a lucky bonus, a daybed, toy storage and craft table could be tucked into the sides of the room, all out of sight. I kept the center simple with a fiddly fig, leather chair and a Pampa Rug, so that even when the boys got messy (and they did!) it was usually just out of sight from our main living spaces.
In the upstairs portion of the house, I mainly relied on paint to update the plaster walls, and used the same Swiss Coffee color everywhere, except in our eldest son's room. At his request, the walls were painted blue - Farrow and Ball Borrowed Light, specifically. His bedroom was comprised of a vintage family heirloom bed that we painted shiny black, a vintage dresser, a (bargain!) handmade rug from World Market, a few inexpensive nightstands and a bean bag chair from Urban Outfitters.
A Jack and Jill bathroom connected our two sons’ bathrooms. I took a big risk in this space and chose a bold geometric tile. While not totally fitting for the age of the house, I figured as it was tucked between the rooms and generally unseen, it would be super fun. I went with matte black plumbing (adored it!) and choose a walnut vanity + linen cabinet to continue with the ‘little-man’ vibe going on.
On the other side of the Jack and Jill was our younger son’s nursery, and I wanted to make it moody. This included a black crib, a matte black vintage dresser and an Ikea bed meant for tired parents in the early newborn days (and later, for reading bedtime stories).
The rugs, purchased from G&P at the time, were deep blues, greys, greens and maroons, and perfectly soft for a newborn doing ‘tummy time’ while learning to crawl.
Down the hall, I made extensive changes to the existing master closet + small bath. While I adored the charm of an original closet with a built-in makeup table, it had front-to-back hanging (similar to a rod at a clothing store) and just didn’t hold enough for a modern-day closet. The closet was taken over and turned into a larger master suite, with a built-in shower, double vanity and freestanding bath.
I was able to relocate a smaller but much more functional walk-in closet by stealing some space from the attic eaves. I fell in love with Heath Ceramics tile, but did not have the patience when it came to its lead time. By pure luck, I discovered a similar green rectangle locally at The Tile Shop.
The shower and bath walls were covered with a simple 2” marble square, and I opted for a pebble shower floor to incorporate an earthy, serene atmosphere.
In the bedroom, I used dressers as nightstands to balance the king bed on a long wall.
And last (but most definitely not least), my favorite room in the entire house was the little sunroom office off of our Master. From the pillows to my recovered desk chair, I incorporated pink throughout the entire room. It stood in perfect contrast to the rest of the house, which was designed in part with 3 boys in mind. I absolutely adored the sunshine that streamed into that room when I worked from home. I was able to fit a long sofa, the perfect nook for reading + napping, in there as well. I left the original light fixture in, which set off the modern desk and chairs in the space.
And that's a wrap on the tour of my Brookside home, circa 2017! If you're interested in shopping the products featured in this article, be sure to check out "Stephanie's Collection" on our website. While many items are no longer available two years later, we created a fabulous round up to help you get the look and included actual items as they were available.
You can also view my Better Homes & Gardens article on their site right here.
As you may or may not know, Golden & Pine offers interior design services, a rapidly growing and exciting element of our store. With the combined expertise of Stephanie Agne, founder and owner of Golden & Pine, and Maggie Routon, our talented interior design with an affinity for all things neutral, you can get design help for any room in your home. To learn more, check out our styling services here.
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