interior design + space planning

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REVEAL: Downtown Kansas City Condo

The West’s wanted a kitchen that combined their modern tastes with functionality, as well as one that reflected an entirely original design. With a gorgeous view of downtown Kansas City as our backdrop, we were thrilled as we set to work.


Impressions |  With this project we knew that less would certainly be more. Clean lines + flawless glass + classic walnut + tantalizing quartz + neutral blue color palette + a dash of stainless metals = an ultra mod kitchen that would impress for years to come.

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Focal Point |  In condos in particular, space planning is a vital aspect to the success of the project. The selection and scale of furniture in correlation to the layout would make for a flowing and functional entertainment space, something that was important to the client. From the beginning the kitchen was sought out as our feature space – the area we wanted everyone to be drawn to, acting as our focal point.

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Challenge Accepted | We really only had one wall that would need to accomplish 2/3 of a kitchen’s goals. (Challenge No. 1) In addition, we had a lot riding on the aesthetics of this space. We knew our clients expected originality, innovation and stunning modern touches. (Challenge No. 2) So we kept it simple, less was definitely more in this case. The cabinet layout reflected long linear lines and symmetry. Appliances would fall in to the background with custom fronts, helping us create a flawless face for this kitchen.

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Customization | We custom designed every aspect of the island to get this kitchen fully functioning. During the finish selection process our client was really drawn to walnut, so we decided to wrap a majority of it in the classic wood. They also loved the idea of a multi-level appearance, giving off the effect of transparency. So we lifted the counter off the base cabinets and in turn, lifted the bar top off the counter, creating eye-catching levels of gorgeous Cambria quartz, separated by stainless steel accents.


Photo credit: Thompson Photography


Photo credit: Thompson Photography


Photo credit: Thompson Photography

Viola! We absolutely love how this kitchen turned out. The back-painted glass reflects the scenes of a stunning downtown location, really helping to tie this whole space together. Not to be forgotten, the ultra-mod VITA lighting floating over the island, just one of many conversation pieces in West residence. A big shout out to Kitchen Solvers of Kansas City – they are always wonderful to collaborate with and executed the design and installation of this kitchen flawlessly.

PROJECT REVEAL: Sparhawk Laboratories Inc.

Crediting customer loyalty and a high quality product offering, Sparhawk Laboratories recently made the commitment to build a new corporate office facility in Lenexa, KS.

The design solution was led by the soaring hawk in the Sparhawk logo and corporate color scheme (black, grey, and red), which resulted in concentric circles featured on the reception space ceiling and floor and the avian and nature inspired accessories. Horizontal and vertical lines are used as important design elements throughout the space to frame key areas and provide visual direction throughout the interior.  The project’s beauty lies in the careful selection and coordination of interior finishes and furnishings that illustrate the connections between the textures, colors, and materials. Furniture forms selected for the space reflect a sophisticated interpretation of a mid-century modern aesthetic with clean geometric forms that incorporate luxurious textures in the upholstery selections.

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Inspirational Presentation Material

The interior finish materials offer a refined take on natural elements through the incorporation of wood, stone and silver accents. Modern engineered materials are also incorporated in the space such as quartz surfacing, porcelain tile and brushed stainless steel.


Entering Sparhawk, the vestibule utilizes a Pedisystem flooring material that functions to trap dirt in the grates and keep the lobby clean, but remains aesthetically impactful and creates a high tech look as you enter.  The lobby and reception area feature a sweeping formal stairway that is the focal point of the glass-fronted two story space. The Owner and CEO of the company wanted a grand staircase as the main feature in the lobby.  The custom designed railing by Artec is layered over a red ribbon of a sustainable wood veneer; the stainless railing overlays the wood and creates a rhythm of wood and steel that is quite lyrical.  A dark ledgestone wall provides a grounding backdrop for this light and airy space and allows the stair to highlight in the foreground.


Linear pendants used in the reception area and the conference rooms incorporate reflective finishes with organic shapes contributing to the overall design concept.  LED can lights provide functional lighting controlled by dimmers for various times of the day.  The rock wall was glazed with a LED wall washer system integrated into a drywall pocket to hide the lamps, but graze the wall with light and highlight the irregular nature of the stone.


The custom reception desk is directly in front of the main entry doors and is located under the second floor balcony. It features a wood focal wall behind the desk to highlight the company logo upon entry to the space. Custom Storefronts executed the millwork of the desk, staircase and bathroom stalls flawlessly, helping to create timeless elegance throughout the space. Grey quartz wraps the desk – a sustainable material and extremely durable to withstand the abuse of frequent visitors and hand carts making deliveries.  A stainless steel transaction counter floats above the work surface and mimics the linear LED light patterns of the walls and columns.  The linear pendant hangs over the desk and is minimal in the overall design, adding a mindful and functional detail. A sweeping curve behind the desk is covered in a coordinating grey metallic wallcovering and is a backdrop for the red wood focal wall and floating ceiling soffit that hangs over the reception desk.  The red wood veneer serves as a rich, elegant surface, wrapping the receptionist in its warmth.  The metallic logo was fabricated in aluminum and a black etched Chemetal allowing it to pop and highlight off the wood wall.


Contributing to the focal point of the stairway is a custom designed cascading blown-glass chandelier. The curvature at the bottom of the stairs initiates the concentric circles of the ceiling and floor designs that radiate throughout the lobby, which serves to connect the stair to the rest of the lobby.  Unity of design is further achieved through the mirroring of floor and ceiling design.


The reception space includes several welcoming seating areas for visitors and was space planned for various size groups to occupy and enjoy the lobby.  A large seating area on the east side of the lobby allows for visitors to congregate; a classic Herman Miller sofa, chairs and benches make up the seating grouping, which is anchored by a  vinyl Bolon rug.


Two smaller seating areas invite more intimate conversation for four or just a nice place for one person to sit.  There are several references to Sparhawk in the furniture – a stump shaped stool, a metallic tree inspired sculpture and cocktail tables accented with bird feet.  The fabrics selected are sleek and keep with the company brand – black, grey, red and silver toned metallics. The lighting design for the space uses a layering technique to provide functional and energy efficient lighting, but also provides an important design aesthetic for the space as well; highlighting design elements and adding to the overall elegance and sophistication of the space. The horizontal and vertical lines of the LED strip lighting create an impactful detail throughout.  These fixtures are seamlessly incorporated into walls, columns and door frames to highlight important areas within the space and provide a subtle visual way finding key for visitors. The linear LEDs were located in the drywall and mudded into the wall to appear like seams of light.


The cozy seating area under the stairs is a favorite area for employees to have coffee and talk.  The planter area, which is filled with polished black river rock, is located under the stairs and enables code compliance for open staircases by filling the void space.  The planter extends into a ledge design with a gorgeous glass mosaic face; a highlight art piece and accessories could be displayed to create a rich and thoughtful backdrop.  A Bolon vinyl rug is one of two rugs in the space that helps make the area intimate, but allows for mop cleaning throughout the lobby as well.


The corridor leading to the warehouse, includes a tree sculpture, a custom Sparhawk inspired feather wall art installation (highlighted on a red wall), a black and white art series and benches for one to sit. Art is illuminated with cylinder-shaped adjustable fixtures.


The restrooms are consistent in materials and palette with the main public areas.  Full height wood partitions, recycled glass counters, a glass and metal mosaic backsplash and modern light fixtures make up the overall look.



The conference rooms feature a large back-painted glass conference table, grey leather Eames conference chairs, media credenzas and a small beverage area. The ribbon-like pendant is a highlight over the table and creates movement as if a gust of winds flows through the room.  For use in work sessions, the marker board surface was recessed and framed with red stained wood and black trim to make it an integrated feature of the conference room.  The beverage area sparkles with a stainless steel tile mosaic backsplash, while a structural column is enclosed in a return wall with an opening that perfectly frames the wall sconce on the other side of the beverage area. Lastly, the artwork and sculptures are perfectly highlighted with accent lighting and express a rich fabric of interesting pieces.  Two paintings in the first floor conference room were created by a local artist, Shane Miller, who utilized the corporate colors in fluid metal and wood pieces; if you look hard, you will find the Sparhawk bird incorporated in the pieces.


The mezzanine offers additional seating areas and a beautiful view of the lobby.  A wool rug and velvet upholstered lounge chairs continue the richness of materials up to the second floor.


The artwork is nature inspired, but metallic and sleek at the same time.  The art collection throughout the building lends to nature inspired pieces with a little extra glam and glitz.  It is this combination that really speaks to who Sparhawk is and their success in their industry.


This was an absolute dream project!  The design team was given full freedom in design and budget to create a memorable interior for Sparhawk Laboratories.  The state of the art nature of their business and brand were the basis for our design.  The Client has been thrilled to show off their new headquarters.  It was an honor to work with such a trusting Client and be able to create what we feel is a truly memorable interior space.

Pictured: Kelly Lankford – Principal Designer, Susan Stevenson – Senior Designer, Abby Williams – Junior Designer   (Not pictured: Tena Lopez – Junior Designer)


Keel Residence: Before and After

We absolutely love hearing that our clients are happy! When we met with the Keel’s they were wanting to remodel the area they used and entertained in the most, which happened to be their kitchen, eat-in and small sitting area. Some wish list items included: lighter color palette, update existing cabinetry, reconfigure island and add storage, upgrade appliances and blend in new furniture (to name a few). They really wanted a comfortable and relaxing space that family and friends could congregate in. In order to deliver on these functions, we provided them with new space plan options and finish selections to bring the vision to life. The Keel’s were able to take our direction and run with it – we love the result! Here’s what they had to say:

“We never doubted happiness before we started but are more happy than we thought we’d be – once we started using the space. Very functional and doesn’t feel tight anywhere. You and your team did a great job on design and we’re glad we took our time digesting the design and furniture recommendations before diving into construction. Now that we’ve [finished] you may get a call from one or two. By the way – Sandy did a fantastic job on all cabinets & pieces had her touch, she was a great recommendation.”



The design process begins…


We pulled together earthy, comfortable paint colors and transitional patterns to blend the Keel’s existing spaces with the renovated kitchen and surrounding areas – resulting in a warm and inviting palette that would unify the entire home (not just the new space).


In the space plan, it was crucial that we found a more functional solution for the island. The family wanted to be able to relax while conversing with those that were in the kitchen, while also being able to view the new TV, AND they didn’t want to be cut off from the other sitting areas. The final product was a brand new island (with extra storage) that extended into the sitting area, featuring a rounded end that would allow for seating at different angles. Viola!

We also reconfigured the sitting area, eat-in layout and the lighting plan to bring the space up to its highest functioning potential. And the result…










Photos courtesy: Tom & Lisa Keel


Should I Hire an Interior Designer?

Should I hire an interior designer? We’ve all been there. You’re stuck in a design rut. You want to spice up your home – whether it’s new paint colors, being tired of your old furniture and wanting to buy new, or not being able to stand another minute in your kitchen because your storage needs aren’t being met. With all the choices on the market these days, where do you even start?? You have so many questions, and we have the answers.


How do I recognize “good design?”

Think Star Wars on this one: Live long and prosper. That’s how great designers approach design. Ideally, a newly designed space will not go out of style in 5 years. It needs to be functional, comfortable to those using it, aesthetically pleasing and most importantly, it needs to grow with the times. A classic design will reflect the client’s taste and make them happy for years to come (not just while the trend is hot).


When do I need to hire an interior designer?

The sooner the better. Regardless of how large or small your project is, it will go a lot smoother and quicker if you consult with a professional designer.


What about retail store designers?

If you are partial to a certain brand and are just needing a new sofa or dining set, this could be a good option for you. However, in the grand scheme of things independent interior designers have access to an endless amount of products, many that consumers don’t even know about, allowing your design selections to be unlimited (as opposed to looking at just one brand or company). As a bonus, designers are typically part of trade programs that can ultimately result in better deals for you.


What are the benefits to working with a designer affiliated with a professional design association?

Interior designers have to pass the NCIDQ exam and will have met certain criteria to be involved in upstanding organizations, such as the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID). These criteria are so crucial, that in many states it is illegal to even call yourself interior designer unless you have completed the necessary exams. Professional designers operate under a strict code of ethics and will bring an understanding of codes, building systems and safety to your project. Think of it this way: would you see a doctor who hasn’t passed their exams?


How do I use an interior designer cost-effectively?

Designers offer services spanning from color consults, drafting, space planning to finish selections (and beyond). Good designers won’t pressure you into things you don’t need and will help you as much or as little as you are comfortable with. To cut costs, clients may want to paint or refinish cabinetry themselves. Maybe you have a friend who’s an electrician that will cut you a deal. (This does result in the client becoming responsible for that phase of the project.) No matter the case, your designer will help you find the best solution for your budget, and can even suggest quality craftsmen that are best suited for the task at hand.


What does it generally cost to use an interior designer?

Let’s put it this way: less than it would if you start without a designer. The whole purpose of hiring an interior designer is so they can help you avoid costly mistakes. Skip the time and frustration that comes with biting off more than you can chew. They have the education, experience and skillset to get the job done right the first time.


Are there long-range benefits to hiring a professional designer?

Absolutely. Interior designers can set the stage for the “master plan.” In other words, they know how to work in phases and incorporate the new with what’s existing, resulting in a functional, unified, complete design of your space.


Check out the qualifications of the KHL team here and call us today to schedule your design consultation! | 816.585.4569 |

Trending at Market

This past fall, Kelly was able to attend High Point Market in North Carolina. She got so much inspiration (and so many pictures) of new products and lines that we have been incorporating her Market finds into nearly every  type of budget, space plan and accessory selection since. We think you will see how a lot of the schemes of these individual products merge into multiple trends. For example, metallics and nature-inspired pieces are 2 hot trends right now. Mix ’em together and viola! You’ve got a shiny, silver tree trunk side table! See for yourself some of the current trends we are loving as we start 2016…

GLAM NATURE… bring the outside in.

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MARVELOUS METALLICS… make a bold statement.

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FAUX FUR… the look of luxury without the price tag.

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LESS IS MORE… Mom was right about this one.

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MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL… or on your furniture.

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STATEMENT PIECES… look no further for your next conversation piece.

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Photos courtesy: KHL Design Studio

As always, please contact us at for any information on these products. Or call 816.585.4569 to schedule your design consultation today!

The Glam Outdoors

Forget about the “great outdoors!” We’re talking about a sizzling trend that we are calling the “glam outdoors.” Kelly saw this ALL throughout High Point Market 2015 in North Carolina just recently (the largest home furnishings industry trade show in the world). We are seeing rocks and agate showcased like never before, wood used in mind blowing ways and a variety of elements found in nature taking on shiny, show-stopping forms (think feathers, shells and even eggs… yeah it’s way cool). This trend is the PERFECT way to blend those who appreciate rustic elements with those who drool over anything shiny. Now everyone is happy! See Kelly’s personal snap shots from Market below and get inspired to bring these gorgeous highlights into your own home. Call us today and let us help you get the job done! Contact info at the bottom.


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All photos courtesy KHL Design Studio

For more information on these products, contact us at with any questions!

ASID Heartland Design Awards

Hard work definitely pays off! We are very excited to announce that KHL Design Studio was recognized at the annual banquet hosted by the American Society of Interior Designers on Thursday, September 24, 2016. The dinner was held at the Ritz Charles in Overland Park, KS and proved to be a wonderful evening for Kelly and staff.

Junior Designer, Abby Elson was honored with a $1,000 ASID Scholarship. These funds are given to a select few student ASID members who have exhibited outstanding work ethic and exceptional portfolios. This will aid in her last semester of school as she looks forward to graduating this December from the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg.


Photo courtesy: KHL Design Studio

Artwork by Shane Miller

We were blown away with not one, but TWO awards! Kelly accepted a GOLD award in Commercial Healthcare Design for the newly designed space at Meenes Family Dentistry in Prairie Village, KS.

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Photos courtesy: KHL Design Studio

To view more photos of this project, see here.

We were equally as excited to accept a SILVER award for Commercial Corporate – Small Space Design for the modern renovation at Koprince Law, LLC in Lawrence, KS.

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Photos courtesy: Thompson Photography

To view more photos of this project, see here.

We are very humbled by these awards and will continue to provide an unmatched level of service to our clients!

For more information, please contact us at

Hair-Raising Autumn Plans!

Happy fall everyone! I’m so excited to share my first blog with our KHL followers! As I was thinking about what I wanted to include in this post, my mind kept drifting to how much I was looking forward to Halloween this year. The weather is starting to cool off… there’s an autumn breeze in the air as I walk my dog… my mother-in-law is busting out her apple recipes… I’ve already changed my Scentsy to “Cider Mill“… see how distracted I was?

I figured I wasn’t the only one dreaming of fall! So here are some brand new decor ideas for you all to try out. I tried to include both seasonal and Halloween-related ideas for those of you who may be more excited about one over the other.

And as an extra “trick-or-treat,” scroll down even further to check out some nearby haunted hotels! If you’re feeling brave, make a reservation and let us know if you survive…



How gorgeous are these plush, velvety pumpkins?! Believe it or not, the stems are actually made of real pumpkin and squash stems! These beauties would look great as part of a tablescape or a door stop, and could even be given as a unique birthday or wedding gift. As a bonus, you will love knowing that these fabulous pieces were made right here in the USA. No doubt, people will be asking where you got them and you can tell them McAdams’ Ltd. in Columbia, Missouri. This specialty showroom is a one-stop-shop for all of your holiday decor needs!

Photos courtesy: McAdam’s Ltd.


This eerie twist on Janga comes from Dot & Bo. Add some fun to your Halloween festivities with this Stacking Bones Game!

Photo courtesy: Dot & Bo

P Town

I found this carving idea on Pinterest. Instead of the traditional Jack-O-Lantern, try your hand at a Pumpkin Town! Just carve small windows, paint homes or buildings around the openings, set a candle inside and watch your village glow!

Photo courtesy: Pinterest


This decorative Morton Skull piece from Z Gallerie will add a touch of class to any Halloween gathering.

Photo courtesy: Z Gallerie


Check out this Spinal Chair from Dot & Bo. Ironically, Kelly spotted these at Market a while back and now we have two in our studio at our conference table! So we can attest to their “cool-factor.” This chair would make a great conversation piece to any home or office.

Photo courtesy: Dot & Bo


You can find this sweet little Gold Pumpkin Mini Planter on Etsy. While you’re there, check out even more frightful (and everyday) handmade accents in the shop: Redwood Stoneworks.

Photo courtesy: Etsy, Redwood Stoneworks


These creepy Dollface Wooden Coasters are a steal for $19.99 at Dot & Bo. Protect your tables and keep the “chill” in your drink!

Photo courtesy: Dot & Bo

Now if you’re feeling really brave this Halloween, call and reserve your stay at one of these famous hotels. Not only will you receive first-class service, but you may spot a spirit or two…

THE ELDRIDGE HOTEL – Lawrence, Kansas

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Originally “The Free State Hotel” built by New England settlers in 1855, The Eldridge has long been a distinguished landmark to the city of Lawrence. The hotel was renamed after Colonel Shalor Eldridge who was pertinent to the rebuilding of the hotel (twice) after two acts of arson on two separate occasions by groups of pro-slavery citizens. With those roots, it’s no wonder there have been reports of supernatural activity! It is rumored that Colonel Eldridge himself watches over the hotel and its guests still to this day. Many have said that Room 506 houses your best chances of meeting him…

Check out this link for more on The Eldridge Hotel Ghost

Through many tough years, the hotel has persevered and has won several awards for the level of accommodation it provides. This is a must-stay if you are looking for the perfect blend of history, hospitality and friendly hauntings.

Photos and information courtesy: The Eldridge Hotel

1886 CRESCENT HOTEL & SPA – Eureka Springs, Arkansas

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This grand hotel is located high atop the rolling hills of Eureka Springs. The Crescent holds a dark past within its walls, once operating as an cancer hospital headed by the odd Dr. Baker. He appears to have never left, as many have reported seeing him (and other patients) roaming the halls. If you’re already spooked, I probably shouldn’t mention the morgue in the basement… On a more friendly note, the sweet little ghost of Morris the Cat has been seen hanging out in the lobby and other areas of the hotel. You are bound to see one of the many spirits that have never checked out of the Crescent Hotel…

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Not to worry! The hotel and its grounds are so breathtaking and unforgettable, you won’t regret spending a weekend. I personally have been a guest of this magnificent place and highly recommend it. In fact, I’m planning on making reservations soon to have my Bachelorette Party stay as we explore the streets of Eureka Springs!


Photos courtesy: The Crescent Hotel

As always, we hope you are feeling inspired. For more information on these products or hotels, follow the links or contact us at with any questions!

Trending: Lacquered Surfaces

One of this years coolest design trends is the lacquered finish! It’s eye catching sheen can add smooth texture, reflective light, bold color or sleek lines to any space.

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Lacquer has been around for thousands and thousands of years; originating in China. What was once a long, meticulous process of applying the sap of a lacquer tree onto furniture to create a high-gloss shine now comes pre-made for you in a can!! Highly popular in 1600’s Europe, modern advances in manufacturing, distributing and application have introduced a new era of lacquering not just in furniture, but in just about everything! Accessories, walls, ceilings, cabinets; nothing is off limits. Lacquer is also not limited to any one style but rather precedes contemporary styles and can be applied to traditional designs, minimalist designs and everywhere in between!
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While traditional Chinese lacquer was typically red or black, lacquer can now be saturated with bright pops of color, a toned down hue or neutral shade to suit your design. Add a little drama with a bright, vibrant hue or keep it classic with a relaxed monotone color. Going a little extra bold, or dark (even black) with lacquer works out better than traditional paint since it reflects light; it generates light with in the room while still holding true to its original color. Because of this, lacquered ceilings are also a great way to lighted a small or low room



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A 4000 year old technique takes on a modern aesthetic. The sleek, glossy texture of lacquer fits right in to today’s contemporary design trends.

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Here are some things to keep in mind when designing with lacquer:

  • Lacquer is good on all woods EXCEPT mahogany and rosewood.
  • Lacquer vs. Shellac… Lacquer wins hands down. It’s longer lasting and more durable
  • Rather than a lot of thin layers, try thicker layers and not as many. These of course, take longer to completely dry (about 48 hours)  but you will get a better, smoother second coat.
  • Lacquer-compatible finishes include: lacquer-based, non-grain-raising, lacquer-based fillers, or water stains only. Don’t apply lacquer over anything else.
  • For smaller projects, you can even get lacquer in a spray can like this one from Sherwin Williamspaint_template-1

Sneak Peak: Prairie Village Residential Project

We’re currently working on a renovation in Prairie Village, KS and here is a little preview of the fully updated main floor.

Your first impression of the home is the  large  entrance. While uncompleted, the natural wood exterior is complemented by our choice of natural stones and a pop of modern, metal light fixtures. This mirrors the homes grand ceilings within and offers a great first impression of the home.

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For the interior of the house we chose an overall modern look with a neutral color palette and gorgeous materials. There are a lot of fabulous things happening in this entryway/living room shot but let’s start with the simplistic tile laid in a striking chevron pattern as well as the exquisitely modern chandelier. This simple tile formation and large light instillation created a definite “wow” factor as soon as you walk in the home.

Also notice the completely new wood stairs with metal spindles leading to the lower and upper floors. This wood continues through out the main floor refinished in a natural poly  coating. The subtle white ceiling and grey walls help the fireplace become it’s own focal point; completely finished floor to ceiling with a textured stone tile and veneer fireplace surround.

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We really loved the transformation of this completely gutted kitchen. A lot of major major changes happened in this space including raising the ceiling to a dramatic pitched ceiling and a completely new layout. Again we went modern with the finishes, choosing a sleek white bat and board on the ceiling and contemporary walnut cabinets. The marble herringbone back splash and neutral quartz counter tops adds a luxurious texture to the space. Completed with top-of-the-line appliances and all new light fixtures this space feels sleek, fresh and b1 kitchen b2

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Again, keeping a neutral grey and white color palette for the master bath helps the design feel clean and classic. The grey porcelain tile is accented with white marble stripes, elongating the space. Individual his and hers vanities, separated by the large walk-in closet, create a personalized shared space. And lastly, the spacious duel shower is a fantastic addition to this master bath; finished in various sizes and textures of white marble.

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Photos courtesy: KHL Design Studio

We’re thrilled with how the main floor has come together so far and are excited to wrap this project up! Let us know what you think about this modern make over!

KHL Design Studio, LLC

Commercial & Residential Design

telephone: (816) 585-4569 · fax: (866) 349-0849 · 12 SW 3rd Street, Lee's Summit, Missouri 64063

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