Chic, Modern & Elegant

South Johnson County continues to boast a variety of architectural designs and styles among its homes. But perhaps none exhibit more metropolitan chic and modern amenities than builder Tim Cunningham’s latest estate in Mills Farm.

On display recently as part of the Johnson County Young Matrons (JCYM) Home for the Holidays Tour & Boutique, this sprawling four-bedroom, five-and-a-half-bath home leads the pack in novel architectural details that pay homage to many designs from around the United States.
Drawing on coastal inspiration, the home has also become a pristine canvas for one of Kansas City’s treasured holiday events.
“It’s not too modern where it’s over the top, and it’s still warm and comfy,” says Cunningham, who has built homes in the Kansas City area for over 17 years.

Goodbye, tradition

Upon entering, the most spectacular feature of the home is immediately evident — an octagon skylight. Anything but traditional, this inviting space instead offers creative
perspectives drenched in sunlight.

For Cunningham, the skylight, which peaks above an ornate wrought iron-fringed sweeping staircase flanked by six large picture windows, was a must-have.
“Here you walk in to see the backyard, so there’s no ‘room’ that you come into,” he says. “That was one design that we wanted to create. The entry is pretty gorgeous.”

Holiday in July

Tim Cunningham’s coastal-inspired estate in Mills Farm features a 700-square-foot lanai as part of the home. Two walls of accordion glass doors surround the space, allowing it to be used as indoor or outdoor space.

“It’s heated and cooled,” he says. “In KC, most outdoor porches are just kind of open, maybe screened. This one can be all open.”

Right off the pool, the space is ideal for entertaining and summer parties. Complete with a bar and grill inside, the lanai also has a full bathroom, television with seating and an expansive table to feed hungry swimmers.

Incorporated into the Johnson County Young Matrons Home for the Holidays tour, an exquisite tablescape was created by Z Gallerie. Menorahs, treasure boxes and mini sculptures rest among greenery and a dazzling tapestry.

The bright space provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy the home’s space any time of year, even during the brisk holidays. 

Suspended below the skylight, made by Sunglo, hangs a beautiful crystal chandelier from Wilson Lighting. The octagon shape and entry took just as long to frame as the rest of the home, making it a most uncommon and uniquely elegant element of the home.

As part of the JCYM home tour, this home features a Hanukkah theme. Throughout the main level, Phyllis Kogan of Phyllis Kogan Interior Design Inc. has incorporated beautiful Jewish artwork of the Torah and colorful menorahs.

“Hopefully, we achieved the goal of a happy, bright, welcoming and cozy atmosphere where both adults and children share in a playful and lighthearted spirit of Hanukkah,” says Kogan. “Tim’s footprint of the home enabled me to dedicate the great room and the kitchen to the adult guests, and the lanai to the children and the traditions of lighting the menorahs, exchanging gifts and playing games with the dreidel. The color palette of grey, silver and white formed a perfect backdrop for the blue and white colors associated with Hanukkah.”


Dream team

During construction, Cunningham enlisted the expertise of architect Scott Bickford and design mavens Amber Brown and Kendra Miner of Leawood-based Muse Furniture & Lifestyle Design.

One feature found in the home — not often seen — is a lack of traditional doors. Cunningham’s design promotes an open and continually flowing concept.

Such boldness was incorporated in the master suite, where a stately barn-like door on rollers conceals a small room, intended to be an office or a nursery. It is also possible to enter the room alternately through a hallway that extends off a small round corner. Here a chandelier shines against white walls, creating the illusion of faux paint thanks to its twinkling effect.

“In a lot of homes, you look right into the master bedroom, so we wanted to create its own little space,” says Cunningham.

The master bedroom, spa-like bathroom with two vanities and floating tub and large walk-in closet fuse into a suite that is modest and cozy, yet stylish and functional.


Open for entertaining

Back in the main part of the home, the kitchen, family room and dining room all blend into one large space.

“It’s not so huge that people can’t communicate, but is also designed to be a family home and facilitate entertaining,” says Cunningham.

Continuing the clean simple design, the kitchen is a focal point. Two islands hover in succession. The first has a seated bar. The second features a Kohler sink, giving chefs the convenience of multiple spaces for cooking. To the left is a refrigerator disguised as a hutch, while the cabinets by Kitchen Studio are sleek and crisp.

The Wolfe oven and range are framed by eye-catching white subway tile and shelves climbing up the wall. Here Kogan displays a variety of menorahs as part of the
celebrated Hanukkah theme. These pops of color only enhance the design Cunningham and Muse created.

The entire kitchen rests below detailed framework and yet another peak in the home.

“I’m kind of an old-trim guy so all of the trim work is something I take a lot of pride in,” says Cunningham.

Don’t-Miss Details

Quartz Tile – The fireplace is covered in quartz tile, creating a stonework effect. “It’s a little more modern than the heavy stone that you would see in a lot of fireplaces,” says builder Tim Cunningham.

The Peacock – Perched high above the exhaust vent for the grill in the lanai is a peacock, which has been seen in other Muse-designed homes. The effect is spectacular.

Wallpaper – With the help of Muse’s Amber Brown, a few rooms were highlighted with wallpaper, including the half bath on the main level. “We utilized a lot of wallpaper. We came up with the concept to break it up and conserve cost,” says Cunningham.

Tucked behind the open kitchen are a large walk-in pantry, small office, half bath, laundry room and lockers for the hustle and bustle — reminding visitors that this home, while stunning, is still family-friendly.


Worlds collide

The lower level offers an extension of the entertaining aspect of the home, even as it remains functional for a family.

A bar and second dining room against a theater room capture radiance from the skylight two stories above as well as from the bank of windows overlooking woods behind the home. Here, Craig Sole of Craig Sole Designs displayed intricate menorahs as part of the JCYM home tour.

Two of the three bedrooms on the lower level have their own bath and walk-in closet. These rooms were created with a little girl and boy in mind and showcase specific color palettes and elements, such as the tile with pink polka dots or the masculine lighting.

The style collaboration continues with the columns in the basement. Textured mirrors are trimmed and punctuated with petite sconces on two of the four sides. The effect is magnificent and adds a touch of metropolitan panache.

“Amber had seen it in a restaurant, maybe in New York … and she wanted to do something like this,” says Cunningham. “We just designed around the posts that were there, and it separates the theater room from the dining room. It makes everything look bigger, too.”


Splish splash

The home’s outdoor amenities are suggestive of “Florida meets the Midwest.” The pristine rectangle pool finished with glass tile is set amidst grass and boasts a remarkable infinity edge and spectacular wall of water that rushes to the lower level patio.

“It’s another great space,” says Cunningham.

While a retaining wall had to be built to accommodate the pool and waterfall, the lower level patio was developed into a private oasis, hidden from neighbors.
For Cunningham, the entire project was a dream come true.

“Most people don’t get the opportunity to build a house they want to build and have it as a model,” he says.

Having it showcased on the JCYM home tour is, in a way, a shining moment.

“Anytime we can show off our work it’s great and the Young Matrons — the ladies are all such nice people.”

JCYM Home Tour Links
Phyllis Kogan –
Craig Sole –
Z Gallerie –
Johnson County Young Matrons –

photos by William & Jill DiMartino

Categories: At Home, Homes & Real Estate