Lasting A Lifetime
Once in a while, finding the perfect family home has little to do with its accoutrements, paint colors, lighting, cabinetry and square footage. It’s more than a roof over heads and shelter from the storm, green lawns and a bustling neighborhood.
For those fortunate enough to find it, a family home can be about the everlasting warmth it extends to those who fill it.
For one Leawood family of eight, a custom home by Kevin Leutjen did just that.
The stately stone home, perched in the petite subdivision of Glen Abbey of Leawood, was a baby of Leutjen’s, and was adopted by the perfect family.
“We took a walk over here and happened to see this house and thought, ‘Oh my gosh, this is amazing,’” says the homeowner. “We peeked into the windows and we saw the house and thought, ‘This is beautiful.’”
Love At First Sight
Not knowing whether it was for sale, the future homeowners contacted the builder. One walk-through and the rest was history.
“What really attracted us was we have six children so there was just a little bit more room in this home than our other home,” says the homeowner.
Unique to Leutjen’s homes is ample space. Known for building his homes handicap accessible, the residence features wide hallways, an elevator and spacious kitchen/living room combo. But his eye for detail made this particular home a dream for this bustling family.
“I think it’s slightly Old World, but then I think there’s a lot of Colorado mountain-ness warmth to it,” says the homeowner. “Our first night in the house, we just had our beds and I think a piece of furniture to sit on. We were cuddled in here, trying to eat take-out and the kids go, ‘This feels like home. We love this, this is warm.’”
The six-bedroom, nine-bath home was mostly complete when the homeowners toured it. Making a few adjustments to accommodate their six children, an additional bedroom was created in the basement.
Throughout the home, alder wood beams grace the ceiling, blinds are wired into a full two-story bank of windows overlooking the back yard, and all rooms offer a little whimsy with nooks, alcoves arched ceilings and unique footprints. No two rooms are alike and Leutjen wanted it that way.
A small, upstairs TV room is where the bounty of kids often land.
“The kids love this space,” says the homeowner. “On the weekends if it’s cold, we don’t see them. They are in here having fun. It’s their TV-microwave-fridge-video-games-movie-book-reading room.”
A testament to Leutjen’s style is one particular second-story room — the girls’ room.
“I love how their bedroom goes into the nook, and their sleeping space is separate from their play space,” says the homeowner. “And then they have their little reading center … I feel like when he built this, he built it for sisters to share.”
Decorated with plenty of pink, the bedroom, like the others, has an attached bathroom and walk-in closet. Despite their age difference (they are 2 and 10), these two daughters are sure to have many late-night giggles in their west wing of the home.
The open staircase, which spans all three floors, is illuminated by a multi-panel, stained-glass skylight. According to the homeowner, Leutjen wanted to do something different with the house.
“It’s a beautiful feature,” says the homeowner. “It’s all stained glass and has lights, so at night it actually lights up.
“I don’t know how we’ll ever replace the lights,” she adds with a laugh.
Heart of the Home
The state-of-the-art kitchen is dressed in alder wood cabinetry. The setting for many family gatherings and cookie bakes, this space may be the epitome of warmth. The nearby butler’s pantry and built-in china cabinet create a sophistication that is functional and eye-catching.
Outside, two lanais, one on the main level and another downstairs, connect the family’s new swimming pool and putting green to the home.
“Having six kids, we wanted space for the kids to grow,” says the homeowner. “We wanted them to have everything. We wanted this to be a house to grow with them.”
The upper lanai lends itself to evenings of entertaining with cozy outdoor furniture, a built-in grill and fridge, plus a television. Downstairs, the gents can sit back and relax with recliners, television — and, yes — a putting green.
“I wanted this to be a space where if he and the guys were putt-putting or watching some football, they could go out recline back, have their cocktail, and so on,” says the homeowner.
Complementing the “man cave” is the second kitchen in the basement, complete with a bar and wine refrigerators. A beautiful marble island and
Beyond finding a home that fit the bill for a growing family, the homeowners found a few more points of interests that immediately sold them on the home:
Master Bath Tub
“Right upon closing my husband says, ‘I am going to buy my favorite bed in the whole entire world.’ And I go, ‘What do you mean, your favorite bed?’” she says with a laugh.
Set in Stone
wood knobs continue the mountain theme and warmth of the home into this more masculine area.
The basement will easily evolve with the family. A roomy extension to the entire home, it includes two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a theater room, second living space and a two-person Pilates studio.
Leutjen finished the basement with the intent that someday it could serve as a second living space for an elderly parent. With the addition of the elevator, it makes for an accessible area that can serve just that purpose.
For now, however, the family gathers downstairs for Friday night movies. Basking in her surroundings, the homeowner lights up with a smile, fully aware of the blessings she enjoys in this home.
“We had looked at houses for years and just thought, ‘OK, we will never move because we will never find a house that has everything,’” she says.
“When we found this, it just caught us by surprise. We did not expect it to have everything — the space, the bedrooms, the yard space — and it did.”
photos: William & Jill DiMartino