KC Home Design
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|KCMag.com: PENT UP PARTY|
STORY BY Katie Van Luchene
Combining an exquisite penthouse with a charitable cause and a celebrity heartthrob creates an equation for the perfect evening in Kansas City.
As more than 80 friends of Kevin Westrope and Jason Holmes can attest, an evening spent in their stunning home will always be one to remember, and a recent patrons’ party for World AIDS Day was an excellent excuse to see how the couple transitioned from their previous home to this one, situated high above the neighborhood of Union Hill near Crown Center. New visitors pressing the penthouse button on the elevator had a few seconds to wonder if this condo could possibly be as handsome as the prior digs in Sunset Hills, which first appeared in Kansas City Home Design in 2005 and was revisited in KC Magazine a few years later.
As the door opens to a curved-wall gallery glowing with pale terrazzo floors, guests realize this space doesn’t equal the couple’s last home. It’s miraculously better. The click-click-click of four sets of paws usually drowns out the greetings as the couple’s brood comes to welcome you. When Westrope and Holmes host small events, fur balls Kody, Oliver, Tucker and Stanley are free to mingle, and guests are even welcome to bring their own pets. But because this special occasion made for a full house, the dogs had a play date at a neighbor’s home.
One big change in the new home is that it’s one big space, so mingling with every guest didn’t require climbing a flight of stairs. However, several things remain from the prior home, starting with the design team of Jeffrey Schmidt and Clark Greenlee, who maximized on the vision Westope had for the empty penthouse in the Cadillac Building.
“When we toured the raw space, we knew it had potential to meet Kevin’s diverse needs from good party flow to relatively intimate Sunday night dinners of his handcrafted comfort food for his closest friends,” says Schmidt. Much of the fabulous art collection remains, as well. As each piece comes into view, there’s a sense of “Ahh, thank goodness they kept that,” yet every work looks fresh in its new location.
One of these, the dramatic black-and-white “The Keys to the Coop” by Kara Walker, gets double duty as it’s reflected in the glass wine enclosure just off the gallery. Now in view of envious guests and without requiring the hassle of retreating to a basement cellar, the cellar’s display of more than 5,000 bottles becomes its own art (third spread, right).
“Original art and wine collecting are some of Kevin’s interests impelling us to highlight his extensive collection as a piece of sculpture,” says Schmidt. Now, when the couple chooses a label to accompany Westrope’s famous spaghetti with meat sauce, it becomes dinner and a show. With any luck, there’s the host’s famous carrot cake waiting on the counter for later.
“Ease of entertaining,” in fact, was at the top of the clients’ wishlist during the home design phase. The open kitchen has two Gaggenau ovens and boasts a wenge wood bar where guests can watch the gregarious Westrope work. An ingenious cabinet design is open to both the central kitchen and the separate catering kitchen. Cutouts in the half-wall separating the kitchen and the living become frames for candlesticks while glass shelves hold a wine lover’s accoutrements, including decanters of all shapes (fourth spread, above).
These see-throughs make sure that very little stands in the way of the home’s most spectacular art: the magnificent view. As sunsets give way to dusk then darkness, the lights of Kansas City’s iconic skyline come alive along with the illuminated Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Greenlee and Schmidt took great care to maximize this stunning vista with floor-to-ceiling windows across the entire wall.
A fireplace, open to the main living room and dining area, stops short of connecting with the wall of glass. The sleek firebox is framed in steel, crafted by Nathan Shay of Sculpturehaus. Hanging above the flames are Larry Schwarm’s photographs of the Flint Hills on fire (third spread, left).
A second seating area, where owners and guests typically relax after dinner or before heading out to an event, is home to leather club chairs and more art, including a print by Michael Eastman.
The master suite and guest room complete the floor plan (second spread, bottom right). Each space is defined by soothing neutrals, well-chosen art, a multitude of photographs of dear friends and luxurious furnishings and finishes: polished mahogany floors, Venetian plaster and the baby grand, a happy repeat from the prior home.
As before, the home was never more beautiful than when filled with guests, whether it’s dinner with a handful of friends or when Westrope and Holmes hosted this event, which was the World AIDS Day patrons’ reception this past November. On hand were supporters of the AIDS Service Foundation of Greater Kansas City, including board members Kirk Isenhour (a fellow Cadillac Building resident), Mark Dreiling, Ryan Gove, board President John Pinkerton and former President Mike Enos.
Guests, including Sarah Strnad, Blaine Proctor, Maurice Morgan, Chadwick Brooks, Peggy Lowe and Kathleen Kunkler, who served with Westrope as honorary co-chair of World AIDS Day, came to break bread with one another and toast to the recognition of the AIDS Service Foundation. All are committed humanitarians and local luminaries, to be sure, but the real guest of honor was Tuc Watkins, known for his TV roles in ABC’s “Desperate Housewives” and “One Life to Live.”
Watkins, whose parents live in Kansas City and were present, gave an impassioned speech about the need for AIDS funding to support education and research. His toast to the World AIDS Day’s mission echoed the ferver held by everyone under the roof of the Cadillac Building penthouse.
UNSPOKEN HOSTING RULES
THERE IS ALWAYS MORE TO BE DONE
By investing in ASFGKC, volunteers also are supporting not-for-profit organizations that benefit from its mission, including the Good Samaritan Project, Hope Care Center, Kansas City Free Health Clinic and SAVE Inc.
TEN REASONS TO JOIN THE FIGHT AGAINST HIV/AIDS:
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