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When the Kendrick’s discovered this deteriorating Mid-Mod home in Lea Manor it had clearly taken a beating, but its authentic Mid-Century charm and character were still intact – just waiting to be restored for a new generation of homeowners to embrace and enjoy!

The first two things Ashley and Sarah Kendrick noticed when they visited this single-story home in Kansas City’s Lea Manor neighborhood were the soaring shiplap-style vaulted wood ceilings and its striking mixed-marble flooring (that started as a walkway outside the front door, and continued through the living room, then exited the home to form an outdoor back patio). A quick walk through the house confirmed their first impressions – this house was a hidden gem. Yes, it would need work – and a lot of it – but the Kendricks were determined to give this Mid-Century Modern home the careful restoration it deserved. Like a lot of Mid-Century Modern homes go on the market today, there were 60+ years of daily living on its resume, with limited TLC. No question, the house was not in good condition. As Ashley put it, “The house looked like it had been in a serious MMA fight – and it had just gotten pounded, just obliterated!”

While there was a lot of work to do, the Kendricks remained optimistic, especially when they gazed up – or down. Looking up, each room of the house had those beautiful vaulted wood ceilings that made the home feel extra spacious. And, to look down, was to fall in love all over again with the gorgeous original marble flooring that Ashley knew from the start was beyond remarkable. Said Ashley, “I’ve never seen floors like these throughout an entire living and dining space. Typically, when houses do have these large-slab, mosaic marble floors, it’s only a small section at the entryway.” But this mixed-marble flooring was not only in the living room and the dining room, it also extended outside as a front porch and, in the rear, extended outside again as the surface area of the large backyard patio.


Reworking the Floor Plan

This home had another interesting quirk – well five, actually – as in five individual entrances, including an unexplainable one at the end of a hallway. Beyond leading to one of three doors leading to the backyard, the hallway’s only purpose was to house a washing and drying machine. Sarah Kendrick saw a better way to utilize the space, reworking the hallway and a small adjacent bedroom to construct a new primary suite with an attached bath. And, the former laundry hookups were relocated to create a hidden same-floor laundry room.

The vaulted ceilings continue into the new primary suite space and the attached en suite was given a modern reconfiguration as Sarah had it enlarged and restructured to allow for a dual vanity, a separate toilet area, and an elegant – and spacious – dark-tiled walk-in shower.

In the existing main living space, the kitchen was completely isolated from the living room, hidden behind the giant stone fireplace and an adjacent, space-breaking wall – leaving the kitchen cramped and uninviting. To open up the kitchen and connect it with the living room, Sarah removed the wall to the left of the fireplace, creating a new walkway, completely opening the space up all the way to the vaulted ceiling, leaving a short section of the wall to create a breakfast bar. Removing the wall allowed the kitchen and living room to flow effortlessly together – and allowed the amazing stone fireplace to become the striking focal point of the newly remodeled living space.

Modern Finishes with a Natural Feel

Under Sarah’s direction, the kitchen underwent a beautiful transformation. Working with a custom cabinet maker her natural and clean natural wood cabinet design came to life as they crafted gorgeous custom cabinets with contemporary flat panels and unique angles – all in warm-toned wood with a subtle, natural-grain pattern. She paired the new cabinetry with other more contemporary kitchen finishes, including a straight-stack subway tile backsplash creating a seamless balance between classic Mid-Mod styling and modern accent features.

Natural Illumination – and a Secret Wall  

While the original design plan didn’t involve much painting, in time both Kendrick’s agreed that to really showcase the natural light from the home’s multitude of broad windows and glass doors, white paint was a natural choice to brighten up the entire space.

The abundance of natural light in all rooms was evident in the bones of the original construction – except in the formal dining room, which had glass on two facing sides, but seemed unnaturally dark at the rear of the room, which was a solid, dark, windowless wall. That is until the Kendrick’s noticed when outside the house in the backyard, there appeared to indeed be windows on the dining room’s back wall – but they weren’t visible on the inside. They immediately pulled down the paneling on the back wall and, hidden behind it was a large set of windows that spanned the width of the room. Now uncovered, the entire dining area is illuminated with outside light.

Small, Timeless Details

The home’s headliner features – the high wooden ceilings, the mosaic marble flooring, and abundant natural light – immediately command attention, but it’s the little touches that turn liking this home into love. For example, an intimate office nook – small and cozy with classic built cabinets that provide miles of extra storage space. Visual interest was added to this space when a friend of the Kendricks offered up some recently salvaged vintage ivory and brass knobs – that Sarah found to be the perfect accent to elevate the look of the multiple built-in cabinets.

The stunning transformation of the home from MMA defeat to MCM stunner is a shining example of how the combination of reviving unique, original architectural features with meticulously chosen upgrades can turn a beat-up and dated old house into a spectacularly-restored, historic, and comfortable, contemporary home. The Kendricks’ mutual passion for Mid-Century Modern architecture has made them an incredible team when it comes to uncovering MCM gems across the Kansas City metro and restoring them to their former glory – with decidedly contemporary modern-day touches.

Want to see more? Check out the video below to tour the home – before and after – as the Kendricks discuss this Lea Manor Mid-Mod home’s full transformation!


Whether buying, selling, or renovating, if you’re interested in learning more about working with the Kendrick Real Estate team, click here to send them an online message!