A beautiful piece of empty land located in southeast Kansas provides the backdrop for a client’s new home. The owners are from Portland, Oregon and recently purchased a family farm in Kansas that they wished to use as a wildlife sanctuary. The property sits among other nearby farms on ancient Osage Indian campgrounds. Indian encampments near freshwater springs and buffalo herds existed for eons on the lands before white settlers appeared in the late 19th century.
The clients wanted to build a home that would reflect the surrounding community’s style, as well as withstand the numerous windstorms and tornadoes that blow through the area each year. The home would become headquarters for an international nature conservancy group in the future.
The clients selected a gambrel roof style home–one shaped like a Midwest barn–and chose a builder familiar with the construction processes needed to site and build a structure appropriate for the extreme Kansas weather. After a preliminary discussion with the owners, it was decided that the entire interior of the two-story home would be based on Woolaroc, the historic ranch home of Frank and Jean Phillips, near Bartlesville, Oklahoma.
The selection of great room fabrics pushed the entire building project. Originally, one of the clients came to the designer with a gorgeous Pendleton Woolen Mills blanket and stated that she want the entire project to revolve around the use of the colors in the blanket. The blanket was unfolded and placed over an existing camel back sofa in the designer’s office. A search of other beautiful fabrics ensued, and the project was born.
Twenty-three Pendleton blankets became two beautiful sofas with the help of a master fabric cutter in North Carolina. An old wood mantel became the focal point for one wall in the great room. An antique goat cart placed over an ancient bear rug, an elderly bison head, and a 19th century oil painting all add rustic charm to the open space. Additionally, hand sewn woolen crewel fabrics add warmth to the stretch of French doors that separate the great room from the enclosed porch that runs along one entire side of the house.
Just off the living room, the enclosed porch is a perfect place for bird watching, sharing early morning coffee, and early evening wine from the new vineyards that dot the ever-increasing farmland. Again, antiques blend with furniture that looks as if it has been on the porch forever. A great sound system, beautiful lighting, and much loved books help create a perfect atmosphere for relaxing and enjoying life in Kansas.