House Tour: Buy. Remodel. Repeat.
A family tradition
“I went to three junior highs,” Andy Newcom says, describing life as the child of a librarian mom and art director dad who built or remodeled 16 homes. “Once Dad built a lake cabin wall by wall in our garage, and we’d move pieces to the lake on the weekend. The funny thing was that we weren’t even lake people. He did it for the creative challenge.”
When Andy left home to begin work—first as a teacher and then as a photo stylist for Hallmark— the redo bug followed. His suburban Kansas City, Kansas, ranch house is his fifth project with his parents, Barney and Jean. “I don’t buy to flip but to fulfill a vision,” Andy says. “Mom [now deceased] had early-stage Alzheimer’s disease when we bought this house, and I thought this would be our last project. I wanted it to be special.”
To that end, the trio raised the roof on the 1940s brick-and-shingle cottage to gain an airy upstairs and dramatic roofline. And while Andy searched for a copper dormer and chimney pots, Jean led the planting of the front garden and Barney built shutters and columns to complete the exterior transformation.
The 1,500-square-foot home’s sophisticated yet relaxed interior belies its once bare bones. Inspired by light-filled Danish interiors, Andy whitewashed original oak floors and kept walls and ceilings white.
In the dining room, wood columns topped with plaster capitals frame the doorway. A custom-built ledge doubles as a buffet when entertaining, but most days, it’s a resting ground for decor, like a large mirror that creates the illusion of more space. But in this room, it’s the light fixture that steals the show. “I like a bit of a larger scale,” Andy Newcom says. “It’s unexpected.”
Throughout the home, ornate moldings layer in character. Architectural salvage, including reclaimed brick flooring and vintage doors, lend texture and a sense of history.
Artwork and streamlined furnishings balance the antiques. “I really like contrast,” Andy says. “I’ll have a modern coffee table from Nebraska Furniture Mart beside a piece from the 1700s to make a statement. And I use outdoor statues inside. I seem to favor things that weigh 500 pounds.”
Save and splurge
New cabinets and marble countertops update the kitchen. "On a little house, you’ll spend money on a few signature things because they’ll show it off so much better,” Andy says.
Fabric panels conceal clutter under the eye-catching vintage sink, and painted split rail posts form right-size ceiling timbers. A custom oval window shines as a clear-cut focal point.
A dynamic contrast
Expertly straddling the design worlds of vintage and modern, Andy created a comfy French-Scandinavian vibe for the living room. Inexpensive wood plaques from a crafts store highlight salvaged sconces—one of many creative ideas around the house. “I don’t have an unlimited budget, and my dad lived through the Depression,” Andy says. “So we really try to do what we can. But I draw the line when we’re at Home Depot and Dad says, ‘We could piece that together.’ That’s when I say, ‘Dad, we can afford the $2.99.’”
A glass waterfall coffee table balances the French love seat and grandfather clock.
Casement windows turned the screen porch into a sunroom—extra comfy with a glider Andy snapped up for $35 at an antiques shop. Its patina plays off the sleek Eames chair nearby.
Andy tells the story of the herringbone floor: “Dad and I found some brick for 15 cents each at a construction site. Dad took 50 at a time in his car, which took him three hours. The next day he thought he was having heart issues, but the doctor said he was just understandably sore.”
“If there were a fire, I’d grab Mom’s watercolor of her horse and Dad’s painting of fruit," Andy says. "I wouldn’t need anything else."
Style for a song
A vintage door swings open to the all-white master bedroom.
Antique shutters disguise a vent behind the bed. When Andy wanted a canopy bed, he and Barney built one from four by fours. “Why spend $1,000 when you can knock it out for $200?” Andy says.
Barney built the interior shutters from heavy plywood trimmed with pieces of one by fours. Sturdy old-style hinges from Van Dyke's Restorers accent the operable shutters.
Oval window Jeld-Wen Windows and Doors. jeld-wen.com Vintage door Parrin and Company. (816) 753-7959
Farmhouse table Prize Antiques. prizeantiques.com Pillow Vintage. Parrin and Company. (816) 753-7959 Santo sculpture Nufangle Antiques. nufangleantiques.com Upholstered love seat Nell Hill’s. nellhills.com
Shutters Parrin and Company. (816) 753-7959