Life in KC

At Home With Gina Holmberg in Leawood

Makeup artist Gina Holmberg moved from California to Kansas City nine years ago. Her breezy West Coast style matches the mid-century modern vibe of her Leawood home.
Makeup artist Gina Holmberg moved from California to Kansas City nine years ago. Her breezy West Coast style matches the mid-century modern vibe of her Leawood home. along@kcstar.com

West Coast transplant Gina Holmberg had trouble finding her footing after she and husband Jared moved to south Kansas City nine years ago.

She didn’t feel at home until friends led her to a 1957 Donald Drummond home in Leawood.

“This whole house is the California in me,” Gina says.

She appreciates the relatively inexpensive cost of living in the Midwest and the fact that she still gets to look at blue water outside, in the family’s backyard pool. However, the house’s tight floor plan and slab foundation mean less space and storage than the Holmbergs had in their previous home, which Gina describes as “eclectic.”

Moving to a midcentury modern home meant the couple had to adjust their aesthetic and their lifestyle. They sold 99 percent of their furnishings and started over. Their new look is midcentury minimalism at its finest.

“It’s a reflection of who my husband and I are,” Gina says. “I used to have a collector’s mentality. I used to love to thrift.”

“Finding this house was enough for me to let go of all that.”

The open floor plan is furnished sparingly with local goods such as Happy Habitat throws, Golden & Pine pillows and Coveted Home plant stands. With less stuff to take care of, the busy family of four is free to enjoy their home.

“We try to utilize space well,” Gina says. There is no TV in the house, but don’t be fooled: “The kids like their devices,” Gina says.

There’s also not much art: “Plants are our art,” Gina says. Cacti, jade, mother-in-law’s tongue, aloe, succulents and a fig tree that’s happily doubled in size over the last two years enjoy the greenhouse-like environment of a south-facing wall of glass.

While previous owners did a decent job of updating the kitchen and bathrooms, the Holmbergs added their own touch by painting all the walls white and coating the raw concrete floors in shiny white epoxy. Since discovering the epoxy floors make an unintentional Slip’N Slide from the pool to the bathroom, the Holmbergs have begun working with KEM Studio to design a pool house that will include a bathroom and an office for Jared.

The addition will bring more light into the house and give the couple’s two kids room to grow.

“I envision it being a more raw space, not so prim,” Gina says. “I still want to put my stamp on it, but I’m creating a space for them.”

Whatever form it takes, the addition will respect the architecture of the house that made this California girl feel at home in Kansas.

At Home With takes you inside cool and unusual apartments and homes in the Kansas City area. Know someone with a kick-ass pad? Send info and photos to info@inkkc.com.

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