A modern family moves into a historic Victorian farmhouse in KC’s Volker neighborhood

Janine Joslin retired before returning to the business world to run Overland Park-based company Guy’s Snacks.

She was preparing to retire for a second time when she got a phone call that dramatically changed her life.

Her granddaughter, Lusia, born days earlier, needed a foster home. Janine said yes to the request — and resumed a life she thought she had left behind decades earlier, when her own children were babies.

The CEO and avid traveler found herself busied by middle-of-the-night feedings and constant care, with limited help and space in her two-bedroom townhouse.

After witnessing her mom juggling duties with an au pair for the first two years of Lusia’s life, Janine’s daughter Jaclyn Joslin, owner of Coveted Home boutique, offered a new idea.

“Jaclyn said, ‘Why don’t we get a big house, and I can help you,’” Janine says.

To account for the space they would need and their budget, their real estate search led them to the historic homes in midtown’s Volker neighborhood.

Janine has a master’s degree in historic preservation, so she felt at home in an old house. And after residing in Leawood for 22 years, she looked forward to the convenience of city living and exploring the restaurants within walking distance.

The fourth house the women entered was a yellow, three-story Victorian dating to the 1880s with a sweeping front porch.

“I’ve been told it was the first house on the block,” Janine says.

Well-maintained by previous owners, the house was structurally solid, requiring nothing but Janine’s touches to make it her own.

“I was so fortunate to find that it hadn’t been ruined from its original state,” Janine says. “There was nothing done recently that I had to undo.”

However, that didn’t mean the house was move-in ready.

Janine adored the 1940s cabinets, but the kitchen wasn’t functional enough, so she hired contractor and friend Paul Evans of Evans & Company Construction, whom she worked with on previous remodels.

They opened up the wall between the kitchen and dining room and moved the basement door to make way for more cabinets.

Both the first- and second-floor bathrooms were also redone in black and white to properly mimic the home’s era. A claw-foot tub that was originally on the main level was moved to the second floor.

“I didn’t think the first floor was the place for it,” Janine says. “Also, it’s so tiny that it was the perfect size for my granddaughter.”

Although the house was built during the Arts and Crafts movement, when fine detailing and built-ins were a hallmark of design, “it was a rather plain Victorian farmhouse,” Janine says.

She maximized its existing character by keeping the original windows, with their wavy aged glass, and the fireplace surrounds, with their antique Batchelder tile.

In some instances, she added details that look original to the house, such as a bookcase built between two living room windows. In other places, such as the master bathroom, she took design liberties and selected more modern tile.

She always relied on her own taste, even though both of her daughters are designers. Janine’s daughter Amanda drew her mom’s kitchen using CAD software, and Jaclyn helped her source the dining room’s light fixture and rug.

“Jaclyn was very diplomatic about it,” Janine says. “I’d take stuff to her and she’d say, ‘That’s great, mom,’ or send me to a link I might like.”

Jaclyn focused on her own design project, the third-floor loft she occupies with her partner Nick.

Surprisingly, Janine didn’t have to buy many new things for the house. Most of her belongings relocated with her, settling easily into their new home.

Janine’s style is mostly neutral: autumn colors with a punch of jewel tones, as expressed by the teal sofa from Interior Define in the TV nook.

“I’d describe my style as eclectic; it’s certainly not what I would call traditional,” she says.

On every wall, art connects her to places in the world, or places in time.

Her first acquired piece, above an armoire in the living room, was paid for on layaway. Other memorable pieces include Native American art that reminds Janine of her time running a Cherokee museum in Georgia, along with works by her favorite local artist, Kale Van Leeuwen.

“Art goes with everything,” Janine says. “It doesn’t have to be a certain kind of collection; it’s just about what you love and what reminds you of special people you’ve met.”

Nowadays there’s art of a different caliber and medium — crayon — in the home. There is more time, too. Jaclyn has formally adopted Lusia, who will turn 4 in June. And now that her granddaughter is a little older, Janine is finding more time to read good books and satisfy her wanderlust with travel.

The modern family’s living arrangement was unexpected — but it has worked out beautifully in the historic house they all call home.

“I did this for my precious granddaughter,” Janine says.


Flowers: Beco Flowers

Countertops: CKF

Accessories: Coveted Home