Within the Harry S. Truman National Historic Landmark District in Independence sits a quaint Italianate-style house built in 1885. While retaining features of the home’s past, owners Dan Pierce and Chelsea McClain Pierce made it their own.
Dan, an architect at Generator Studio, and Chelsea, an attorney with an eye for design, redesigned the whole home, completed in spring 2015, to meet the needs of their growing family, which now includes Blair, 5, and Graham, 2.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Kansas City Star
The living room, with its custom-built storage wall and eclectic furnishings, offers a little something for everyone.
“We use the room for everything,” Chelsea says. “It is open to the kitchen, so it’s the natural gathering space, whether we are entertaining a large group or just hanging out as a family.”
Keeping versatility in mind, the couple purchased the desk at an antique shop on the Independence Square, then had it painted red, Chelsea’s favorite color that’s used throughout the home. The large, accommodating couch was purchased at Be Here Now, a home décor boutique also located within the historic shopping district.
The floor-to-ceiling shelving, a new and exceptionally functional addition, brings in symmetrical design, tons of open storage and lower cabinet space. But still it offers more.
“The shelves on the far right swing open to reveal a hidden closet,” Chelsea says. It conceals everything from toys and board games to the vacuum and can be used as a safe room if needed.
Like the riding horse, passed down from Chelsea’s grandparents, that sits quietly in the corner, the Pierce home has aged gracefully. With ongoing support of dedicated owners, it’ll continue to becherished by generations to come.
Why it Works
1. Chelsea says it’s all about striking the right balance when it comes toincorporating modern conveniences within a historic home. “We did this by using historic elements, such as moldings and casework, but balanced it with elements that feel modern,” she says. That thoughtful compilation is evident in the clean lines on the built-in and the mixed materials of the metal screens on the cabinet doors. Filling the shelves are also a “mix of things,” she says, with several gifts from family and friends, as well as family photos, but they were careful not to clutter the display.
2. Storage, storage, storage! In the Pierce’s opinion, there is no such thing as too much storage, especially within an open concept space. “The unsung hero,” Chelsea says, “is being able to banish the clutter.” When the lower cabinets reach capacity, there’s always room in the hidden closet.
3. From the treasured trinkets to the functional furniture—and kid-friendly favorites—this living room offers something for everyone. “In a shared space, it’s important that everyone can co-exist comfortably,” Chelsea says. “Our goal was to create a space that the entire family could enjoy spending time in.” By the looks of it, they certainly can.
Get the Look
To get the timeless yet modern look of the Pierce home, clear some shelf and floor space for a few new furnishings.
1. Wall-spanning bookcases offer plenty of space for storage and display. Cameo 4-piece bookcase available at Crate and Barrel.
2. A solid addition to any desktop, this Ralph Lauren Boom Arm task lamp showcases both modern and classic styles in one luminous package. Find it at KDR Designer Showroom.
3. The Finn desk from Hickory Chair is chunky, charming and extremely useful (for work and play). And, of course, it’s available in red, through Tran + Thomas Design Studio.
4. The Mifuko dark gray basket can handle anything from plants to toys with ease. Available at Golden +Pine, each basket is made from sisal and recycled plastic and features durable leather straps.
5. The Andes twill sofa in stone offers atouch of modern with cast metal legs, as well as durability in a solid eucalyptus and engineered hardwood frame. It’s made in the USA and for sale at West Elm.