Ryan and Stacie Felton, and their three young children were still living in Kansas City when Stacie went house-hunting in Elkhorn in June 2017. Ryan was about to transfer from Kansas City to Omaha as project director for McCarthy Building Companies. She asked her husband to trust her judgment when they put in an offer on a 2,281-square-foot home on a nearly one-acre lot in Skyline Ranches.
It was an area she already knew. Stacie grew up in Elkhorn, while Ryan grew up in Omaha.
“It’s an equestrian neighborhood, so there are a lot of properties with horses and barns and there are horse trails right in the neighborhood. It’s like the country in the middle of the city,” Stacie Felton says. “We knew we wanted to live in Skyline.”
The house had four bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms, a perfect size for their family of five, but it was far from perfect in other ways. Its 1978 origins were evident in most of the rooms and it needed some exterior work in addition to an interior remodel.
“We loved the neighborhood and we loved our lot,” Stacie says. “We just wanted to love our house just as much and wanted it to feel like ours. I had a vision for it and I could see what it could be. I knew we could make it work.”
The traditional, two-story 1970s house had dark woodwork and one-rod closets with sliding doors, so the couple decided the bedrooms needed some immediate changes. Jason Mollak of JPM Construction was hired to replace trim and doors and make the closets more functional. (The Feltons brought him back later for a fireplace mantel and built-ins for the family room). Before the family moved in, the trim and doors were replaced to make the closets more functional. The family moved in over Independence Day weekend in 2017.
Ryan wanted the next step to be installing sounder windows and replacing the 40-year-old shake-shingle roof and siding. Stacie advocated for renovating the kitchen, which had been updated a decade earlier but didn’t serve their young family well for everyday use and was not conducive to larger gatherings.
“I kind of ended up winning that one,” she says. “Every time we had family over, like on the holidays, I felt like that kitchen just blocked everything off and we couldn’t get everyone to gather in one spot. We had to open that up. So the kitchen became our number one and then replacing all the flooring.” The rest of the main level followed close behind.
The space had been divided up into small areas in typical fashion for the era of construction. To achieve the open layout and large kitchen the Feltons desired, a total redesign was in order.
“We completely reconfigured it so we could have a bigger kitchen. We couldn’t do that where the kitchen was, so we moved everything to the other side of the room. Our kitchen now sits where our dining room once was. Our kitchen table is where our formal living room was,” Stacie says. “I drew up the kitchen plan myself and I redid it I don’t know how many times to get it right and to
get to what made the most sense.”
The Feltons now have a spacious kitchen with a large island for entertaining and plenty of storage.
“We did all of our lower cabinetry in drawers because we didn’t have room for a big pantry,” she says. “We only have one dining space, which is common in newer homes; we don’t have a [formal] dining room anymore, we have one big, open kitchen eating area.”
Stacie says the family was grateful that work to the home’s upper level was completed before major construction projects commenced downstairs.
“When we did our first floor we still lived in our house. It was four months with no kitchen,” she says. “We co-existed with the construction, which was challenging.”
G. Lee Homes was hired to help design and build the new main level. Stacie presented pictures, ideas and drawings to the team as a plan solidified.
“They really helped it come to life and make sense for someone to build. I don’t have a building background, but I could see what I wanted and they helped me make it happen,” she says. “Angie Hall was our project manager and she made everything go smoothly. She was very responsive and really took good care of us.”
The new wood floors’ sandy color helps create the “bright and clean, but not sterile” feel that Stacie wanted. “I’ve always loved the look of natural wood with touches of black and white.”
There’s room for some fun touches like a pineapple-print accent wallpaper. “I asked my husband what he thought the color palette is of our house and he goes, ‘Black, white, with a touch of pineapple,’” Stacie says. “I’ve had a sample of that wallpaper for like five years and wanted to use it forever. I finally got the chance.”
This spring, Ryan’s to-do list was checked off, too, when the new roof, windows, and siding were finally installed.
“This was supposed to be a five-year plan but we ended up getting done in two years,” Stacie says.
Despite all the sweeping changes, the Feltons did retain a few touches from the home’s era of construction.
“We kept an interesting little archway between our front door and our kitchen; it’s unique,” Stacie continues. “And most new homes have an open concept where the kitchen and the living room are all one. Ours is still separated, and I like that.” Their kids—10-year-old Porter, 8-year-old Roma, and 3-year-old Harris—have plenty of room to play, she explains, and don’t get underfoot when she’s cooking. “The TV and the toys are in that living room, and it’s a cozy room with a fireplace. That’s where the kids are most comfortable and where they’re at most of the time.”
Ryan and Stacie enjoy using the sitting area next to the kitchen, a space for which they initially didn’t have firm plans but evolved into a coffee nook of sorts. “Surprisingly, it ended up being one of my favorite spots.”
This article was printed in the June 2019 edition of B2B. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.