Lauren Phillips and Frank Norton are proud to have been a part of the evolving creative community in Kansas City, MO for the past six years. “When we graduated college, it seemed like most of our friends left the Midwest for larger coastal cities — this wasn’t entirely true, but it felt that way.” The couple chose to set roots and have since discovered a voice in the local creative culture. “Sometimes, younger people will ask us for advice about their careers. Most people’s first impulse is to say, ‘Move to New York,’ but if more unique and creative people chose to push and grow the culture here, it would become a more fertile territory for young artists and designers.” Frank is a graphic designer and illustrator, currently working as an art director at Boulevard Brewing Company, and Lauren is a local art teacher. They made the conscious decision to be a part of a community that is already bursting with inspiring artists and designers by purchasing a home in Kansas City one year ago, instead of relocating.
They chose to search for a house in Waldo, a family-friendly neighborhood that is home to a handful of Kansas City businesses, parks and community events. Because of the competitive market in Kansas City, the couple searched for months and their offers were often turned away for buyers paying over the asking price in cash. “When we finally walked into this house, we knew it was the one.” They purchased a 1927, 1,700-square-foot house and immediately started with a fresh coat of white paint to best display their burgeoning art collection. The couple focused on simple details that were true to the style and time period of the house, while adding a crisp facelift with a few kitchen renovations. “Since we don’t have kids to think about, we wanted to create a place where our local and out-of-town guests felt welcome and comfortable.”
Lauren and Frank love to create and collect the work they display in their home. “We kept all of the walls very neutral to make the artwork stand out and have tried to build a relaxing, not overstimulating space.” Each of the thoughtfully placed pieces adds color and whimsy to the composition of the home, and the couple added personality by creating the work themselves or collecting from family members and friends. “Some things have been handed down from relatives, some things are from flea markets, some things we order online,” Lauren shares. Their attention to detail and lighthearted taste make the space inviting, inspiring and full of quiet moments of a designer’s enchantment. —Bethany Joy Foss