An Apartment That Finds New Life in Old Things

by Bethany Joy Foss

Lance Flores was born on a military base in Germany, but lived out much of his childhood in Colorado until finding his way to Kansas City, MO seven years ago to complete his graphic design degree at the Kansas City Art Institute. He found the city inviting and fell in love with the friendly, West Plaza neighborhood where he has lived ever since. Lance works as an Art Director at Baldwin, a local clothing and lifestyle brand, and takes on frequent freelance photography, design and mural commissions.

A few years after graduating, Lance felt like he needed a change and began looking for a new apartment. “I was living by myself at the time, in this apartment that had a lot of old world character, but lacked basic first world essentials like central heating and a legit air conditioner. I used to switch my bedroom based on the season because one room had a ceiling fan and the other had a heater.” He found a reasonably priced space with two large bedrooms in the same neighborhood and acquired a roommate along the way. “I actually moved a block away from my old apartment. It was so close that it was more convenient to walk a few of my large canvases down to my new apartment rather than pack them in a truck.” The space boasts a scenic view of the Country Club Plaza, green trees and a guaranteed sunrise that fills the rooms with a warm glow every morning.

In true designer form, Lance started his decorative process with a mood board, combining ideas that he found inspiring. He admits, “then the reality set in and I realized I had to work with what I’ve got.” Lance discovered a love of breathing new life into old things by using what he already had or collecting found objects to fill his new surroundings. As an introvert, his goal is to create a space that speaks volumes about who he is, without having to spell it out. Each item has its own story to tell and is carefully curated to reflect his journey. “One of my side tables is from my time as a barista at Starbucks and a piece of hanging art is actually large fragments of peeled paint from the very first mural I worked on for the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Kansas City.” Lance jokes that he tends to be impatient while hanging artwork. “Behind a few of these hanging pieces exists more than one hole in the wall from attempting to hang without measuring.” Due to his rental agreement, Lance is unable to change the paint color, but he has worked with the existing beige walls and carpet by layering in thoughtful artwork and inspirational objects that he has discovered. “I feel like my living space is always changing and being tweaked. My likes and dislikes change often and I get bored of seeing the same things, so I’m often moving something or trying a different arrangement. That’s the blessing and the curse of being creative, I guess.”—Bethany

Photography by Lance Flores

Lance Flores' Home Tour on Design*Sponge
Lance’s bedroom doubles as his studio space and a salon style artwork collection is showcased on one wall. He disguises the inconveniently placed smoke detector and sprinkler by filling the negative spaces with his own prints and colorful work from friends.
Lance Flores' Home Tour on Design*Sponge
“I created the piece of art above my bed. It was a blank canvas for a little over a year before actually getting some paint on it,” Lance shares. The white from the IKEA comforter reflects the ceiling and is tied together with monotone texture of the artwork, creating a symmetrical serenity.
Lance Flores' Home Tour on Design*Sponge
After a friend’s wedding, this stack of wood slabs was headed for the trash, but Lance grabbed a few of the pieces and turned them into a functional side table. The brass of the lamp and neutral tones of the raw wood and beige wall create a comfortable warmth. “I like to think of the lamp as a heat lamp mimicking the sun overnight.”
Lance Flores' Home Tour on Design*Sponge
Lance made this small shelf with another wood slab and created a small vignette with a bug sculpture made from tin.
Lance Flores' Home Tour on Design*Sponge
“The shelf is part of the gifted slabs of wood I saved after my friend’s wedding. Thanks to another friend, I was able to borrow his band saw and cut a few down to create small shelves.”
Lance Flores' Home Tour on Design*Sponge
Lance keeps the two large windows in the bedroom open to let in as much light as possible during the day. “I love all the wide window ledges on each window, though they very easily allow me to create clutter, so I have to be mindful and thoughtful of what I place on them, if anything.”
Lance Flores' Home Tour on Design*Sponge
“This beautiful white door is from a renovation of my church that used to be an upholstery store. I couldn’t let it go to waste.” The door doubles as a light table. Whenever Lance needs to use it, he suspends the door horizontally to work on the glass surface. The shelf beside the bed is from West Elm.
Lance Flores' Home Tour on Design*Sponge
Lance’s spacious room provides space to sleep and create. "I need it to be open and fluid not only to accommodate friends and hangouts, but to allow for me to spread out during my work sessions." The large rug from Tyler Kingston Wood + Supply Co. covers the majority of the beige carpet. The dresser with the walnut finish is from West Elm.
Lance Flores' Home Tour on Design*Sponge
This corner is considered the most comfortable area in the apartment. Lance’s roommate wanted a place to sit and read. They chose a spot in the living room that would let in natural light on either side for reading during the day and placed the overhead lamp from Amazon behind the chair for reading at night. The chair and ottoman are from IKEA and the hide rug was gifted from a friend. The wooden side table was found at Goodwill for five dollars.
Lance Flores' Home Tour on Design*Sponge
The piece hanging above the reading corner is dried paint, leftover from Lance’s first mural project at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. “It wouldn’t stick to the wall due to all the dust, so I decided to save it as a memory.”
Lance Flores' Home Tour on Design*Sponge
The flat file from The Surplus Exchange was something Lance had always dreamed of owning to store his artwork. It is used as a coffee table and adds a touch of industrial functionality to the living room. The planters and dining chairs are from IKEA and the round table was acquired from Lance’s past job at Starbucks.
Lance Flores' Home Tour on Design*Sponge
The artwork hanging above the sofa was given to Lance from a display at Banana Republic where his friend worked at the time. The bold red fills the wall and demands attention in the living area, complemented by greens on warm woods and walls.
Lance Flores' Home Tour on Design*Sponge
Lance purchased this one-of-a-kind mud cloth from Tyler Kingston Wood + Supply Co. He loves how the rudimentary black and white arrows create a modern pattern and add interest to the top of the flat file.
Lance Flores' Home Tour on Design*Sponge
The West Elm sofa was too large to fit into the elevator at Lance’s apartment complex. “My friend helped me carry it up four flights of stairs while my roommate was at work!” A fan of pattern and texture, Lance combines graphic forms with fibrous textures and echoes the color from the artwork with loose indigo textiles.
Lance Flores' Home Tour on Design*Sponge
“My studio area gets so much light throughout the day, it’s amazing!” Lance found the desk and chair at a local antique store to accommodate his tabletop design tools, and the blank canvas seems to invite him to keep creating. “One day I will actually paint something on this,” he shares.
Lance Flores' Home Tour on Design*Sponge
Lance purchased this old chest at an antique store to hold all of his art supplies. He added casters to easily move it around to wherever he is working at the time. Last year, Lance traveled out of the country for the first time since his birth to Lima, Peru, and picked up this handwoven blanket.
Lance Flores' Home Tour on Design*Sponge
Dirty laundry goes into this white metal cart that Lance found at an antique store.
Lance Flores' Home Tour on Design*Sponge
Lance was born in 1988 and confesses, “I am obsessed with the number 88—naturally!” His desk space is fresh and organized, while the rest of his supplies are placed into the chest at the foot of the bed.
Lance Flores' Home Tour on Design*Sponge
Lance is thankful for 1,200 square feet to live and create in a neighborhood that he loves.
Lance Flores' Home Tour on Design*Sponge
“The thing I love the most about my home is all of the natural light.”

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