Interiorssneak peeks

A Painter and Coffee-Lover’s Kansas City Shirtwaist

by Bethany Joy Foss

Lifelong Midwesterners, Jaime and Tyler Rovenstine love the character and architectural details of older homes. As an artist and museum professional, Jaime’s eye for thoughtful contrast and composition is evident in each room of their early 20th-century home and her dreamy work spills color onto the walls. Tyler is an award-winning barista and coffee consultant, so it’s no surprise that the space is full of vintage furniture and soft light to enjoy a cup of comfort. The active couple also owns a coffee bar called Monarch, opening this spring in Midtown, Kansas City, MO. Evenings are often spent at home painting, planning and enjoying time with their spunky two-year-old, Frances, and Merle the dog.

While expecting their daughter, they searched for a longterm space that would provide a studio for Jaime and something within proximity to their jobs and friends. “Because we share one car and often bike to work, we wanted to shrink our circle of living.” They landed a 1900 “Shirtwaist” style house — a residential architectural term that is unique to the Kansas City region. Shirtwaists are marked by a first level made from brick or stone with wood siding on subsequent levels, a steep roof and symmetrical layout, built between 1900 and 1920. This house had all the details they wanted; hardwood floors, wood molding and original pocket doors. But owning an old home isn’t all historical charm and beauty. Jaime and Tyler would love to replace the old windows to improve the energy efficiency of the house and renovate the bathroom that had been added as an awkward addition to the original structure. After painting almost every room, tiling the kitchen backsplash, updating fixtures and a handful of other necessary home improvements like replacing gutters, they still feel like they are in the process of creating a home and have tried to tackle projects at a slower pace that allows them to prioritize time with Frances.

Jaime’s workspace is nestled in only one room, but her palette is carried throughout the house with blushing pinks and a keen balance of shapes and forms. Her goal for every room was to craft a space that reflected their personalities, while generating warmth and comfort for hosting friends and raising Frances. Each object has been carefully sourced from antique stores, handed down, or created by an artist they know to collectively show who they are. Jaime and Tyler love how these meaningful pieces tell their story and wouldn’t mind living in this house forever. “We have a great front porch that overlooks an active block in the middle of the city. The first week we moved in, we ate outside every night and just grinned because we were so excited to be there. We still feel the same way.” —Bethany

Photography by Kaley Cornett

Jaime and Tyler's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
A large staircase greets guests at the front door with an original built-in bench and introduces the palette of the home with a slice of pink peeking from behind the corner. A print from Jaime’s mom hangs above the stairs from a flea market in Paris, and Jaime’s own work adds color on the right.
Jaime and Tyler's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
The pink accent wall and honey-colored wood make the living room Jaime’s favorite space in the house. Every piece of furniture in the room was secondhand until they added the “black beauty” sofa from Article. She gushes, “I had been swooning over it for over a year and have not been disappointed. We spend so much more time in our living room now.” Jaime was hesitant to purchase a sofa online, but it was love at first sight and she is glad she trusted her gut instinct. The abstract painting on the right is by Kayla Plosz Antiel and fits perfectly on the pink wall (Behr Demure Pink and the white is Sherwin Williams Snowbound).
Jaime and Tyler's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
“Our eleventh anniversary was this summer and we celebrated with a trip to our favorite antique store.” Jaime and Tyler found this painting of two potted plants for 10 dollars and consider it an appropriate representation of their time spent growing together. The throw was made by Happy Habitat in collaboration with Ampersand Design Studio and the print was purchased on dovetailgoods Etsy shop.
Jaime and Tyler's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
Jaime confides this is the first house where she has ever had a real dining room. “We painted all the walls bright white when we first moved in, but quickly realized this room needed some depth and a richer paint color.” The vintage mix of chairs around a mid-century table and Jaime’s bright work center the room, while the surrounding walls hold space for entertainment and hosting. The milky pendant globe and patterned rug are from West Elm.
Jaime and Tyler's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
“I think a lot about representation in our home and I want to display images of non-white famous pianists we listen to, for our daughter to see over the piano.” Tyler played Thelonious Monk’s Misterioso for Frances often while Jaime was pregnant. A painting by Madeline Gallucci brings in some of the pink, blue and yellow colors seen throughout the home.
Jaime and Tyler's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
Jaime chose the deep teal color, Behr's Jungle Green, knowing it would provide great contrast to her pink palette. Since she lacks storage space for some of her larger canvases, this piece is resting in the dining room for the time being while others are sprinkled throughout the house.
Jaime and Tyler's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
The family portrait hanging in their dining room is one of Jaime and Tyler’s most beloved possessions. It was painted by their friend Gregory Kolsto, before Frances was born. “The lemon in the painting represents her at 14 weeks and we are pictured in our first home with empty shelves. It captures a significant moment in our lives and was a fun way to announce our pregnancy.” The weathered gold frame is a vintage find.
Jaime and Tyler's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
Frances’ toy collection is kept in the dining room since the family spends most of their time on the main floor of the house. The corner shelf keeps the toys out of sight from the front door, but easily accessible for spontaneous play time. The "Sunday School" print hanging above is by Chris Kerr and the ceiling fan was purchased at Home Depot.
Jaime and Tyler's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
The kitchen had been remodeled before Jaime and Tyler found the house, but they recently replaced the old “ugly, brown backsplash” with white subway tiles and black hardware from Amazon that gave it a considerable facelift with only a few hundred dollars. The rich red and blue rug is from ecarpetgallery and the surrounding walls are painted Sherwin Williams Snowbound.
Jaime and Tyler's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
The kitchen windows are high and large, so Jaime and Tyler added a shelf near the top to create privacy, while letting in a flood of natural light. Jaime divulges, “That’s a barista competition award up there. I don’t think Tyler particularly likes that I have it on display, but it’s my plant shelf.”
Jaime and Tyler's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
The stairwell landing boasts a quiet nook that ushers the soft pink upstairs and provides a space for books. Jaime says, “I’d love a window seat up here someday. For now, it houses Phillip the Unicorn, a handmade present from my sister, and Petunia the bobble-head doll. Am I the only one who names inanimate decorations?”
Jaime and Tyler's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
“The kitchen in our first house was painted black. I loved it and had to have some black in this house too,” Jaime shares about the Behr Black Suede paint color. The opposing wall is painted the same Sherwin Williams Snowbound from the main level and the rug is from ecarpetgallery.
Jaime and Tyler's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
This Harvey Probber dresser was the first vintage furniture splurge the couple made in Kansas City. It was purchased from Nick Carter & Co. Twentieth Century Objects & Art. The grid painting above the dresser was created by Shelby Keierleber and the map of Kansas City to the right was designed by Amanda Graor and printed at La Cucaracha Press.
Jaime and Tyler's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
This photograph was captured on a trip to Paris that Jaime enlarged and hung over the bed. “We love a good cityscape.” The brass bedside sconces are from Urban Outfitters and the duvet cover is from Pottery Barn Teen.
Jaime and Tyler's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
Jaime focused on all the small details of Frances’ room. “Lets be honest, I really designed this room for my enjoyment.” She made the patterned quilt for the IKEA crib and added more of the Behr Demure Pink to the walls. The striped rug is from World Market and a colorful, reflective mobile from Artecnica hangs from the ceiling, echoing the colors of the piece on the white wall. “The pink painting is one of mine, but it will be hers to keep.”
Jaime and Tyler's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
The IKEA shelves in Frances’ room host travel souvenirs and special gifts from friends with nods to Paris and Kansas City, the Paris of the Plains. The expressive pink print was made by Rifle Paper Co. and the map of Paris is from Paper Source. Jaime purchased the portrait of Marie Antoinette on art.com.
Jaime and Tyler's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
Jaime’s work explores an abstract dreamland, dotted with geometric shapes, bright colors and high contrast that seems to represent the tug of war that happens during growth and change. With one room as her studio, Jaime stores her work in different spots around the house. “I am increasingly painting at a large scale, which is difficult in my little space.” The cart and cheerful yellow table are from IKEA and the easel was found on Craigslist.
Jaime and Tyler's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
Much of Jaime's time at home is spent painting late into the night. She is thankful to have a designated room to create and that it only takes a short walk down the hallway to go straight to bed.
Jaime and Tyler's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
Jaime’s workspace receives an abundance of natural light that makes it a delightful spot for thinking and painting.
Jaime and Tyler's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
The studio could be characterized as “organized chaos” as Jaime finds clarity in creativity.
Jaime and Tyler's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
“While we were in the process of buying, the offer we had on our first house fell through. I’m still pinching myself that it all worked out and we are able to live here,” Jaime recalls. The family loves that this house is their home will continue to grow and create within its walls.
Jaime and Tyler's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
“What I love most about our home is being surrounded by all the things we love—art, books, music and a unicorn.”

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  • It sure would be nice to see an exterior shot of this house, considering its significance in Kansas City’s residential architectural history (as described in the introductory paragraph).

    • Hi Haley

      Most home owners don’t feel comfortable sharing exteriors when they could easily identify the house from the outside. We always ask, but I understand why not everyone is open to it.


  • After I replaced my windows, I learned that the replacements have a lifespan of 15 years. Yikes! If you can glaze the windows yourself or find someone to do it, they will last much, much longer. And any gaps can be sealed with caulk. Some caulks can be peeled away in the summer so you can open the windows. Wish I had known this 4 years ago.

  • Beautiful art work and I love that plant shelf in the kitchen across the top of the window. That was smart thinking!

  • Beautiful home with a lot of character. Also, I’d never heard the term “shirtwaist” used architecturally. I love Jaime’s artwork and would love to find out more about it. Do you have an online shop or gallery affiliation? (All the other art is carefully sourced, so I’m figuring not–but I had to ask!)

  • As Cindi M mentioned above, new windows don’t have nearly the lifespan of old ones. Nor the charm, in my opinion. I’m planning to add Indow window inserts (google them) to my 104-year-old windows when I can afford it, you might want to look into them as an alternative to replacing old windows.

  • Love to see people in my hometown featured! The home is quite lovely, but the artwork is definitely the gem here! Your color palate is gorgeous and all of the work featured here is just beautiful. Your daughter is adorable and so lucky to have such creative parents. She’ll need her own little easel in no time I am sure!