Merge Right

A blended family gets a new home designed to perfectly fit their lifestyle with the help of architect Matthew Hufft

“This is the Merge Residence,” says Tiffany Meeks of the home she and her husband, Rowdy, built for themselves and their four children. Meeks is referencing the name that architect Matthew Hufft gave the project. “Hufft names all his projects,” Meeks says. “‘Merge’ seemed perfect for us.”

The house is symbolic of coming together—the couple’s, the families and the marriage of traditional and modern aesthetics that define the space. The Meeks’ is a blended family—she has one daughter and he has three sons from previous marriages, but in this new space they operate as a whole.

“Rowdy loved this neighborhood,” says Meeks. “And he was a huge fan of Matt Hufft’s work. My taste can be more traditional. I like older homes. But we were having a hard time finding something that would work for everyone. Building started to make sense.”

One of the things the couple wanted was space. “I’m not just talking about living space or bedroom space. We’re tall people,” Meeks says. Rowdy is 6-foot 7 and Tiffany is an even 6-foot. “We didn’t necessarily need it to be larger, but we wanted it to be higher.”

In addition to a sense of airiness, the couple wanted the house to be filled with natural light and have the kind of space where they could entertain and their children felt comfortable having their friends over.

“When we started talking about the house, we knew we didn’t want a formal living room that would never get used. That’s why we love the great room,” Meeks says of the main living space just inside the front door. The room incorporates the open kitchen, dining area and a living area that seamlessly communicates the couple’s come-in-and-relax vibe.

“We live on this sofa,” she says. It’s where the family watches television, the kids play games and friends gather. “With four kids we live hard in this house,” Meeks says, who did the decorating herself. “We invested in good pieces, but I also used Ikea.”

The long, modern farmhouse table that divides the room holds the family and then some. “We do love to entertain,” she says. The kitchen just beyond is open so whoever is cooking or fixing is not cut off from the rest of the crew. High cabinets and countertops accommodate the family’s frames while still maintaining an elegant sense of scale.

The master bedroom is on the first floor and reflects Hufft’s philosophy of the value of small sleeping spaces. “We love the feeling of this being a cocoon,” says Meeks. “And the window facing the backyard is great. I love being outside and I feel outside when I’m in here.”

Behind the bedroom are a washer and dryer and the couple’s closet. “We are both clothes horses,” she says. “We just gave in to it and said, ‘This is who we are.’ The closet works so well. I can see everything. I love it.” Pocket doors delineate spaces, which is not only sleek, but an efficient use of square footage.

The exterior spaces are successful as the interiors. The large yard, both wide and deep, provides plenty of green lawn to frame the structure with gracious patios for dining and lounging. A built-in planter creates a low screen to the pool just beyond.

As beautiful as the house is, it is definitely efficient. The entire house is wired for sound, temperature and even to adjust the shades. The first floor is wheelchair accessible and storage is not only smartly built-in, but largely camouflaged behind pocket doors that blend into the walls.

“My last house was in Hyde Park,” says Meeks. “I loved the charm of it, but there’s no comparison to how we live in this house.”

It seems they merged right.

Renovation Sensation

Want to see more of this lovely home? Check out the Meeks contemporary house and three others in this year’s Renovation Sensation Homes Tour. This year’s tour, set for Sept. 20th, features four distinguished and unique homes in Old Leawood, Prairie Village, and Fairway. It’s the 14th year for the Renovation Sensation Tour, the main fundraiser for Shawnee Mission East’s student-led community service program. Click here for ticket information.

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