It’s Adam Gebhardt’s calling to create interest. As the marketing product manager for Cerner Corporation’s new executive briefing center, he’s responsible for melding design and function to further the company’s brand in a very essential space. One could say he plays the same role at home.
Gebhardt has been in his new condominium on the Country Club Plaza for about a year and a half. “I bought it from a guy who liked overstuffed furniture and big fixtures. It was mostly beige and white,” he says. But he had another vision for the space.
The background is still neutral, but it’s grounded in sophisticated colors running from gray to black, with color showing up to surprise and delight. “I painted everything myself,” says Gebhardt of the space that is just over a thousand square feet.
This task provides connection to the space, of course, but also frees up resources for more interesting things like furniture and art.
He had been in a two-bedroom apartment before, but he wanted a little different feel. “I really wanted something that had the style of a house in Brookside without the maintenance,” he says. His condo in the Park Castles building, which sits diagonally across from the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, fit the bill.
“These buildings were designed by Nelle Peters,” Gebhardt notes of the woman who was one of the first female architects in the field. She designed a number of buildings in Kansas City, most notably the authors’ buildings just west of the Plaza, and was known for her deft use of space. This is particularly true of Gebhardt’s condo.
The living room is decidedly masculine, though certainly no man-cave. The pieces he selects are largely sculptural, and while his rooms contain unique pieces, nothing shouts. His art, whether he’s investing in pieces from Retro Inferno or creating his own, is interesting and original.
The living room receives a wash of gentle northern light, primarily through a charming bay that Gebhardt uses as a bar area. “When you stand here,” he says, “you can see the Nelson when the leaves are off the trees. And if you look the other direction,” he points carefully to a gap between buildings, “You can see the Plaza lights come on. Well, one person can at least,” he teases.
It is this charmingly positive outlook that has aided Gebhardt as he’s made this space his own. His bedroom is dark and cozy rather than dark and moody. When he was wrapping up the details, he decided to frame and print graphic designs he found on the internet to create an abstract gallery on the wall facing the bed.
Gebhardt updated the bath and wisely added a stackable laundry unit. “It’s actually a Jack-and-Jill bath,” he says of its connection to the second bedroom. Although this original configuration didn’t trouble him, it created a difficult-to-handle door in the middle of the other bedroom.
While he originally used the space as an office, a clever decorating sleight of hand changed everything. “This room has been the biggest surprise,” he says. “I kept standing in here and thinking, ‘What am I going to do with this,’ because I really wasn’t using it.”
Then, with very little fanfare and expense, he realized he could just cover the never-used door and create much-used space.
Gebhardt painted the room Pewter Gray “It’s an amazing color. It changes all day,” he says, and hung a large vintage map over the door to the bath. “Then I brought in the sectional and the TV and suddenly everything made sense. Now I’m in here all the time.” His latest addition of framed copies of his favorite 32 album covers filling the wall around the TV finishes the room with a dash of aplomb.
Gebhardt says decorating has always been a passion, so it should not be a surprise to see that he’s boldly painted the kitchen cabinets a rich shade of navy blue. All of his choices have a very personal air while being grounded in tradition. It is this natural instinct and ability that led his condo board to ask him to join and work on updating the public spaces.
And is his home finished? No decorator, either professional or enthusiast, is ever really finished. Still. “I’m just about ready to entertain,” Gebhardt says.
That’s a very good sign.
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