Designer Ron Anderson and his husband, Steve Rueter, began their romance with one another and Kansas City over 30 years ago. The couple moved to Orlando in 1984 to build their careers in design and the healthcare industry, but in a bit of reverse migration, the two have returned to Kansas City to downsize and stay.
“We wanted seasons,” says Anderson of their return. “And we wanted to live in a city,” adds Rueter. “Orlando is tourism on the south side and suburb on the north.” The move to Kansas City also brought both men closer to their families. So the couple sold their house in Florida—the buyer ended up purchasing all of their furnishings—and started fresh on the Plaza.
“We went from 3000 square feet to 850,” says Steve of their condominium in Parkway Towers. The space hadn’t been updated in a while, but Anderson had a vision. “All the interior walls and floors are cement, so making changes took some planning,” he says. He moved or modified most of the doors and created a double plaster molding to provide a clean and modern finish at the ceiling. All-white walls throughout provide a unified backdrop, give the illusion of more space and create a perfect environment for the couple’s art.
Large windows with an eastern exposure flood their home with natural sunlight. Still, the enclosed kitchen just inside the front door created something of a tunnel just at the entrance.
The couple knew that opening the kitchen would change the entire space. Removing the kitchen walls made the entire living area open and crisp, modern and white. The cheerful orange tile backsplash offers perpetual sunshine. A generous island encourages guests to linger as the couple entertains.
“Everyone always ends up in the kitchen anyway,” Anderson says of the space at the heart of the main room.
Carefully planned to make use of every square inch, Anderson’s “office” is cleverly designed custom cabinetry with access to the dining table. The built-in is the same painted white oak as the kitchen.
“I like using white oak,” he says. “Even though the cabinets are painted, I like to see the grain of the wood.”
A leather sofa with crisp lines defines the living area. “We wanted it to look modern,” says Rueter. “But it needed to be comfortable, too.”
The dark wood frame and tufted cushions have provided just that. Because of the space constraints, the television, too, required extra consideration. “We wanted a generous screen but needed to be careful about pixilation since we’d be sitting relatively close,” says Rueter. The latest model 4K ultra high-definition screen was the answer.
Anderson approached the private spaces of the home with the same objectives. Removing doorjambs and a wall, he used glass doors to provide privacy for the bedroom and bath, while allowing light to filter into the interior space. The bathroom was gutted, and the existing tub removed.
A spacious shower with a custom door and rich, blue tiles create a spa-like environment. Porcelain floor tiles mimic the bamboo flooring throughout the home.
The bedroom, like most of the apartment, does double duty. Rueter’s desk is tucked in a corner by the window. He enjoys the view and the handy storage that Anderson has integrated in the cabinets under the sill. “This way we each have an office in separate rooms,” notes Rueter of their distraction-eliminating plan.
The bedroom echoes the palette of the living room with fresh, white linens and orange accents. Over the bed, the steel and barn-wood art by Craig Forget that the couple commissioned creates an organic juxtaposition of the sleek and spare mirrored bedside tables. Not concerned with just looks alone, Anderson selected a frame for the bed with storage drawers in the platform, which provides both form and function.
While the couple had originally planned to split their time between Florida and Kansas City, they have settled here permanently. Anderson, in a happy turn of events, sometimes has what he refers to as “an elevator commute.” “I’ve picked up jobs in the building based on word-of-mouth. I lean toward contemporary for our homes, but I’m comfortable with traditional design, too, if that’s what the client needs.” He and Rueter could not be happier with their transition back to being Midwesterners. “Sometimes,” says Rueter, “you can go home again.”
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