Nature Reigns Supreme at a Verdant Kansas City Home

By Allie Weiss / Published by Dwell
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Landscape takes center stage in this Missouri residence.

In Kansas City, architect Josh Shelton of El Dorado Inc. designed a family home that prioritizes outdoor space. The sunken structure, built into a sloped site, is topped with a lush roof that's planted with native species; a stepped concrete garden that leads down to the main residence showcases herbs and flowers. Large glass sliders connect the interiors of the U-shaped structure to the landscaped elements, while aiding cross-ventilation. Due to its abundance of verdant zones, it's hard to believe this home is located on an urban site.

Stained cedar, ipe, and concrete form the 2,500-square-foot home's modern palette. Indigenous wildflowers and native grasses grow on top of the structure; this planted roof also helps insulate the home and limit its energy needs.

Stained cedar, ipe, and concrete form the 2,500-square-foot home's modern palette. Indigenous wildflowers and native grasses grow on top of the structure; this planted roof also helps insulate the home and limit its energy needs.

Photo by Mike Sinclair
The roof, which extends into a deck, appears to float above the ground. A detached studio building is located on the site's upper level.

The roof, which extends into a deck, appears to float above the ground. A detached studio building is located on the site's upper level.

Photo by Mike Sinclair
Outside of the studio, a small deck features a cedar soaking tub.

Outside of the studio, a small deck features a cedar soaking tub.

Photo by Mike Sinclair
A stepped concrete garden planted with herbs and flowers marks the descent to the house. The courtyard is the focal point of the U-shaped structure; there is clear visibility between the kitchen on one side and the children's bedrooms on the other.

A stepped concrete garden planted with herbs and flowers marks the descent to the house. The courtyard is the focal point of the U-shaped structure; there is clear visibility between the kitchen on one side and the children's bedrooms on the other.

Photo by Mike Sinclair
Large sliding doors connect the living room to both the courtyard and a covered porch on the western side of the house.

Large sliding doors connect the living room to both the courtyard and a covered porch on the western side of the house.

Photo by Mike Sinclair
During the daytime, the house is completely illuminated by natural light. Other energy-efficient features come in the form of the house's super thick building envelope, radiant floor heating, and cross-ventilation.

During the daytime, the house is completely illuminated by natural light. Other energy-efficient features come in the form of the house's super thick building envelope, radiant floor heating, and cross-ventilation.

Photo by Mike Sinclair
The interiors are outfitted with beech floors and soffits. Custom laminate cabinets in varying colors create storage throughout the home.

The interiors are outfitted with beech floors and soffits. Custom laminate cabinets in varying colors create storage throughout the home.

Photo by Mike Sinclair
The kids' bedrooms feature custom bunk beds with homework stations underneath.

The kids' bedrooms feature custom bunk beds with homework stations underneath.

Photo by Mike Sinclair
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Allie Weiss

@allieweiss

Into cities, mornings, and Sriracha.

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