MMH Portfolio Showcase:

Historical Beach House Charm

Restoring History: The Revival of The Gardner Lake Beach House

While creating a pilot for HGTV, MMH was hired by the fortunate new owners to restore a rare relic on the National Register of Historic Places, originating from the Kansas Gardner Lake project of 1935-1938.

While there are no exact records for the construction dates of the beach house, it is likely that its construction coincided with that of the beach, suggesting a timeframe between April 1937 and May or June 1938. Interestingly, the beach house was not specifically identified in the project plans and was likely classified as a shelter house at the time. Acquired by the family as a family beachfront retreat, this was another opportunity for MMH to do something memorable.

Project challenges:

The Gardner Lake Beach House, built by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in 1938, was created after the 1929 stock market crash, initiated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The rustic style, characteristic of most WPA structures, was designed to “blend in with, and not intrude upon the environment.” Consequently, any renovations on the Beach House had to comply with the Registry’s stringent guidelines. Although unable to change the exterior, it certainly needed to be refreshed.

The beach house was in use at the lake from 1938 until 1989 but by the turn of the century, it was beginning to show significant wear from the tens of thousands of people who used it when visiting Gardner Lake. Never intended to be a residence, most of the challenges were encountered inside. Adequate sleeping quarters, an updated kitchen and bath plus ample living areas needed to be created to provide comfort and convenience for weekend and summer retreats for the family.

Project solutions:

MMH implemented conservative structural changes to preserve the building’s integrity, retaining the original walls, fireplace, and wood floors for the current owners, who planned to use it as their personal lake house. MMH added sleeping lofts, a private bedroom space for the adults and redesigned the outdated bathroom, kitchen, plumbing, HVAC and electrical systems. Updated lighting, freshly painted ceilings, polished concrete floors and new rustic furnishings complimented the new retreat.

Outside, a custom wood fence was added, a new patio was poured, fire pit constructed, new landscape planted and the original red front door was repainted to ensure the history and tradition of the structure were maintained for years to come.

The Outcome.

A rejuvenated beach house that meets the modern standards of comfort, functionality and aesthetics. MMH repaired minor structural issues, updated out-of-style features, improving energy efficiency and enhancing the overall design to create a space that is both beautiful and practical. By creating additional living spaces, all design elements were updated to embrace the homeowner’s desired beach feel.

This balance between preservation and modernization resulted in a unique and charming living space that honors both the history of the property and contemporary features of luxury and functionality. Plus, who doesn’t love a little sand between their toes?

Looking to build your dream home?

Our team at MMH would be delighted to discuss the design and build of your Kansas City home.

As a boutique design and build firm with more than 20 years of big ideas in the Greater Kansas City area, the MMH team would love to chat with you about the design and build of your own dream home.

Our Services

01 | Custom Homes

02 | Semi-Custom Homes

03 | Interior Design