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ENGINEERS DON’T SKIMP ON STRUCTURE. Not on the job and, for Ray Kowalik, president and general manager of Burns & McDonnell’s Energy Group, not in his own backyard. He and his wife, Jill, recently added on major outdoor entertaining space to their Lee’s Summit home, including an upper suspended concrete deck and lower covered lanai, plus a 60- by 20-foot patio. After a trip to Las Vegas, the couple had that city’s sumptuous scale in mind and wanted to upgrade their muddy patio and sagging wood deck to something safe, accessible, luxurious and appropriate for hosting colleagues and clients. They relied on the professional trio of landscape architect Richard “Rick” Clayton Barrett, installation contractor Maverick Pickering, and stone supplier and fabricator Sturgis Materials to meet their expectations of a high-quality, long-lasting outdoor space. “Anytime you build something to last –– flagstone over concrete, frost footings for walls, etc. –– you are making an investment in the future,” Rick says. “Commonly, the costs of doing it well cause us to have to value-engineer certain aspects of the project. That didn’t happen here. Some clients don’t really care about the details of footings, rebar or electrical conduits, but Ray was interested in it and understood it, so communicating details to him made him understand our dedication to doing it correctly.” With the house situated on 15 acres of wooded property, the team first had to move the septic system then install lots of large footings to support a five-foot drop-off into the forest. Rick’s design incorporated a fireplace, fountain and built-in grill spaced between separated stone benches that allow water to drain. A lighted, curved path spills magnificently down 40 feet from the driveway to behind the house.


The overall design was an extension of the interior for outdoor entertaining and enjoyment. “A significant part of a great project is great clients,” Rick says. “When you work well with a team, including the clients, your chances of producing a spectacular project increase dramatically.” Left... “The simple lines, forms and function are a clean, neat addition to the original architecture,” Rick says.



Kansas City Homes & Gardens May/June 2014  

Superior Design & Architecture

Kansas City Homes & Gardens May/June 2014  

Superior Design & Architecture