My Great Outdoors: Lauren and Eric's Vivienda Moderna

Kansas City

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Name: Eric and Lauren Wendlandt, framework design, inc.. The house is named Vivienda Moderna (Spanish for modern dwelling).
Location: Westside neighborhood, Kansas City, Missouri

Types of spaces: 3,675sf landscaped area, 475sf permeable paving, 375sf decks/balconies, 500sf future rooftop garden/patio

How did you do it?: Lauren and Eric designed and built Vivenda Moderna themselves, with the help of some very dedicated family, friends and subcontractors. It's their residence, office, and workshop and also home to one other business and residence. Here, just in time for Outdoor Month, they take us through a sneak peek of Vivienda Moderna's outdoor spaces, with landscaping that's only about 6 weeks old...Our style: Classically modernist, with a little eclecticism, mixed with sustainability (reclaimed materials).

Inspiration: Sustainability, inside/outside connections, outdoor living, drought tolerance

Favorite Element: Eric & Lauren - The neighborhood! It fits our modernist eclectic style. The architecture and people are so diverse. It’s a very small town, with big city urban literally across the street. Lauren - The front deck and stairs. Eric - the front deck which we’ve named our front porch. It’s nice to sit there and chat with the neighbors.

Biggest Challenge: Getting everything done, while not compromising (too much) on quality AND staying on a budget. We still have a lot to do, but we just have to be patient.

What Friends Say: Everyone in the neighborhood has been very supportive, which definitely keeps us going. We’re always being stopped by people walking or driving by to tell us that they’ve really enjoyed watching our progress and that they love what we’ve done with the landscaping. We like being part of the neighborhood, so that makes us feel good that they are happy we’re here.

Biggest Embarrassment: Lauren - falling out of my truck while unloading rock. Eric – Lauren usually does enough embarrassing things for both of us!

Proudest DIY: Seeing the plants and trees start to flourish and take off, especially seeing the first blades of grass emerge from the dirt. There’s something new everyday!

Biggest Indulgence: All our plants. We just needed to put down grass seed to satisfy city requirements, but wanted to create a nice, drought-tolerant garden in memory of my grandmother, who was a master gardener.

Best advice: “Nothing worthwhile is ever easy.” One of the guys working on rebuilding the stone wall out front told us that when we were exhausted and totally out of energy. Lauren’s grandmother told us, “Do what you have to to finish it.”
Dream source: Sunset Garden Books, Nelson Family (Family Tree Nursery), Funny Grandma (Lauren’s grandmother who was a source of knowledge and inspiration regarding plants)

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Vivienda Moderna's landscape design drawing

RESOURCES

Plants: Family Tree Nursery

Materials: House of Rock, Johnson County Building Materials, Craigslist for finding old barns and rock foundations to reclaim, our own rock foundation we found when excavating

Underground Cistern: Roth Fralo (1500 underground cistern for reclaimed rainwater)

Lauren and Eric moved in only two months ago and they're still finishing construction. So, we'll give them a chance to settle in but you can bet we'll be back with a House Tour sometime in the near future! In the meantime, check out their design work at framework design, inc. and their previous (also DIY-ed) home in San Diego (a 2007 Small Cool semi-finalist).

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(Thanks, Lauren and Eric!)

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