House Tour: The Worden's MC Inspired Modern Build

House Tour: The Worden's MC Inspired Modern Build

Sarah Rae Smith
Oct 2, 2008


Name: Steve (Project Manager), Cathy (Registered Nurse) and Graham Worden
Location: Shawnee, Kansas
Size: 2174 SF
Years Lived In: 4 Years
Our Style: Mid-Century Architecture & Design


For those who have never been to the Central Midwest, it has a feel and way of life all to its own. We drive our own cars (as opposed to mass transportation), we raise our own livestock and we love to do things ourselves. And while Steve and Cathy Worden, from a suburb of Kansas City, don't have any cows or chickens out back, they do have a great working knowledge of what it takes to put a home together with your own two hands. From planning to budgeting and construction, they did it all. Come take a look at what some some old fashioned determination and perseverance can do!


Steve and Cathy Worden started planning their house project back in 2001. They broke ground in 2002 and after 22 months they had completed enough of the home to move in. The couple did 80% of the work themselves, spending weekends at the property, working tirelessly into the night. The homeowners worked within a very limited budget and in efforts to save money, they purchased highly industrial items to help keep the costs down. Most of the materials they used are available to everyone as they were purchased right off the shelves.

Steve says, "Many of us need to be inspired by design and that's how I got started. So, maybe our home can inspire someone to do it as well." Their house is studded with artwork from Robert McDonald Graham Jr. (studied under Thomas Hart Benton and Cathy's great uncle), mid-century Furniture and much more.
Building your own home isn't out of the question, and with adequate planning and preparation, it's even obtainable with day jobs, kids and cats!

Don't be afraid to ask the Wordens a question or two about the build, they are more than willing to answer any questions you might have. Just leave them a comment after the survey below!


AT Survey:

Our Style: Mid-Century Architecture & Design

Inspiration: Frank Lloyd Wright, Finn Juhl, Hans Wegner, Sam Maloof, BCJ- Bohlin Cywinski Jackson Architects

Favorite Element: The view of the exterior at night is amazing….it just glows.

Favorite Room:
Steve - STUDIO. Getting away to be creative in a space that is lit by a Polygal clerestory, filled with Festool power tools, and full of 4/4 sycamore & walnut is a dream come true.
Cathy - Kitchen

Biggest Challenge: Taking time with the interior design and not making predictable decisions.

What Friends Say: Party at Steve's!

Biggest Embarrassment: Dirty Windows

Proudest DIY: Out of necessity we built 75% of the home ourselves and we wanted to use as many industrial materials as possible, purchased right off the shelf and available to anyone. The key is using those materials in creative ways.

Best Advice: Buy a fixer and keep your day job.

Found Treasure: It's actually a book I found on the web a couple of years ago. 1st Edition - California Modern Houses - Esther McCoy- $20 /Mint Condition

My Indulgence: There were many along the way, but the one that hurt the most was a custom shower full of Grohe - Atrio fixtures at the end of the project.

Dream Source: LAMA - Los Angeles Modern Auctions - Shannon is your GO TO!

Reality Source: Home depot, Ebay, and Internet

Had forever: GRIT!!!!

Just got: Jens Risom teak arm chair - Knoll



Living Room & Den: Finn Juhl - Side Tables, Walter Dorwin Teague - Sofa, Studio - Coffee Table
Dining Room:Umbra - Oh Chairs - Tangerine, Mobler - Teak Table,
Kitchen: Studio/Design - Kitchen Cabinets

Lighting: Pendants & Floor Lamp - Santa & Cole - Ilmari Tapiovaara - Maija Lamps, Track Lighting - Juno, Master Bedroom - Wall Sconces - Artemide Tolomeo

Rugs and Carpets: Sisal & Wool Rugs - Pottery Barn

Beds: Studio - Toddler & Master Bed

Paintings: Mid-Century Collection, Our favorite piece - "Simul Tota" - Our Atomic Age - c. 1945
Robert MacDonald Graham, Jr.
1937-41 studied with Thomas Hart Benton (1889-1975), Kansas City Art Institute: 1948-49, studied with Jules van Vlasselaer at Hoger Institute voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp, Belgium. Biography standing in, "Who's Who in American Art;" "Men of Achievement," International Biographical Centre, Cambridge, England. Works reproduced by The New York Graphic Society.

Studio: Small Design/Build that is embracing the "Cottage Industry" approach with Crafted Furniture & Cabinetry.


Thanks Steve and Cathy (and Graham)!

Photos courtesy of Bob Greenspan and Steve Worden.

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