First-Year Planning Field Trip

During our fourth annual planning field trip with first-year students in the Urban Planning + Design program, we finally made it to the Kansas City, Missouri City Hall observation deck (it was closed during previous trips).  After speaking with a planner on the 15th floor, we walked to Louis Berger to learn what AUP+D alums are working on. We rode the streetcar to Union Station and walked to lunch at Crown Center before returning to campus on the Main MAX bus.

Architectural Studies Alumni Featured: Jerad Foster

Jerad Foster, Owner, Studio Build, UMKC 2002, KSU 2004, MArch

Kansas Citians to be honored for their efforts to save historic buildings
By CYNTHIA BILLHARTZ GREGORIAN / excerpt from: The Kansas City Star, November 2, 2014

Chocolatier Christopher Elbow and his wife Jenifer worked with Jerad Foster of Studio Build to expand the kitchen of their 1950 home, designed by David Runnels, in south Kansas City. The counter tops are a resilient taupe marble. “I’m pretty hard on stuff when I’m cooking,” Elbow says.

Updating a Runnels home
Christopher Elbow has a shop in a historic building at 1819 McGee St. downtown. But it’s his homes that really illustrate his love of old architecture.

Elbow, 40, has restored homes in the Northeast neighborhood and Brookside. In 2010, he and his wife, Jenifer, stumbled onto a midcentury modern home in south Kansas City that was designed by noted architect David Runnels in 1950.
“Literally the day we finished the last project — and I mean literally the last day — I found this house on a website, and we came and looked at it, and I said, ‘This is it,’” he says. “We love this type of architecture. This has been a dream for us, to have this house.”

Elbow was told that the home, which was featured in House Beautiful in 1950, was built as a winter home for someone from Minnesota and was an early study in green housing. It has a wall of south-facing windows that run the length of the home and radiant heating under concrete floors.

The Elbows interviewed several architectural firms about restoring it. Most suggested tearing it down and starting over. Other plans were expensive and complicated.

The Elbows decided to live in the space for a while to figure out what they really wanted. Last year, they stumbled onto architect Jerad Foster, of Studio Build in Kansas City, who came up with the right design.

According to Elbow, tile and carpeting negated the effects of the radiant heating, so they tore it all out and had the concrete floors beneath polished.

They expanded the kitchen by about 100 square feet to connect the house and garage. It now has crisp, modern walnut cabinets and midcentury modern furniture. Ann Sacks tiles cover the backsplash behind a Wolf gas range.

They kept the floor-to-ceiling windows but swapped the custom-wood framed glass for energy-efficient anodized aluminum.
“The challenge to the builder was for people to come in here and never know we did it,” Elbow says.

They added a copper front to a large brick fireplace at the center of the house. Elbow replaced original luan mahogany paneling with walnut paneling in the common living areas.

The home is elegant but by no means ostentatious. It has three bedrooms and one bathroom that have yet to be remodeled. Elbow expects it’ll take another six years to finish.

“Our goal was not to make a huge house. It’s just the two of us, and I have learned that the bigger the house, the more junk you put in it. Moving in here and getting rid of stuff, it was sort of cleansing.”

Elbow is just happy to be living in a Runnels house.

“There’s just not a lot of them left,” he says. “It would have been a shame for someone to buy this for the property and tear the house down.”

To reach Cynthia Billhartz Gregorian, call 816-234-4780 or send email to

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