Sunset Hill Residence

The latest installment in one of our longest-running, phased projects has recently wrapped up in fine fashion. The setting for this historic, Mary Rockwell Hook designed home is the Sunset Hills neighborhood, offering striking views to the Brush Creek Valley below and the Plaza beyond. Hook was a pioneer for women in Architecture in the early 20th Century and completed most of her work in the Kansas City area. Ms. Hook’s design is influenced by buildings she saw during her extensive travels and studies in Europe and East Asia, characterized by prominent stone facades, terra cotta tiled roof lines, and leaded pane windows. The home was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

Mary Rockwell Hook and the original home from its National Register of Historic Places application.

Mary Rockwell Hook and the original home from its National Register of Historic Places application.

We first embarked on the restoration of this home in 2012 with a complete interior renovation, extensive infrastructure updates, and the addition of a new garage with walkout apartment space below.

In 2017, the owners acquired an adjacent lot, and we went to work designing three additions to the old footprint: a 700 square foot first floor addition, an expansive screened-in backyard pavilion, and a two car garage with room for a workshop. The three new spaces are joined to each other and the original home with over 1200 square feet of added stone patio, complete with an outdoor kitchen, dining space, and multiple entertaining zones that range from small and intimate to those that can accommodate large groups.

Sunset Hill Phase Diagram.jpg

Phase 2’s first floor addition is anchored by a new dining room, highlighted by a plaster, barrel vaulted ceiling and double-sided Rumford fireplace. A glazed corner maintains the connection between interior and exterior space. This room is served by a new mudroom and butler’s pantry, designed with hosting parties and the family’s beloved dogs in mind.

Dining Room 1.jpg

Stepping outside the steel doors from the dining room, you encounter the covered colonnade leading to the timber-framed backyard pavilion. The structure is made entirely from custom-milled, locally sourced white oak. A crafted louver system screens views and adds privacy to the dining and entertaining space — making it the perfect spot for dining al fresco and Kansas City sunset viewing.

Collonade 1.jpg

These first floor additions are set off by carefully matched stonework and handsome steel windows and doors, while new exterior plaster work blends seamlessly with the old. A small, second story addition makes room for an expanded closet and dry sauna.

Professional photography by Bob Greenspan.

Professional photography by Bob Greenspan.

While we’ve enjoyed the on-going collaboration with creative clients, it’s satisfying to see the effort come to conclusion in such an impressive, functional way in keeping with the historic nature of the original home. We trust that our work here — executed by Chris Lynch and the top-notch crew at Hurst Construction — would meet with Mary Rockwell Hook’s approval. As the saying goes, “Tradition is not the worship of ashes, it’s the handing on of the fire.”

Lake View House

Construction is wrapping up on the Lake View House just in time for the summer season. The home is located on a rare double lot on deep water at the Lake of the Ozarks and serves as a seasonal retreat for a family of four with two young children.


The prime location faces south with views toward the main channel, prompting the family to request a simple floor plan that focuses on the connection to the water and expansive vistas.


We proposed a plan that occupies the site in the most efficient manner, building only on the ‘open’ (non-treed) portion of lot and taking advantage of existing driveway grading. The approach from the back of the house reveals a modest, low slung, L-shaped form that drops down with a dramatic sloping roof line to large expanses of glass on the lake side.

Marketing Plan.jpg

The four bedroom home boasts a game room, double height living and dining space, and a bunk room on the main, lower level. The garage, remaining three bedrooms, and private living space are situated on the upper level.

In a departure from typical lake houses on sloped lots, the owners did not want to walk out of the the primary living areas onto a raised deck. Their priority was a direct connection to the water, so the home is recessed into the hillside with the lower lakeside living spaces enclosed by giant sliding glass doors which fully open up the southeast corner to a patio just feet from the waters edge.

Screenshot 2019-06-05 17.14.29.png
Screenshot 2019-04-29 13.08.20.png

A sleek, understated interior does not detract from the lake views beyond, with large exposed glulam beams in living room and an impressive natural stone fireplace at the ‘knuckle’ of the house — linking the kitchen, living, and dining rooms.

Screenshot 2019-04-29 13.10.10.png

The Lake View House should be completed very soon, and we have a feeling the owners will be all moved in and taking advantage of their new digs the minute it is ready for them.


Busy Days at MSA

It has been a busy, productive scene around MSA since our purchase, in the Fall of 2016, of a building at 11 E. Gregory Boulevard. We enjoyed the opportunity to strap on our tool belts (and get some good exercise) in the interest of tackling the lion’s share of the gutting, design and reconstruction of our new office space on the ground floor. After years of operating from the third floor penthouse of the Brookside Plaza Building, we’re pleased to be down at street level in the lively Waldo neighborhood.

In Progress.jpg

The brightest MSA news of recent times is the addition of two talented, creative individuals to the MSA staff. In March of 2017, Brandon Froelich joined the team. Due to his well-rounded skill set, Brandon was able to take the helm immediately on a considerable project load, which included the studios project in Fairway, a substantial renovation project at the Mary Rockwell Hook home on Sunset Hill, and the design of a new Mission Hills home. Brandon has also been leading MSA’s undertaking, on behalf of the worthy KC organization, BoysGrow, to design a new, energy-efficient, multipurpose building for their campus. 

In early 2018, MSA welcomed Kara Schippers, who has assumed responsibility for design, working drawing production, and construction coordination on a variety of projects. Kara has also brought her communications skills and refined graphic eye to spearheading the MSA marketing effort, beginning with a thorough revamping of our website.

Office Photo

From the earliest days of our practice, MSA has enjoyed opportunities to work on both commercial and residential projects. On the commercial front, we’ve been please to contribute to the urban revitalization currently taking place along 63rd St. with the design and construction of Flying Horse Taproom. It’s also been satisfying to be instrumental in repurposing the abandoned, monumental Armco Steel structures located along the Blue River for new industrial production by Custom Truck One Source. A project in Leavenworth, KS, Young Sign Company, has taken Brandon Froelich back to his hometown roots as he helps the business expand into the second floor of their early 1900s downtown building.

Flying Horse Taproom.jpg
Screenshot 2018-09-11 15.52.21.png

Residential work remains a source of concentration for us, and we’re currently deep into the new construction and renovation of numerous projects. Without exception, we remain committed to design solutions that are aesthetically pleasing, functionally appropriate, cost effective, and environmentally responsible for all of our projects.

Walnuts Door.png
Screenshot 2018-09-11 15.42.18.png

And last, but certainly not least, we truly value the collaborative interaction with all of our clients, consultants, craftspersons, and builders. We continue to be honored and humbled by the trust placed in us by those who bring their projects and ideas to MSA. 



MSA has been honored to collaborate with BoysGrow on the design of their new Farm Kitchen Facility, which will be a multipurpose building located on their agricultural site. The design includes a full commercial kitchen as well as spaces for offices, educational programs, public gatherings, and the handling of produce.

FINAL BG rendering1.jpg

BoysGrow was founded in 2010 to serve Kansas City area urban youth through training in agricultural and culinary entrepreneurship. The organization’s goal is to empower youth through hands-on learning experiences and vocational training, giving them access to healthy food, a strong work ethic, positive mentoring, and a paycheck.

BoysGrow Products.png

It has been a great opportunity to team up with Prairie Design Build throughout the process of applying the latest in building science to sustainable design. As a result, the new Farm Kitchen Facility will qualify for certification under the rigorous Passive House Program requiring the highest level of energy efficiency. The generous south sloping pitch of the structure’s roof will have photovoltaic (solar) panels capable of meeting a large measure of the BoysGrow energy requirements.

FINAL BG rendering2.jpg

Tickets are still available for Farm Fest, the final fundraising event for BoysGrow in 2018. Hosted by chef Lidia Bastianich, the event features kid-friendly entertainment and food and drinks from 10 local restaurants including Lidia's KC, Westside Local, Paradise Lockers, Third Street Social, and Crane Brewery. This year's Farm Festival takes place Sunday, September 23 from 12-4PM. Purchase tickets here

Farm Festival.png

Custom Truck One Source: North building project

Since 2014, MSA has been proud to provide architectural services on major projects for Custom Truck One Source, a homegrown Kansas City company with a strong commitment to the revitalization of the blighted industrial area that once was the domain of Armco Steel.


Our first project involved working with a monumental, existing steel structure to create over 50,000 sq. ft. of production and office space. The second project, currently in its final stages of construction, exceeds 100,000 sq. ft. of space housed under the original Armco frame.


It’s a rewarding experience to see an area that had been a neglected, industrial wasteland returned to full productivity, creating many jobs for skilled employees.


Greetings from MSA

We're pleased to highlight the ongoing work of McHenry Shaffer Architecture. 2015 represents the 20th year of our practice, and we want to express our sincere gratitude to the many great clients and builders with whom we've enjoyed successful collaborations. 

The diversity of our work has always been a large part of what has made for a satisfying practice, and our current projects have as much variety as we've ever seen. With the improved economy, we've been busy on many fronts and here's a sampling of several current projects that showcase our range.


On the commercial side, design work is completed and construction commencing on a remarkable effort that takes massive structures from the glory days of Armco Steel and re-purposes them as production facilities for a homegrown Kansas City company, Custom Truck & Equipment. It's great to be part of such a forward-looking endeavor, which will create many new jobs for skilled workers. It has taken a lot of work to get the project going, and we'll continue to share photos as construction moves forward.


On the residential side, the Mission Drive residence in Mission Hills, Kansas, is now on the home stretch towards a finish date in early autumn. It is a project that has allowed us to work within a traditional vocabulary with some of the finest artisans imaginable. 


And we're pleased to have been selected by an avid patron of the arts to design a contemporary environment for living and art display in one of Kansas City's great residential high-rise structures. This project is moving along through the design process, and we're enjoying the opportunity to explore a minimalist aesthetic.