At Home With The Artist – “A Conversation With Leslie Beck.”

I have been so excited to bring this collaborative post with Kansas City based artist, Leslie Beck, to this space since I first saw her gorgeous work! When Leslie generously offered to also share her beautiful home I felt like a kid in a candy store. This post is a first for Brookside On Main in that it is a kind of home tour / local series “hybrid” of sorts and I could not be more happy about it!

Photo: Tricia O’Connor Baska

Kansas City native, Leslie Beck, boasts 20 years in graphic design and was one of the co-founders of KC based Farmdog Studios. For Leslie, art has “always been a deep calling,” she said, “I’ve had a creative drive my whole life, creating to create.”

Photo: Tricia O’Conner Baska

Drawing inspiration for her work Leslie, a busy mother of five children, speaks of the search for serenity. “I am a water girl,” she said, “water symbolizes that feeling of peace. Life is so crazy, so that is my escape.” Leslie’s debut collection spawned from a time of transformation in her life. Her series of spirals were inspired by this transformative time and the idea of change. “Like life, the spiral is a symbol of change, progression and development,” Leslie said.

Photo: Tricia O’Connor Baska

In times of change one can also experience growth, and 2018 proved to be just that for Leslie. “All of last year was a time for growth,” she said. One push in that direction was Leslie’s embark on the “100-Day Project” which is a commitment to doing something creative, consistently, for 100 days straight. Leslie took this opportunity to step away from her spiral medium of acrylics and explore ink. This project of discovery led to her latest floral series, “Becoming.”

Image via: Leslie Beck

In exploring this new medium of ink, “the florals just started happening,” Leslie said.

Image via: Leslie Beck
Image via: Leslie Beck

When speaking of this series Leslie said, “in reflecting on it, we were coming into spring. Winter, which is dark and lonely, kind of mirrored my life following the loss of my dad. I think of everything a plant goes through just to become. It is a really delicate, beautiful gift which, to me, was representative of my year. I feel that I have come back to where I was intended to be.”

Image via: Leslie Beck

When asked to describe her work in her own words, Leslie very humbly spoke of her hopes in how her work is viewed by others. “I hope it is engaging, draws people in and makes them question,”she said. “Art is personal to everyone and I love hearing people’s reactions to the work. That’s all that I want.”

One of Leslie’s favorite spaces in her home, her studio, is situated in a window-wrapped room near the formal living area.

The space to create is such an important element itself in the process of an artist. Leslie has carved out a lovely, light-filled studio space in her family’s 1925 built Tudor-styled home.

The house itself has a personal history for Leslie as it was her father’s home when she was young. The stately home, having been divided as a duplex with one upstairs unit and one downstairs unit, has been a dream project for Leslie for many years.

Light fills a corner of the studio space.

Leslie and her husband (who I have to mention were high school sweethearts, just too neat of a fact to leave out) were presented with an opportunity to purchase the house and quickly went to work converting it from a duplex to a single-family home suitable for the needs of their large family. The formerly segmented spaces have been reimagined to create a beautiful, airy, flow and updated style.

The revamped kitchen was enlarged and opened to the dining and family room areas and offers sweeping views of the backyard of the home.

Crisp white cabinetry, backsplash and classic marble countertops highlight the serene blue of the kitchen island.
A large-scale painting by Leslie provides a stunning visual on the back wall of the kitchen.
Directly off the kitchen is a pergola-covered deck with enough seating for the family of seven.
An outdoor gathering spot provides the perfect place for entertaining on nice weather days.

Adjacent to the kitchen lies the dining area which holds one of Leslie’s favorite items in her home, the dining room table. “The table was a piece I splurged on, which I don’t do very often,” she said, “but to me this was worth it and every water stain, or scratch that has happened from use over time just tells the story of our family.”

A cozy family room sits next to the dining area and kitchen, opening into the formal living room.

Leslie’s works can be found throughout the home, such as this glass platter adorning a shelf in the family room.

The front living room of the home is another favorite space of Leslie’s. “This room makes me feel like this is a real ‘adult house’,” she laughingly says.

A Leslie Beck floral hangs above a buffet in the formal living room.

The bright and cheerful space holds two items that are very dear to Leslie, an original artwork by Marjolyn van der Hart and a pair of accent chairs once belonging to her father.

Once owned by Leslie’s father, this pair of Louis XV styled armchairs have been refinished to complement the style of the room. They sit prettily in a sunny bay window nook.

An original work by artist, Marjolyn van der Hart was purchased by Leslie at the Brookside Art Annual. “Obviously I love original art,” Leslie said, “this was the first piece of art that I bought. I had been following her on Instagram for a long time and I was so happy and grateful to be able to get this piece. Original art is special because it makes people feel something when they look at it. And I think it’s special to have something in my home that no one else has. It’s unique.”

A charming arched front door leads to the entry hall. This space, previously marking the entrances to the two respective units of the home, was opened up during renovations.
The original mailbox and bell system for the house’s former 2 units remains in the foyer as a reminder of the home’s history.
The stairway, now repositioned and opened, features contemporary cable railing leading to the second floor of the home.
The second floor landing retains an original glass paneled door leading to the children’s rooms.

This home has been a labor of love for Leslie and her family. Care and attention is shown in the details in creating a space that is both functional and comfortable for the family. Leslie describes her home’s interior style as, “evolving.” “I don’t know if you can put a title to our style,” she said, “I think the home is a blend of elements from different styles. I tried to base decor decisions on what the house is, what the house style dictates.” This mindset is evident in the seamless blending of old and new that Leslie has accomplished. In short, you can see that an artist’s eye has overseen the details, and the house is all the better for it.

Archival print of the home’s exterior.
The home today.

When I asked Leslie about her plans for the future in regards to her art she hinted at an upcoming new series. But for now, “I want to keep creating to create. I hope that my artwork catches on and grows,” she said. “My dream is to create and have people respond with love and support.”

I am so grateful to Leslie for sharing her beautiful creations. You can view more of Leslie’s work on her website HERE. If you are in Kansas City you can also view Leslie’s latest series currently on display at Daren + Co. I also believe it is worth noting that Leslie commits 15% of all proceeds from her work in support of a charitable cause. This year proceeds will benefit Halo, an organization that provides housing, healing and education to at-risk and homeless children.

I also thank Leslie and her family for opening their doors and sharing the story of their beautiful home! It has been a pleasure to be able to share her work and home.




All images and content are created and owned by Courtney Payne unless otherwise credited.

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