Couple with newly-built contemporary home in North Lawrence can wave to passersby on the Levee Trail

photo by: Mike Yoder

Owners Steve and April Evans in the living room of their home at 718 Ash Street in North Lawrence.

Avid users of the Levee Trail, Steve and April Evans used to look at empty plots of land next to the path while hiking or biking and think, “Gee, it would be nice to live close to the levee.”

Now, the couple lives on a once-empty plot in a contemporary home that was finished in the fall of 2018. From their screened-in porch, which juts out of the side of their home, they frequently wave at passersby on the trail.

“This is like our front porch, and the levee is like a sidewalk in front of your house,” Steve said.

photo by: Mike Yoder

The front entrance at 718 Ash Street.

The Evans’ long thin house mirrors the shape of their plot of land at 718 Ash Street in North Lawrence. Its design is open: the Levee Trail is visible through the back window from the front entrance to the home.

photo by: Mike Yoder

The home is a fairly long and narrow design with communal spaces along one side and private spaces of three bedrooms and bathrooms along the opposite side. The communal area is a high-ceilinged and open space with a large kitchen, dining room and living room from front to back.

Proximity to and a view of the trail was one of the three driving factors for the Evans’ purchasing of the property.

“We’re out of here by 6:30 in the morning usually either walking or biking,” April said.

The other two driving elements of what Steve, 69, and April, 63, expect to be their final home is the soil and community in North Lawrence.

April maintains a large garden in the backyard, and the vegetables of her labor are viewable from the entrance to their house in a colorful pantry filled with jars of April’s canned goods. She had requested a walk-in pantry so she could display her jars in a visually pleasing way.

Arranging food, April says, is her art form.

photo by: Mike Yoder

On first entering the home guests get a glimpse of a colorful pantry that Steve and April and their architect Dan Hermreck worked into the design.

photo by: Mike Yoder

The backyard of 718 Ash as viewed from near the North Lawrence river levee.

Steve’s artistic pursuits are also displayed in the home. His photography from his trips abroad, as well as nature shots from Lawrence, line the walls opposite the kitchen and above the dining room. Photography is part of Steve’s history. Steve’s grandfather and then his parents ran a photography studio in Russell, Kan., and his grandfather’s camera from the 1930s is displayed in the corner of one of the three bedrooms in the home.

“When (my mom) sold the studio I said, ‘What are you going to do with that old camera?’ She said, ‘Oh, I’m just going to leave it,” and I thought, ‘Well, I better just have that,'” Steve said.

photo by: Mike Yoder

One of three bedrooms in the home of Steve and April Evans at 718 Ash in North Lawrence. The large camera in the bedroom was part of Steve’s grandfather’s photography studio in Russell, KS.

Steve also has a degree in architecture from the University of Kansas, and he and April have three pieces of Le Corbusier furniture in their home: a chaise lounge, a sling chair and a glass table. Le Corbusier is one of Steve’s favorite modern architects.

The 2,424 square foot home, designed by local architect Dan Hermreck, is split into two sections: the public half and the private half. The open layout public half includes the kitchen, a nook area, a dining room, a living room and Steve’s desk. In previous homes, Steve said he felt anti-social when retreating to a separate office. Now, his desk is incorporated into the living room.

“I decided that I wanted to have something open and compact so I could interact with April and be in this live space,” he said.

photo by: Mike Yoder

At the levee end of the house is a wall of windows and a computer desk. Out the window at right is the couple’s large garden.

The private half includes three bedrooms that are all the same size: 11 by 13 feet. To save space, the closets in the bedrooms have no doors, and doors to the bathrooms are sliding barn door tracks. Two bedrooms each have their own bathroom, but they share a shower. The large walk-in shower has two entrances: one from each bathroom.

photo by: Mike Yoder

Two bedrooms have sliding doors.

The third bedroom at the front of the house has a separate entrance, and for a time, the Evans’ rented it out as an Airbnb that they called, “Ash House on the Levee.” It was a bit more work than they anticipated, they said, so they likely won’t start it back up when things return to normal.

In addition to the proximity to the trail and good soil for gardening, the Evans also chose the location due to the North Lawrence neighborhood.

Steve is originally from Russell and April from Marysville, and they said the North Lawrence community reminds them of the small towns in which they were raised.

They enjoy living on Ash Street, which is only one block long. “It’s got to be one of the quietest streets in town,” Steve said.

And April said there’s another whole community just on the Levee Trail.

“You know what kind of surprised me about the levee is there’s the same community out there every day, and so we’ve gotten to know people that are up there every day just because we see them all the time,” she said. “We’ll stop and talk to their dog. That’s the first step. Things like that.”

The couple’s one-story home fits their needs and wants in a city they’ve always considered home. Both April and Steve went to KU, and though they have lived elsewhere in the past, they knew Lawrence would be their final destination. They get daily use out of nearly every room in their colorful and contemporary home, but their favorite place is the porch.

photo by: Mike Yoder

A screened-in porch is located just off the dining room.

“We live in the screened-in porch, really,” Steve said. “We come out here in the winter time with our coats on, we like it so much.”

And from there, April noted, they can wave at neighbors on Ash Street, or their beloved community on the levee.

photo by: Mike Yoder

A small sitting area with a wall-mounted tv, separates the kitchen from the dining room and living room.

photo by: Mike Yoder

The dining room is open to the living area and looks out to the home’s screened-in porch.

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This Journal-World feature takes readers inside interesting Lawrence homes. Have a suggestion? Please contact us at

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