The real estate listing for the mansion in Leawood’s upscale Tomahawk Creek Estates described it as a “once in a lifetime” place to live.
Before it sold in October, this “jewel in Kansas City’s crown” scored a feature in the luxury lifestyle magazine Haute Living, with its African mahogany floors, chandeliers suspended from high ceilings, an executive library with a wall of bookcases and a resort-like swimming pool.
“Passing through the grand entrance gates, you are greeted by a breathtaking facade that exudes grandeur and elegance,” the magazine proclaimed over the summer. “An arching of trees lines the stone driveway leading to the French Chateau-inspired home, built entirely with corner-cut limestone.”
Kansas City Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce claimed these nearly 17,000 square feet of opulence for his own. And unconfirmed reports suggest the $6 million mansion will be abuzz this month.
Kelce’s girlfriend, Taylor Swift, is expected to spend some downtime there. She’s on break until February from her Eras Tour, but that doesn’t mean her schedule is empty.
She was at the Chiefs game in Green Bay, Wisconsin, last weekend, returned to Kansas City, then jetted to her home in New York ahead of Time magazine naming her Person of the Year on Wednesday. Later that night she attended the premiere of gal pal Emma Stone’s new movie, “Poor Things.”
Swift celebrates her 34th birthday next Wednesday, raising speculation — and the hopes of local Swifties — that she might spend her big day here.
Celebrities don’t tend to publicize their whereabouts. Fans rely on the speculation and best guesses of anonymous and inside “sources,” one of whom told Life & Style magazine that Kelce has “arranged a very intimate romantic dinner just for the two of them, and is also trying to pull off a semi-surprise party with the help of some of her closest friends.”
Even if the couple plan to spend time together out of the eye of paparazzi, fans will probably see Swift again in Kansas City. Specifically at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.
Swift told Time that attending Chiefs games to support Kelce is important to her. (Oh, and that she likes football, too. Keep that in mind if you’re one of those football fans who don’t want to see her during game broadcasts.)
The Chiefs have three home games in December, beginning at 3:25 p.m. Sunday against the Buffalo Bills. A week later, she might pop up in Massachusetts, when the Chiefs face the New England Patriots at noon Central Time.
Should Kelce and Swift spend Christmas Day together, she could be at Arrowhead for the Chiefs’ noon game against the Las Vegas Raiders. The Chiefs also take on the Cincinnati Bengals at 3:25 p.m. New Year’s Eve, another possible holiday sighting in Kansas City.
The Chiefs finish the regular season with a game in Los Angeles against the Chargers on the first Sunday of 2024, time TBD. Then it should, er, could, be on to the playoffs, which would be Swift’s first as a Chiefs fan.
‘Oasis of privacy’
Fans are waiting for more than a glimpse of Swift at games, though, as this relationship progresses. Fans don’t know whether the parents have met yet. Kelce’s new home, far from prying eyes at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac in the gated neighborhood, seems the perfect place for such a summit.
The five-bedroom home sits on 3.18 acres next to the Hallbrook Country Club, according to Johnson County property records.
Its 14 rooms include six full bathrooms, three half baths, a gourmet kitchen, family room, a 600-square-foot recreation room and a 1,200-square-foot finished walkout basement.
The Life & Style source said Swift has turned her noted design-savvy attention — she has whimsical, vintage, self-described “girly” taste — to the home. She’s had plenty of practice with her eight homes in four states, $150 million worth of real estate, according to Elle Decor.
“Taylor is helping him set everything up while she’s there, and she’s doing some holiday decorating, too,” the Life & Style source said.
Decorated in a past holiday season with huge green Christmas wreaths flanking the black iron gate in front, the home looked like the setting of a Hallmark Christmas movie — you know, the one where the singer falls in love with the hunky football player.
Realtors promoted the estate as an “oasis of privacy and tranquility,” of obvious importance to Kelce.
After he and Swift became the most high-profile celebrity couple in the world, his house in Kansas City’s upscale Briarcliff neighborhood became a magnet for paparazzi waiting for the next big photo op. They took pictures of food deliveries and waited for Swift sightings.
Unlike the Northland neighborhood, Tomahawk Creek Estates sits behind gates affording more privacy, but even those haven’t been foolproof. Photographers found a way around that by flying drones over the house, which they did last week to capture pictures of moving trucks parked at the house.
The purchase of the estate, first listed in September 2022 for $6.9 million, made national headlines in October as the Traylor romance took off.
Johnson County property records list the new owner as LW House HOLDCO LLC of Rocky River, Ohio, Kelce’s home state. The limited liability company registered with the Ohio secretary of state on Oct. 16.
“Kelce’s latest land grab is far more secluded than his other home in Kansas City, a 4,200-square-foot home in the city’s Briarcliff West neighborhood that he purchased for $995,000 in 2019,” Realtor.com wrote.
“So why the need for a more private property? A look at his love life tells the story.”
Fans and journalists alike have pictured what life for Traylor could look like on the estate. One of Britain’s scoundrel tabloids, The Daily Mail, dubbed it a “love nest” in a headline.
“We predict a pool party or two in the future,” Natalie Way, co-host of Realtor.com’s “House Party” podcast, wrote after Kelce bought the house. “Perhaps Swift’s annual Fourth of July party will take place in Kansas in 2024?
“If not, we can always suggest the song title for a future album: ‘I Left My Love in Leawood.’”
That heated garage
Kelce and Swift are welcome in Johnson County, where residents have already demonstrated willingness to give Kelce privacy when he’s in public.
He showed up at the Trader Joe’s in Leawood last week. And even though Instagram/TikTok user Alex Owens and others surreptitiously snapped photos and shot video, no one approached him and everyone acted cool until he walked out, and then “the whole store exploded,” Owens posted.
The Leawood Chamber of Commerce and the Johnson County Democratic Party were both quick to welcome Kelce when the sale became public.
“Welcome to town, Travis!” the business group wrote on its Facebook page. The Democrats reminded the former Missouri resident to update his voter registration.
Kelce’s change of address will show that he now lives in the fancy 66211 ZIP code, where the homes had the highest average closing price of any ZIP code in the metro last year.
Tomahawk Creek Estates calls itself Leawood’s most private and elite neighborhood, with only 14 “exclusive” estates on wooded lots ranging from 1 to nearly 4 acres, making Kelce’s property among the largest.
The neighborhood sits north of 119th Street near the Hallbrook golf course.
The homes are in the Blue Valley School District — a fact, not a hint.
Johnson County property records showed the home previously was owned by a trust associated with Mary D. Bartimus, the wife of Jim Bartimus, founder and partner of the Leawood personal injury law firm Bartimus Frickleton Robertson Rader PC.
The home’s “sporty amenities” surely attracted Kelce who, like his buddy, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, likes to golf. There’s a practice green, lighted tennis and pickleball court and mini-golf course.
Another notable feature next to the entrance no doubt grabbed the car-collector’s eye, too: a heated, six-car garage.
The kitchen is all hers
Inside the front door, a “majestic marble entryway sets the tone for the grandeur that lies within,” the real estate listing promised.
Both the living room and primary suite offer views of the groomed grounds. The primary bedroom opens onto a private balcony, a large terrace overlooking “a Beverly Hills-inspired grand pool area.” (Translation: Instagram-ready.)
It is clearly big enough for Swift’s entire A-list posse.
From what is known about their individual cooking skills, the kitchen would seem to be Swift territory.
He ordered Kentucky Fried Chicken for Thanksgiving.
The newly renovated kitchen with quartz countertops and custom cabinetry is a gourmet’s dream with high-end appliances by Wolf, Miele, Bosch and Sub Zero.
Does it get any better than that for holiday baking? Swift is an avid baker. When she posed for the Time cover story, she arrived at the photo shoot with a loaf of homemade pumpkin bread, the photographers revealed on Instagram.
Delish.com noted how the gesture was not the first time Swift has “been applauded for being hospitable and down to Earth.” She is known to cook meals for guests who stay at her home, not expecting people to wait on her.
Sofa surfing, pizza parties
The Leawood mansion is an elegant hideaway for two celebrities known as homebodies. There’s plenty of entertaining space indoors and al fresco. Winding paths, bridges and a gazebo, not to mention that pool, beckon guests outside.
Inside, the lower level has a theater with Dolby Audio surround sound and a temperature-controlled wine cellar. There’s a huge gym and full bath equipped with a steam shower and sauna, too.
Fancy digs for a man who only needs a sofa — and pizza and wings — for a perfect day off at home, according to what Kelce told People magazine in September.
“Man, you know what, I jump on the couch, put my feet up and I chill,” he said. “I’ll surf the web for fun stuff. I’m a huge online shopper, so I’ll jump online and grab a whole bunch of new stuff that I could throw around the house or throw in my closet.
“But typically, a nice recovery day would be to jump in the sauna and just put my feet up.”
When his relationship with Swift became public, House Beautiful magazine nearly begged him to let Swift put her style stamp on his Northland house.
The decorating magazine snarked that the home was “a version of Ken’s Mojo Dojo Casa House from ‘Barbie,’” referencing the plastic man’s over-the-top man cave in the movie, with 22 TVs and black leather sofas.
“Perhaps if the pair’s romance gets serious, Swift can help Kelce up his home design and real estate games, bringing him into a whole new era,” the magazine suggested.
Do you think that sometime in the last week Taylor Swift prepared a meal for herself and Travis Kelce and he realized he had a billionaire pop superstar just living life in his house? That's wild. https://t.co/RAbeKTlDS5
— Heather (@SwiftieInAZ) December 5, 2023
Her taste is anything but bachelor pad. Her interview with Time magazine revealed that she likes to decorate with decor that has sentiment and meaning.
She’s given at-home interviews where people can see cat figurines on bookshelves and Grammys and other award hardware nonchalantly perched on end tables and kitchen counters.
Her favorite decoration in her New York apartment is a photo of her opera singer grandmother, Marjorie Finlay, who inspired a track on her 2020 “Evermore” album.
She decorated the fireplace with tiles she found in Paris while shopping with her mom.
In her kitchen, still in its box, she keeps a Stevie Nicks Barbie doll given to her by the former Fleetwood Mac singer.
She uses a framed letter from Paul McCartney as decor, too.
It’s in the bathroom.