Creative Inspiration: Symphony Designers' Showhouse hits right notes
Yard a mess? Rooms appear tired? Home in need of a spring spruce up? Get inspired at the Kansas City Symphony Designers’ Showhouse, located in the historic Countryside neighborhood adjacent to Loose Park. This year’s show home – a 1909 English Tudor Revival-style house – experienced an almost magical transformation by more than 50 talented designers, artists and landscapers.
Through May 20 you can tour this amazing home and take advantage of a wealth of local expertise showcasing the newest design products, trends and techniques. With three floors and 29 design spaces to stroll through, inside and out, there’s much to take in.
“We have an amazing network of designers right here in Kansas City,” says Marilyn Raines, Kansas City Symphony Alliance president. “The transformation that occurs in this home is amazing; it really showcases the designers’ talents. I really feel the house has a welcoming spirit about it.”
The Designers’ Showhouse — the nation’s longest-running, continuous fundraising show home project – has been welcoming the community for 43 consecutive years. Its purpose is to raise money for the Kansas City Symphony to fund youth programs in the metropolitan area.
“That resonates with the visitors to our house,” Raines adds. “They like knowing that we’re supporting a very worthwhile group and that it’s all going back to the community.”
With 7,000 to 10,000 people expected to tour the house, the payoff is considerable. For the designers who donate their time, expertise and most materials, the same is true: they are seen by thousands of potential customers.
“This project differs from other home tours because it’s a true renovation, not just a house that is ‘dressed’ or ‘staged,’” says Tracey Hawkins, KCSA public relations chairwoman and next year’s incoming president. “Our designers actually will paint, refinish floors and woodwork, install window treatments, upgrade faucets and fixtures, and the landscapers create and plant gardens.”
The homeowners, who move out for about six months, have the option to purchase certain design elements at the end of the show. If it’s attached, it stays, like the Moen plumbing fixtures and Hunter Douglas window treatments.
Phyllis Kogan, owner of Interior Design Inc., says she likes doing something positive for the community. “I enjoy being a part of this because I do feel strongly about supporting the arts, and interior design is a creative process.”
This year, many designers focused on “green” design, including such innovations as cork floors, glass countertops, eco-friendly paint and rock drainage borders outside. Kogan eagerly took on the challenge of the kitchen.
“I used the existing cabinets and appliances, and then brought in antique and unusual items that were still very functional and fit the space,” Kogan explains. “It was exciting to have the opportunity to merge the past with the present in a happy environment.” She turned a stone wall into a functional pot rack of sorts and for extra storage placed a French antique armoire in a corner niche. “I had to look at all the opportunities in the room,” she says.
A unique feature in the yellow and blue French Country-style kitchen is the new countertops made entirely of recycled glass bottles, thanks to Boulevard Brewing Co. and Ripple Glass. “I chose this instead of granite because it was keeping more with the look,” Kogan says.
For her third time working with KCSA, Susan Prestia, owner at Interior Directions, Allied American Society of Interior Designers, took on four different areas, including a master suite that incorporated a bathroom and sleeping porch. She chose soft yellows and neutrals, and grass-cloth wallpaper in the master bedroom. “My main goal when designing a master bedroom is it should be both masculine and feminine because it has to be appealing to both sides,” she says.
Add to that a two-way mirror housing a small TV in the bathroom’s medicine cabinet and rectangular mirrors lining the insides of the bedroom window frames (“It’s an optical illusion making the windows appear larger, plus it reflects daylight,” Prestia adds), and the room does its job.
Throughout the house, from the hide-away third floor full of nooks and angles to the you’ve-got-to-touch-it-to-believe-it basement floor and everywhere in between, a lot of creative talent exists under one roof this spring.
The Kansas City Symphony Designers’ Showhouse, 47 W. 53rd St., Kansas City, Mo., is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Lunch is available in the café and you can shop in the accompanying boutique. Free appetizers, wine and beverage tastings, and live music are offered on Thursday evenings. For ticket information, visit showhouse.org.
Photography by Edmée Rodriguez-Hasler