A few weeks ago, I toured the 46th Symphony Designers’ Showhouse at 96 Janssen Place in Central Hyde Park before area designers set upon it with buckets of paint and fancy furnishings.
Jan Downs, Showhouse designer chairwoman, ushered me into the empty home, noting that its exterior is colonial revival while its interior is arts-and-crafts. She pointed to yards and yards of beautiful mahogany trim and milk and leaded glass windows throughout the first floor of the large, gracious home.
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Some rooms still showed vestiges of the home’s time as the Symphony Showhouse 15 years ago, such as gold and silver brush strokes on burgundy walls in the foyer and a hand-painted mural of Alice in Wonderland on all four walls of a third-floor bedroom.
Ethan Allen designers have already painted over the foyer walls, but designer and real estate agent Bruce Sondern is having to pull together decor that matches the fantastical mural in the bedroom. The owner didn’t want it painted over.
The owners of last year’s showhouse, just off Ward Parkway, picked the paint palette for all the rooms before turning them over to designers. The result was consistency and an elegant flow. So showhouse organizers decided to do that again this year.
Downs picked a dusky arts-and-crafts palette based on marsala, Pantone’s color of the year, though not as intense.
“We don’t want to be trendy, we want to be trending,” she said. “We’d like to keep the historical integrity but make the colors a little fresher. So we won’t be using neon tangerine or anything like that.
“Coincidentally, when we looked through the designs, it’s like they channeled each other. You don’t want every room all celadon, but if it’s in one room, another designer might carry it into another room as an accent. And that’s sort of what happened.”
Design boards in several rooms showed designs that mix modern and traditional furnishings into fresh combinations. Rick Ingenthron and Blake Craghead of Antiques & Interiors showed the dining room with a $10,000 Belgian crystal chandelier, pewter patterned wallpaper, bleached wood furniture and Lucite dining chairs with seats covered in gray mohair.
Troy Moore and Kelly Stripling of Madi Mali Homes are redoing the library off the back of the living room by painting the walls black above the original leaded-glass, mahogany bookshelves. The boards showed a large brass globe light above a desk, fur rug, Wassily chair and Louis Ghost chair.
The showhouse will be open to the public May 9 to June 7. Tickets are $15 and available online at Showhouse.org.
Spring Parade of Homes
Speaking of touring homes, your chance to tour 340 spanking-new ones for free is coming up as the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City kicks off its Spring Parade of Homes April 25.
Newer trends include wireless security systems; speakers and surround sound, indoors and out; blown — rather than batt — insulation, which improves the home’s R value and is better at eliminating air infiltration; large kitchens with huge farmhouse tables and islands that eliminate the need for formal dining rooms; outdoor living spaces with fireplaces, television sets, sinks, cabinets, granite countertops and built-in gas grills; and tubless master bathrooms where the extra space is devoted to elbow room or a larger bedroom closet.
Homes on the tour range from $179,000 to $1.79 million and will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. through May 10.
You can search for types of houses based on price, location, floor plans, builder and subdivisions at KCParadeofHomes.com, or, starting April 20, pick up a free ParadeGuide book at the HBA office at Interstate 435 and Holmes Road.