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Some designer showhouse, Kansas City. Where's the kitchen?

Watch how designers transformed this Kansas City colonial mansion

As the 49th Symphony Designers' Showhouse, the 5,034-square-foot colonial mansion, built in 1915, has been transformed by 19 area designers in the past few months. The house is open to the public April 21-May 13.
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As the 49th Symphony Designers' Showhouse, the 5,034-square-foot colonial mansion, built in 1915, has been transformed by 19 area designers in the past few months. The house is open to the public April 21-May 13.

Debbie Henry has a complaint about this year's Kansas City Symphony Designers' Showhouse. It has no kitchen.

Not in all her 20-plus years of touring these showcase homes with her mom had the Carrollton, Mo., resident seen anything like it.

Three floors. Some 20 rooms. And nowhere to so much as boil an egg. People ate food in 1915 when the colonial house on the corner was built, didn't they?

"My mother and I were very disappointed. Usually the kitchen's the big selling point. Kitchens and bathrooms are what you want to see," Henry said. "We've been going for 20-some years, and they've always had kitchens done."

Henry turned to Facebook with her complaint. She got an apology and an unsatisfying answer.

"In regards to the kitchen, that room is being renovated by the homeowners separately and is not part of the official tour. If you were not informed of this when you checked in, we apologize," the Kansas City Symphony Alliance reply on Facebook said in part.

Of course, the alliance wanted and expected the kitchen to be part of the tour, said Kate Hodel, who is the public relations chair for the alliance. The homeowners had contracted to have the kitchen remodeled, independent of the alliance's work with designers for the tour. But the kitchen work didn't get done.

Hodel said the alliance contracts with designers for the other rooms went well. Visitors still will see the creativity and work of a cadre of designers — one for the foyer, another for the master suite, another for the study, etc. — while supporting a good cause.

These annual tours have been a staple of Kansas City social life since 1970 and have generated more than $5 million in contributions to the Kansas City Symphony, according to the Kansas City Symphony Alliance that puts on the event.

Showhouse tour tickets cost $20 in advance, $25 at the door. The tour of the Kansas City home at 445 W. 56th St. runs through Sunday, and a brunch is available at an additional cost on Mother's Day.

Kitchens always have been part of the tour, at least as long as Henry has been going. This year, the kitchen and its designer were listed along with all the other rooms and their designers at the alliance's website.

"It's been very embarrassing to us," said Kathy Weiss of Midwest Design & Home Remodeling LLC, listed as the designer for the kitchen and an adjacent hearth room.

Weiss said the company has done work on showhouse homes since 2011, but personal matters disrupted the job this year.

It means Henry, her mom and thousands of others who tour the home found an empty space instead of a kitchen. No cabinets or appliances, just drywall, dust and tour officials explaining that the kitchen isn't part of the tour.

Guests, however, must traverse the empty kitchen space to reach other parts of the tour.

The showhouse is featured in a glossy, 72-page magazine, filled with photos of the foyer, library, sun room, 'tween suite, master bath and closet, lady's office, early-bird room, night-owl retreat and other rooms. Readers even get a look at the washer and dryer in the laundry room adjacent to the beverage hall.

Kitchen pictures? Nope. There is a photo of two renderings propped up on easels to show what the kitchen would have looked like.

Another sign of disruption shows up in the magazine's photo of the kitchen's designers. Someone blacked out the faces of two of the five people pictured and their names printed below the photo.

Hodel said the photo had been taken from last year's showhouse magazine in error and the individuals should not have been included with Midwest Design & Remodel this year.

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