The Greater Kansas City Home Show – My Recap

This past weekend Kansas City hosted it’s annual Greater Kansas City Home Show.  In past years this event has hosted such celebrity guest speakers as Chip and Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s Fixer Upper and Johnathan and Drew Scott from HGTV’s Property Brothersand showcases local vendors of home goods and services.  A fun addition to this year’s show was the Strawberry Swing Indie Craft Fair “pop-up” featuring 40 artisans and makers.

After going through three renovations in our current home (and because I am such a home decor and design nerd) I really can’t believe that I had never been to the Home Show before. However all that changed this year when I learned that the featured guest speaker was going to be Jeff Lewis from Bravo’s Flipping Out!  Believe me, when I heard that news I did a little flipping out of my own.  Especially when I learned that you could buy a ticket that included a meet and greet!

I have been an avid fan of Jeff Lewis’s work since I started watching his show from the first season almost 10 years ago.  To have the opportunity to hear him speak on design, and other topics, and actually meet and speak with him in person was a real moment for me, and my husband who has watched the show along with me all these years!

Not only did we have the opportunity to listen to Jeff Lewis speak, we also had the pleasure of hearing three of Kansas City’s own very talented designers/renovators, Jennifer Bertrand, Tamara Day and Ward Schraeder, speak as well.  I’ve rounded up some of the points made in each presentation, little decor tips and suggestions, to pass along to you!

Photo: Courtney Payne

First up was Jennifer Bertrand, winner of HGTV’s Design Star and host of Paint Over! with Jennifer Bertrand and owner of a Kansas City based design firm.  Jennifer pulled some major duty at the Home Show this year, not only presenting as a featured speaker, but also acting as emcee and having the enviable task of interviewing Jeff Lewis for his presentation.

My favorite takeaways from Jennifer’s presentation included topics ranging from countertops to wallpaper.  In countertops, a trend that has gained momentum is thickness of countertop material, primarily seen in the kitchen. Standard kitchen counter thickness ranges from 1 1/4″ to 1 3/4″, but more and more often people are requesting thicker than average countertops.

Photo: Noha Hassan Designs

While this trend does make for an impressive look to your kitchen, it can become very pricey very quickly.  However, Jennifer offered up a solution to that problem with mitering the edge of the countertop.  This means that the actual thickness of your countertop material is standard with a mitered frame placed around the sides.  This gives the countertops the appearance of looking like a thicker slab.

Photo: Courtney Payne

Another hot trend Jennifer spoke of is wallpaper.  Wallpaper has made a big comeback in home decor in transforming a space.  Whether it is being used in an entire room, or as a statement wall, wallpaper can make quite an impact in your space.  Jennifer noted that, if you aren’t ready to take the plunge with wallpaper but still love the look, there are many beautiful and unique vinyl decals available that can mimic the look of wallpaper.

If you Google “vinyl wall decals” you will find many options to choose from Wayfair, to to Etsy and more.   I personally like the idea of removable wallpaper for those of us who love the look but are afraid to commit.  Some great sources are Walls Need Love and Livettes.

Photo: Courtney Payne

The next guest speakers were Ward Schraeder and Tamara Day of DIY Network’s Bargain Mansions.  

In discussing where you should splurge and where you should save in your home, Tamara recommends investing in the items that you won’t change as frequently, such as countertops, tile and cabinetry.  Her father, Ward Schraeder, offered up some very practical advice in the “splurge” department.  He advised not to skimp when it comes to your home’s foundation.  He recommended to choose a good, reputable company in order to ensure your home’s longevity.

In talking about decor trends, Tamara turned to the topic of color.  She said that she is loving black in kitchens right now, having recently finished a project with black kitchen cabinets.  “Black is the new white for kitchens,” she said.  The pair also spoke of how neutrals such as white and grey are still big in home decor but they are seeing beige make a comeback and being incorporated more into color palettes for the home.

In discussing a trend that she would like to see fade away, “chevron,” she said.  Although she does like the similar pattern in herringbone flooring, she does not like how overused chevron has become in home decor.

Photo: Courtney Payne

Tamara is also a fan of open shelving in kitchens. She said she finds open shelving inviting.  She spoke of entertaining in the home and how open shelving allows for guests to come in, grab a glass and feel at home.

For you Kansas City locals, Tamara and Ward provided some great local retailers and sources that they turn to in their projects.  The list includes: Wilson Lighting , Rock Tops Granite & Stone Fabrication , Daltile , Habitat for Humanity of Kansas City ReStore , Restoration Emporium and Davis Paint.

Jeff Lewis rounded up the presentations and as we were not allowed to take pictures during the presentation, you get this photo of me smiling like an idiot because I was so excited to meet him.

Jeff Lewis began his presentation talking a bit about his Bravo tv show, Flipping Out.  He explained that each episode of his show takes two weeks to film.  “It is a true documentary show,” he said.  Therefore, each season takes a considerable amount of time to film.  He also noted that, in some “reality shows,” producers often provide an itinerary for the characters in the show to follow.  Such as to be camera-ready at a certain time of day for lunch with a certain person, all set up by the show’s production.  He insisted that his show did not operate in this manner.  “We provide the producers with our schedule for each day and they work around what we are doing,” he said.  He said that this ensures his shows authenticity vs. other programs in a similar genre.

In transitioning his talk towards design, he stated that his personal style has changed throughout the years.  He said that when he was starting out, his style was very modern and sleek with a lot of cement and minimal decor.  “It was a style for a particular client,” he said, “basically younger, single men.”  However as his life has changed over the years, so has his style.  He described his current style as much more transitional and layered.

In discussing design trends he began by talking about granite.  He said he likes to use granite in his designs, but a monotone granite vs. the traditional speckled granite.  He also likes the different finishes that are available for granite.  He said he is steering away from sleek and shiny in favor of honed, matte finishes.  See examples on Houzz .

He also spoke of his fondness for Carrara Marble, although it is often not a durable choice for kitchens.  To remedy this issue he has been recently been using, and liking, a porcelain material that looks like Carrara Marble.  You can find examples Here . In using this porcelain material you can enjoy the look of marble without the hassle of durability issues.

In discussing color palettes for the home, Mr. Lewis stated that neutrals are still on trend.  Whites and greys remain the most popular he said but, as echoed by Tamara Day and Ward Schraeder, beige is popping up more frequently.

I had the opportunity to ask Mr. Lewis the first question in the Q & A portion of his presentation and I dove right in with my hot button topic of mixing metal finishes.  As I have previously discussed in this space, while I love the trend of brass hardware, I have a hard time placing it next to stainless steel and polished chrome appliances, faucets, etc.

I can happily report that I am not alone in this issue as Jeff Lewis stated that he also struggles with this design challenge.  He recommended sticking with no more than two different metal finishes in one room in order to keep the look cohesive.  I believe I can now put this internal issue to rest.  If two metal finishes in a space is given the thumbs up by Jeff Lewis then it is good with me!

When asked what sources he turns to for influence and inspiration he said that it is probably the same as everyone else, blogs and magazines.  Some of the sources that he lists as personal favorites are: blog Cococozy , Houzz , House Beautiful , and Architectural Digest.  Although he did mention that while he finds Architectural Digest beautiful, he does feel that it presents rather unattainable options for most people, himself included.

Mr. Lewis left his audience of design enthusiasts and fans with a few words of advice in approaching design and style in your own home.  “Stick with neutrals for longevity,” he said. He also advised to always be aware of the floorplan, flow and natural light of your space as those elements are the most important ones that he addresses in his own personal projects.

If you are a fan, enthusiast, professional or DIY’er in the area of home decor and design then I highly recommend making a trip to next years Greater Kansas City Home Show.  I left with some great tips and resources for future projects.  And, I mean, I got to meet Jeff Lewis!  Are you kidding me?

I also want to mention how personable and genuinely nice the guest speakers were.  I had the opportunity to speak for a bit with Kansas City’s Jennifer Bertrand and she could not have been more lovely.

Photo: Dylan Payne

My husband and I spoke at length to Gage Edward as we waited for our Jeff Lewis meet and greet.  He was extremely nice, tall, and had great shoes!  We swapped stories of having a baby with colic (something we both have had the misfortune of experiencing) and it was like talking to a long-time friend.

Photo: Gage Edward

When we had our one-on-one time with Jeff Lewis we again shared colic war stories and, again, it was like having a conversation with someone we had known for a long time.

Photo: Jeff Lewis

And yes, Jeff Lewis did take this photo with my phone!  And yes, I am a super-nerd for telling you that.  But I’m OK with it.





















  1. March 30, 2018 / 8:01 am

    What an awesome experience! Thanks for addressing the mixed metal question with Jeff. I have often wondered what the experts say. Very helpful as we begin our kitchen remodel.

  2. Michaele Moretz Sosinski
    March 30, 2018 / 1:20 pm

    Next year I will join you @ the home show! BTW, I have brass and copper with stainless appliances – you’ll have to see it. I think it works because I have mixed metals all over…but it wouldn’t work in everyone’s home.

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