A First Look Inside Nell Hill’s Showstopping Room at the KCSA Designer’s Showhouse 

Around here, there are certain design projects that I look forward to year after year, and this is one of them. We are in the installation stage of an exciting undertaking that I just couldn’t wait to share, so I thought I’d give everyone a sneak peek! I sat down with Design Manager, Carlie, to walk through the design for the 54th Kansas City Symphony Alliance Designers’ Showhouse. As we talked through the space, Carlie shared the design team’s vision for the room and the inspiration behind each carefully curated detail. From the color palette to the furniture selections, every element was thoughtfully chosen to create a harmonious and inviting atmosphere. Join me as we take a behind-the-scenes look at the creative process and see how our team brings this vision to life.

Kansas City Symphony Alliance 

The Symphony Designers’ Showhouse is a Kansas City tradition and one of the longest running Showhouses in the country. Sponsored by the Kansas City Symphony Alliance (KCSA), the project is a benefit for the Kansas City Symphony. Local designers are selected to transform each room of the home into a design showplace. The finished Showhouse is typically open to the public in the spring.  

Nell Hill’s loves to support the symphony in their fundraising efforts for many reasons. It’s a great organization that means so much to Kansas City, of course, and it holds a special place in my heart as I have a number of wonderful childhood memories enriched by the symphony’s presence.  It also allows us to be part of Kansas City’s rich historical neighborhoods and show off our amazing Design Team. It truly is a win-win! 

The 2024 Designer Showhouse 

If winding streets, treed lots, and historic homes are your cup of tea, you’re going to love the 54th Symphony Designer’s Showhouse. The three-story, 4,176 square foot, 5-bedroom house is located in the Roanoke Historic District, one of Kansas City’s oldest and first officially planned suburbs. Designed by prominent architect George Matthews and built circa 1900, the heavy, rough-hewn limestone exterior complements its wooded setting on the graceful curve of the road on a bluff overlooking a park. Its rustic elements can be seen in the steeply pitched roof and arched radiating voussoirs (wedge-shaped stone used in the arches) above the windows. 

Of note, one of its former occupants was the renowned artist Thomas Hart Benton, who rented the house from 1936 to 1939 before purchasing a home nearby. Benton and his wife hosted famed artists Grant Wood, John Steuart Curry and Jackson Pollock, among others. (You can read more about the home at the KCSA website, here!) 

We knew right away that the Primary Bedroom was the perfect backdrop for a Nell Hill’s design. One look at the original emerald green fireplace was all we needed to fall in love with the space and spark the design concept. Carlie says, “When you walk into the space and immediately get inspired by the possibilities, I knew this was the room for us!” The “hero fabric” almost immediately popped into her head and the design concept was born.  

The Design Process 

We love being a part of the KCSA Symphony Showhouse – this is our third year participating. Thankfully, they’ve being doing this a long time, and have made the process run smoothly year after year! Nearly a year before the unveiling of the finished project, local designers tour the house and submit a bid-board on the space they would like to transform.  Think of a bid-board as a moodboard, an important step in the design process. The symphony has a committee that then chooses who will design what spaces from the anonymous boards that were submitted.  

After we walked the home and decided on our favorite space, we headed straight to Nell Hill’s to begin concepting out the bedroom design. Inspired by the hero fabric, an Asian-influenced red floral design, we brought together a symphony of texture and color to create a finished design that is both elegant and bold.  Bedrooms are a great opportunity for us to highlight all the custom options Nell Hill’s provides; from bedding to window treatments and upholstery, to the furniture and finishings, we can do it all. 

The Design Install 

In early March, design install at the Symphony Showhouse began. In the months since our bid-board had been selected for the primary bedroom of the home, we were hard at work finalizing the details for the room. Custom bedding was designed and sent to the Nell Hill’s workroom to be brought to life. A testament to their teamwork, the resulting custom duvet and pillow collection came together marvelously. No detail was overlooked in this lovely bedscape. I can’t wait to share more details about the bedding when we unveil the final design on the blog in April!  

It takes a team to execute a design like this, and I may be a tad biased, but ours at Nell Hill’s is the absolute best. 😉 Among those team members is Dillon, our resident gallery wall extraordinaire. Dillon is on every design install we do, helping to put the finishing touches on the room. In this design, his eye was especially useful in the execution of the gallery wall.  

One walk of the showroom floor and it’s evident that Nell Hill’s has captured the essence of the gallery wall (again, biased). One key tip for designing a captivating gallery wall is to curate a diverse collection of artwork that reflects your personal style and interests. Mix and match different sizes, shapes, and mediums to create visual interest and dimension. Consider incorporating a variety of frames as well, from sleek and modern to ornate and vintage, to add texture and depth to your display. By layering pieces with varying heights and orientations, you can achieve a dynamic and balanced composition that draws the eye in and invites exploration. 

In wrapping up our sneak peek into the design process of the Symphony Designer’s Showhouse, I can’t help but feel a sense of anticipation and excitement for what’s to come. While we can’t share all the “beauty shots” just yet, I love being able to share a bit about the meticulous planning and creative vision that goes into curating each stunning space. From the careful selection of furniture and fabrics to the thoughtful consideration of every detail, it’s clear that our team at Nell Hill’s are crafting something truly extraordinary. As we eagerly await the grand reveal, I’m reminded of the transformative power of design to inspire and delight. Stay tuned as we continue to follow the journey of the Symphony Designer’s Showhouse – there’s undoubtedly much more beauty and inspiration in store! Until next time – happy decorating!