A Match Made in Design Heaven: Nell Hill’s and Grace & Nell!  

I just returned from fabric market, where Zoe, our fabric department manager, and I were sourcing new fabrics for 2025, if you can believe it (and let’s just say gold has returned, paisley is back, and bold and funky stripes are having their moment)!  Attending market is always a whirlwind of appointments and visual overload, but we made sure to have a little fun too! We enjoyed our time together, laughed lots, and even celebrated Zoe’s birthday with a night of bowling while we were there (what can I say, we like to get crazy 😉).  

I always miss my boys at home while I’m away, but of course, there is something special about time spent with gal pals. And on the plane ride home, I found myself feeling immensely grateful for the brilliant strong women that I am surrounded by each day, whether as friends, at work, or through partnerships. It is in that spirit of gratitude that I’m elated to highlight one such special partnership.  

Recently on the blog, we announced an exciting new partnership with Lauren Browne, and gave you a sneak peek at Lauren’s personal home that doubles as her showhouse for her building company, Grace & Nell Homes. I recently had the opportunity to catch up with Lauren and learn more about her, her company, and what drew her to Nell Hill’s.  

For Lauren, a third-generation home builder, the idea of starting her own building company someday was always there.  Her dad and grandfather were home builders here in Kansas City, and as a result, she literally grew up on jobsites. Luckily for her, growing up, going to work with her dad was her absolute favorite thing.  By high school, she officially worked summers and after school in the business, and after graduating from college, she went to work in the family business full time. After her son was born, she stayed home full time until her daughter came along a couple years later.  

“I knew I loved home building, but also wondered if the love was because that’s all I knew. I had an opportunity to work for a Fortune 500 company and decided to give it a try. It was a rewarding experience, but ultimately, I missed the creativity involved with home building,” Lauren remembered.  

Founded to elevate the client experience of homeownership whether building new or remodeling an existing home, Lauren started Grace & Nell Homes for the love of design. “Everywhere I turned it felt like the same types of homes were being built on repeat, and the variation in beautiful architecture is what makes for long standing communities.” Equally, she recognized the build quality and overall client experience was lacking and knew there was a better way. As a result, her build standards far exceed the industry norms.  

This year, Lauren was asked to join the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City 2024 Artisan Home Tour, a showcase of Kansas City’s finest custom home builders and one-of-a-kind homes. She was honored to be asked to participate, and recognized she needed a partner who had the ability fully furnish the home who possessed an equal love for timeless design and exceptional quality. Nell Hill’s was a natural fit!  

One read through Lauren’s design thesis sold the project completely.  

The design thesis for the Artisan Home is to combine new with an old world collected feel. This can be achieved through light and rich wood tones found in antiques combined with fresh, crisp upholstery and pops of color with art and accessories. Wide plank European white oak wood floors will run throughout the entire home, including the Primary Suite, Bathroom, and Double Closet spaces. The cabinets will be inset with a combination of metal finishes including polished nickel and unlacquered brass fixtures. 

The second floor will bespeak a more whimsical vibe through the secondary bedrooms. They should be targeted toward a tween/older young adult age range. The lower level will feature a golf simulator, iron and glass combination walls, theater wall, and wet bar/banquette seating combination. My vision is to showcase more modern furnishings with rounded features, use of velvets and deep fabrics tones to compliment black and unlacquered brass fixtures. 

After deciding to join forces, our amazing design team got to work, selecting favorite spaces and creating vision boards both working independently to design gorgeous individual spaces and collaboratively to ensure each space flows seamlessly into the next. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase what our talented team of designers can do!

At the show house, finishings are in full swing. Painters are wrapping up in the next week. (If I’ve learned anything from my personal home construction journey, you don’t rush details like that, trust me!) And at the shop, furniture that was finalized months ago is starting to take up some serious space in the warehouse! Bedding designs, draperies, and pillows have been sent to the workroom and are in production, all on track for an installation date in July, ready for the opening of the tour on August 9th.

Lauren has worked closely with Carlie, our Design Manager, and the entire design team throughout the course of this project. “Every aspect of working with Carlie and the design team has been a fantastic experience. Working with a designer was so helpful to give ideas or recommendations when I felt stuck in certain areas.” Lauren said of the process.  

I’ll continue to chronicle the entire process on the blog – there is so much more to show you! Follow along as I introduce our design team and share the looks we’ve curated for each space in this special home, share tour updates and finally, give you a photograph tour of the home when the project has come to a close. But don’t wait for that series – be sure to mark your calendars and get your tickets to come see the house and all of the other homes on the tour in person. Nothing beats the experience of walking through homes in person! And, proceeds from this initiative go towards a great cause – Habitat for Humanity of Kansas City! Until next time – happy decorating!