Last weekend, I conned Aaron into a hike through the Greater Kansas City Home Show at the downtown convention center. Let’s be real: he definitely wanted to go, at first. Then – five minutes in – he saw my inner Joanna Gains make friends with the grass seed guys. Pretty sure he knew right then and there that he’d live to regret this decision.
The Home Show has this way of taking everything you didn’t know you needed for your house and putting it directly in front of you in a way that screams, “YOU WERE DESTINED TO BE AN INTERIOR DESIGN GODDESS.” Of course, if you end up sucked into the soul of the Backyard Oasis you know deep down inside that you’re also an exterior design goddess.
Being Spring, that’s the part that grabbed every last bit of my attention (and subsequently, my wallet). But, let me tell you this: there are ginormous pros to taking your Realtor to the Home Show. While my eyes were ready to throw down cash on every bell and whistle – Aaron was quite practically ringing in my ear with a “that’s going to have terrible resell value.”
You’re dying to know what he nixed, right?
1. DO invest in good fencing.
We just so happen to be in the market for a fence. While we want to be creative, we are also shopping for quality. It turns out, just because a fence is pricy, doesn’t make it worthwhile. At the Home Show, we looked at steel, aluminum, wood and vinyl fencing all side by side. You could literally feel the quality differences between them.
Aaron has also cautioned against getting too wild and crazy with my fence plans. While trendy designs and different looks are fun for a minute – stability, engineering and longevity may be sacrificed in order to create them. The biggest bang for the buck is to invest in a high-quality aluminum or wood fence in a timeless look. Then, make plans to maintain it appropriately to keep it looking gorgeous for years to come.
2. DO add a garden shed. DON’T get crazy about it.
The numero uno trend at this season’s Home Show? Glamour sheds.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a good dining space. I also love a good reading nook, a treehouse hangout or covered patio. But, dear friends. Dear, sweet, funny friends – read my words: sheds are not any of those things.
The garden sheds at the Home Show spotlighted some awesome trending features – specifically, natural light peeking in through tiny windows, vaulted ceilings and lush landscaping hiding them away. Where it all was completely lost on me was the endless barrage of dining spaces and picture-perfect table settings, glittery mirrors and over-the-top centerpieces…in the middle of the “backyard!” Ladies and gents, we live in a sauna. I can personally guarantee you’re not going to sit in that thing sampling vintage wines and eating roast duck in the middle of July.
Your Realtor (and mine) says to put that space to much more financially practical use as traditionally intended – lawn storage. Hide away yard clutter, store deck chairs or shelter your lawn mower. The fact of the matter remains: the more specialized, the less resell power it’s likely to hold. You can’t list that shed as a second outdoor dining room – so keep the space as flexible as possible.
3. DO shop local.
Time and time again, Strawberry Swing and its amazing local vendors blow me away with awesome handmade art, curiosities, decor and more. Their zone at the Home Show was one of my favorites – and despite having perused countless Swings before, this one still packed a few stunning surprises.
Aaron and I both oogled over the seriously stunning work of Jenny Johannsen. Her blends of color, alcohol and acrylic create inspiring canvases and “galaxies” to add a modern punch to your space. We currently have at least half a dozen walls begging for some custom creations.
As always, the crew from Restoration Emporium impressed with gorgeous goods for your home interior. We caught a few bits from their Magnolia Home collection too – which was totally on target for the bulk of styling of the show. Our fearless farm fem – Joanna – strikes again with simple whites, antiqued everythings and precious tea towels you never knew you needed.
4. DON’T go full farmhouse.
The trend is in full swing but it’s important to remember: it is a trend. Trends come and go, but that whitewashed shiplap covering your entire first floor will live for at least the next 30 years until some poor first-time homebuyer looks at it the way you looked at that wood paneling you just ripped out of the “finished” basement.
Still, if that farmhouse feeling is speaking to your soul – embrace the accents of it. Most people eyeballing the trend are most obsessed with the light and airy styling emphasized by open layouts and natural light. Pull back your curtains, open up your space and paint lighter colors. Then, accent with something simple like a barn wood planter or steel wall hanging. You’ll save a small fortune by swapping outdated accent pieces as you get tired of looking at them instead of having to refinish your entire home.
5. DO see what’s new.
The Home Show was a wonderful chance to take off our usual Home Depot goggles and see some fresh ideas that are creeping into our area. We quickly realized that our wintertime projects were overlooking the lawn – and we’ll have to address that very soon. Planning for a new fence, seating areas around a fire pit, refinishing the deck and astro-turfing the backyard will be a serious undertaking as the days get warmer and longer.
Aaron says that knowing what’s ahead can help us to plan budgets, set a project schedule and even leave time to relax and enjoy our home with all its updates. It never fails that our weekend projects end up extending into weeks and before we know it, half of our ideas are still in sketches. Thanks to the Home Show, though, we were able to take inventory of the biggest projects we’re facing this summer and start to build a whole new list of priorities.
That’s the part Aaron’s most excited about – I just know it.