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We're Not in Kansas Anymore

If I ever decide to move away from the hustle and bustle of New York, I'm moving to Kansas City! The city and it's residents are so gracious and warm that of course I had a wonderful weekend from the very first moment. I wish I traveled to the midwest more often because Midwest Airlines is hands down the best domestic airline. USAirways could learn a few things from them!

There was one small glitch. The hotel had no record of my reservation when I arrived and were also sold out for Friday night so David Jimenez, who I had plans with me that night, was a lifesaver and welcomed me into his beautiful home. I have to tell you that this was actually a good thing since he is the most wonderful host and his home is better than most 5-star hotels!

I can say with all sincerity that David is one of the nicest people I have ever met and also one of the most talented. His eye for design and detail is unmatched! I loved peeking into all the rooms and was blown away time and time again.

Above is the bedroom in which I slept like a baby! I was definitely taking notes for my design work!

The reason for my trip to Kansas City was to attend the Kansas City Home Design magazine Design Excellence Awards for which I was a judge. It was a tough task and there were a lot of entrants but one stood out among all the rest and that was the work of John Rufenacht Associates, above. I had no idea who that was at the time but I was very impressed by what I saw and learned. It was clear that this was someone with great design style.

John Rufenacht below, is a legendary designer in Kansas City and he was honored with the Edward Tanner Lifetime Achievement Award for Interior Design. The award is named after the noted architect, Edward Tanner, who designed most of the buildings of Country Club Plaza many of which have a Spanish style. My driver said that the legend is that it was because his mistress was from Seville and she was homesick and wanted to return to Spain so in order to prevent her from leaving, he designed the buildings to look like Seville.
John Rufenacht is not only a talented interior designer but is also the founder of Dining by Design. I think a lot of New Yorkers would be surprised to know that this wonderful event was begun in Kansas City more than fifteen years ago and has become the "signature event for DIFFA chapters nationwide." I very much enjoyed meeting Mr. Rufenacht and his partner, Richard Lara, who were both so lovely and gracious and I look forward to seeing what he does next!

After seeing the art that David Jimenez borrowed from Christopher Filley Antiques for his Dining by Design table this year, I knew it was the first place I wanted to visit. And thanks to my driver who had time before his next pick-up, it was! I almost cried when I got there though and it was closed so it was serendipitous timing that Christopher's partner, Rich, drove up at the same moment! I was very disappointed not to meet Christopher as well but he was recovering from a recent illness.

The shop alone is reason enough to plan a trip to KC! It is chock full of amazing art and artifacts and objects. They carry a large selection of African and Asian pieces but it was the art that Rich was patient enough to show me. I picked out a lot of amazing works for the Bachelor Pad including some beautifully framed etchings and the Gloucester Harbor painting above by Lester Gillette that will be perfect in the bedroom. I could have spent all day poking around this amazing shop and if you ever find yourself in KC, run don't walk to Christopher Filley!

Next door, is Suzanne Cooper Antiques. Suzanne is a character and is wonderfully knowledgeable. She and her husband also live in England so many of her pieces are English like the amazing framed architectural plates above. If I hadn't already spent a boatload of money at Christopher's, I might have bought those too, although she doesn't ship so I would have no idea how I would have gotten them home!

I did buy some lovely silver spoons that I couldn't pass out. The funny thing is that there was another New Yorker in the shop who was there with her mother-in-law who lives in KC. Small world.

This cute little garden was across the street and I couldn't resist taking a photos. I was very disappointed that the art shop on the corner without a name wasn't open. They had a lot of beautiful works in the window.

Saturday night, I was treated to a dinner party at the amazingly beautiful home of Zim Loy, the editor of the wonderful interior design magazine, Kansas City Spaces. I first came into contact with Zim when I posted a photo of David Jimenez's bathroom on my blog. She put me into contact with David and the rest is history. The co-hostess of the evening was another friend of David's who I got to know through my blog, Merrily Jackson. Merrily writes an entertaining and etiquette column in Spaces and after reading all her back stories, I definitely think someone should give this woman a book deal! I think I'm going to see what I can do to help make that happen! Emily Post has nothing on Merrily! I wish I had taken more photos of Zim's warm and welcoming home, shown above and below! It really was to die for! And the next time I have to choose paint colors, I'm calling her first!

The rest of the guests were no slouches either! It was a talented mix of creative people including Patricia Shackelford, who is an interior designer and blogger otherwise known as Mrs. Blandings. It was so fun to finally meet her in person and Maison21 is so jealous! (Ha!) Dan Nilson, owner of Bishop McCann, a global meeting and incentive travel/events company based in Kansas City, was sweet enough to pick up the non-driving New Yorker and ferry her to the party! (Thanks Dan!). Doug Wells, an interior designer who's firm, Kyle Wells Design, designed a Buenes Aires pied-a-terre that is featured in the June/July 2008 issue of Spaces. I also enjoyed chatting with Leslie Goldhahn, who used to live in NYC, and her boyfriend, Darren Mark. Leslie is in school at the moment studying interior design and I can already tell she'll make a great one! More people showed up for dessert, more on that later, who's names escape me at the moment but I hope will all keep in touch and look me up the next time they are in NYC!

Again, I cannot tell you how fabulous Kansas City and it's residents are! I enjoyed my trip immensely and thanks again to Kansas City Home Design magazine for making it all happen!


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