51st Showhouse

2020 Tour Dates - May 16 through May 31

The house was built in 1909 in the Colonial Revival style.  The architect was Louis Curtiss, and it was built for Frank Brumback, an attorney, and his wife, Louise Upton Brumback, an artist who enjoyed painting seascapes at Gloucester, Massachusetts.  She even painted seaside murals on some walls of their Kansas City home about 1919, but they no longer exist.  The home maintains original chandeliers in Mrs. Brumback’s studio which also has dark exposed beams.  The builder was R. N. Tibbits.

Occupants  of the home in the 1920s were John R. Crowe, Jr. of the Crowe Coal and Mining Company; Jouett Shouse, an attorney specializing in federal tax law and a former member of the U. S. House of Representatives from Kansas’ 7th district; and Stephen Velie, grandson of John Deere and vice president of the John Deere Company in the West Bottoms.

In the 1930s the home was owned by Earle and Laura Jennings and later by Charles C. Peters, who was Secretary of Emery, Bird and Thayer department store.

In the 1940s the owners were Ernest and Hattie Stackhouse.  He was foreman for Aircraft Accessories.

In the 1950s Mrs. Frances E. Wells, widow of John Wells, lived in the home.

By the 1960s and 70s the house was occupied by young professionals on a shared basis.  Luckily the house was not subdivided into apartments, but the bedrooms on the third floor had numbers over the doors for rental purposes.  For a time it was known as the Watson Boarding House, and many TWA personnel spent time there between flights.

In the 1980s the house was returned to single family occupancy by the family of Merl  Desmarteau under the direction of Raylene Scott, and the children attended Notre Dame de Sion school.

In the 1990s the house was owned by Thomas Ireland and Edward Thornton who were noted for furnishing the house with beautiful antiques.  Later in the 90s they shared some of the extra bedrooms with young teachers at the Academie Lafayette who made this their home away from home because several of them were from France and Canada.  They especially enjoyed the Christmas parties which made it seem like home.  There is a chandelier in the dining room which came from the Glenwood Manor Hotel in Overland Park before it was torn down.  Ireland and Thornton added a front patio with concrete cast balustrades and also added the swimming pool and wrought iron fence.  The front gate with the letter “C” was brought from England, and it was a remembrance of the family of Edward C. Thornton.  Mr. Thornton died while living here.

Since the early 2000s Eric Vianello and Andrea Skowronek have enjoyed the home and are making it available for the 51st Symphony Designers’ Showhouse.  Andrea is a professional dancer who recently retired from the City in Motion Dance Theater.  In 1995 she became Artistic Co-Director, choreographing many original works for the company.  Currently she is a faculty member at St. Teresa’s Academy, where she teaches dance and yoga.  Eric’s father is Hugo Vianello, a former associate conductor of the Kansas City Philharmonic (now Kansas City Symphony).  Eric’s specialty is conceiving and launching businesses in the internet and publishing fields.  We thank them for allowing us to create our 51st Symphony Designers’ Showhouse in historic Hyde Park.

-Beverly Shaw, House Historian