The Healing Chair


Anyone who has personally walked through a serious illness or life-changing event, or walked alongside a friend or family member going through a difficult time, knows how transformative it can be to be able to use the experience to help others who will follow in a similar path. Whether you call it “finding your purpose” or “paying it forward,” turning a difficult time into something beautiful can be an incredibly rewarding experience for both the giver and the receiver.

In the fall of 2015, Amy Taitt, a Kansas City native

and nurse by trade, heard through a friend about The Healing Chair, a nonprofit organization that was making a positive impact for mastectomy patients in the St. Louis area. By loaning patients reclining lift chairs upon returning home from the hospital, The Healing Chair’s mission is to provide comfort, community, support, and encouragement to aid in the women’s healing and recovery.

The Healing Chair was started in St. Louis when a group of women decided to raise money to purchase a lift chair for their friend, Carol Mullinex, after her mastectomy surgery. After experiencing the benefits of the chair during her recovery, Carol decided that other mastectomy patients would also benefit from using it, so she began passing it around town as she heard about someone in need. She soon realized this could be an incredible service to help other women, but could also be the vehicle that would allow her to serve other mastectomy patients in the longer term. She set out to create the service as a nonprofit organization, and The Healing Chair was born.

Intrigued by The Healing Chair’s mission and how much it benefited her friend in St. Louis, Amy realized the need for this service in Kansas City. She immediately reached out to two local friends, Marcia Moroney and Janette Slusher, both breast cancer survivors, to share her excitement about the possibility of bringing the idea to Kansas City. With Marcia and Janette immediately on board, they had a team of three women who were passionate about giving back and helping others, feeling blessed to be able to do so in a very special and unique way.

By October 2015, after contacting the St. Louis founder and working with her to replicate the charity in Kansas City, the team found itself with one chair (seeded from St. Louis), one recipient, and the green light to start a Healing Chair chapter in Kansas City.

Through fundraisers with Tequila Harry’s Mexican Restaurant, Kendra Scott Jewelry, and additional donations from family and friends, the team raised enough money to purchase several chairs, partnered with Crowley Furniture to purchase them at a discount.

By connecting with breast surgeons, plastic surgeons, breast cancer nurse navigators, and local hospitals, launching a Facebook page (The Healing Chair – Kansas City), and sharing about the charity via word of mouth, the requests for chairs started pouring in, and chairs started making the rounds in Kansas City. Today, the charity has 32 chairs in rotation in Kansas City and has helped over 250 women feel loved and encouraged before, during, and after their surgeries.

So how does this work? Once a request for a chair is received, the team contacts the patient to work through details for the delivery, setup, and return of the chair. Chairs are normally loaned out for about 30 days, and, oftentimes, recipients enjoy assisting with delivering the chair to the next recipient.

As important as the chair is to the healing and recovery process, Amy, Marcia, and Janette feel strongly that it’s “more than just a chair” and making a personal connection with each recipient is just as important as the chair itself. Therefore, at least one of them is present for every delivery. In addition to the chair, the recipient also receives a soft, cozy blanket, monogrammed with The Healing Chair logo, hers to keep after she is done using the chair.

In addition, each chair is named in honor of a loved one, organization, or business that sponsored the chair. An accompanying journal travels with each chair, which gives each recipient the opportunity to read the stories of the prior recipients and to journal about her own experience, which then gets passed to the next recipient.

The Healing Chair was the local beneficiary of Kendra Scott’s “buy one, gift one event” last October. At the conclusion of this event, the Kendra Scott organization gifted one piece of jewelry for every piece purchased during the event to The Healing Chair. These pieces of jewelry are then gifted to recipients at the time of the chair delivery.

The Healing Chair is so grateful for the generosity of the Kansas City community through financial support and to the countless volunteers who give of their time to help with deliveries and for fulfilling other needs from time to time.

As difficult as it is to see how many women need the service, it’s been such a blessing to be able to help so many women going through a difficult and scary time.

Your Kitchen, Your Way

by KELSEY CIPOLLA | Portfolio photos by DAWN CONNERS | Roth photos courtesy of ROTH LIVING

With a bevy of state-of-the-art appliances and customizable storage solutions becoming kitchen stars, the current look is less about bowing to what is of the moment and more a reflection how we live, cook, and gather with family and friends — with an eye toward beautiful design, of course.

“It’s all about embracing lifestyle,” says Geri Higgins, owner of Portfolio Kitchen & Home. “It’s not just the aesthetics, it’s the ritual of how we go about things in the most elevated way.”


Higgins distinguishes between trends that are purely of the moment and those that are inspired by a true shift in how people are living and using their homes.

One of those shifts we’re currently experiencing is a renewed interest in cooking, which is in part motivated by a desire to eat healthier, Higgins says

— look no further than the popularity of meal kits like Blue Apron for proof cooking in your home is cool again. As a result, people want their kitchens to deliver the best possible culinary experience.

Denise Manu, vice president of marketing for Roth Living, echoes that sentiment.

“Consumers want quality appliances that are approachable,” she says. “Cooking with precision and confidence is extremely important. Clients demand products that are easy to use with optimal results.”

Roth carries a range of hand-selected appli- ances from brands including Sub-Zero and Wolf. The former offers elegantly crafted refrigerators, freezers, and wine storage units, including highly sought after point-of-use solutions, like refrigera- tor or freezer drawers that can be built into an is- land. Also hot? Wolf’s convection steam ovens that can do everything from bake bread to roast meat to steam veggies perfectly by using digital technology to adjust cooking details.

In short, if you can think up a way to make your day- to-day life easier in the kitchen, there’s now a solution that makes it a reality. All that innovation means your appliances don’t just work differently, they boast an upgraded look, too.

“Technology has changed how function meets aesthetics,” Manu explains, pointing to features like sleek control panels, intuitive interfaces, and smaller appliances with a greater number of capabilities.

Best of all, the current crop of appliances is meant to be incorporated into your design rather than designed around. Manu notes that appliances can now be completely concealed.

As a result, today’s look is clean, Manu says — think long lines and clutter-free spaces inspired by European design. If that feels a little too modern, never fear. She points out that combining sleek materials with vintage pieces is currently trending, just one of many ways to get the technology and feel that’s right for you.

“People are more informed than ever before — clients and design professionals — and the internet provides endless possibilities to find inspiration and a source for materials,” she says. “You can maximize your opportunity to combine a beautiful space with function.”


The function aspect is key, says Higgins, who emphasizes your kitchen should take into consideration your routine, whether that means adding USB ports so you can charge your devices while sipping coffee or embracing an open concept design so guests can mix and mingle over canapes.

That philosophy has homeowners gravitating toward large islands because they can be used for so many purposes, from food preparation to serving to socializing, Higgins says. Range hoods also remain popular because they provide critical ventilation as well as visual impact.

“It becomes an opportunity to make a style statement, be it traditional, modern, contemporary, or even transitional,” she explains.

The designer is also seeing the vast majority of clients opt for easy quartz countertops over marble and granite.

“Marble is always going to be stunning and stately, but now there are so many designs and styles of quartz products that mimic or even look like marble that they’re using those quartz products because marble is so porous and high maintenance,” she says. “They want to have the look without the maintenance issues.”

Marble still has a place in design, but perhaps not where you might expect. In a recent project, Higgins used it to create a focal wall. Although the home is fully equipped with the latest appliances, including a built-in coffee machine that remembers just how you like your java, it feels at once modern and classic because the familiar material is being used in a fresh way. In fact, ensuring classic design elements are represented is part of what allows you to incorporate of-the-moment trends while safeguarding your kitchen’s longevity.

“Good design will nod to or wink at the moment and how people are expressing themselves, but excellent design has a foundation that’s built on not only strong, classic aesthetics, but also good space planning, functionality, and organization,” Higgins says.

Take, for example, the popular farmhouse aesthetic. Rather than covering your kitchen in shiplap, she suggests opting for a reclaimed wood island in a refined white kitchen.

“It’s better to be eclectic and bring in these trends in pieces throughout than go 100 percent in,” the designer says.

As for what’s on the horizon when it comes to kitchen design, “Everyone is becoming more refined and edited right now,” Higgins says.

Expect a continued move toward cleaner, more intentional spaces that focus on a few key design.points and items important in your life — after all, your home should be all about you, not just the latest trends.

Stay Gold


Did you know that Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, has the 14th best fashion program in the world, according to the “Business of Fashion,” London? It is the second time Stephens has received highly sought after ranking recognition from this global industry resource. “We have taken great care to craft our curriculum based on industry feedback and incorporate design thinking to help students learn to create innovative products. We offer classes on fitting, pattern making, and technical design, which are important skills every fashion designer should have a strong grasp of,” said Dr. Monica McMurry, professor and dean of the School of Design. “Our design graduates have to know what certain fabrics are


capable of, what a properly fitted garment should look like, and how to communicate the smallest of production details to a factory that could be halfway across the nation or even on another continent.”

Upon a recent visit to the campus, I was thrilled to see that they offer their student body the latest and greatest in industrial sewing machines and a robust speaker series. In fact, they recently flew in — be still thy heart! — Dame Zandra Rhodes, the 76-year-old British fashion industry icon who designs textiles for renowned fashion houses, like Valentino, and founded the Fashion and Textile Museum in London.

Ami Beck of Dolyn Bags, my Today Spring 2017 fashion editorial feature subject, is a Stephens College alum. Luckily, our Kansas City fashion community benefits from several strong fashion design programs in the metropolitan area and region, which poise us well for another golden era of garment design and manufacturing. Established Kansas City based women’s wear designers Sarah Nelsen graduated from the University of Kansas, Heidi Herrman and Kate Nickols from Kansas State University, and Whitney Manney from Kansas City Art Institute. Each designer exhibits special skillsets that can be traced back to her respective school and teachers; for instance, Sarah, a keen understanding of color and shape; Heidi and Kate, impeccable technical abilities; and Whitney, an intrepid approach to designing her own textiles.

Coming from a family of educators on my maternal side, I have the deepest respect for the teachers and administrators at the aforementioned colleges. I tip my hat to them for their tireless pursuit in creating programs, curricula, and lesson plans that guide people to the jobs of their dreams.

Ami, Sarah, Heidi, Kate, and Whitney, the crème de la crème of Kansas City fashion designers, will be featured at the Rightfully Sewn Golden Gala, on Saturday December 2. Tickets are available at

Kansas City’s Unique Automobile Row


Automobiles have become an important part of American life. We practically live in our cars and most of us couldn’t imagine a day going by without owning at least one. There exists in Kansas City’s history an area once known as “Automobile Row.” This important commercial district was located mainly along Main, Walnut, Grand, McGee, and Locust streets between 11th and 18th streets, during the first half of the 20th century. The area is now commonly known as the East Cross Roads District and has become a part of the city’s “First Fridays” art, commerce, and community scene.

This article explores a particular car dealership that represented a thriving business in Automobile Row, which was located in the Kirkwood Building at 1737 McGee Street. When the building’s construction was completed in 1920, automobiles had only been in production in the United States for 24 years. The Benz Company in Germany was the first to put an automobile into production, a three-wheeler built in 1885. In the United States, there were tinkerers, but no real industry until 1896. Between that time and the early 1920s, the industry in the United States grew from only a few producers to hundreds, many of which began as carriage companies.

When the automobile was introduced, it was a machine only the wealthy could afford. The price, $2,000 to $3,000, represented twice the average salary of a U.S. worker. By the end of World War I, automobile manufacturers produced 1.5 million cars a year, and as the production process became streamlined, the automobile became more affordable to everyone. By the mid-’20s, many working-class people owned automobiles, and innovations such as Henry Ford’s introduction of continuous plate glass made closed cars possible at an affordable price. Closed cars not only allowed passengers to remain clean and dry, a transportation luxury in the beginning of the century, but also created less of a distinction between higher and lower priced cars.

As the economy grew after World War I, automobiles became quite common. By 1920, the United States had 76 cars per 1,000 people. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the population of the United States in 1920 was 106,102,537 people, translating into over 8 million automobiles in the United States. Two million farmers owned automobiles, and by 1922 more than 100,000 suburban homes in the United States were wholly automobile dependent.

From its introduction, the automobile caught on quickly in Kansas City. Only a couple of hundred Kansas Citians owned automobiles when the first car show came to town in 1907, but 20,000 people attended the show. Between 1908 and 1923, the rise of the number of automobiles in Kansas City was staggering. In only 15 years, Kansas City’s motor population had grown from a mere 400 automobiles to 55,000, streets from 300 to 600 miles. The growing number of automobiles was evident from the many new houses built with garages, as well as the new garages that were being added to existing properties. This increase in automobile use allowed the growth of the city to occur several miles south of downtown, because Kansas Citians were no longer dependent on electric streetcars for transportation.

As people bought more cars, the entire automotive industry grew to become a major aspect of Kansas City’s commerce. Early on, automobile makers determined that it was far costlier to ship fully assembled cars to showrooms across the country than to assemble them in regional factories for the regional market. Ford opened a plant in Kansas City in 1912, and a number of carriage manufacturing businesses in the West Bottoms also began the assembly of automobiles, including the Studebaker Company. Furthermore, the wholesaling of cars, parts, and accessories became an integral part of Kansas City’s overall wholesale trade.

Because of the city’s role as a major wholesale distribution center for manufactured goods, the development of a regional center for automotive sales in Kansas City was assured. The rapid growth in automobile use spurred the construction of specialized buildings rated to the sale of automobiles. Businessmen already engaged in other transportation-related sales and services — livery stable, blacksmith shops, and carriage dealers — were among the first dealerships to emerge. By the time automobile business became well established, owners dropped other endeavors and concentrated solely on car and truck sales.

Along with the development of these specialized buildings for auto vending came the birth of a new type of commercial district — Automobile Row. These districts related to the automobile industry and were located in an area just outside of the downtown retail and financial center in order to avoid higher real estate costs.

Kansas City was no exception. According to the 1909 Sanborn Fire Map, the neighborhood around 18th and McGee streets was filled with middle-class housing and related commercial buildings that supported the area. By the mid-1910s, many new commercial buildings were constructed, replacing the housing that had existed there before. By the 1920s, the area was largely commercial and became known as Automobile Row.

As mentioned earlier, one such automobile dealership was located at 1737 McGee Street and was known as the Kirkwood Building, constructed by Irwin Kirkwood, the son-in-law of William Rockhill Nelson, the founder of the Kansas City Star newspaper. Kirkwood developed the building to accommodate two auto-related businesses; each tenant area of the first floor of the building had a separate entrance along with its own wash rack. The main tenant was the Gridley Motor Company and the building’s design boasted a beautifully ornamental plastered display room, a used car department, a repair shop, as well as additional rental space. A mezzanine that was utilized for offices was placed above the machine shop. As the Gridley Motor Company grew from a one- car showroom highlighting a $75 car into a million- dollar business in only six years, the demand for more space increased rapidly . . . hence, the need for the Kirkwood Building.

The Gridley Motor Company was the city’s only authorized dealer of the Auburn car. The Auburn Automobile Company, from Auburn Indiana, would produce three American classics — the Auburn, the Cord, and the Duesenberg. The Duesenberg was arguably the finest car ever built in this country, America’s answer to the Rolls-Royce and the Bugatti. Gridley also sold the Peerless and the Locomobile, both high-priced luxury cars.

In 1922, Gridley Motors became Peerless Automotive and B. E. Gridley became the vice president of the newly formed company. In the same year, Peerless moved into another building and Hathaway Motors moved into the Kirkwood Building. In 1923, the Kansas City Durant Company moved in. William Durant, owner of the Durant-Dort Carriage Company, the largest maker of horse-drawn carriages in the country, became the head of General Motors. Before long, Durant added other names to his line, including Flint Autos, which was listed as a tenant in the Kirkwood Building from 1925 to ’26. Durant Motors was a tenant of the building from 1923 to ’26. In 1927, the Kirkwood Building’s automotive character continued with the Faeth Company Auto Suppliers and later with Republic

Gear Corporation, and Thompson Auto Supplies, who leased the building for many years. From 1922 forward, other types of businesses occupied the building, including the Grand Aerie of the Fraternal Order of the Eagles, Southwestern Bell, and the Central Surety and Insurance Corporation.

Many well-known architectural practices left their design mark in the Automobile Row neighborhood, including Wight and Wight, Root and Siemens, J. O. Hogg, Victor Jacques DeFoe, Nelle Peters, and Van Brunt and Howe. Their commissions included designing prestigious buildings with large, expansive glass display windows to showcase the gleaming automobiles inside.

Find a little time and take a drive in the historic Automobile Row area and picture what it must have been like when the area was bustling with automobile dealerships and tire and battery businesses, as well as automotive garages and repair shops.

A New ‘Fountain’ for Kansas City


Downtown’s “Fountain of Youth” will be built on a prized plot of land immediately south of the iconic Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in the heart of the Crossroads Arts District.

That is where the University of Missouri- Kansas City will build a new home for its world- renowned Conservatory of Music and Dance. The Conservatory, founded in 1906, has been praised by The New York Times as “one of the country’s liveliest academies.” It has a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and four Guggenheim Fellows among its faculty.


The Conservatory has outgrown its existing home on UMKC’s Volker Campus, just south and east of the Country Club Plaza. So the university

will build a new, state-of-the-art $96-million facility downtown where the next generations of world-class musicians, dancers, choreographers, and composers will hone their artistic skills.

Building the new Conservatory directly across from the Kauffman Center is a strategic decision designed to benefit the community as much as it does the university and its students. That’s why it was included in the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Big 5 list of top civic priorities.

“This project is downtown’s fountain of youth, because it will perpetually forever bring 18 to 35 year olds to downtown,” said Warren Erdman, executive vice president, Administrative and Corporate Affairs for Kansas City Southern, and a former curator of the University of Missouri system.


The new Conservatory will stimulate economic activity by bringing approximately 700 students, faculty, and staff to the district as a daily, daytime presence, complementing the event-driven and largely evening-based activity at the Kauffman Center. The site – a full city block, bounded by Broadway, 17th, 18th and Central streets – is a two-block walk from Kansas City’s streetcar line, Bartle Hall, and the planned new Loews convention hotel.

The arts have much more economic impact than many people realize. Americans for the Arts notes that arts and cultural activities in Missouri create 33,000 full-time jobs and annually contribute $743 million in household income and $110 million in state government revenue to the economy. The UMKC Conservatory is an intrinsic component in making the Kansas City region one of U.S. News and World Report’s “Best Places to Live in the U.S.” The region has 8,346 jobs in the arts sector, contributing $273 million in annual economic activity, $9 million for local governments, and $12.8 million in state revenue.


At the downtown arts campus, Conservatory students will have increased opportunities to work alongside professionals in the Kauffman Center, Kansas City Symphony, Kansas City Lyric Opera, Kansas City Ballet, American Jazz Museum, and the Crossroads Arts District. This will strengthen student-professional collaborations and emulate successful urban arts education programs like that of Juilliard and the Lincoln Center in New York.

The new campus also will satisfy accrediting organizations by almost tripling the square footage of the Conservatory, making room for additional students to study there, and freeing up much-needed space on the landlocked Volker campus for other academic disciplines. The campuses will remain connected; Conservatory students will continue to take non-music classes at Volker and will continue to perform there.

For more than a century, the UMKC Conservatory and other performing arts programs have been foundational drivers of the city’s artistic heritage. The Kansas City Symphony, Lyric Opera, Kansas City Ballet, Bach Aria Soloists, Kansas City Chorale, newEar Contemporary Chamber Ensemble, and Wylliams/ Henry Contemporary Dance Company are among the many outstanding local artistic institutions founded by UMKC Conservatory faculty and/or alumni.

“As much as we appreciate our access to such talent on grand stages, that is not the primary place where the Conservatory’s impact is felt. Stages exist for the arts, but the arts do not exist for stages; they are for people,” said UMKC Chancellor Emeritus Leo E. Morton. “The arts are an essential component of our communities, and the Conservatory is a community builder through arts education.”


Generous local donors raised $48 million for the project, led by a $20-million gift from Julia Irene Kauffman on behalf of the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation. By raising half of the $96-million cost of the facility from private donors, the university sought matching funds from the state government — essentially delivering a permanent asset to the state’s university at half price. Both houses of the Missouri General Assembly approved a funding measure by wide margins.

When the legislation was stymied by an unexpected gubernatorial veto in June, civic and university officials vowed to forge ahead with the project. An alternative funding plan will be presented to the University of Missouri Board of Curators in December.

“This approach will allow construction to begin sooner and save money by avoiding construction cost inflation on a project that will benefit the students of UMKC, the people of Kansas City, and the state of Missouri,” UM System President Mun Choi said. “This is a strategic investment to support our key goals in academics and scholarship. That makes it a priority for the UM System and UMKC.”

UMKC has selected the design team of Helix Architecture + Design and HGA Architects and Engineers to proceed with the programming and concept-design process. Their renderings show the iconic Kauffman Center and the downtown skyline as its neighbors.


Who and what: A much-needed new home for the Conservatory of Music and Dance, a world-renowned program of 700 students

Where: A city block bounded by Broadway, 17th, 18th, and Central streets next to the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

How and when: Generous local donors raised $48 million for the project. A plan for the next steps will be presented in December to the University of Missouri Board of Curators.

Why: The Conservatory has outgrown its space and has the opportunity to contribute even more to the community. The arts deliver a major economic impact of $850 million in income and revenue annually in Missouri.

Mercedes-Benz GLC 300 is a Vehicle for All Seasons

words and photos by TOM STRONGMAN

The GLC 300 is an excellent example of why crossover utility vehicles continue to gain popularity, because it drives like a taller, slightly longer version of the C 300 sedan. But when you need to carry things such as a bicycle, bags of mulch, or DIY materials for a weekend project, flipping down the back seat creates plenty of room. A power liftgate is standard.

Redesigned in 2015 as the replacement for the GLK, the GLC 300 has a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four- cylinder that pumps out a lively 241 horsepower. That might seem to be a pretty small engine for a vehicle of this size but the GLC 300 is 176 pounds lighter than the GLK, due to the use of aluminum for the hood, front fenders, and roof panel. Aluminum is also used for the front and rear suspension and rear-axle subframe.

The strength of the engine is its ability to deliver maximum torque from 1,300 rpm to 4,000 rpm. High torque at low rpm makes the engine drive as if it were much larger. Throttle response is crisp right from a stop. The 9G-TRONIC nine-speed automatic transmission plays a role in making the vehicle feel energetic because there is a gear for every speed and situation. It also contributes to a fuel economy rating of 21 miles per gallon in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

Five selectable drive modes — Eco, Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus, and Individual — let the driver tailor the vehicle to personal preference. Each mode is as its name implies: Eco gives the best fuel economy, although at a slight drop in performance; Comfort is the default setting and good for everyday use; Sport livens things up a bit, with sharper throttle response and tighter suspension settings; Sport Plus is slightly more aggressive; and Individual mode lets the driver mix and match settings according to personal taste, such as choosing the comfort suspension with the Sport Plus engine tuning.

Prices begin at $39,150 for rear-wheel drive and $41,150 for all-wheel drive. The test vehicle was equipped with numerous options, such as a panoramic sunroof, metallic red paint, head-up display, heated steering wheel, 19-inch AMG wheels, Burmester surround sound system, and heated front and rear seats. The Premium package included keyless ignition, blind- spot assist, navigation, illuminated doorsills, and Sirius XM radio. The Sport package includes AMG body styling and AMG perforated front brake discs. The sticker price was $53,875.

While the GLC 300 is available in rear-wheel or all-wheel- drive 4MATIC configuration, most buyers in our climate will want the 4MATIC version. This system delivers optimum traction in a wide variety of conditions, from rain and snow to sand and mud. Because the system has a slight bias toward the rear wheels, dry-road handling feels neutral.

Befitting its C 300 heritage, the GLC 300’s cabin is cozy and plush. The Cardinal Red test car had a black interior with wood-grain trim on the instrument panel and console. A large, sweeping panel connects the dashboard to the center console and armrest. The front seats have proper support in all the right places and the test vehicle was equipped with the optional heated seats, front and rear, as well as a heated steering wheel.

A seven-inch color LCD screen sits in the center of the dash like a tablet computer. It is not a touch-screen because Mercedes-Benz feels operating a touch- screen can be distracting. A mouse-like touchpad and a rotary knob on the center console control various navigation, audio, and the vehicle’s settings. The touchpad permits letters, numbers, and special characters to be entered in handwriting. Voice commands can also be used. Fingertip controls on the steering wheel control the trip computer, audio, and hands-free phone use. The navigation system has five years of traffic and weather services provided by SiriusXM.

Head-up Display (HUD) projects important information directly in the driver’s field of vision on the windshield, thus helping to reduce the driver’s need to avert attention from the road ahead. The system provides information on speed and navigation instructions.

Advances in semi-autonomous technology continue to play an increasingly important role in automotive design and the GLC has the following safety features:

Attention Assist learns a driver’s habits and then sends an alert if it feels the driver is getting drowsy or not paying attention.

Collision Prevention Assist Plus sends an audible warning if it senses the driver is closing on a vehicle too quickly. At speeds up to 31 mph, the vehicle will apply the brakes to avoid a stationary object.

Pre-Safe tightens seatbelts, closes windows, and closes the sunroof if it senses a collision is imminent. Brake Assist applies maximum braking force in an emergency.

The blind-spot monitor is a light in the side mirrors.

Electronic vehicle stability assist with trailer stabilization.

Crosswind assist.

Available options include an adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, a 360-degree camera with a bird’s-eye view, and Pre-Safe Plus that can sense a rear impact and activates the rear hazard lights at increasing frequency and initiates preventive braking.

Meet Me at the Corner

words by PATRICK MULVIHILL | food photos by ANNA PETROW

When your city is known as “Cowtown,” it’s sometimes difficult to differentiate one steakhouse from another. Fine cuts of beef and expansive (and expensive) wine lists are a dime a dozen in Kansas City, but nowadays, the white-tablecloth vibe seems more stuffy than it does stimulating. Head just a stone’s throw west into Lawrence, and you’ll find a uniquely impressive dining experience well worth the drive.

Located at the corner of 8th and Massachusetts (Mass) streets, the RND Corner Grille opened in late 2015 with a special focus on even the smallest details. It all starts with

the building itself, which dates back to 1866. The Round Corner Drug Store was the longest continuously operating pharmacy in the state before closing its doors in 2009. When the wheels started turning to pave the way for RND, an interior mural depicting the building in its glory days was commissioned immediately. The bar is adorned with eye-catching black and white tilework, which stands in strong juxtaposition to the polished hardwood floors. The facade, the interior, and the atmosphere are refined yet unpretentious, from its modern- classic furnishings all the way down to the polished flatware.

RND’s wine list can appeal to diners on a budget, but even the most serious connoisseurs will find a number of impressive bottles that can’t be found anywhere else in the entire state. The bar program boasts a couple heavy hitters, as well, including the absinthe-infused Sazerac and a show-stopping margarita that’s tough to sip slowly. A rotating list of beer taps is mercifully free from the Heinekens and Sam Adams of this world, opting to replace the “macro” craft beers with a curated list from local and regional breweries, including Lawrence’s own Free State Brewing, which is located just one block north on Mass Street.

Whether you’re dropping in for lunch or sitting down for a long dinner, RND’s menu will pique any diner’s interest without overwhelming or intimidating. Every ingredient is sourced as locally and ethically as possible, so not only will your palate be appeased, but your conscience will too. This attention to quality is noticeable in every dish, from the carpaccio to the calamari. However, you might not be able to tell this from the prices. Nearly half the entrees won’t even break a $20.

Consider the house-favorite, the Braised Beef Short Rib, which is served with herb-roasted fingerling potatoes, red cabbage puree, and horseradish cream. Or get the Cedar Plank Salmon, which always makes for a great Instagram photo, if you have the self-control to wait that long before diving in. A word of advice: don’t sleep on the salad and sandwich menus, which both include well rounded arrays of seasonal classics and unexpected options. Order the Brussels Sprout Salad, which comes adorned with roasted pecans, apples, toasted Brussels sprouts, and goat cheese on a bed of arugula, lightly tossed in bacon dijon vinaigrette. For a heftier appetite, the short rib sandwich packs a punch without breaking the bank.

It should be mentioned that first and foremost, RND is a steakhouse. And it’s a great one at that, one much deserving of its list of red wines. The cuts themselves are among the best you’ll find in Lawrence if not the greater Kansas City metro area, paired with unforgettable sides of seasonal vegetables that will make you think, if only for a second, that you could be a vegetarian. The filet mignon and Kansas City strip are both crowd-favorites, perfectly cooked and immaculately plated to your liking. For bigger


appetites, the espresso-chili-rubbed ribeye is the call, as long as you save room for dessert. Split an adult ice cream float with your dinner date or order a maple bourbon cake to share from the skillet for the table.

If you’re looking for expected takes on traditional dishes, RND might not be your cup of tea. There are more predictable restaurants with more predictable dishes out there —though, it should be noted that the Caesar salad, BLT, and cheeseburger are all worth ordering, if only once. Though the building itself is incredibly old, the menu reflects a new look into what classic American dishes can be. The mashed potatoes are torched. The brunch menu is diverse, and the mimosas are bottomless. The Steak Frites come with whipped herb goat cheese, and it works. The restaurant does nothing to disparage our history as a culinary species, but it improves upon traditional dishes that we know and love. The corner drug store might be a thing of the past, but RND Corner Grille is here to stay.

Behind the Design


On August 26, Mercedes-Benz Stadium hosted its first major event — an NFL preseason game between the Arizona Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons. The 2-million-square-foot, $1.5 billion stadium is home to the NFL’s Falcons and MLS’s Atlanta United and will host some of the nation’s most significant sporting events, including the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in 2018, Super Bowl LIII in 2019, and the NCAA Final Four in 2020. And it was designed right here in Kansas City.

The stadium’s innovative design includes a first-of-its-kind retractable roof that opens from the center. It also features the world’s first halo video board. HOK’s Bill Johnson, senior vice president and design principal for the Kansas City practice and Sports + Recreation + Entertainment, describes four innovations fans — even here in Kansas City — won’t want to miss.


The team designed the halo video board to bring to life the theater-in-the-round experience. The scale of the video board is hard to comprehend without seeing it in person. It’s three times larger than any other video board in the NFL, measuring 58 feet high and 1,075 feet long. It’s equivalent to three football fields end to end. This halo video board immerses fans in the game and provides a canvas for digital media to be presented in ways fans have never experienced.

The story of the video board begins with the roof. The team had gone to great lengths to design a venue with a roof that could retract so it could function as an open-air stadium. We quickly realized that a center-hanging scoreboard would impede our original vision. We decided to configure the video board’s size and geometry based on the roof opening, resulting in the halo form. Based on this integrated approach, the final product feels embedded and complementary to the stadium’s design.


The mega column is more than 6,700 square feet and 101 feet high, providing more square footage than the main video displays at 19 professional football stadiums and 24 Major League Baseball parks. The column offers unprecedented programming opportunities. It can be used to supplement the halo video board content with, for example, a larger-than- life video of a player. We thought strategically about the comprehensive experience fans would have. The mega column is another unique way fans can consume digital media content.

The stadium was designed to rely on digital platforms for advertising. This means the facility serves as a blank canvas that can be transformed depending on the team playing, event being hosted, or sponsors being promoted.


The shape of the facade follows the roof’s form, with angular, wing-like sections inspired by the shape of a falcon. We wanted the design to be unique to Atlanta, connecting visitors and fans to the city skyline. On the stadium’s west side, the window to the city spans more than 16 stories and 22,500 square feet, offering unforgettable floor-to-ceiling views of Atlanta. ETFE, the same transparent material used in the roof petals, provides visual connectivity and natural light while supporting the stadium’s ambitious sustainability goals.


The roof of Mercedes-Benz Stadium is pure innovation. I strongly believe that innovation can’t occur if you aren’t willing to be brave. Arthur Blank and his team were willing to be brave. The roof contains eight petals resting on 16 tracks. Though they appear to rotate as they open, that’s actually an optical illusion. Each petal structure is clad with air-inflated ETFE pillows that contain more than 143,000 square feet of ETFE in the petals alone.

The roof has captured everyone’s imagination. It challenges all of us to think differently about the role of design on the human experience. It provokes and inspires. It suggests that if we’re willing to look beyond what has always been done, we can establish new standards. Mercedes-Benz Stadium is iconic because the client and members of the design team were willing to dream big.

Say Hello to Matte Black


Simple, sophisticated, timeless. Nope, I’m not describing the infamous little black dress hanging in your closet. It’s actually the newest color to hit the home decor scene…matte black. Though this trend initially made its debut in fashion, it didn’t take long for it to cross over to home decor. Black finishes and accessories have always been cool and versatile, but the lack of shine offered by this new color gives this moody hue the perfect pinch of edginess. The best thing about this color is that it’s considered neutral. Whether paired with wood accents, shiny metallics, or pale pastels, matte black adds striking contrast while still creating balance and grounding your mix of styles.

Are you ready to add a little edge to your home? Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Modern: Modern homes are known for their sleek and minimalistic style. Often times, there’s not a particular area that stands out more than another, but as a whole, the uniformity is breathtaking. For example, the use of large kitchen appliances against black cabinetry will create a totally flush look, making your kitchen resemble that of a five-star restaurant.

Just want to add a few modern touches to your home? Light fixtures such as matte-black pendants lined with gold are another small, yet mighty way to showcase this hot new trend in your home.

Farmhouse: Wall-mounted faucets are a staple in farmhouse bathrooms. And due to the rising popularity of matte black, manufactures have made faucets mimicking that of one found in an old farmhouse. This sleek color paired with a vintage- style faucet is a definite yes in my book!

Another gorgeous way to add some not-so-traditional farmhouse charm to your home is to paint a shiplap wall matte black as opposed to the traditional white. It will make a huge statement paired with white furniture and wood tables.

Traditional: Move over oil-rubbed bronze; matte black is in the house! Replacing old original hardware and light fixtures are a quick way to give your home a major spruce up.

Black pearl granite has been around for a long time. Though functional and pretty, it’s a little too “dressy” for some. Selecting a honed black countertop will take out the shine, allowing you to get a little more bold with your light fixtures.

Midcentury: Midcentury vibes are hot right now. Minimal furniture in vibrant colors, white walls, and geometric-shaped floor tile… hello, gorgeous! Lucky for us, tile shops now carry matte-black tile in fun shapes with a lot of dimension.

Furniture is another great way to add this trend to your home. Midcentury furniture pieces certainly stand out with their clean lines and unique legs. Try visiting your local vintage stores to find a pretty piece and start painting.

So, is it too early to say there’s a new black in town? Maybe. But it’s a gorgeous trend and worth incorporating into your home.

Do You Have a Wet Thumb?


Today’s contemporary spaces, more and more, seem to incorporate a little bit of Mother Nature right alongside the modern conveniences and styles. A great method of bringing some of that great outdoors to your indoors is to set up and maintain a miniature underwater habitat, complete with live, growing plants and aquatic life.

There are many methods of creating an underwater biotope, and tomes have been dedicated to the art and science of it, so please explore all those options if the idea strikes your fancy. For the sake of brevity, here’s a simple, inexpensive project to help get your thumb wet in the wonderful world of planted aquaria. Not only will you benefit from the soothing ambiance of a tiny underwater world, but you just might discover a whole new hobby that you really enjoy and move on to larger and more complex systems.

To set up a basic freshwater, planted aquarium, choose a small glass or acrylic container, be that a ready-made aquarium or a uniquely shaped clear glass or acrylic receptacle. Just ensure that your chosen aquarium has as large a surface area as possible, which enables more oxygen exchange at the surface (in other words, no tall, narrow vases, which, despite the popularity of the “vase betta” craze, are just not good for the fish).

Place your chosen habitat on a flat, level, sturdy surface near an electrical outlet. A countertop in the kitchen, a bar top, side table, dresser, nightstand, or even a bathroom vanity are all good choices. Add an aquatic soil substrate, formulated specifically for growing plants, about three inches deep.

Fill the tank carefully by pouring water gently into a saucer to avoid disturbing the soil. Any cloudiness will likely clear overnight. Be sure to add water conditioner to neutralize any chemicals added by the water treatment plant. Your local pet store can help you select the appropriate one for your area. Next, you’ll need to add a very small heater to keep water temperature stable. Again, your local pet store can assist you in choosing the correct-sized heater for your needs, based on size of your aquarium and your ambient room temperature.

Your mini aquatic jungle will require a suitable light source to help your plants thrive and grow. For the scope of this project, I recommend a small, clip-on, full-spectrum LED lamp. Long lasting, efficient, and cool running, they come in a vast array of styles, shapes, and colors to appeal to all tastes and can be purchased for less than $30. A simple air-driven sponge filter will complete your required equipment, which can be obtained for around $25.

Fill your aquarium with easy-to-grow, forgiving, hearty species such as the following:

• Shorter Plants: Java fern, Java moss (Vesicularia dubyana), Dwarf hairgrass (Eleocharis parvula), Anubias nana.
• Taller Plants: Bacopa caroliniana, Wisteria (Hygrophila difformis.)
• Free-floating plants: Water sprite (Ceratopteris thalictroides), Marimo moss ball (Aegagropilalinnaei).

Plant utilizing the taller plants in the back and shorter plants in the front. Accessorize to your heart’s content: perhaps an Asian theme with little red bridge or a Buddha statue; a magical fairy garden; your child’s favorite cartoon character; an ever-changing holiday theme; or a scattering of pretty trinkets from your travels, like seashells, pebbles, or driftwood (fish safe, of course).

Mini aquariums are rather limited in what types and the numbers of fish they can house, but some possible options, depending on your container’s water volume and surface area, are small tetras, rasboras, endlers guppies, killifish, dwarf cories, or tiny ornamental shrimp, which all come in an kaleidoscope of patterns and colors! A single male betta is also a great choice, often becoming so tame it will take food from your fingers.

Small, regular water changes, plant trimming (scissors work), and a bit of liquid aquarium fertilizer are all that are required to maintain this setup. Until you’re ready to invest in water-quality test kits, most local aquarium stores will test a sample of your water for little to no charge.

Mini planted aquariums are really quite simple to set up and easy to maintain, without the expense or time andspacecommitmentofalargeraquarium.Theseren.e beauty they bring into your home more than repays what little effort is required to maintain them. Give one a try!