From furnaces to light fixtures, from carpets to cabinets, it was all on display at the Lawrence Home Show, which took place Friday through Sunday at First Serve Tennis Center, 5200 Clinton Parkway.
Members of the Lawrence Homebuilders Association displayed their wares and conducted home improvement seminars, giving consumers insight to growing trends and providing ideas about how to upgrade their homes.
"The people that come to the Home Show, they are very interested in the products and services," said Bobbie Flory, executive director of the Lawrence Home Builders Association.
She said energy efficiency was a common theme of many displays. Consumers were also interested in ways technology could improve their lives, from new compact fluorescent light bulbs to home security measures that could be controlled through the Internet, she said.
Flory said the exhibition was an opportunity for vendors to gain sales leads but also for consumers to learn about home improvement.
That's why Traci Gentry and Mickey Stremel, local representatives for Tomboy Tools, were there. They conduct tool parties, which, much like their Tupperware counterparts, aim to gather women together to learn about different tools.
"They're so excited with having a party and having their girlfriends over and learning how to use the tools," said Gentry, who, along with Stremel, launched Tomboy Tools locally about a month ago. She said the pink tools are designed specifically for women.
"Women really want to be empowered, but their dads didn't teach them," Stremel said.
Their product benefits men, too.
Women, Stremel said, "can do their own honey-do lists."
Some vendors hoped simply to raise their profile in Lawrence. Kelly Drake, of Mallard Homes, didn't expect to sell many new houses from his booth but said he thought the show could attract potential buyers to his developer's neighborhoods.
"It gives some people an idea of what we do," he said. He said many people were asking about single-level homes, indicating a growing interest in energy efficiency. Drake noted that home builders have been using eco-friendly materials for years but that public awareness is just catching up.
Robin Bell, store manager for Sherwin-Williams, 2108 W. 27th St., wanted to boost her store's retail presence.
"We hoped to get a lot more walk-in traffic at the store and be able to help people with their color choices," she said.
The show highlighted technological innovations that are making home improvement - and home safety - easier to manage.
Lawrence-based Rueschoff Security Systems showcased its video monitoring capabilities, which allow customers to keep tabs on their homes when they're away, simply by logging on to the Web. It's beneficial because people want to know what is happening at their homes when they aren't around, said general manager Warren White.
"This is recording that can happen when they're not there," said White, who demonstrated the remote security system at his store at Sixth Street and Monterey Way.
For consumers, the show was a weekend destination, with "steady" crowds, according to Flory.
Topeka resident Cheryl Glover came to the show with her husband, her son and his wife, and her granddaughter. She was impressed by the size of the show.
"It's just as big as Topeka's, or almost just as big," she said. The show's 76 vendors made it the largest in its eight-year history.
She said she and her husband were considering upgrading their kitchen, while her son and daughter-in-law were in the process of purchasing a new home.
"We were just kind of interested in seeing what they had to offer," Glover said. "I love the custom wood products they have."