Indianapolis Home Show: Got a project? They’re here to help

The snow and frigid temperatures of early January have driven nearly everyone inside to hibernate.

Spring’s warmth, when people can start getting outside to work on gardens, landscaping and home improvements, seems impossibly far away.

But winter won’t last forever, and now’s the time to start planning the projects you want to get done in the home and yard this year. The Indianapolis Home Show is a one-stop place to figure it all out.

“People are crammed up in the wintertime, and you want to see what’s coming,” said Laura Groninger, manager of the Indianapolis Home Show. “You have home needs, you have landscaping needs. We have over 900 experts at the show to help take care of that.”

For 10 days, the Indianapolis Home Show will present guest speakers, businesses, special displays and other features to help solve whatever improvement-related problems people may have. The stars of television shows such as HGTV’s “Good Bones,” DIY Network’s “Man Caves” and HGTV’s “Fixer Upper” will share their insights into everything home and garden.

Greenwood-based budget specialist Cherie Lowe — known by her moniker “The Queen of Free” — will offer tips to not get buried by financial decisions.

Vendors can provide solutions on everything from lighting to decor to home design. People can see the hottest design trends put together in the “Centerpiece Home,” a fully constructed house built by Fischer Homes indoors, decorated and ready to live in.

“This is always our focal point, the star of the show. It’s what brings people out,” Groninger said. “It’s the middle of the winter, and people are wanting to get out and see a beautiful home.”

Throughout the Indiana State Fairgrounds, the show offers an opportunity to get inspiration, learn from the professionals and pretend that it’s not freezing cold outside. Here are some of the highlights to give you a place to start.

Centerpiece Home

When: Open every day of the show

Where on the fairgrounds: Exposition Hall

What: Picturing what a home feature might look like in your own house can be tricky. A lighting fixture, paint color or furniture design can look one way in a pamphlet or a vendor’s booth, but not until you see it installed does it give the full effect. But inside this year’s Centerpiece Home, a fully constructed and decorated house leaves little to the imagination.

Created by Fischer Homes, this year’s 4,400-square-foot house includes four bedrooms, 3 1/2 bathrooms, gourmet kitchen, a hearth room and nursery, among other features. The house is fully furnished and decorated by TOB Design Firm, with landscaping and even a swimming pool.

“People like to see things that they might want in their own house,” Groninger said. “They like to see the year’s new colors and trends in furniture, so we always bring that in.”

Cherie Lowe

When: 1 p.m. Jan. 21, 2 p.m. Jan. 28

Where: Outdoor Living Stage

What: Staring at more than $127,000 in debt could paralyze a person, seeming too large to even do anything about. But Lowe and her husband, Brian, refused to let their debt fester. They used a strategy of couponing, taking advantage of freebies and being entirely mindful of every penny spent in their households.

After four years, they had paid off all their debt. Lowe has used her experience to inspire others. She blogs about personal finance at, is a contributor to the Daily Journal among other media sites, and has written a book, “Slaying the Debt Dragon.”

Even though tackling debt can be a scary endeavor, her hope is to share with others that even small steps can yield positive results in getting debt free. She’ll share some of those tips during two appearances at the home show.

Feature Gardens

When: Open every day of the show

Where on the fairgrounds: West Pavilion

What: When the ground is covered in a layer of snow, it can be difficult to envision what your garden, patio and backyard areas could look like this spring. To help cultivate ideas and allow inspiration to bloom, show organizers have recruited local landscapers to create beautiful outdoor spaces indoors.

Flowers and greenery will accent outdoor kitchens, fire features, specialty pavers and other unique features. With some planning and guidance from 13 companies, people can start planning their own projects to start when winter starts to thaw out.

Karen E. Laine and Mina Starsiak

When: 3 p.m. Jan. 20

Where: Outdoor Living Stage

What: The mother-daughter duo of Laine and Starsiak started rehabbing old homes in their Fountain Square neighborhood in 2007, at a time when the area was riddled with homes in disrepair and underutilized buildings. One refurbished home turned into two, and then more, as they worked throughout the neighborhood, maintaining its historic nature while infusing it with energy.

Fountain Square is now one of the most vibrant areas in Indianapolis, and Laine and Starsiak — under the moniker Two Chicks and a Hammer — are sharing their story nationally. They are the stars of “Good Bones,” showing how they buy homes in disrepair and transform them.

They will be sharing some of their remodeling tips and tricks at this year’s show.

Clint Harp

When: 3 p.m. Jan. 26, 1 p.m. Jan. 27

Where: Outdoor Living Stage

What: Harp has gained notoriety on the popular show “Fixer Upper” as a dumpster-diving carpenter always on the lookout for reclaimed wood to make unique furniture and accents. His experience has earned him his own show, “Wood Work” slated to air on the DIY Network. Learn how see the beauty in old wood when he shares some of his creations, as well as how he puts them together.

Jason Cameron

When: 2 p.m. Jan. 24 and 25

Where: Outdoor Living Stage

What: Cameron has made a career out of helping people remedy the aspects of their homes that they hate. On DIY Network shows such as “Desperate Landscapes,” “Man Caves” and “Sledgehammer,” the Ohio native works with people throughout the country who are sick of a certain aspect of their property, and helps them work through creative ways to make them better. From backyard makeovers to trashing then rebuilding entire rooms, Cameron can share some of the tips that have worked for him during his two-day appearance at the home show.

Tiny Home Village

When: Open every day of the show

Where on the fairgrounds: West Pavilion

What: The idea of leaving behind over-cluttered life and simplifying down to a tiny house has captured the imagination of people throughout the U.S. TV shows have been dedicated to the idea, and companies throughout Indiana and the Midwest have sprouted to create luxurious yet efficient homes for people.

To satisfy people’s curiosity, show organizers have put together a new feature this year: a literal village of these miniature homes. Five different vendors have offered examples of these structures, and each will be arranged in a special section of the show.

“We have little street signs and five tiny homes that will be fully landscaped,” Groninger said. “They’ll look ready to move into, if you wanted to.”

If you go

Indianapolis Home Show

When: Friday to Jan. 28

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22 to 26; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Jan. 20, 21, 27, 28

Where: Indiana State Fairgrounds, 1202 E. 38th St., Indianapolis

Cost: $12 for adults (online purchase), $14 for adults (at the door), $3 kids 6 to 12, free for kids 5 and under


Author photo
Ryan Trares is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2727.