Decorating a mansion for the holidays is no easy task, but owners Jeff Zumsteg and Jeff Linville, known to friends as “The Jeffs,” put on quite a display every year.
Jeff Z. was searching for a historic property to restore, and purchased the historic Stevens Mansion, across from the Kansas City Museum, in 2008. He moved from Atlanta, Georgia, specifically for the house. Jeff L. moved back to Kansas City in 2010 after retiring from serving in the U.S. Navy for 21 years. They met in 2013 through their alumni connection with the University of Missouri. They both grew up in the Missouri farmland.
“Living in Northeast was pure fortune, and fate,” explained Jeff L. “We both love the diverse, quirky neighborhood that shares our appreciation for art, music and history.”
Jeff Z. works full time from home as a Senior IT Manager for AT&T, and Jeff L. works as a Senior Accountant for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Jeff Z. comes from a family of musicians and plays the French horn, as well as bells in the church choir. Both share a passion for historic preservation and everything Mizzou. They also support numerous charities through donations, volunteer hours and opening their beautiful home as a venue for fundraising events.
The home has four levels, which can take up to three weeks to decorate with as many as 20 trees. Jeff Z. takes a week of vacation to devote himself to the task of filling the home with decorations in the Victorian style each year.
“The candy cane columns, which take about 3 hours [to hang], have become sort of a neighborhood tradition,” Jeff L. said. “It brings a lot of joy to people, especially during challenging times like these, so they are definitely a mainstay in our Christmas display. Our [inside] decorations also include many family heirlooms, to include the original homeowners, the Stevens, that keep family members we’ve lost over the years with us during the holidays.”