Paradise on the Plains

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The Bachelor in Paradise Stars Bring True Love Home to the Heartland

For this celebrity couple, paradise is not necessarily a place but a state of mind in which true love and family are the real stars of the show.

Story by Ann Butenas   |   Photos by Matt Kocourek

Finding true love for most anyone can be a challenge. Finding it on national television in front of an audience of millions takes that endeavor to a whole new level. Best known for their participation on reality TV shows The Bachelor, The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise, Kansas City area residents Tanner Tolbert and Jade (Roper) Tolbert made their way from a cast of romance hopefuls to finding true love in paradise. But in order to understand how they moved from paradise to the Sunflower State requires a bit of looking back in the rearview mirror.

Tanner, a native of the metro area and graduate of Blue Valley West was working in the auto industry a few years ago and was joking around with friends at work about possibly applying to be on the hit reality show, The Bachelorette (Season 11). (The main premise of both the Bachelor and The Bachelorette is designed around a single bachelor or bachelorette wading through a pool of romantic interests in the hopes of finding a lasting mate.)

“My sister actually nominated me to be on the show, and fortunately my boss was really cool with the idea and let me take some time off from work to do the show,” said Tanner, who spent two months filming the show before transitioning to the Bachelor in Paradise location in Sayulita, Mexico shortly thereafter.

Denver native and L.A. transplant Jade grew up in Western Nebraska but moved to the City of Angels in 2012 for a change of scenery. She had been a contestant on The Bachelor (Season 19) but, in her own words, “was kicked off early.”

Just as soon as she got eliminated from that competition, the producers asked her if she would like to go to paradise. Not immediately certain of such an endeavor, strong encouragement from her mom led her to sign the contract in the 11th hour and off she went to hopefully find true love in Season Two of Bachelor in Paradise.

Although Jade did not get a chance to see Tanner on his initial show, as she was busy filming her own series, he enjoyed the opportunity to see her on The Bachelor and, by his own admission, was immediately smitten.

“I kind of ‘stalked’ her on Twitter,” he laughed. “I knew I wanted to meet her. She was the only person in the Paradise cast I had a thing for.”

The immediate connection for Jade was similar. When she arrived on the Paradise set, she did not know any of the guys on the show, but when introduced to Tanner on the beach that first day, the attraction was undeniable.

“I got butterflies (in my stomach) when I first met him,” she smiled.

After a couple of weeks of weeding out couples, Jade and Tanner ended up being the only couple on the show who got engaged. That was in October 2015 and by January of the following year, they were married with quite an impressive backdrop in which to exchange their vows.

“We were married in Orange County and it was filmed by The Bachelor as part of its 20th anniversary special,” said Jade. “They kept it as real as possible and we had about 100 people in attendance.”

Because the actual wedding and production for filming took about a week, the couple did not take a honeymoon and instead had a pre-honeymoon at the place they met in Mexico.

“I’d already taken off a lot of work and I had to get back,” noted Tanner.

When they arrived back in Kansas City, they initially lived in Tanner’s home, but it was obvious to both of them it did not feel like “their” place. So, they began to search out other locations and builders, eventually signing a contract after meeting with builder Todd Hill of Todd Hill Homes They soon settled on a sizeable lot in Stilwell, Kansas, mainly because Jade had a simple request of her move from Southern California to the heartland.

“I told Tanner if I was moving to Kansas I had to have horses and a barn,” she grinned. “We were lucky to find a few acres in Stilwell, and our new barn will be completed in December.”

Tanner wasted no time in granting her that request and recently gifted Jade her equestrian dream – Calypso, a Frisian sport horse, who will soon take occupancy of that barn and most likely have a few friends join her in the future.

“When I was growing up, my grandpa had a quarter horse ranch and I have been riding since I was two years old,” reflected Jade. “It was a special part of my childhood.”

Working in conjunction with architect Scott Bickford, Hill relied on one of his original floor plans and added a few custom revisions to suit the Tolbert’s lifestyle and needs.

Encompassing 5,387 square feet, this two-story home has five bedrooms, five and a half bathrooms, a three-car garage and a finished basement. Its traditional exterior sits in contrast with its modern interior, dominated by a striking yet simple gray and white palette.

“They wanted to start a family and have a place with acreage so they could eventually get some horses,” noted Hill. “They definitely had a new, fresh vision of what they wanted and we delivered on that desire.”

When it came to their home, Jade and Tanner knew they wanted a more contemporary vibe, complete with tile fireplaces and flooring. Plus, the couple was excited to steer away from the usual beige paint in favor of the grey and white color scheme.

“We also knew we wanted something open and airy,” said Jade.

During construction of the home, the couple strongly focused on the nursery which, unlike the rest of the contemporary voice of the home, offers more of a cozy, Boho-like feel with its shiplap walls and unique angles. Jade didn’t want a place that was too girly, but she did want a few pink elements to highlight the space. Frilly she did not desire, but she did want it to feel like a girl’s room. Some highlights of the room include a gold canopy bed, a white bookcase, a gray and white rocking chair, and an eight-foot tall teddy bear.

Now that they have settled into their own reality, the star of their “show” is daughter Emerson Avery, who came into the world on August 17, 2017, and it is no secret the couple is madly in love with this little girl.

“It’s amazing,” beamed Jade.

“It’s been fun, and we are learning as we’re going when it comes to Emerson,” expressed Tanner.

In preparing for the holiday season, the Tolbert residence has been festively dressed up by Brenda Freebern, owner of Picture Perfect Interiors and her team of designers. In coordination with the home’s clean and simple lines, Freebern took a fun yet uncluttered approach with the holiday décor.

“I believe in the less is more appeal,” she indicated.

When it came to inspired holiday colors, red and silver dominate the palette, and the incorporated décor elements give a strong nod to an uncluttered style.

The front porch enjoys clean and sleek lines with a contemporary tall urn adorned with fresh curly willow, red berries and mixed greens. Leaning against the urn is a silver sled with sleek, contemporary lines, akin to a polished chrome, giving the space a hint of nostalgia with a modern vibe. Gracing the double doors is a long cascade swag of mixed greenery with ribbon and white ice skates for a pop of color.

Inside, the artificial tree is beautifully decorated and stands as a true centerpiece of the holiday spirit. Swags tied to the Newell posts on the stairs balance out the look of the centerpieces dotted throughout the home, which consist of silver trays accented with pine cones and berries. In the master suite is a silver container artfully displayed with paper birch logs partnered with mixed greens. Instead of formally-made arrangements, Freebern opted for a series of bowls filled with ornaments and/or pine cones, thus making the overall look for this holiday setting understated and unstructured, dropping formality in favor of a relaxed and inviting ambiance.

Since their initial meeting in paradise, life has seemed to gain considerable velocity for this young couple. In the past two years, they have gotten engaged, had a wedding, built a home and welcomed a daughter. While they enjoy relaxing when they can and spending time with Emerson, there is no doubt this family will be growing in the future, but for now they are content to celebrate the holidays in this wonderful paradise of their own here in the Midwest.


Architect/Home Designer: Bickford and Company

Builder/Contractor: Todd Hill Homes

Project & Interior Designer: Style and Grace Interiors

Holiday Staging: Picture Perfect Interiors

Foundation: B.W. Foundation    |    Garage Doors: Builders Overhead Door    |    Cabinets: RockTops    |    Fireplace: Complete Home Concepts    |    Trim Work: DZ Trim    |    Roofing: Empire Construction    |    Appliances: Factory Direct Appliance    |    Glass & Mirrors: Fountain Glass    |    Painter: JL Painting    |    Excavation: Kelly Construction    |    Flooring & Tile: Kenny’s Tile    |    Framing & Lumber: Lumber One    |    Windows/Doors: McCray Millwork    |    Countertops: Rocktops    |    Plumbing & Fixtures: Miller Plumbing    |    Paint: Sherman Williams    |    Electrician: Teague Electric    |    Heating & Cooling: United Heating and Cooling    |    Drywall: Wallboard Specialties    |    Light Fixtures: Wilson Lighting     |    Landscaping: Green Expectations    |    Pergola, Firepit, Outdoor Kitchen: Green Expectations    |    Pool: Esher Williams    |    Barn: Morton Buildings

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