Tag Archives: brick

Queenly meets quaint

November 25, 2013 by

Joslyn Castle Holiday Historic Home Tour

Do you recognize the scene pictured above? That’s the cover photo from our previous issue and now you have a chance to get an inside peek at this and two other magnificent homes on the Joslyn Castle Holiday Historic Home Tour.

Tour the famous Storz Mansion, the elegant, sophisticated Gold Coast Barmettler House (pictured above), and the spectacular, historic Joslyn Castle, all decorated for the holidays. Enjoy special tastings at each home and a holiday gift boutique on the second and third floors of the Castle.

The Joslyn Castle Historic Home Tour is Friday, Dec. 6, and Saturday, Dec. 7, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tickets for the tour are $20. Purchase tickets for either event at www.joslyncastle.com or by calling 402-595-2199. Tour tickets will also be available at the door on the days of the tour. A special Tour and Boutique Preview Party will be Dec. 5 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Castle. Tickets for the Preview Party are $75 and include tour admission.

iStock_000022672899Medium Country Club Community Council Luminary Night

The flickering glow of 
candlelight will warm even the chilliest of visitors on Dec. 8 as hundreds of luminaries line the streets of one of the city’s quaintest neighborhoods for one 
special night every holiday season. Organized by the Country Club Community Council, the annual luminary event renders a magical curbside tableau in the picturesque neighborhood known for its English Tudor brick homes and old-time globe street lamps. See our feature on the Country Club neighborhood. Pour a thermos of hot cocoa and pile the kids in the car for this nostalgic drive-by delight.

Installing an Outdoor Fireplace

August 29, 2013 by

One of the fastest growing backyard trends is an outdoor fireplace. When deciding to install your own, one of your first choices is to select the fuel type. Will it be a wood-burning unit, or are you looking for the convenience of gas? If you decide on wood fuel, make sure to pick a fireplace location with proper clearances for good draft and check your local building codes to make sure you are in compliance.  If you select a gas-burning fireplace, managing the smoke and draft are not issues. Keep in mind you will need a gas source, whether it’s propane or natural, and there may be some plumbing and possibly some trenching required to get the gas line to the fireplace unit.

Once you’ve decided your fuel type and fireplace location, you’ll need to determine what it will be made of. The two basic types of construction are custom masonry and prefabricated. The benefits of masonry construction are that it will most likely last a long time and will produce more heat, if that is a priority. The prefab units are built as a metal shell with a metal chimney and often have a firebrick liner, replicating the look of a masonry fireplace. Because there is less mass, they may not produce as much heat. On the plus side, a prefab fireplace allows for a faster, easier installation.

Most outdoor fireplaces are finished with a stone or brick veneer. There are many varieties in terms of size, shape, and color to choose from, so coordinating your fireplace look with your home’s style or color is easy. Whatever outdoor fireplace you choose, you are sure to have some memorable times sitting around the fire with friends and family!

To see a selection of options for your outdoor fireplace, visit the Lumbermen’s showroom at 13709 Industrial Rd. in Omaha. For more information, visit lumbermens.biz.

Country Club

October 25, 2012 by
Photography by Jess Ewald

Brick-laid streets that have resisted asphalt resurfacing. Old-time globe street lights in lieu of goose-necked halogen lights. All-brick Tudors, with a few stray colonials thrown in for good measure. Meandering roads that invite leisurely drives. These are the hallmarks of the Country Club neighborhood tucked between artsy Benson and traditional Dundee.

Country Club’s boundaries technically extend from 52nd to 56th streets and from Blondo to Corby streets, says Matt Herzog, president of the Country Club Community Council. But generally speaking, Country Club connotes a larger area, encompassing homes between Maple and Hamilton streets and 48th to 56th streets. Once outside of these perimeters, the all-brick houses decrease and rental properties increase.

Country Club is popular with homeowners looking for an established neighborhood with charm at a reasonable price point. Peter Manhart, part of the Manhart husband and wife realtor team at CBS/Home, says Country Club offers a good “bang for the buck.” All-brick homes, a rarity in most areas and cost-prohibitive for new construction, abound here. Single-family dwellings with virtually no rental properties are another draw. And Country Club fits the real estate mantra, “Location, location, location” to a T. With its close proximity to downtown, the city’s universities, and thriving arts and entertainment districts like Benson, Dundee, Aksarben, and Midtown Crossing, Country Club is alluring. So are the home prices that run between $130,000 and $275,000.

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Country Club has a history as old as our city. Once 161.2 acres of John A. Creighton’s farm, it was sold to Omaha Country Club in 1889 for development into a premier golf course. For nearly 35 years, it catered to citizens wishing to escape the bustle of city life on the greens of a golf course. However, the city was growing west. So in 1924, OCC sought refuge from an ever-encroaching city by moving to its existing location in the rolling hills north of Immanuel Hospital and selling its land for $150,000.

Theodore Metcalfe’s developing company then used the existing slopes of the former golf course to construct affordable homes for Omaha’s growing population. Streets and avenues were wide and lined with ornamental lighting. Despite the Great Depression’s economic woes and World War II, development continued until completion in the late 1940s.

What is old now was at one time suburbia. However, Metcalfe strove for diversity of design, shunning cookie-cutter construction typical of developments. Most homes were built in the Tudor style but varied in flavor. There are examples of twin-gabled Tudors as well as French-inspired Tudors with turrets. The all-brick English L-shaped home was also popular. Metcalfe mixed brick with stone for added effect, and slate roofs offered additional architectural character.

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Today, gracious living abounds in the area still. Its strong neighborhood association is in large part responsible. The Country Club Community Council’s mission is “to promote, preserve, and enhance the quality of life in the neighborhood.” Herzog selected Country Club as his neighborhood of choice when he and his wife moved to Omaha from Washington, D.C., with their children because of its innate charm and kid-friendly atmosphere.

“Country Club has a great, active vibe despite its age,” asserts Sarah Kaseforth, who has served as CCCC Secretary for over a year. Like the Herzog family, Kaseforth and her husband are transplants, coming to Omaha from Chicago. “Country Club was a standout for us due to the Tudor-style homes, well-maintained yards and streets, and young families seen out walking along the neighborhood streets.”

It’s these same young families that make the annual Easter Egg Hunt at Metcalfe Park one of the most popular CCCC-sponsored events. Picture pastel-clad preschoolers searching for spring-hued eggs among the daffodils and sprouting grass while their parents look on, catching up with neighbors after a long winter.

Other year-round gatherings further foster this community feel. Every summer, the neighborhood sponsors a community garage sale with unsold items being donated to the Stephen’s Center and the Benson Refugee Task Force. The highlight of the summer, however, is the Labor Day Picnic. It’s like a block party on steroids with bounce houses, face painting, balloon hats, and plenty of food and drink.

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But perhaps the most beloved tradition, says Herzog, is the Winter Luminary Event. Residents place luminaries along their walkways and neighborhood sidewalks, effectively lighting up some the longest, darkest nights of the year with the soft glow of candlelight. Complimentary trolley rides for both residents and the general public tour the avenues during this festive time. It’s like traveling back in time to when the neighborhood was first established.

An anchor of the area is Metcalfe Park, which underwent a much-needed renovation in 2011. On any given day, you can walk by the park and see young girls in hijabs swinging with recent refugees from Africa and Myanmar, a testament to the area’s melting pot character.

Perhaps what encapsulates the spirit of the neighborhood is this simple story of kindness. After the birth of their first child this past summer, Kaseforth and her husband were overwhelmed by the generosity of their neighbors, even those with whom they just shared a wave and passing “hello.” Cards and gifts poured in as soon as young Trent was born. Says Kaseforth: “It is a great feeling to know that my neighbors care about my family. Coming from a large city, this type of gesture is unheard of!”

The Magnetts’ Dunsany Flats Condo

August 20, 2012 by
Photography by minorwhitestudios

Charlie and Sherri Magnett were driving through Omaha’s Little Italy neighborhood when they spotted the vintage Dunsany Flats building near 10th and Pierce streets. It was built in 1901 to house railroad workers. They found their dream condo inside. The deck first caught their eye.

“The deck sold us on this condo,” says Sherri. A glass wall leads to a spacious deck with a ceiling fan, couch, and chairs. Their deck overlooks a “green” roof where living plants flourish. The colorful roof provides insulation for the garage below, keeping it warm in winter and cool in summer, as well as a pleasant view for condo owners.

Sherri Magnett admires her view of Little Italy.

Sherri Magnett admires her view of Little Italy.

Charlie and Sherri were so struck by what they saw, the Millard-area homeowners sold their place two years ago, then bought two Dunsany condos and melded them into an airy 1,900-square-foot home. A brick wall was removed and replaced with sliding oak doors that were the original unit’s front doors. Windows flood the rooms with natural light.

The original exposed brick walls and woodwork that were new the day the building opened more than a century ago were retained and restored during renovation. Ornamental iron flower boxes sit just outside the windows of the condos.

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The media room is wired for sound. Electronics are hidden in a closet to give the room an uncluttered look. Posters from movies popular with family members—which include daughter Page, 19, and son Chase, 22—hang from the walls. Each chose a favorite movie to feature: The Wizard of Oz (Charlie); Silence of the Lambs and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (Sherri); Reservoir Dogs and Forrest Gump (Page); and Boondock Saints and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Chase).

Movies made in Nebraska are saluted in posters that line a hallway leading to the bedrooms of Page and Chase: Sideways, Election, Up in the Air, and About Schmidt. Reverend, a fluffy white puppy who lives with the Magnetts, appears not to have a favorite movie. We would have guessed 101 Dalmatians.

Son Chase spends a good chunk of time in the media room.

Son Chase spends a good chunk of time in the media room.

The couple invested in a system that uses a strip running along the upper wall with wires that hang down to hold the posters, making the hanging job easier. Also on the front hall walls are framed maps that Charlie collects. Shelving in the hallway was custom-made for them from 100-year-old salvaged wood.

They’ve had as many as 50 guests in their double condo. But it’s unlikely the neighbors were annoyed by noise. Acoustical flooring, 12-inch-thick masonry walls, and a sound-proofing system assure privacy and quiet. “You barely hear your own footsteps,” says Charlie.

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The custom-designed, European-style kitchen was Sherri’s project. Cabinet doors open accordion-style above the Corian counters. “The one thing Charlie wanted in the kitchen was an integrated kitchen sink (sink and countertop are formed together),” she says.

“We bought the appliances on eBay,” adds Sherri, who relishes a bargain.

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Bedroom closets feature backlit, glass doors. Lighting makes it easier to find clothing and shines through the glass for a soft light in the bedroom. An attic was added by the Magnetts to supplement the storage space already available. A metal ladder folds down to allow access to the attic, which doubles as a bedroom when Chase’s friends visit.

Before settling into the Little Italy neighborhood, Sherri checked City of Omaha plans and learned the area is targeted for revitalization. The Blue Barn Theatre’s new building is scheduled to go up by 2014 across the street from their condo.

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There’s a lot going on in walking distance. They can stroll to the Old Market, Durham Museum, and TD Ameritrade Park, where Charlie caught the College World Series. They can watch July 4th fireworks from Downtown Omaha and hear music from Stir Cove across the Missouri River.

Charlie now has only a seven-minute walk to Union Pacific headquarters where he is an engineer. Sherri’s commute to Peter Kiewit, where she is an IT worker, also is shorter than from Millard.

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They wanted to be closer to their jobs and closer to the center of action. “There’s so much to do. It’s a different lifestyle,” says Charlie. “We’ve been talking for five years about doing this.”

They found new friends and a lively neighborhood in Little Italy. The couple ride bikes and attend ball games with neighbors. Sherri and a friend won this year’s tournament on the neighborhood bocce court, even though she had never played.

“We know everybody by name,” says Sherri.