Tag Archives: counters

Mike and Lynne Purdy’s Electrochromic Dream Home

February 20, 2017 by
Photography by Colin Conces

It’s immediately clear that Lynne and Mike Purdy’s beautiful northwest Omaha home is something special. However, the longer you stay, the more you zero in on the many small-yet-mighty details that make it so.

“It’s those little details that make it just right,” Lynne says. “There’s a reason for everything we did design-wise, and there isn’t one thing we’d change.”

That includes everything from smart windows and touch faucets to 18-foot ceilings, a shades-of-grey palette, pocket doors, waterfall counters, hidden kitchen outlets, a programmable doorbell, a fireplace in the wall that serves two rooms, and bathroom drawers customized to the sizes of Lynne’s hair products, among other distinct aesthetic and utilitarian touches.

The Purdys, who met on a fortuitous blind date in 1977, are self-described “empty nesters” and transitioned to their home in Deer Creek Highlands in March 2016, after breaking ground one year prior. Mike, an architect and president of Purdy & Slack Architects, designed the home based upon he and Lynne’s extensive, collaborative exploration of what they wanted in their next home.

First, the couple knew they wanted to live on a golf course, so when they found a Deer Creek Highlands lot they were smitten with, they persevered in attaining it. The community is home to the third nine of the Arnold Palmer-designed Players Club at Deer Creek golf course.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better neighborhood or better neighbors,” says Lynne.

Mike’s design was informed by the logistics of the site.

“Lynne wanted an open plan with our master suite adjacent, so we had the floor plan in mind,” he says. “I wanted to keep the views of the golf course, plus the sun in the wintertime comes up on the axis of the large window and the great room.”

Mike refined his design until it was everything the Purdys wanted and he received approval from the neighborhood’s architectural review committee.

“The challenge was creating something unique and contemporary, but not so radical it wouldn’t blend with the neighborhood, and also something that facilitated the way we want to live,” Mike says.

Mike also designed the Purdys’ previous home, where they raised sons Bryan and Keith and lived for 28 years, but the couple says it was a family house, not an empty-nester house.

“It was a beautiful home, but our family grew, then left. Our current home is an adult house, but still with room for the kids to come visit,” Lynne says.

Indeed, the downstairs bedrooms, family room, and walk-out patio are designed to welcome Bryan, Keith, and their own expanding families, including Keith’s 4-year-old identical twin daughters, whom Lynne says “love coming to Gaga and Papa’s house.”

Mike embraced his creative side while designing the home.

“With architecture, you try to get a reaction from people,” he says. “It’s like a piece of art—meant to draw out emotion and create conversation. That’s what I tried to do with the house.”

“One of the design elements I wanted to do was to hide the front door so there’s a little bit of mystery as you approach the house the first time,” Mike says of the slightly obscured front door that bucks street-facing tradition. “It creates a different experience, and then you make the turn into this big space, so it’s kind of a surprise.”

The first thing visitors will notice upon entering—after the Purdys’ adorably petite white pup Holly—is the 16-foot-wide, 18-foot-high, attention-commanding window that overlooks the golf course from the rear of the house. What you wouldn’t immediately notice or know is that the window panes are SageGlass, an electrochromic glass that can be set to various levels of tint via an app. The window can be dimmed by row or pane, or even programmed to react to the level of sun or clouds.

“It’s a commercial-grade glass we’re putting in some of our office buildings. They don’t require blinds and save energy from heat gain,” Mike says. “In wintertime we keep ours mostly clear to maximize the heat gain. In summertime we keep it pretty dim so it doesn’t heat up the home as much.”

Mike estimates that within 20 years most new windows in homes will be this type of dynamic glass.

“It’s newer technology, but I expect it’ll become standard and you’ll find it in the houses of the future,” he says.

Whether through the giant window or from the glass-railed cantilever deck outside, the Purdy home’s crown jewel is the incredible, ever-changing view that’s shown Lynne and Mike sublime sunrises; pop-up “lakes” born of hard rains and golf course curves; wildlife like ducks, hawks, and frogs; and confused golfers seeking errant balls.

“We’ve enjoyed every season here,” says Lynne. “In the morning I have my coffee and look out the windows … it’s just beautiful all the time, whether it’s a layer of snow or a sunny summer day. And relaxing on the deck after a stressful day is the best. In the summer we’re out there every night.”

Speaking of nighttime, Lynne says the home is prettiest after sunset when the flameless candles and decorative lit-glass spheres she’s placed throughout the house turn on. Just like everything else, that’s by design.

“You come home at night, and you want a relaxing space space. The soft light gives you that,” she says. “That’s also typically when you entertain, and I want everyone to feel relaxed and at home when they visit.”

Visit purdyandslack.com for more information about the homeowner’s architectural firm.

This article was printed in the March/April 2017 edition of Omaha Home.

Jeremy Glasser’s Concrete Countertops

August 29, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann and Jeremy Glasser

Replacing the old tile kitchen countertops of his Morton Meadows home had been on Jeremy Glasser’s to-do list since moving into the house in 2008. When a break between jobs afforded him a bit of time to tackle the project, Glasser went to work creating new concrete counters, which offer an earthy look and tactile feel while also being extremely durable and resistant to heat and scratches.

Glasser did not go this DIY entirely alone, seeking expert advice and step-by-step instruction from the book Concrete Countertops Made Simple by Fu-Tung Cheng. The how-to book also comes with a helpful DVD.

First, Glasser measured the counter space and drew templates for the countertops on 1”-thick melamine board. Then, using the melamine and silicone, he created the forms in which to pour the concrete to set. (Glasser says plexiglass can also be placed inside the forms to offer a smoother concrete finish.) Reinforcing rebar was laid inside the forms to help strengthen the heavy cement counters.

The kitchen countertops before Glasser's project.

The kitchen countertops before Glasser’s project.

Second, Glasser hand-mixed 10 bags of countertop concrete mix and poured the wet cement into the forms. “If I were to do it again, I’d rent a cement mixer, though,” he shares. “One dry/unmixed patch did make it through to the finished product.” Though casual observers might not notice.

Next came settling the concrete. Though Cheng’s book recommends using a stick vibrator to help level out the poured concrete, Glasser employed his “inner MacGyver” ingenuity and rigged up an old motor from an off-balance washing machine to the bottom of the form’s table. The gadget shook out the concrete and eliminated all but the smallest bubbles quite well.

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Once the cement had cured (this took about a week), he used a file to sand down the unfinished edges “because they can be quite sharp,” he adds.

Then came sanding. The process took three passes: first with 320-grit sandpaper, then 800, and lastly 1500, using an orbital sander hooked up to an air compressor. Finding the right paper proved to be a bit of a chore. Glasser was able to procure his supplies at an auto body shop, “though [the paper] was fairly expensive—$40 a box.”

Lastly, Glasser applied a top coat of penetrating sealant and later, a coat of auto wax to the cement for a smooth finish. “You want carnauba wax or something that is going to be food-safe,” he says.

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In all, the project took approximately $300 and about three weeks’ time.

Asked what challenges the countertops project offered, Glasser says creating the forms, which required great care and patience so as to not create wrinkles in the forms, which can transfer to the cement. Also, moving the cured cement pieces from the forms into place. “That concrete was horrendously heavy. You have to have good, strong help to move it into place.”

The natural cement countertops that Glasser and wife Chris now adore in their updated kitchen were well worth the effort.