Tag Archives: custom

A Family Masterpiece

May 10, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Some childhood memories stick with you. Dave Carroll, a retired Union Pacific manager, holds onto the memory of one fateful childhood leap that dented his grandfather’s prized 1950 Mercury.

“I’ve got so much of my life in this car,” Carroll says. When he was about 6 or 7, Carroll was playing with cousins at a tree house on his grandparents’ farm in Fullerton, Nebraska. His grandfather John Carroll’s out-of-commission vehicle sat under the tree house.

“I remember it like it was yesterday. Instead of going down the rope ladder, I jumped out of the tree house onto the car and I caved the roof in.”

Carroll remembered his grandpa’s large hands. “He got in the car and he took his hand and popped it out, and I thought, wow.” Some wrinkles remained in the car’s roof and would stay there for many decades. “The funny story is, years later, I paid to fix that roof,” he says.

His grandmother, Etta Carroll, bestowed him the car after his grandfather passed away. Then she accidentally sold the car for $50 to a neighbor kid, while Dave was serving in the military during the Vietnam War. Dave and his father, Jack, travelled to Fullerton to get the car back after Dave returned from overseas. The duo were quickly chased off of the property by shotgun.

“We went downtown and we found the local constable. He was having coffee at the coffee shop. My dad knew him. We told him the story and he said ‘come on, we’ll go back.’” The story ended well for Dave, who was still in possession of the car’s original title. And the car has been with him since then.

Over the years, the Mercury was transported across the United States on a flatbed trailer while Carroll worked his way up at Union Pacific, from a position on the track gang to one in management at the company’s headquarters. His career led him to places such as Sydney (Nebraska), Denver, and Cheyenne. At every new location, Carroll brought along his beloved Merc’. “My intention was to build it, but being a railroader, I didn’t have the time or the funds.”

Carroll returned to Omaha in the ’80s. He met and wed Dianne Cascio Carroll, owner of Anything Goes Salon. Soon after, he began his odyssey of fixing the Mercury. Having the roof repaired is just one of the many changes Carroll has made to his car.

“There’s so many things that have been done to this car,” he says. Over more than 30 years, Carroll says he has spent thousands of hours refurbishing the car. Some projects were finished, only to be torn up again and redone so that he could try the ever-evolving products in the industry that worked better. “That’s my problem,” he says. “I redo things.”

He has often lost track of time while working in his garage in the Huntington Park neighborhood in Omaha. “I’ve had my wife open the door and say, ‘you know what time it is?’ I look at the clock and it’s 10 after 1 in the morning and I’ve got to be to work at 6 in the morning.”

“It’s not about me. It’s about my parents, and honoring the memory of my grandfather. I kept this car because it was in the family and it’s never been out of the family.”

Carroll’s imagination has affected every aspect of the car, from the striking Candy Purple body color, to the custom purple snakeskin roof interior. The air-conditioning vents were salvaged from a 2002 FordTempo. He ordered the custom-made steering wheel from California, and the windshield from Oregon. Thanks to Carroll’s insatiable creativity, the car has a digital dash, an electrical door opener, a late-model motor with custom aluminum valve covers, four-wheel disk brakes, rounded hood corners, a smooth dash and Frenched-in (curved) headlights.

The restoration has also been helped by Ron Moore of Moore Auto Body, Rick White of Redline Upholstery, and Rod Grasmick, an antique auto restorer. Using qualified professionals means that Carroll knows his car is taken care of, but he also finds them to be knowledgable friends.

“I have a couple of friends that are helping me with this car, that’s how our [automotive] community is—everybody helps everybody,” he says.

Will the car ever be finished? “My dad is always telling that he hopes to get to ride it in when it is done, and him being 92 years old puts a lot of pressure on me,” he says.

“My wife says, ‘you’re taking forever.’ Well, look at it this way, there’s better and newer stuff coming out all the time,” Carroll says. And so the journey continues.

This article was printed in the Spring 2017 edition of B2B.

History is Made in These Boots

March 17, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann
Although their professions and proclivities may differ a bit, astronauts, bikers, cops, movie stars, presidents, fighter pilots, polo aficionados, members of San Francisco’s leather subculture, tank commanders, and Teutonic toughs all seem to agree on one thing—The Dehner Boot Company of Omaha makes one fine custom leather boot.

On a walk through the factory near 36th and Martha St. with company president Jeff Ketzler, the Dehner ethic is quickly apparent. Artisans cut and shape leathers with hand tools smoothed and patinaed from decades of use. Leather uppers are sewn to soles with antiquated, belt-driven, black-enameled machines. Indeed, the factory floor could just as easily be a living-history museum of the cordwainer’s art circa 1930.

But Dehner continues to exist precisely because most of the world has passed the company by.

“We refuse to change how we do things,” Ketzler says. “We are known for craftsmanship and quality. I would close this factory before I allow us to become just another company that cranks out junk.”

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Little has changed during Dehner’s 130 years of existence. The tech revolution never happened here. The equation is simple: Determine exactly what the footwear needs to do. Take exact measurements of the feet the footwear needs to service. Once you know these details, find strong, supple leather and have men and women, most with decades of experience, use heavy-duty materials and mostly centuries-old techniques to craft the final product.

If it’s a Dehner, you will be comfortable in this timeless piece of footwear long after your other shoes have turned to scraps.

Using this formula, Ketzler and his father and grandfather before him have built a resume unmatched among American shoe manufacturers. NASA turned to the company to build some of the first boots to go into space. General Curtis LeMay looked to Dehner to design and build the perfect boot for the quick-strike flight crews of the Strategic Air Command. Horse buff Ronald Reagan often talked up his Dehner riding boots. James Dean wore Dehner boots. Leaders throughout World War II, including Gen. George Patton, wore Dehners. The Thunderbirds. The Blue Angels. Ketzler just shipped off a pair of military-style boots for Brad Pitt to wear in an upcoming movie. In time, you realize an impressive chunk of 20th century American history was made in Dehner boots.

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Ken Hedrick, owner of Stompers Boots in San Francisco, one of the largest retailers of Dehner Boots in the world, explains why Dehners are sought when the best is needed.

“There are really only two makers of very serious custom boots left in this country—Wesco and Dehner,” he says. “With the Dehners, what you come to realize—and what a lot of people have come to realize—is that nobody anywhere makes anything as good. They have some secret sauce or something. People have tried to copy them, but nobody can pull it off.”

Dehner once hovered around 40 employees in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The company has tended to employ closer to 20 in recent years, but they are doing much better than many other small custom shoe companies.

“We are doing pretty well while so many other companies like us around the world have gone out of business,” Ketzler says.

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Still, Ketzler does have plans to explore new markets. His latest idea came to him last year after his father passed away.

“It got me looking back, thinking how much he had been involved in, how much the U.S. had been involved in through that time,” he says. “It seemed like a history that should be celebrated.” So Dehner boots now has a “Reenactment Line.” If you or a group wants the exact boots worn by any number of historic figures, Dehner can make them for you for somewhere between $500 and $1,000 a pair.

“We still have all the designs in our files, and we still use all the same equipment and all the same leathers,” he says. “You get the exact same boot.”

In the front office of the Dehner building sits the lineup of Dehner products past and present. Here, longtime company everywoman Mary Rushing provides the tour. In her 18 years here, she has run done everything from finishing boots to running the shipping department and front office.

Today she gives a detailed, inside-the-craft, foots-on tour of a dozen or so of Dehner’s most historic artifacts. The black and white NASA boots worn in space by astronauts such as John Glenn are, back here on earth, just about the coolest things ever.

“I’m pretty proud to be a part of all this,” Rushing says. “It’s a unique company with a great history that stands for quality. You can feel like you’re doing something pretty cool here.”

The trick moving forward, Ketzler says, will be to stay true to the company’s history while trying to grow—carefully—in a world that “may not appreciate what we do as much as in the past.

“This company has a 130-year history of making a superb product,” he adds. “I’m just not going to be the guy who destroys that kind of legacy.”

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Smart Design Stands the Test of Time

March 15, 2014 by
Photography by Amoura Productions

While attending the High Point International Furniture Market with Shawn Falcone of Falcone Homes this past spring, it was inspiring to find bold, saturated, color in nearly every showroom.

Also timely and fitting that, just as Shawn and I set out to develop the design plan for our 2013 Street of Dreams home (built by Falcone Homes), the home sold to a family who was excited about the idea of incorporating a strong color story into their décor.  >

Our goal became to give this show home a unique and colorful personality.

“We specified top-of-the-line finishes, pro appliances, custom cabinetry, custom furnishings and window treatments, original artwork, fresh paint colors, noteworthy light fixtures, and leaded glass double-entry doors,” says Falcone. “The moment you step into this home you begin to appreciate its character, quality, and charm.”

We took a thoughtful approach to design, one that embraces “on trend” in smart measure so that this work will stand the test of time. Those items which are easy and affordable to replace—think throw pillows, paint, and accessories—are the best areas in which to embrace trends.

And where you should consider a splurge?

Original fine art never goes out of style. Area rugs can be passed on for generations when you buy heirloom-quality pieces. Approach tile as an opportunity to set your home apart from your neighbors. Think of lighting as the icing on the cake.

Investing in fine furniture and custom window treatments will add polish and staying power to your décor. Consider furnishing your home as you would in assembling a wardrobe. Not every item hanging in your closet can be trendy and colorful, and not every item can be timeless and neutral. Some items you find may stretch the budget while others are more easily affordable. The key is to strike a balance by mixing and matching low- and high-end items according to your style and budget.

Good design is not about how much our clients are able to spend. It is about creating spaces that they want to spend time in.

The most important thing about the interior design of your home would be for it to become an extension of who you are, what you value, your interests, and your lifestyle. In a word, it must be you.

The Art of Architecture

December 27, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

When asked about the design principles behind his contemporary, DIY home, Joel Holm employs a more-than-pregnant pause. Finally collecting his thoughts, he borrows—intentionally or otherwise—from Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

“The idea,” he says, “was to do…something completely different.”

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But there is so much more than “something completely different”—as dramatic as it is in this case—about the plot of land just a few doors south of Leavenworth on 52nd Street. The home, which he shares with his wife, Melissa, and their three children, is something of a forever-in-progress DIY project for Holm. He built most of it himself. More than just a basement workshop tinkerer with a table saw and tool belt, Holm is a remodeler whose H Aesthetics business recently merged with Workshop Unknown.

The design vision for the home and everything that followed became for the Holms an exercise in 
simple living.

“I’ve often thought about why we use this material instead of that material in homebuilding,” Joel explains, “especially when it would be cheaper, friendlier to the environment, and would last a heck of a lot longer if we used what we normally think of as industrial materials—and used them in new ways.”

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Square Hardie Board panels form a blocky geometrical array on the home’s exterior. Affixed with rivets that are proudly left visible and with the material’s aquamarine hue, the home almost takes on the vibe of a vintage seafaring vessel, that of an algae-encrusted steamer or battleship. Abutting those lines and introducing a contrasting motif is corrugated, recycled roofing material in red. The material’s striated ridges disrupt the cube theme that could otherwise dominate the façade. Adding to the industrial look are heated cement floors, commercial windows, and a CMU, cinder block-style 
block foundation.

Reclaimed strips of acrylic ingeniously incorporated into the pivoting front door create a dramatic, twice-daily light show. Viewed from inside the home, the morning sun streams through the door’s acrylic insets. At night and from curbside, the home’s interior lighting hits the slats in reverse fashion. The overall effect is that of electrified neon, and it takes closer examination to discern that there is nothing more at play here than beams of filtered light.

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A passerby’s first impression may be that the boxy, 3,500 square-foot home is a volcano of “contemporary” erupting in the brick-clad charm of the surrounding Elmwood Park neighborhood. But take a step back for a wider view, and you’ll notice that the Bauhaus-ish lines of the home subtly mirror those of the Prairie-esque ones of the property next door to the south.

“We didn’t have any particular architectural influence in mind with the design of this home. When I think of what we did here, it is that this is a just a better way to build a house,” he says of the home that was showcased in the 2011 Green Omaha Coalition Tour.

“Too many homes, to us, look alike,” adds Melissa. “After awhile, traditional homes built with traditional materials all tend to be 
the same.”

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The master bedroom suite is located on the main level while the kids’ bedrooms occupy the upper level. Instead of a standard hallway in a home where nothing standard is to be expected, the children’s bedrooms are connected by a wide concourse that acts as a play and study area all their own. Oversized sliding bedroom doors provide alone time in this most open and airy of settings.

“Having it be a very open space was important to us,” says Melissa. “It’s a lot of house, especially when compared to where we came from [only blocks away]. Our previous home was very quaint and charming, but it was cut up into too many individual rooms. When company came or when we had parties in the old house, it was always that awkward sort of arrangement where four people would have to be seated in another room and then a few more would be tucked around the corner from there.”

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Initial construction of the home designed in collaboration with architect Eddy Santamaria of Contrivium Design + Urbanism spanned almost two years.

A walking club made up of seniors from Elmwood Tower, a nearby independent living facility, peppered Joel with questions almost daily as work progressed. “I could have talked to them all day about what we were building,” he quips. “I’m sure I lost a month in the construction process talking to them.”

“And we were both surprised how much most of them liked it,” Melissa adds. “We had thought that older folks might not get it—might not get what we were doing—because even a lot of younger people don’t get it. People either love it,” she says with a shrug, “or hate it.”

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Such major additional projects as a fireplace are planned as time allows sandwiched in between a busy schedule of school and other activities for daughters Avery (7) and Kinley (15) and son Kaleb (12).

The Holms are also thinking about getting around to doing something with a pair of “doors to nowhere,” ones  that will eventually lead to a yet-to-be-built deck in one case and balcony in the other.

Mirroring the contours of a softly sloping lot, the home has six distinct levels plus a basement. To travel from the mudroom at the rear of the house to the front door, for example, it is a gradual one-two-three ascent of gently rising levels. In between, the space is full of subtleties that serve to break up the right angles that are otherwise everywhere to be found. A mini-flight of steps leading from the living room down to the kitchen area, for example, is sliced into a wedge configuration. The continuity of the open living room/kitchen space is never completely severed, Joel explains, but is instead merely interrupted in a way that delivers a sense of “roomness” between the two.

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The centerpiece of the kitchen is a custom table crafted by Workshop Unknown. Its acrylic surface and arcing, birch-laminated legs complement the acrylic and birch found elsewhere throughout the home.

“It’s such a simple and elegant wood,” Joel says of the birch, “and it’s a lot cheaper than many of your other choices.”

Expansive walls of glass in the main living area make for wide-open vistas but took some getting used to, Melissa says, especially when the family first moved in.

“We had people showing up outside and cupping their hands against the glass to get a look inside,” she chuckles. “They must have assumed it was a dentist’s office or something like that because our home is so different from everything else around here. I’d be reading a book or watching TV, and I’d catch some movement out of the corner of my eye, and there’d by some guy making nose prints on my windows!”

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If the home was in any danger of feeling cold or sterile, works by area artists and beyond lend a warm and vibrant touch in a color palette grounded in organic ochres.

“That was also an important driving force in planning our home,” says Joel. “We knew we wanted a place where we could display a lot of art, some of it on a pretty large scale.”

Everything about the lines, forms, and spatial composition of the Holms’ place suggest an acute attention to the art of architecture and the architecture of art.

“We do consider the house a work of art,” Joel explains as Melissa nods in agreement. “It’s something of a living sculpture but a very functional one for our family.”

Aesthetic Concrete Design

December 14, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Aesthetic Concrete Design (ACD) is a custom concrete installation business that strives to give customers a personalized installation that won’t go out of style. After 15 years of working in the golf industry, owner Kip Edmonds wanted to do something different. He and his wife were looking to start a family and wanted a job where he could control his hours during the week.

Edmonds put his bachelor’s in horticulture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to use, starting a small landscape design and maintenance service in the Omaha-Lincoln area. To expand his business, he took training in installing decorative finishes on existing concrete surfaces. “I realized I really liked the creative aspect of taking a drab piece of concrete and turning it into something very attractive and very custom for the customer,” says Edmonds. The company started pursuing more custom concrete installation projects, at which point Aesthetic Concrete Design was born.

Nevertheless, ACD hasn’t forgotten their “green” roots and tries to eliminate any extra energy inputs on their projects when possible. Instead of replacing concrete, ACD focuses on treating and refurbishing existing concrete. ACD is also more than happy to still dig into landscaping projects when those occasional calls come in.

Customers can be assured that an installation with ACD will be filled with personal consultations and a complimentary design focus to make it a one-of-a-kind, holistic process. “We like people to see our work, but the last thing we want is for it to jump out as the only design element present,” Edmonds says. “It must work with everything else.”

For Edmonds, faith, family, friends, and then work are his priorities. He encourages employees to prioritize as well and find a balance that works for them, to increase productivity while in the office. Personally, Edmonds is able to mix family and business. In 2006, Edmonds’ dad joined him in installing insulated concrete forms for house construction. Today, Edmonds handles project duties at ACD, while his father handles most of the marketing and administrative duties.

Edmonds and his wife have three children and use Edmonds’ business experiences to teach them to work hard to reach their goals. “I want to be known as a man who lives his faith, is a good husband, father, friend,” he explains. “If I stay on that path, everything else will take care of itself.”

Aesthetic Concrete Design
21827 R&R Road
Gretna, NE
402-616-9508
info@aestheticconcretedesign.com
aestheticconcretedesign.com

Here Comes the Bride

March 25, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Just as April marks the arrival of springtime, so, too, does it signal the beginning of wedding season—typically viewed as mid-April through mid-October—and the onset of “wedding fever” for many excited soon-to-be and wanna-be brides.

Regardless of whether your nuptials are a year away or far off in the distance, wedding season is a great time to attend Omaha bridal fairs and visit bridal boutiques, floral shops, and other wedding businesses in the metro and start making a list of all your must-haves for your special day. After all, creating your dream wedding takes time and planning—why not get started now?

To celebrate wedding season, we’re spotlighting three metro businesses that provide distinctive products and services for Omaha brides: gown boutique, Rhylan Lang; accessories vendor, Inez Gill; and floral service, Flowers for Special Occasions. All three are owned by local, young women who are not only on top of national trends, but in fact are leading the way in the Midwest with unique, high-end wedding fashions and accessories.

Rhylan Lang

The goal of upscale bridal boutique, Rhylan Lang, is simple—to make sure that each bride leaves with a dress that is as amazing as the memories created. “Every dress in the store is made from silk fabrics,” says owner Tracy Ponec, 29, of her unique collection. “If there is beading, it is Swarovski. If there is lace, it has intricate details. I want brides to be able to tell the difference in quality.”

Ponec, who has a joint degree in textiles and journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has been working in the wedding gown industry for nine years. “In college, I [did] bridal alterations,” she says. “I never thought I was going to make a career out of it.”

After graduating, she moved to Kansas City. “I had done a few internships that were more in-line with fashion-related public relations, but there wasn’t a lot of opportunity for that in the Midwest.” But with years of bridal alterations experience on her résumé, she took a shot and applied to the highest-end bridal salon in Kansas City, even though they weren’t hiring. Of course, she got hired. She even had the opportunity to do some professional training in New York with bridal design teams for Vera Wang and Reem Acra. “The owner [of the salon] and I made a great team. I learned so much from him. A few months in, he told me he thought I was born to do this.”20130227_bs_7349 copy

When Ponec returned to Nebraska, she saw the bridal market with new eyes. “Knowing how many of my brides in Kansas City were from Omaha, it was pretty obvious there was something missing for these brides in the Nebraska market.” She worked a bridal position for a short time but then decided it was time to bring her vision to life. A few years later with a business plan in hand, Ponec opened Rhylan Lang.

The name “Rhylan Lang” is actually a play on Ponec’s maiden name, Rhylander. “There is part of me in the name, but [the brand] isn’t about me. It’s about the brides,” she says. Because she cares about her brides, Ponec wanted her gown collection—which starts at a range of $1,600 to $6,000—to be exclusive in the state. From there, it was important to that the dresses were the highest quality fabrics and finishes available at each price point.

“During an appointment, a professional stylist will help select gowns from our inventory based on what a bride is looking for and their budget. The experience here is more intimate and far less chaotic than brides are used to. It’s a pleasant change for those that have been shopping a lot.”

For more information, visit rhylanlang.com or call 402-933-3510.

Inez Gill

Courtney Zurcher, 24, got the itch to start her own accessories business after making scarves for her family and friends. Today, she is the owner and designer at her accessories business, Inez Gill. Since starting Inez Gill, Zurcher’s accessories have been featured in Omaha’s Wedding Essentials and on Daily Candy, an e-mail newsletter and website devoted to what’s new and hot. She’s even designing accessories for the Daily Candy editor’s wedding.

“Inez Gill actually came from a combination of family names,” she explains of her business’ name. “My grandfather’s mom, Inez, was the kind of woman who just painted everything. She even painted the fridge once. She was very eccentric. Gill was my grandmother’s last name. She was a traditional mom and did needlework to make clothing.” Zurcher likes the combination of Inez and Gill because “one was artsy and one was practical,” which is how she’d like to approach her business.

When it comes to weddings, more brides are willing to pay for high-end products that are unique. That’s where Inez Gill accessories come in. “Accessories have a lot of life because you can put it on and it will change an outfit completely,” says Zurcher, who recently displayed her work at Omaha Fashion Week. Most of Zurcher’s bridal accessories are for the brides who want really fun, colorful looks. “I want [my pieces] to feel like accessories from a 1920s hat shop down the street—things that tailors and seamstresses would custom-make.”20130227_bs_7349 copy

While most designers and bridal vendors ship in their accessories, Zurcher creates and designs each piece. “Some designers draw sketches, but I just think of what I have, and then I put it together. I do have to put a lot more thought into how I design an accessory though because I take so many different pieces and put them together. I have my own system, and I don’t buy anything pre-made, unless it’s like a vintage leaf or something.”

With suppliers coming from everywhere (even some out of England), Zurcher has a lot of unique pieces to work with in creating each accessory. Natural stemming, vintage leaves, rhinestones—she finds all kinds of items from her suppliers and antique shops. “I don’t really follow a particular style,” she says of her mix-and-match work.

But just because Zurcher makes her accessories by hand doesn’t mean they look handmade. In fact, she prefers to spend more time making each accessory have a high-end look, even if it takes her more than the usual three to five hours. “I just like making things that make people feel good.”

For more information, visit inezgill.com.

Flowers for Special Occasions

“We have a strong passion for floral design,” says Jessica Pitt, 29, owner and designer at Flowers for Special Occasions. “We are always reinventing our work to stay fresh and in touch with the ever-changing fashion of the [wedding] industry.”

Although Pitt studied Fine Arts at College of Saint Mary and Behavioral Sciences at Bellevue University, she says that the floral business is in her blood. With four generations of her family having been involved in florals, it was only natural for Pitt to take up the business. “I grew up in my mother’s flower shop, spending afternoons as a child playing in the shop and eventually working there from the time I was 15 through college.”

A customer actually gave the business its name. “We were trying to establish ourselves as a vendor who worked exclusively with weddings and other special events. The name just sort of stuck,” Pitt says. But the business is also known as the Flower Design Studio, which Pitt explains comes from their days as a co-op with two other businesses.20130227_bs_7197 copy

Pitt says Flowers for Special Occasions is unique because they custom-make floral arrangements. “None of our work is based on cookie-cutter bouquets,” she adds. “We work with the client to develop a special feel for the event, and we create our pieces based on our collaborations.” Budgets of all sizes are welcomed by the Flowers for Special Occasions team. It doesn’t matter if a couple is working on a small or large budget—Pitt says the floral arrangements will look beautiful.

“We have built a very loyal following through the years. We work primarily through word of mouth. I believe [that] our happy clients and their referrals are what has built and sustained our company, making it the success it is today.

“Since we are a family business, we all have a personal stake in wanting our business to succeed. We never cut corners,” she says. “We have one chance to get it right, so we always strive to give each wedding something very special.”

For more information, visit flowersforspecialoccasions.webs.com or call 402-891-1602.

From Average to ASID Award-Winning Design

February 25, 2013 by
Photography by Sarah Conrad

Do you know the feeling when you build up the courage to get a new hairstyle, and then suddenly it seems your existing wardrobe now looks tired in comparison? This, in the same sense, can happen when updating the finishes and décor in your home as well. You decide to update one element, and then you begin to notice that there are other areas which also deserve a fresh look.

The aforesaid scenario is exactly what happened after my clients had new porcelain tile installed in their kitchen, dinette, and foyer areas in their home. The couple agreed it was time to continue updating their home (which they had built in Elkhorn, approximately six years prior). Finding the right direction and time to devote to such an undertaking seemed overwhelming for them, as they both work outside the home and are extremely devoted parents to their two young sons. They didn’t know how or where to begin.

Before & After of the Great Room.

Before & After of the Great Room.

They decided it was best to seek the assistance of a professional interior designer whom they felt could help them realize the potential they both knew their home had. They invited me (Michele Hybner, Allied Member ASID, Interior Designer with D3 Interiors) over to visit about the scope of their project and requested her professional guidance with remodeling and redesigning the main floor of their home.

Topping these homeowners’ wish list was adding a fireplace to their great room. I, therefore, designed a feature wall which became the focal point in this space. The once barren wall is now complete with a linear gas firebox, ledge stone from floor to ceiling, and a recessed niche for their 55” flat screen television. I flanked the fireplace with new custom built-in cabinetry which offers much needed storage and display space.

Before & After of the Dinette.

Before & After of the Dinette.

We pulled up all of the wall-to-wall carpeting on their main level; in its place went a dark (pre-finished) 6” wide plank, hand-scraped, bamboo wood floor. We removed the light fixtures in the study, kitchen, and dinette areas and updated them with burlap covered drum shade pendants in the study and kitchen and added a two-tone chandelier from Currey and Co. in their dinette.

I suggested removing the dated glass block, which was featured in the wing walls and dividing wall between their kitchen/dinette and great room. We also shortened the dividing wall to garner more room for their counter stools to push back, and we had the arch removed between the kitchen and foyer/hall. I specified the same neutral ledge stone (from their fireplace) to wrap the two wing walls and the dividing wall between the adjacent spaces visible from the foyer.

Before & After of the Study.

Before & After of the Study.

The inspiration for my design work comes from many sources. I have been inspired by a client’s favorite travel photos, a treasured heirloom rug, a collection of pottery and dishware from Mexico, a homeowner’s heritage, etc. The color palette for this particular project was inspired by the subject matter found in a piece of artwork from the homeowners’ existing art collection. I specified a subtle variation of earth tones for the walls for each of the spaces on their main floor. The warm walls offer a quiet and sophisticated backdrop for the punctuations of saturated color (reds, peacock blues, and greens) brought into the design with new case goods, artwork, and accessories.

Before & After of the Foyer.

Before & After of the Foyer.

This ASID award-winning remodel/redesign included creating spaces in my clients’ home which now function much better for their family plus they actually look like an extension and reflection of this stylish couples’ unique personal taste and flair.

Q&A: Andy Colley

December 25, 2012 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

A creative from a very young age, Andy Colley tells us how he found his calling in woodworking early and what he most enjoys about about being a craftsman.

Q: How did you first discover your interest in woodworking? When did you decide to pursue it as a career?

A: Originally from Connecticut, I spent my childhood at Air Force bases in Japan, Hawaii, and the upper East Coast. I settled in Omaha about the time I entered high school. Throughout my youth, creativity in many forms had been an outlet, but never woodwork. Unsure of my future path after graduating, I started an entry-level position at a production cabinet shop. Within a few weeks, I was operating a production saw and then moved on to a bench, becoming a custom builder. After working at a couple shops in town, I started my own company. Ironically, a year later, I talked with an uncle who I hadn’t contacted in years and was told woodworking ran deep in my Connecticut roots.20 November 2012- Andy Colley is photographed at his studio for Omaha Magazine.

Q: How has your craft and your studio progressed over the years?

A: Colley Furniture has been through many changes in 12 years. As I develop and hone my skills, my work evolves…an endless pursuit for a craftsman. With this growth have come increasing budgets as well as complexity of projects. I’ve been involved with projects from coast to coast and collaborated with many great artists, architects, and designers constantly trying to push our expectations of furniture. Located in Benson for 10 years, I moved downtown last summer. For the first time, the shop now has a showroom and a storefront.20 November 2012- Andy Colley is photographed at his studio for Omaha Magazine.

Q: Describe your approach to furniture design. What sets your furniture apart from other work out there?

A:  Typically, materials dictate the design of my work. I am fortunate as an artist to work in a medium that presents me with a great base to start. Every single piece of wood in my shop is unique in color, grain characteristics, and mechanical properties, from large slabs of walnut to slivers of highly figured maple. All of these attributes guide the way in which that particular piece is utilized. A certain piece [of wood] might look better, but it might not have the characteristics you need for that component. Humility and respect are rewarded. Use of hand tools and joinery in construction intensify the relationship to wood and provide otherwise unobtainable strength and longevity to [pieces]. Many times the most complicated, most time-consuming parts are hidden from view. Some bakers rely on fancy, over-the-top frosting; others devote their attention to a more refined use of ingredients and methods. My intention is always to reveal and share the beauty of the wood without interference from design.20 November 2012- Andy Colley is photographed at his studio for Omaha Magazine.

Q: What do you most enjoy about your work? What message do you hope your pieces convey?

A: One of my goals is to show people that furniture can be so much more than disposable, uninspired places to sit or set things on. It can be something so much more—from Grandma’s favorite rocking chair to your parents’ dining set that has been a gathering place for so many occasions and emotions—[furniture] can be very personal. It can have a positive effect on our lives, and when we respect the resources we use, we have a positive effect in this world. Inspiration surrounds us. The more aware we become of the world, the more we can understand and appreciate every aspect of life.

Q: What are your professional plans moving forward?

A: [The studio] is planning to show artists of all mediums here, with a focus on process…bridging the gap between an artist’s conception of a work and an art patron’s purchase of a finished piece. Face-to-face events, such as workshops, presentations, and even small dinner parties are in the works to help achieve this. Retirement is not a part of my plans, as creating is essential to my being. Art is life, life is art.