Tag Archives: glass

If the Glass House Fits

September 12, 2018 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Midcentury modern was the look Jon and Jamie Jacobi were going for when they built their 1 ½ story home in The Prairies near 220th and Pacific streets last year. The couple appreciates the resurgent design style’s clean simplicity and contemporary feel.

To achieve that look, the Jacobis chose to incorporate glass into many of the home’s features. Most notable is a 36-foot-long catwalk with glass railings that runs the full length of the second floor. 

“At first we were going to go with a steel railing with cable spindles, but then decided glass was the look we really wanted,” Jon says. “We had seen [glass railings] in Vegas at Aria and the Cosmopolitan casinos and really liked them. The catwalk runs right through the middle of the house, so you can overlook the main level on both sides. It maintains the open look that we wanted.” 

Elite Glass of Omaha provided the glass panels and railing installation, while Glass Vice USA of San Diego provided the hardware clamping system. Sales manager Corey Matteo with Glass Vice USA says the use of glass railings and balusters in homes is growing nationwide. “They’ve been popular in homes near water, or with a view, such as those in Florida or Colorado. But we’re selling more in the Midwest and everywhere these days because they offer a lot of value. They’re an engineered product, so there’s no fabrication needed. And they’re made of a sustainable material and they last forever.”

For safety reasons, the Jacobis opted for 42-inch-high railings, a bit higher than the 36 inches that residential building code requires. With two small children, ages 2 and 4, they were concerned about the kids climbing them and dropping things over the sides. They also went with tempered glass, sometimes called safety glass, which is many times stronger than regular glass and poses less risk of injury should a panel break.

Each panel is topped with a slender cap railing made of stainless steel and features two small vice clamps. “When you look at it, all you see is the glass,” Jon says. “They look almost free-floating.”

The Jacobis added a midcentury modern flair to the home’s exterior as well, installing two 18-foot-high glass curtain walls spanning 16 feet on the front of the structure. The glass walls are slightly tinted to help prevent furniture and flooring from drying out or fading from sunlight.

“I had seen curtain walls on two other homes and loved the commercial storefront look,” he says.

While privacy might be a concern for some—“The house is wide open. You can see through the house, front to back”—the Jacobis don’t find issue with it, for now. But they had the forethought to have the home wired for large, power window blinds should they change their mind in the future.

Jon says the glass installation process was pretty seamless. “The materials all seemed well put together, very strong and safe.” But there were a few things he’s learned along the way. “When we engineered the catwalk, we had to create a really solid sub-floor to anchor the bolts that hold up the heavy glass panels. It created a little challenge for Profile Homes, our builder.”

He also learned that with two small children, the glasswork requires a lot of TLC. “You’re constantly cleaning the glass for smudges and handprints.”

Despite the added care, Jon is satisfied with their design choice. “The finished look is priceless. And the dog [they have a Westie] loves being able to see all the action.”


This article was printed in the September/October 2018 edition of OmahaHome. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Corey Broman

October 8, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

This article appears in Sept./Oct. 2015 The Encounter.

Artist Corey Broman hears a musical note upon seeing a piece of glass.

“An instrument, a hum, a rattling, a chiming, a shattering,” he says. “Anytime I see a blown piece of work, it makes a sound.”

The 35-year-old glass sculptor will soon host his first solo display, “Unknown/Audible,” at Gallery 72 in the Vinton Street business district. The show runs October 16 to November 14 and features up to 40 of Broman’s distinctive glass works, along with samples of music he wrote to complement the pieces. (Broman began playing drums in high school and is the keyboard player for indie-rock outfit New Lungs.)

His work has appeared in several group shows; however, an artist’s initial exhibition as a single entity is a milestone, and Broman understandably obsesses over it.

“I’m really excited, but it’s an extreme amount of work for one dude,” Broman says. “This is completely consuming my mind. Sometimes my wife will be talking to me and I won’t have any idea what she just said. I think you have to get into it that much for it to be the best it can be.”

For “Unknown/Audible,” Broman will transform Gallery 72 into a quieter place. He plans to paint the walls a dark color to give it a silent, kind of compressed, atmosphere. This, combined with the music, promises an interesting experience for the viewer/listener.

In a way, the idea harks back to the 2000 Dale Chihuly glass exhibit at Joslyn Art Museum that blew Broman’s mind, inspiring him to take up glassmaking shortly after graduating high school.

“I walked into the exhibit and all you could see were these glowing, vibrant pieces of glass,” Broman relates. “No one was compelled to talk. Everything was just silent. You could hear, almost, the works. You didn’t care that much about anything around you.”

He had dabbled with painting and drawing for years, but nothing sparked his interest quite like glass. After seeing what kind of art could be forged from the material, 19-year-old Broman called glass sculptor Tom Kreager, who taught at Hastings College, and asked if Kreager could use an assistant.

Turns out the elder artist needed help, so Broman packed up and headed to small-town Nebraska to learn Venetian goblet-making techniques from a master artisan. His brain absorbed everything from various cold-forging techniques to how to duck when entering the kitchen of his tiny attic apartment. The move paid off. He has made glass in his own studio since 2003, developing an aesthetic through endless, sometimes brutal work while taking cues from the worlds of interior design and architecture.

“I’m inspired by textures of all sorts, tangible items that have an interesting texture or a certain shape,” he says.

If he is trying to make some kind of artistic statement with his coming exhibit, he prefers you not ruin the surprise for him.

“I don’t really have an underlying theme or some kind of hidden meaning behind my work,” he says. “Some people go for that. I keep it a little unknown.”

CoreyBroman

From Traditional to Contemporary

October 2, 2015 by
Photography by Lisa Louise Photography

The goal in renovating this home was transforming the somewhat traditional space into a fresh, contemporary, more spacious home. The project started in the kitchen, re-facing the dingy oak cabinets with a shaker-style birch euro-hinged door stained in a deep, almost black, espresso color. The brown tumbled-porcelain tile with glass accents complimented the Persian brown granite beautifully. The craftsmen placed the same tile on the floor in a pinwheel pattern using 18”, 12”, and 6” pieces, and continued into the entry to add spaciousness and continuity.

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Sleek, contemporary, cylindrical hardware adorns the cabinetry.  The cylinder shape is repeated over the island in handcrafted, contemporary pendant fixtures.

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The most dramatic change to the home happened in the entry. An open staircase with iron balusters, an espresso-stained handrail, and chunky box newel posts replaced the original oak stair rail and closed staircase. In addition, the walls in the adjacent living room were completely removed. In its place stands a tall, beautiful column wrapped in stone. The fireplace was refaced in the same gorgeous stone. These changes transformed the entry from a small, compartmentalized, lackluster entry into a spacious, elegant, and luxurious foyer.

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The powder room was a tiny, non-descript space with no personality. The walls needed to stay in place for structure, so we created the illusion of space through the finishes. Rectangular slate tiles, laid vertically on the vanity wall, generated height and drama. The granite vessel sink sits atop a custom marine wood finished top, flanked by custom hand painted pendants.

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Beautiful Fabrica carpet in the main area and stunning contemporary window treatments added the finishing touch and transformed this home to a spacious, modern one that feels newly-constructed.

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Through A Glass Brightly

June 24, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

This article was published in the May/June 2015 edition of Omaha Magazine.

Halfway through our interview, Therman Statom apologizes. He didn’t anticipate our conversation
lasting so long, and he has an appointment at Children’s Hospital he doesn’t want to break.
The internationally renowned glass artist has been working on large-scale cloud pieces for a new
pediatric wing, and although he’s technically completed them, an 8-year-old girl is contributing the finishing touches. “She has cancer, and her father says she used to hate going to the hospital,” he explains, “but now she can’t wait to come” because of this project.

That’s why we take an hour-and-a-half break. The young girl is meeting Statom to talk about the project, and he doesn’t want to cancel or keep her waiting. That commitment to children defines much of the artist’s career. He may be acclaimed for his airy glass houses, chairs, and ladders, but it’s his passion for making a difference in young people’s lives for which he’d prefer to be known.

That passion goes back to his own formative years growing up in Washington, D.C. Although the son of physician, he was a typical “problem child,” going through high school after high school. Unlike most troubled kids who had run-ins with the law, however, Statom did something different: he hung out at the Smithsonian’s Freer Gallery of Art. “The Smithsonian was like a home to me. It was like an extra room in my house. It’s where I found myself,” he recounts. “I was there so much, I got befriended by a curator, and he got me a job mixing clay.”

That job triggered an interest that eventually led to his attending the Rhode Island School of Design in the early 1970s, where he pursued clay as an artistic medium. “In clay I made a bunch of ugly pots. They were all brown,” he laughs. “Then I started blowing glass, and I went from very traditional to really exploring. Glass was immediate. You didn’t have to fire it two or three times. You could go into the studio and have something the next day.”

He soon discovered a particular talent for working in his new material. Statom created an arced sculpture out of clear glass cones, which earned him advanced standing at the school and enabled him to graduate early. From there, he went on to earn his MFA in 1978 from the Pratt Institute School of Art and Design, where he made the jump from blowing glass to working with sheets of it. “I didn’t want to be limited,” he explains. “It’s about exploring and questioning creatively and the actual act of making. It’s about challenging yourself and learning as an individual. I have a real interest in that.”

That interest prompted him to push the boundaries of glass as art, often using the material in unexpected ways. “I like to paint on translucent surfaces,” he says. “I consider myself a painter, and I think of glass as a canvas. If I had it my way, I’d paint on air.”

For years, museums have been taking notice of Statom’s unorthodox approach, and today his work is in the permanent collections of, among others, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, GA, the Cincinnati Art Museum, and the place where it all began: the Smithsonian, which features one of his signature painted pieces in the Renwick Gallery at the American Art Museum.

For as important as his own creative success is, however, Statom isn’t interested in his identity as an artist. “You don’t do anything unless you’re actively making a difference,” he emphasizes. “It’s not just narcissistic. It’s about making kids happy here and now. You have to engage. I’m more intrigued with helping people.”

To that end, he’s worked with children through a broad range of organizations, including a children’s hospital in Norfolk, VA, and the U.S. Department of State’s Art in Embassies program, through which he’s led workshops in such far-flung places as Mozambique and Turkey. Closer to home, he’s worked with the Omaha Public School’s Native American Indian Education Department, Kanesville Alternative School in Council Bluffs, Yates Alternative School in Gifford Park, and even local
Girl Scout troops.

No matter where he works with kids, the goal remains the same: to affect change in children through art. “I have kids who claim that activities in art save their lives,” Statom says. “That’s pretty big.”

Another hour into the interview, Statom glances at the clock. “It’s time to go,” he announces. There’s another girl he doesn’t want to keep waiting—his daughter. She’s about to get out of school, and just like the little girl at the hospital, he has no intention of keeping her waiting.

ThermanStaton

Hot Products: Accessorize For
 The Holidays

November 12, 2013 by

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Two Perspectives

June 20, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Nancy Lepo and Corey Broman are expert draftsmen. Both use the tools of their medium to create precise markings which address color, the movement of light, a sense of direction and shape, and the nuance of mystery, depth, and genesis. She carries her tools in a canvas lunch sack; his require a studio. Lepo uses traditional pen and ink on paper; Broman draws with a diamond wheel on glass.

Both artists’ work will be on view in a dual exhibition at the Nebraska Arts Council’s Fred Simon Gallery this summer. NAC staff, who determine the exhibition schedule, found the work of both applicants compelling and promising interplay.

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Broman has been blowing glass for about 15 years, following a spark lit when he was a child on vacation, “watching an old man crafting a glowing ball of molten glass.” That spark was reignited by an exhibition of Chihuly glass at Joslyn Art Museum. Finding a glass studio in the phone book, he went immediately to Crystal Forge (hotshopsartcenter.com/crystal) and knew with certainty that “that’s what I want to do.” For months he watched, took classes, and assisted. Owner Ed Fennell encouraged him. “He referred me to Hastings College,” says Broman. “He gave me hope.”

Today, Broman is a full-time glassblower with a growing online business, Corey Broman Glass. In contrast to most studios, where a master works with a team of specialized assistants, he works solo, adapting and improvising his unique system of handling glass heated to 2,000°F. Molten glass is a thick, viscous material, constantly changing temperature and plasticity. This calls for a calculated choreography of gathering, blowing, rolling, and swinging a blob of hot glass on a 7- to 10-pound rod. He also does all his own cold work—the design and finishing of cooled glass—switching the emphasis from the physicality of sculpture to the precision of surface detail.

Lepo’s attention seems always to be on a small scale, but one can find infinity in her intimate landscapes. There is the expanse of a Southwest sky, opening over the canyon to our view just as surprisingly as it did to hers. Or sensing in the density of a spinning planet the cold vacuum of the surrounding void. “Drawing,” she says, “is a means of looking at something again for the first time.” And how better to really see than to map a landscape with tiny dots of ink, to define a tree branch or the trace of wind across sand by the proximity of one dot to another?

Lepo’s unconscious apprenticeship as a pen and ink artist began with her exposure to a variety of cultures during her childhood, her curiosity, her wondering. Later, as an engineering technology student, she understood the power of a drawing to convey information. “Looking again” is her impetus to move such utilitarian drawing to a deeper level of engagement. With the simplest of equipment—sketchbook, India ink, pens (the nibs rattling around in a small tea tin), water dish, pencils, an eraser—the self-described “nature-centric” artist can create a sketch whenever her wandering says “pay attention.”20130507_bs_4431-Copy_web

Finishing, then inking the drawing in her studio, Lepo employs pointillist techniques to describe form, light, and movement in detail, using only black ink and the white of the paper. The tonal gradation she achieves via stippling, hatching and cross-hatching, and layering is extraordinary—a picture may take up to 100 hours to complete. Working in her spacious north-facing studio at Hot Shops, her attention articulates the relationship betweenherself and a particular moment and place (whether real or imaginary). Surrounding that focal point, the world expands in scale and scope: Wind and falcon’s cry become the voice of the North Rim, the persona of the Grand Canyon, the panorama of the Southwest. Lepo’s anchor is a tree silhouetted by sunset.

Broman’s studio is an efficiently organized cubicle in a busy industrial plant. In just a few steps, he can reach his three furnaces (furnace, for melting glass; glory hole, for reheating; annealer, for controlled cooling to room temperature), his workstation/bench, a cupboard of supplies, and wall of notes, sketches, and recipes. There’s also a sandblaster, which he can use to create surface effects of layered color or a frosted appearance. Glassblowing is a sequential process, and running three furnaces is expensive, so time in the studio is carefully planned.20130507_bs_4464-Copy_Web

Vista embodies several techniques. Three blown glass pieces are assembled in a custom-welded stand. The diamond wheel was used to make thousands of light-reflecting cuts in the stem, and to engrave the disc with its delicate scene. The graceful leaf was treated with an acid bath for a matte finish.

Like Lepo, Broman appreciates the outdoors. He finds peace in moments of stillness and challenge in the variability of light. Both artists use the language of art to express a unique response that, in turn, informs and enriches viewers and bids us to pay attention. Finding the affinities and distinctions between their work, we learn to see again for the first time.

Nancy Lepo, Drawings/Corey Broman, Glass will be on display at the Fred Simon Gallery, Nebraska Arts Council in the Burlington Building (1004 Farnam St.) from June 24 – July 26, 2013. For more information, visit nebraskaartscouncil.org.

jLofts on the Market

April 25, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Nestled among the quaint brick buildings in the heart of Omaha’s Historic Old Market sits a modern building made of glass and concrete on the corner of 13th and Jackson streets. jLofts on the Market are upscale condos that first went on the market in the spring of 2009, and according to Sandi Downing, the listing agent for the lofts, have been in high demand.

One of the major selling points of the condos is that new owners get to select the finishing touches: everything from the style of hardwood floors to the granite countertops. Downing says the newness of the building, amenities, and concierge services set it apart from other residences in the Old Market. Every loft has a balcony, high-end Bosch appliances, and large walk-in closets. And in a part of town where parking is scarce, the climate-controlled parking garage is a revelation.20130401_bs_9653_Web

The concierge services at jLofts are impressive. The property has a reception room on the main level with package delivery and reception. There are dry cleaning and laundry services available. They will check on your residence and walk your dog if needed. Shoe shine and repair, reservation booking, car washes and detailing, and valet parking are all part of the services provided. The building also boasts a fully-equipped fitness room.

This high standard of luxury comes with a price. The cheapest condo, at just over 850 sq. ft., starts at $239,000. The top-floor penthouses, with 14 ft. ceilings and more square footage than most houses—anywhere from 2,245 to over 5,000 sq. ft.—start at $750,000 and go up to $1,750,000.20130401_bs_9689_Web

Downing says that many people are drawn to the carefree lifestyle of loft living. There’s no yard work or maintenance. Plus, with a thriving social scene just blocks away, there’s always something to do. According to her, “More and more people are thinking of coming downtown,” and adds that the demographic for the building is all over the map: young and old, singles and couples, young professionals and retirees.

“A lot of things have happened in recent years in the Old Market…the Holland Center, the new stadium, the swim trials, to name a few. It’s an exciting time to live in the Old Market,” she says with a smile.20130401_bs_9686_Web

Diane Speck owns a condo at the jLofts and has resided there for almost four years. “I always loved the downtown location,” Speck says. She has lived in other downtown buildings, including The Riley Building, but was waiting for a place like her current loft to become available. She was looking for something in the Old Market that was new and provided the extensive amenities that the building offers.

“I don’t have to worry about a thing when I travel. I park my car in the garage, and I’m set,” Speck says. The concierge takes care of everything, she boasts, which provides her peace of mind.20130401_bs_9665_Web

The location is one of the major aspects that attracted her to jLofts. She is just a brief stroll from international cuisine, bars, two grocers, and the arts and entertainment district.

“Everything I need is right here within walking distance,” Speck says, adding, “I never would have made an investment of this caliber at a different location.”

Nature-Inspired Office Space

February 25, 2013 by
Photography by Tom Kressler

The four elements—earth, fire, wind, and water—connote strength, simplicity, and timelessness andwere the source of inspiration for the design of the Pinnacle Bank Headquarters at 180th & Dodge streets in Omaha.

Pinnacle Bank, a Nebraska-based institution now in eight states, worked closely with the team at Avant Architecture to make the building essentially a piece of modern art. Rising from the horizon, the stone, steel, and glass structure suggests strength and elegance, simplicity and beauty.

“We’re really all about Nebraska and the Nebraska way,” says Chris Wendlandt, Senior Vice President of Marketing/Retail. Having previously worked with Avant, Wendlandt says the architecture firm knew their philosophy well. “Avant worked to match the building with the brand, and I think they did a great job.”

Wendlandt says that the goal was to create a space that would be simple, warm, and inviting, and something that both employees and their customers would be proud of.

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Since their grand opening in June 2011, the response of employees and clients has been overwhelmingly positive.

The overall design of the building is sleek, yet elegant. “The emphasis is on light, openness, and views [of the exterior landscape],” says Wendlandt. Italian tile runs throughout the approximately 82,000-square-foot building. Other materials carried throughout the building’s design are the dark, German wood veneer, Oberflex, used in cabinets and doors, as well as a Gage Cast bronze metal that can be found near the teller line, in the elevator, and in other parts of the building.

Glass plays a prominent role in the overall design as well. Running through the lobby is a green-tinted channel glass wall, hinting at the element of water and providing light, as well as privacy, to first-floor offices and conference rooms. Large glass-panel walls on both exterior and interior walls keep with the open and airy feeling.

“The consistency throughout the whole building gives it that warm feeling, but then the artwork really brings [to life] what our brand is,” says Wendlandt. While the design of the space is minimalist, the artwork is what captures the attention of the viewer.

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Aided by Holly Hackwith of Corporate Art Co., the art in the building was commissioned especially for the Pinnacle Bank project. With the majority of the artists being from Nebraska and the surrounding area, their work conveys the feel of Pinnacle’s home state. “We went through and identified artists we thought worked for the building,” says Wendlandt. Some of the more prominently featured artists are Jorn Olsen, Helene Quigley, and Matt Jones.

Then, in what Hackwith calls an extraordinary gesture, the Pinnacle executives allowed their employees to select which pieces would go into their personal offices. The result is an art collection that is a healthy mix of traditional and modern, serene and vibrant.

“Their employees really felt like they were a part of the process,” says Hackwith. Each work of art includes a plaque detailing the name of the piece, the name of the artist, and a brief description of the piece and artistic process involved.

The executive offices on the upper floors have glass-panel walls that look into the hallways and common areas. Employee cubicles have lower walls with glass panes imbedded, giving nearly every employee access to natural light and breathtaking views.

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A community meeting room was created so that many of Pinnacle’s nonprofit clients can reserve it for their own use. “Community is…very important to us,” says Wendlandt. She says that they made a conscious effort to include a conference room with community access to it. All conference rooms are equipped with the latest in audio-visual technology

The top floor houses a green roof as well as a meeting area surrounded by glass-paneled walls that can slide open and be used to entertain clients or hold business meetings.

The building has achieved its sought-after LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification. To earn this distinction, the building must meet green building standards regarding energy performance, water efficiency and several other aspects. In September 2012, the Pinnacle Bank project was also honored for its superior design with a silver award in the Corporate-Healthcare category by the Nebraska-Iowa Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).

President Sid Dinsdale and the executives at Pinnacle Bank have created a new work space that reflects their values as a company. In doing so, they have also built a monument to where they came from and the clients they serve.