Tag Archives: harmony

Beep Beep

August 11, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Beep Beep is no ordinary bus. It is a fully restored “sealing wax red” and white splitty Volkswagen (“splitty” refers to the two-panel windshield). The bus, named Beep Beep, was also its owner’s long-lost honeymoon ride.

BeepBeep1Beep Beep’s 86-year-old owner, John Adair, is a multifaceted businessperson. Adair calls himself an “educational entrepreneur” because of his experience starting several Montessori schools in Omaha. He is also the co-founder of U.S. Assets, a nearly 25-year-old tax business that buys delinquent property taxes from various states, pays them, and profits from penalty collections. The delinquent taxes, he explains, are crucial to funding schools. Adair also serves on a number of nonprofit boards.

Adair’s philosophy is not about profit. Rather, he believes in generosity, free-spiritedness, harmony, love, friendship, and family. These ideals, Adair says, are embodied in his choice of vehicle: a 1960 Volkswagen Microbus Deluxe-SO 22.

Auto restoration expert Mike Carroll, proprietor of Air Cooled Express in Bennington, helped to bring Beep Beep back to life. Carroll says the bus model is the “high line of (VW) busses,” characterized by “nice chrome and a fancy interior—all of the amenities offered back then, and from Germany.

He received Beep Beep from Adair via flatbed. When Carroll first saw the bus, he says it “looked like an unfixable wreck…It sat in a forest for 40 years.” The bus had changed owners many times since Adair’s initial possession. It had served many roles: from family van, to television sales vehicle, to being a storage container.

Adair rescued the abandoned, rusting, and hopelessly immobile Beep Beep from an Iowa forest in 2014. Long before that time, Beep Beep carried Adair and his wife, Rosemarie, across Germany during their 1960 honeymoon.

BeepBeep3Beep Beep was “born in Hanover (Germany), same as Rosemarie,” says Adair. He purchased the vehicle on behalf of his father with the agreement that he could use the bus on his wedding trip in Europe.

Beep Beep’s first outing was in the Swiss Alps. After the honeymoon, Adair relinquished Beep Beep to his father and subsequently became estranged from the vehicle until 40 years later, when a family friend asked what had become of the bus. They traced the bus to its resting place in the forest.

Carroll restored the bus with the help of mechanic Terry Wolfe. It took one-and-a-half years to complete the project. Carroll notes that parts for this bus are obscure or almost impossible to find. He faced the challenge of repairing original parts instead of replacing them.

“I repaired everything I could,” he says. Other parts he located internationally. Carroll accredits the upholstery to Sky’s Interior Shop, and the paint and body work to Extreme Paint (both of which are located in Fremont). Carroll says, “when we put that last piece in there, it just about brought a tear to your eye to see it.”

Since the complete restoration, the bus has earned first place in the Restored Class at the World of Wheels show in March 2016, and Best in Class and Best in Show in the Omaha VW Club show in June 2016. Adair says that Beep Beep “is symbolic of happiness” and “the free spirit of living.”

Adair says that Beep Beep “went from an ‘I can’ car to an ‘icon’ car.”

*Correction: Due to an editing error, the September/October 2016 print edition incorrectly identified Adair’s wife as deceased.

Visit omahavwclub.com for more information. B2B

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Blue, Bluer, Bluest

June 23, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

If viewing the virtual tour below through the LayAR app, please open the link in your smart device’s web browser. 

Originally published in July/August 2015 Omaha Home.

It’s bad form to upstage the guest of honor at any social gathering, but Natallia Intrieri had more than a little competition at her recent high school graduation party.

That’s because the Elkhorn South High School graduate, soon headed for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, was up against the oohs and aahs that accompanied a christening of the stunning outdoor living space at the home she shares with parents Mike and DeAnn Intrieri on the banks of West Shores Lake.

“We’ve always wanted a pool,” Mike says, “but when we moved out here we thought that the lake would act as the water we were seeking.”

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“But it’s just not the same,” DeAnn adds. “Our back yard was this huge blank slate that we just stared at for the longest time wondering what to do with. We considered building a pretty extensive deck out here, but that idea seemed the opposite of what we had in mind. A deck, we felt, would somehow separate us from the lake, not connect us to it.”

The result, especially on a clear day when the light is just so, finds the pool, lake, and sky welded seamlessly together in a blue, bluer, bluest canvas for the home occupying a jutting point that affords dramatic vistas with 180-degree views.

“It’s funny how so many outdoor projects begin indoors,” says Burton Kilgore of Nature’s Intent, who tag-teamed with KC Barth of Artisan Pools in executing the effort. “The inspiration came from the home’s Tuscan/Mediterranean theme and decor. We took those same motifs outdoors and incorporated them into the design. Then we added layers of depth and visual interest in landscaping and other elements to form a cohesive space that works with the land instead of fighting against it.”

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In order to conform to the landscape, the various surfaces are situated on different planes. Even though the elevations rise in increments of only a few inches at a time in a gentle progression, the overall effect delivers subtle, eye-tricking “wow” not found in flat, single-surface configurations.

“That’s the nature of custom work,” adds Barth. “Creating different topographical focal points is key in a project like this. Hillsides and sloping areas were once considered spaces waiting be leveled. We look at them as design opportunities that give us a way to create drama.”  providing contrast to a carefully curated color palate are chocolate-hued border pavers. Add to that mocha-tinged mulch and contemporary tiki torches rendered in black steel instead of the customarily blonde bamboo, and the scene is balanced by just the right amount of contrast in these and other elements that serve to define the space without hemming it in.

The Tuscan-inspired home and its warm, mustardy hues is a wholly intentional nod to Mike’s heritage as the son of an Italian-born father who once toiled in the sweltering cauldrons of Pittsburgh steel mills.

Harmony is the keyword in this outdoor living space. After all, how could this most serene of settings engender anything but a calming, loll-around-all-day vibe? The only hint of strife the day of Omaha Magazine’s visit was a minor disagreement on whose brainstorm it was to install the gracefully arcing pergola that anchors one end of the grounds.

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Mike claims that it was an idea he stumbled upon during a visit to an upscale hotel during one of his many business travels. DeAnn insists otherwise. Natallia, with a roll of the eyes reserved by young people exclusively for their parents, took the opportunity to move the interview to the mechanical panel that manipulates the many inset lighting nodes and gurgling water features that are best experienced long into a summer’s eve over s’mores prepared above the glowing embers of the fire pit.

Not to be outdone, Mike took the helm in manipulating an array of switches to demonstrate various functionalities, but, still relatively new at this high-tech game, his attempt to activate something over there more often than not brought to life something over here.

Insert second playful, “Oh-Dad-style” eye roll here, this time joined by a cheerful wink from DeAnn.

“Well, you get the idea,” Mike beams with a shrug in jocular resignation.

Natallia had been mildly concerned about gate crashers at her graduation party, but only those of the amphibian kind. Unwelcome guests so far have been limited to curious (and who can blame ‘em?) frogs coming up from the lake for a midnight splash in the pool.

“This place is having us rethinking the whole idea of taking vacations,” says DeAnn as Mike and Natallia nod in agreement.

“Why bother going away,” Natallia adds, “when we have the nicest resort imaginable right in our own back yard?”

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Balance & Harmony

June 20, 2013 by
Photography by Angel Stottle

As an interior designer (and a Libran), Susan T. McMannama, ASID, has always sought balance and harmony within her projects. In the case of this recent remodel of the lower level of a home in Champions Run, harmony was needed to balance the wife’s desire for a contemporary feel with the husband’s desire for a hideaway fit for a transplanted Texas Longhorn.IMG_4569_web

There were a few must-haves requested by the homeowners: a full-size kitchen for entertaining, plenty of storage, a wine room, a fireplace, and a bedroom for frequent guests. The husband wanted to include a pair of Eames chairs and ottomans. Plus, all of the finish materials should be easy to maintain, and the colors needed to flow from space to space.

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Space for the guest bedroom area was found by relocating the door to the furnace and storage room, creating a hallway that separated the quiet area from the more active spaces. The new entrance to the furnace/storage room included double doors. A Murphy bed system was implemented within new cabinetry on one wall of the bedroom. Luxurious bedding from The Linen Gallery was used to add softness and a pop of color. The bedroom could double as a home gym.IMG_4606_web

A quartz material was used for the abundant countertops in the kitchen, and a glass tile mosaic, selected by the husband, was used for the backsplash. The custom cabinetry, which was stained and glazed, can store all of the dishes and equipment for any size gathering. Lighting, both underneath and inside glass cabinets, added sparkle and helped illuminate the couple’s glass and bottle collection. The travertine-looking ceramic tile floor flows from the kitchen through to the wine storage room and into the bathroom and hallways. Custom counter stools were upholstered in a woven leather fabric.IMG_4499_web

After relocating the door to the bathroom, the original tub/shower was removed and a new walk-in shower with a floating bench took its place. A sleek, hand held faucet and an oversized showerhead were used to balance the size of the shower. The original vanity received a new quartz counter plus a glass vessel sink. Marble and glass tiles were used to frame the existing mirror.

The symmetrical sectionals in the sitting/viewing area flank the pair of Eames chairs and ottomans. A new fireplace and TV were built into a recessed area that formerly held a big-screen TV. Light oak “drinks” tables harmonize with the black leather. A mica wall covering was installed on the fireplace wall and also on the wall with the buffet.IMG_4628_web

To keep marital harmony in the family, a photo of a Texas Longhorn was hung above the buffet. Two more steers soon followed for the sitting area, followed by a fourth in the wine room. The final Longhorn was hung in the hallway to the bedroom, with a treasured antique bench (hers) placed below for balance.

Sibling Harmony

May 25, 2013 by
Photography by Bev Carlson

I had an interesting conversation recently with a friend, a father of three. He was talking about his two oldest children, both incredibly talented musicians. The son can play just about any instrument. The daughter has a voice like an angel.

“It’s just such a shame they refuse to perform together,” he said. When I asked why, he shrugged and said, “They just can’t stop fighting.”

His response surprised me. My guess? These kids will grow out of it. This was a family that exuded harmony on almost every level. Very engaged, involved parents. Bright, accomplished children. But siblings that, for now, could barely get along. Ever.

I understand sibling conflict. I really do. I have a younger brother, emphasis on “younger” because “little” stopped working when he hit six feet or so. Now, at 6’5”, he’s an officer in the U.S. Navy who carries a wide command and a powerful presence.

Well, I clearly recall back to the days when I could push him around at will. Of course, I was the ONLY one who could do so. If anyone else even looked at him like they were going to tease him or bully him, they had to get through me first—and that simply wasn’t happening. We were four years apart, and even though he could irritate me just by walking into my bedroom, he was still my little brother, and that meant I had his back.

I still do.

“Relationships that never really gelled in childhood only grow more distant with time…I hear friends talk about it a lot, and it makes me sad. I don’t want that for my children.”

It’s not that way for a lot of siblings—adult or otherwise. Relationships that never really gelled in childhood only grow more distant with time. Brothers and sisters who experience mutual trauma walk away from the conflict and each other. Siblings with oil-and-water personalities determine that it’s not worth the effort to find a balance, especially once the parental connection is gone. I hear friends talk about it a lot, and it makes me sad. I don’t want that for my children.

I really don’t know any of the secrets of creating sibling harmony, but I do claim a couple of kids who, for the most part, get along and enjoy each other. I love to hear their conversations about books or teachers or issues. Video games and YouTube videos are other common topics. They brag about each other when they think I’m not listening. They have their moments when they genuinely annoy one another, but I rarely have to intervene.

Maybe it’s helped that they’ve heard since day one that they are expected to look out for each other. “You guys run in nearly the same circles,” they’ve heard from me. “You have a better idea of whether the kids you’re hanging out with are nice or not.” They attend each other’s events and performances. They partner up on amusement rides. They are generally encouraged to help each other when they can. “Because,” as they hear from me, “you are lifetime friends.”

I may have just gotten lucky with the personality mix of my two, but I also took some advice that I got when they were very small. Now that they are young teenagers, I believe it might be paying off.

Here are some expert suggestions from Scholastic.com:

  • Avoid comparisons. Nothing causes more short- and long-term damage to the sibling dynamic than comparing academic or extracurricular achievements. Give honest, specific feedback and support each of your children toward their individual strengths and the skills each needs to strive for. Don’t ever stack them against each other.
  • Intervene when they argue, but be selective. There’s a big difference between fighting and problem solving. Rather than letting them always duke it out, teach them cooperation and conflict-resolution skills, like taking turns.
  • Introduce meaningful apologies. Rather than forcing an angry child to say he’s sorry, which will only produce an insincere apology, let him cool down first. Then talk to him about how to make amends for hurting another person’s feelings.

As it usually is, starting early and being consistent is key. And children also benefit when they see their parents model warm and loving relationships with their own siblings. But for the most part, some discontent with a brother or sister is simply part of growing up and provides a training ground for finding your voice.

Oh, and one last thing. Tell all of your children how much you love them. All the time. A child who feels well-loved has fewer reasons to lash out at their siblings.