Tag Archives: luxury

Hidden Treasures

April 9, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Originally published in March/April OmahaHome

The quarter-million-dollar, 8,800-watt Steinway & Sons speaker system is very visible in the “Man Cave” section of the Echo Systems store because, well, guys still think 7-foot-tall speakers are cool to look at. Even the bank of 11 Steinway 800-watt amplifiers (with enough power for an outdoor heavy-metal concert) is visible off to the side of the bar, which has two televisions in case, as Echo’s marketing coordinator Doug Dushan says, “you don’t want to crane your neck” to look over the $43,000 pool table to see the Man Cave’s big screen TV, which is maybe 20 feet from the even-bigger-screened TV over by the custom-built shuffle board.

But the one-percenter excesses of the Cave aren’t really what the new Echo Systems store is about, says Dushan, a longtime home tech expert who also serves as the company’s senior sales consultant. Most of this complete luxury-home layout is filled with technology you don’t see. Think of the new Echo Systems space just north of 120th and L streets (previously occupied by the company’s lighting design store) as a permanent Street of Dreams home mashed up with a 21st-century House of Tomorrow. “You’re walking through a million-dollar home and that’s obvious. You have the beautiful light fixtures, you have the high-end art and sculpture,” Dushan says. “But we’re really focused on giving people the best technology in their home with minimal visual impact. We’re about technology, but in a house, the technology needs to be concealed technology.”

Beyond the Man Cave, subtlety begins to rule. The spacious kitchen is tasteful luxury, but not really awe-inspiring (Full disclosure, though: the writer is a dude). But then Dushan starts pressing buttons on the barely-visible wall switch. One button pours bright LED light onto the counter areas for food preparation. Another button lowers the overhead lighting and raises floor and recess lighting for a dinner ambiance. Another push of a button and the lighting shifts to nighttime mode—just enough light on the floor to get you safely to a midnight snack.

Mixed inconspicuously with the recessed lights above are two banks of speakers. Hidden behind another wall is a subwoofer big enough for car audio competitions. You can preset the myriad lights and speakers to any level and configuration you choose.

In the dining room—so that there’s absolutely no sign of speakers—the sound equipment is installed behind the walls. Above the table, the ceiling is specially designed to transmit even higher-frequency sounds without visible tweeters.

Push one button and the mirror above the fireplace turns into a 65-inch TV. If that’s too small a screen, you can push another button to lower a 110-inch motorized movie screen. Again, the projector itself is barely visible on the back wall of the room. In the bedroom, even an acrylic-on-canvas painting rolls up to expose a television.

And then there’s the real movie room, a tri-leveled, 17-seat theater that, with walls of surround-sound speakers on both sides and a screen nearly the size of secondary theaters in a multiplex, makes for an experience “we believe is better than the experience you would get in a commercial theater,” Dushan says.

Dushan queued up a scene from Need for Speed (Again, the writer is a dude). Remember the scene in which the Koenigsegg Agera R flips across the bridge at 200 mph? In this theater, it sounds like the supercar is hurtling right past your head.

More tasteful films are probably pretty good in here, too.

Finally, you exit the faux-home through a room built to look like a patio. Here there’s a large opaque window that, sure, is actually a rear-projection screen for watching movies outside.

The features, both hidden and obvious, are too numerous to mention. And honestly, a bit of envy-fatigue can start to set in after a while.

Dushan says he’s aware that most of us won’t be able to take the store home. (He says he’s hoping he can build just a couple of the amenities into his own place). But, he argues, even if a customer thinks most of the amenities are crazy or out-of-reach, “they might see that one thing that really excites them.”

“This place is a showcase of what’s possible in a home,” he says. “It’s a Street of Dreams home that isn’t going anywhere.”

Livable Luxury

February 11, 2015 by
Photography by Tom Kessler and Mark Kresl

A penthouse space in Riverfront Place, a sparkling anchor in the redevelopment of NoDo, was just the lifestyle change needed for this client.

We sought an atmosphere that would be perfect for entertaining in a location perched atop the Missouri river and with a magnificent view of the stunning vista.

Moving from the typical West Omaha suburbia home meant that storage could be an issue, so we designed every space possible with an eye to the maximum use of space, from closet systems to a Murphy bed.

Furniture selections and placement were meticulously planned to accomodate large gatherings, and all of the fabrics and leathers were selected to maximize durability and tactile stimulation. The home also features the integration of lighting, shades, HVAC, sound, and television—even a self-playing piano—all controlled with a touch of an iPad.

And the kicker, especially in this muffs-and-mittens time of the year? Heated floors.

A dramatic expanse of windows boast electronic shades that give the homeowner the option of mixing things up with a selection of patterned, sheer, and room-darkening options. The client wanted all electrical fixtures to be LED for energy efficiency, color, and aesthetics in highlighting the home’s neutral color palette.

Quartz countertops and alpaca area rugs were used for their striking look and feel, texture, and for sustainability purposes. Every last detail was customized to add to the singular vibe of the space. The client also loves metallic and texture, which we achieved through creatively integrating the use of both porcelain and mosaic, wood, hand-beaded wall coverings, fabric, faux painting, art, wallpaper, furniture, custom doors, cornice boards, and more.

Extensive custom woodwork was also used to achieve several curvilinear installations to add extra emphasis and eye-catching appeal.

The result is a singularly handsome space looming high above the Missouri River.

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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.”