Tag Archives: neighbors

Mike and Lynne Purdy’s Electrochromic Dream Home

February 20, 2017 by
Photography by Colin Conces

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mike embraced his creative side while designing the home.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Urban Living in Style

October 20, 2012 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Twelve years ago, Billy Coburn moved to Omaha and settled in the Old Market near 15th and Jones streets. He would often look across the street at two sturdy long-lived buildings being used as warehouses and think how perfect they would be if renovated into lofts.

“I had my eye on them for almost seven years,” said Coburn. He was one of the first in line to buy when renovation began on combining the two buildings into 31 new lofts.

Coburn in his loft.

Coburn in his loft.

Coburn is now not only a resident in Kimball Lofts—he also handles the project for Prudential Real Estate. The man who calls himself an urban and eco-modern specialist has sold more than 65,000 square feet of living space in Downtown Omaha, the equivalent of almost 1.5 acres.

The two buildings combined to create Kimball Lofts each have a story. The Graham Ice Cream building built in the 1890s holds a place in national history. The Eskimo Pie was created there. After Russell Stover saw chocolate-dipped ice cream at the Iowa State Fair, he brought the idea to Omaha. Stover later went on to become a well-known candy maker. The second building is the Kimball Laundry that was constructed in the late 1920s.

Coburn and Boris, his easy-going English bulldog, live in a 1,100-square-foot airy loft that has one large bedroom and two baths. Exposed concrete walls give the loft an “urban grit” feel. You can’t tell it from his mournful face, but Boris is one happy pooch. Sculptor John Lajba has invited loft residents to use a fenced-in area near his studio across the street as a dog park. It’s the only dog park in the Old Market, added Coburn.

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A 360-degree view from the rooftop terrace awaits tenants for informal gatherings. On the first level, a community room with a kitchenette is often used for cook-offs called “downtown throw-downs.” Homeowner meetings are also held there. Underground and outdoor parking is available.

Coburn said neighbors in his building have a great communal spirit. “Tenants argue over who will watch my dog when I’m gone. One woman who lives here had a stroke. The tenants rallied around her.”

A compact kitchen provides ample storage space in Coburn’s loft. Counters are marble; granite also is available. The kitchen is open to the living space and shares a view through large windows.

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A small deck has room for two chairs for contemplating the Old Market view. “But I rarely sit there,” he said. “I live downtown to be downtown. Sitting isolated isn’t as appealing as the rooftop or Starbucks. Urban living is about the street scene and the community of like-minded people sharing sports, arts, theatre, concerts, coffee and drinks, food, and life experiences in a way that cannot happen in a suburban setting. The beauty for urban commuters is that once you’re home for the weekend, you never have to get in your car again.”

An exercise room sits ready for tenants. An enthusiastic bicyclist, Coburn rarely has time to ride outdoors. Instead, he teaches indoor cycling at Prairie Life Fitness at Midtown six times a week.

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Boris hangs out in the small guest bath. The master bath has two sinks, a granite countertop, and a walk-in shower with glass doors. A large walk-in closet goes well with the spacious bedroom.

Removing an old elevator shaft and moving the new shaft created room for a three-story atrium with skylights, which provide light for windows in all the lofts. In fact, the light is so bright that Coburn installed shades for the bedroom window so he can sleep.

Originally from Guthrie, Okla., Coburn has lived in Denver and Phoenix. He uses his creative talents to help some of his Prudential customers design the interiors of their homes. Coburn’s interest in art has resulted in a colorful and interesting collection in his loft. “One of Omaha’s great assets is its art community. I try to support that,” he said.

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He describes his style as Mid-Century modern, “shades of the ’50s and ’60s,” and the décor of his loft as Mid-Century, urban reflected in the pottery, chairs, bubble lamps, and bar stools.

Coburn noted that many people in the Old Market have second homes there. “They come from Hebron, Norfolk, Fremont, and Kansas City. They come to the city for weekend events or on business.

“I make it my mission to help introduce people to people and people to places throughout the downtown area,” he said. “One of my clients lovingly referred to me as the ‘friend-cupid’ because of the significant relationships she and her husband built through introductions of like-minded friends.”