Tag Archives: project

The Evolution 
of Pop Music

April 15, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Admittedly, 34-year-old Omaha native Jonathan Tvrdik doesn’t sleep much. Between co-owning Benson’s Krug Park, working as a consultant for his wife Sarah Lorsung Tvrdik’s business Hello Holiday, being a father to 2-year-old son Hugo, directing music videos and commercials, making music, and holding down a day job as both the executive creative director at Phenomblue and head of product design at Rova, there’s not a lot of room for much else. It’s a path he can trace back to childhood.

“When I was a little kid, I played by myself and was always building things,” Tvrdik recalls. “I’m an adult version of that kid who is constantly making new project—like a band, bar, new app, or music video. I’ve always been a goal-oriented person with lots of irons in the fire.”

Ironically, that’s where the inspiration behind the name of Tvrdik’s upcoming solo album came from. Titled Irons, it’s a project over two years in the making and one that took careful crafting with the help of longtime friend and drummer for The Faint Clark Baechle. Busting at the seams with heavy themes of introspection and emotional growth, Irons illustrates a tumultuous period in Tvrdik’s life.

“For better or for worse, that’s where I’ve always been—busy,” he says. “I don’t even know what that has created in me—like who am I as a person? I’ve always been a workhorse, but who am I really? Each song dissects a different thing I am doing or interested in, or a certain vice I have as a result of all the stuff I am working with. It’s a very self-analytical sort of record.”

Beginning with “Something Better” and culminating with “Star Stick,” the 11-track album is like Joy Division meets The Faint, or as Tvrdik describes it, “Frank Sinatra on top of electronica-goth.” It was a true labor of love and Tvrdik really trusted Baechle’s expertise. Some tracks he thought were polished and ready to go; Baechle would hear them and mistakingly refer to them as “demos.” It took the experience of his fine-tuned ear to sew up any loose ends.

“We’ve made a lot music together over the years from a musician and engineer standpoint,” Tvrdik explains. “For this one, we started working through the process of what it was going to look like. I always knew when I was done mixing and recording it on my own, I would take it to him to refine. My producorial technique is very raw. For songs I thought were done and perfect, Clark would be like, ‘I got your demos’ [laughs]. I’m very right brained and he’s very left. I wanted his brain to go through it with a fine-toothed comb and nit pick the hell out of it, which he did. I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.”

Although Tvrdik’s music background goes back to The Cog Factory days, where Omaha staples like Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst, Cursive’s Tim Kasher, and The Faint’s Todd Fink (Baechle’s older brother) got their start in the early ’90s, naturally he’s experienced plenty of evolutionary changes in terms of his musical output. At one point, he was in a hardcore band, and later a noise-based outfit. While he felt he was still emotionally expressive in all of them, it’s with the forthcoming Irons he felt he was truly able to effectively communicate to the listener exactly what he was experiencing.

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

Pacific Life

April 13, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

The site of Omaha’s old Knights of Aksarben complex—acres of once-busy thoroughbred horse racing and concert space turned albatross—has blossomed anew as the live-work-play destination spot known as Aksarben Village.

The booming mixed-use development is home to popular eateries, a movie theater, health club, and two colleges. This is part of why Pacific Life Insurance Company moved its regional business operations office from downtown to a new five-story building there in late 2015. The company’s Omaha office has grown from 250 to 450 workers since the blue-gray motif structure’s 2014 groundbreaking.

The gleaming, glass-fronted Holland Basham Architects design offers many creature comforts and inhabits prime real estate at 6750 Mercy Road.

The new digs provide a branded presence after a low-key profile at downtown’s Landmark Center.

Angela Greisen, Pacific Life assistant vice president for human resources, says, “We couldn’t have our name on the previous building in any big, visible way. We’d been in Omaha 12-plus years and people still didn’t know we were here.” That’s changed, she says, as events “bring thousands of people to the village and our new building with our big branding and signage is right there in the middle of everything.”

“That’s been huge for us. It’s also given us higher applicant flow because people now know we’re here and here to stay and we’re growing.”

Where many employees had to use off-site parking downtown, they now have an 850-stall covered garage. A heated, enclosed skybridge connects the building to the garage.

Greisen was part of a project team drawn from each Pacific Life business unit that polled employees about their likes and dislikes.

“The three most important things employees said they wanted were parking, amenities, and a nearby location with easy access,” she says.

Aksarben was the clear site choice. Pacific Life partnered with Magnum Development on the $33 million new build. The company occupies the second through fifth floors. Eateries and shops fill the ground floor.

“Staff response has been great,” Greisen says. “They love the parking, the amenities, the bright, airy feel of the building with the wide-open layout, natural lighting, and clean, modern finishes. Though we added only about 10,000 square feet, it’s organized much more efficiently.”

Each floor plan incorporates cutting-edge work spaces to enhance communication, team-building, workflow, and group projects via huddle spaces, conference rooms, and commons areas. She says, “Staff can seamlessly interface in real time with colleagues at other locations through videoconferencing, teleconferencing, and webinar technology.”

There’s a Wall Street trading-room floor look to the third floor internal wholesaling area. Flat-screen panels stream motivational performance messages and live market conditions to the sales desk floor.

In multiple areas, adjustable, stand-up work stations are available. Employees can indulge their freshly brewed beverage cravings at several Keurig stations.

The in-house Park View Cafe is a grab-your-own, pay-with-your-phone Company Kitchen model. The spacious room converts into a meeting-reception space with audio-video connectivity. A covered balcony offers a panoramic overlook of Stinson Park.

Though not green certified, the structure integrates many conservation features, including energy efficient windows, LED lighting, HVAC that is programmed to shut off when areas are unoccupied, low water usage restroom fixtures, and motion-sensor lighting.

Greisen says employees appreciate Aksarben Village’s warm welcome and plethora of things to do. Proximity is a big plus, too, as Pacific Life is an employer partner of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, whose south campus is in the village. As an employer partner, company representatives promote their job opportunites and participate in career fairs; staffers also speak to classes and conduct mock interviews when asked. Greisen hopes this partnership will grow.

“We expect an increase because we have a partnership with UNO, and now we are literally on the edge of their campus,” she says. “It’s very convenient. Increased visibility.  It gives us even more opportunities to partner with the university.”

This visibility, along with the popular amenities, could mean an increase in sought-after employees at Pacific Life in the near future.  And that can help secure Pacific Life’s future.

Visit  aksarbenvillage.com for more information.

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

Sleek Home Spa

March 30, 2017 by
Photography by Tom Grady

Liz spends five days a week working with fellow designers, consulting on schemes, meeting with clients, and creating unique finish combinations. Proficiency in AutoCAD, Revit, Photoshop, and Illustrator enable her to generate creative solutions no matter the project size.

CAPTION (cabinets): A custom vanity (above) warms the bathroom with wood cabinets and pendant lighting. To create a modern spa shower (right), pebble floor and wall details contrast with the smooth walls and ceiling.

CAPTION (bathroom):
Photos show how the bathroom looked before the transformation.

Like all great home renovations, the project began with an idea. An Omaha couple contacted me at The Interior Design Firm; they wanted to mimic the relaxing modern aesthetic of a high-end spa in their home.

After attaining a list of design requirements for their master bathroom, I began conceptualizing how to realize my clients’ initial idea. The look that the couple desired would require a spacious layout, sleek finishes, and lustrous natural and artificial lighting. That’s when my work really began.

The project started in earnest as I analyzed the current space to figure out how much larger the bathroom needed to be to accommodate every element requested by the clients. The greatest challenge was that the original square footage of the space was not large enough to bring this desired bathroom into reality.

In the end, some features of the space stayed in the same location (such as the stool and vanity). To create the spacious layout the client wanted, the tub needed to move back a few feet to allow for proper circulation in the bathroom. The existing shower was wedged in a corner, and was one of the main reasons for the renovation.

With the help of a contractor, Sudbeck Homes, the exterior wall behind the existing tub was extended 10 feet to make way for the new walk-in shower. The new shower is an extraordinary 8.5 feet by 8.5 feet, outfitted with two fixed shower heads, one hand-held, body sprayers, and a rain-head.

The couple was cognizant of their long-term needs in the home, so a bench was added next to the handheld shower head. Keeping with the modern minimalist style, two recessed niches were created so the personal hygiene items could be tucked away (to avoid creating clutter).

Moving the wall made a world of difference for the space. The tub location moved back several feet and anchored the room. The organic free-standing tub is a focal point as you enter from the doorway. It is the perfect setting to find peace and relaxation. The additional square footage in the space makes the room feel quite grandiose.

After deciding where each element needed to go in the space, I diverted my focus to the finishes. To create this tranquil retreat, we started looking at color palettes that would be cohesive with the existing finishes in the home.

With French doors going into the bathroom, the finishes needed to vibe with the colors in the rest of their master bedroom. The home has light oak woodwork and warm tones. To achieve this harmony, I wanted to get rid of the existing curves and add modern, clean lines.

Gray was the color direction that the clients and I agreed on, but making it blend with the rest of the home meant that the gray tones had to be warm. Gray porcelain tile in the proper color family was applied to the floor, shower walls, shower ceiling, base, and the feature wall behind the tub.

The feature wall adds interest with the installed rectilinear porcelain tile. In keeping with the monochromatic color scheme, stone pebble tile was selected for the shower floor and the detail stripe in the shower.

When selecting the hard surfaces, the clients’ goal was minimal upkeep for the future. A Cambria quartz countertop was the perfect choice for their spa bath. This quartz was not only used for the counter, but also for the bench and niche shelves in the shower.

Making this space feel modern meant sticking to a few selections and color tones. To contrast the gray features, a solid wood vanity was added for warmth. All of the plumbing fixtures in the bathroom are smooth and contemporary, creating a waterfall effect when the water is turned on.

The lighting in the space greatly improved: cans were added in strategic locations, and pendants were placed above the sinks to supplement the can lighting. The simplicity of the pendants allows the chandelier to be the prime focus. The chandelier is a shining feature that captivates anyone walking into the bathroom.

Natural lighting was important in the bathroom, so windows were added in the shower on two walls. To keep with the minimal aesthetic, a frosted pattern glass was chosen for the windows so that window treatments were not necessary.

With the help of the contractor, this sophisticated bathroom was made possible. We turned this Omaha couple’s small idea into their ideal at-home spa.

Visit idfomaha.com/liz-lempka for more information.

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

One of Ours

February 21, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

“There aren’t a lot of people in Nebraska writing new musicals,” says Roxanne Wach, executive director of Shelterbelt Theatre.

The Omaha theater company is in the middle of its 24th season of producing original work by Midlands theater artists, and Wach reads around 200 original plays a year. But when she discovered the musical Catherland, it stood out from the pack.

A collaboration between Lincoln-based theater artist Becky Boesen and musician-composer David von Kampen, Catherland will open at the Shelterbelt April 21. It’s the latest incarnation of the project after a staged reading was produced at the Red Cloud Opera House in 2015, followed by a workshop at the Lied Center for Performing Arts in Lincoln.

“I championed the piece because I thought it had such potential. I liked the music to begin with, and that’s a huge hurdle with musicals. I liked a lot of the script and where it’s going,” Wach says. “David has really captured something in the music, and Becky is really talented with her lyrics, and it’s a pretty engaging score.”

It’s hard to imagine a story more quintessentially Nebraskan than Catherland, which is set in Red Cloud, the central Nebraska hometown of writer Willa Cather. The musical focuses on a present-day couple, Jeffrey and Susan, who move from Chicago to Red Cloud. Susan has some reservations about leaving Chicago; but early in their marriage, the couple agreed that once she finished her first novel they would slow down, move to Jeffrey’s hometown of Red Cloud, and possibly start a family.

Boesen explains that when people are experiencing culture shock they go through a honeymoon phase. Jeffrey and Susan are in that phase when “someone crashes into the barn outside and their life starts to unravel as a result, and there’s an immediate life or death problem that has to be solved,” Boesen says. “Willa Cather shows up, too. Susan, the novelist, is not a Willa Cather fan, and that’s a problem.”

That would be the ghost of Willa Cather. Boesen says that a lot of her own writing tends to include ghosts, though the ghosts are not always literal.

“I mean like a missing piece of your heart. Anything that’s missing to a protagonist,” she says. “But in this [show], there are legit ghosts, which is pretty fun.”

Von Kampen agrees, “And I don’t really like ghost stories. I don’t seek out movies or books that are like that, but from a creative standpoint, it feels really good.”

Boesen was born in southern Missouri and von Kampen is originally from Michigan, but they both moved to Nebraska as children. They’ve lived other places thanks to their careers, but are now settled in Lincoln raising their respective families. Boesen and von Kampen are full-time artists and arts educators who met briefly in 2013 while working on another project.
Boesen’s company, BLIXT, is an arts management and consulting firm that produces projects for the Lied Center, Lincoln Arts Council, and other entities. Von Kampen is a musician and composer who also teaches at Concordia University in Seward as well as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Roughly a year after their initial meeting, Boesen talked von Kampen into working as the musical director on a staged reading she was directing.

Von Kampen says, “I remember when (Becky) called, and I was thinking, ‘How can I get out of this?’”

She talked him into working with her, and it went well.

“David said, ‘Hey, don’t you write stuff? We should get together and talk about writing sometime.’ And I said, ‘cool let’s get together,’” Boesen explains.

They discovered their work “sort of sounded alike” and began to share ideas. Boesen had been thinking about her experience as a teaching artist in Red Cloud. Her play, What the Wind Taught Me, ran at the Red Cloud Opera House while on tour, and she says she fell in love with the town.

“You’re driving in Nebraska and all of a sudden you feel like you’re on Mars, because the prairie is like an ocean out there,” says Boesen, who started thinking about Cather and “what it must have been like to live in Red Cloud, Nebraska, in the late 1800s.”

The Nebraska prairie might be considered a character on its own in some of Cather’s work. That striking landscape also has inspired the creative team behind Catherland.

“It’s an exploration of sense of place, what it means to be home, what does it mean to make a commitment, and how does that change over the course of time, and the messy nature of long-term love,” Boesen says.

“I really think they’ve captured something. I’m so excited to be working on it. I just can’t wait for people to see it,” Wach says, impressed with Boesen’s willingness to revise her script. “To have somebody who’s that fearless in the process is a real asset to Shelterbelt in really giving new works their highest potential.”

Wach points out that supporting and nurturing new work by local artists is essential to the vitality of the Omaha theater scene.

“There are very few theaters our size who do new work in a city of our size.” Wach says, “We have a very vibrant theater community, and having new works helps feed it.”

Boesen says she and von Kampen feel lucky to have such a joyful creative process, “We just like making stuff, and we make stuff well together, and we have a lot of fun doing it.”

Visit shelterbelt.org for more information.

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

Ordinary Meets Extraordinary

October 26, 2014 by
Photography by bill Sitzmann

Supplies:

  • An old piece of wooden, painted furniture
  • Paint (two colors)
  • Two additional craft colors for the feather on the door
  • Top coat
  • Sandpaper
  • Stencil

Distressing is everywhere you look anymore. Don’t be distressed: There are tons of tutorials on how to do the job if you need a little help.

This project gives you the chance to look at what is in your basement or garage in a completely different light. Certainly, it’s a chance to make a dusty wallflower into something worthwhile again. I decided this little gem (collecting dust in the garage) needed a new look and a new space!

Directions:

  • Find any wooden piece of furniture you have on hand, or pick up an inexpensive piece at a thrift store or garage sale.
  • Sand it down with sandpaper.
  • Paint it the base color, because whatever base you paint first will be the color coming through once you sand off the top color (give this color some thought).
  • Paint the top coat using a latex satin paint. I painted a second coat and let that dry overnight.
  • Take a sand block with fine-grit paper and sand only in the areas you want the base coat to show through. If you take too much off, repaint and sand again.You can choose to show as little or as much as you like.
  • Take a stencil (I chose a peacock feather) and apply that to the cabinet doors. I went with three colors.
  • I chose to use gold as my first color. Then I waited for that to dry a bit and moved the stencil just enough to where I could stencil in another color in smaller areas.
  • Wait for that to dry and then go with a shiny topcoat to seal and protect and give it a nice shine.

I decided to go with colors and a design that I thought my daughter would like. You’ll want to let your own imagination run wild when designing your own project. When you’re finished, you have something absolutely unique and personal to cherish
for years to come.

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Just Do It!

August 13, 2014 by
Photography by Sarah Lemke

Looking for the perfect storage/organizer accent piece? Pottery Barn has nothing on this super easy DIY project, one that cost about $30 and took well under an hour to construct. We found this faux reptile skin valise at an antique store and paired it with books, a houseplant, and ’50s-era Royal Copley pottery. With a little imagination in design and execution, this piece could also be adapted to almost any de-clutter decor challenge—think jewelry organizer, sewing and craft supplies storage, even a mini Zen garden.

Big box home stores have a nice selection of legs for projects like this one, but we went with wooden balls sourced from a hobby store. Just be sure to use the ones that have a flat surface shaved off of one end of orb. You’ll also notice that there is already a pre-drilled hole in the wooden ball that will come in handy later on.

Interested in a more contemporary vibe? Mirror the same design with a ’60s-era, brightly hued cosmetic case in Barbie pink, powder blue, or avocado green.

What You’ll Need:

  • Luggage of your choice
  • Stain or paint (we used stain) for the legs in a color that will compliment the luggage
  • Four wooden balls from a hobby store
  • Four wood screws slightly larger than the pre-drilled holes of the legs
  • Measuring tape
  • Epoxy-style adhesive

How it Works:

  • Measure and mark the positions of the legs.
  • Drill a pilot hole through the bottom of the luggage at the center of each leg.
  • Stain or paint the legs the color of your choice.
  • Apply the adhesive to the flat surface of the wooden balls just before screwing them into place from inside the luggage piece.

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Adding Spice to a Saltbox

Photography by Tom Kessler

This beautiful home on a tree-lined street was the perfect saltbox-style house for my transplanted client from the Northeast (where this colonial-era style is common). They loved many features of the house, but there were a few missing elements that needed work before this could become their perfect home.

For one: They longed for a powder room off the backyard swimming pool. We remodeled the existing laundry to become a new creative pool bath. The new laundry was relocated to the master suite. The tight space required careful consideration to give the illusion of openness and yet include a new shower. A glass “window” in the shower wall allows the viewer’s eye to flow through the space. A beautiful remnant of caramel-colored onyx created the perfect touch for a countertop. We extended the top to the left of the cabinet in another space expanding feature. Finally, a touch of whimsy was added in the cobalt blue drawer pulls.

The project then moved into the kitchen. We analyzed the kitchen and its obvious problems and challenges. The new floor plan is focused on efficiency and space to give the owners, who love to cook, the best possible layout to work their magic. When they lived in France, they learned to love French cooking and incorporate fresh garden herbs from right outside their door in their cuisine.

We found a unique granite surface in subtle silver gray on a white crystalline surface. The wood tones of the cherry cabinets repeat in the touches of wine in the granite. The fluid-style granite top continues at the edge of the peninsula into a rounded work area.

Additional special features include Peruvian tiger wood floors, LED lighting throughout, mosaic accented backsplashes, and highly efficient cabinet storage. Note the hand-shaped marble tiles surrounding the sink window that complete the clean-lines of this beautiful kitchen.

Casual entertaining involving the pool and their wonderful kitchen has transformed their residence into a more updated and welcoming home.

Credits:
Designer: Marilyn S. Hansen FASID, The Designers
Eurowood Cabinets
Hansen Tile
Bosco Home Improvement
Baxter Kenworthy Electric
Malloy Plumbing
Tom Manley Floors
Martin’s Countertops
Kessler Photography

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Quick. Easy. Art.

July 1, 2014 by

Immortalize your children in this clever pop art project. The only “art skills” you need for this amazingly easy, idiot-proof effort is the ability to trace and then color in an image. There are a number of free photo editing sites on the web. We chose pixlr.com for our handiwork.

What You’ll Need

  • Archival paper in the color of your choice (we used orange)
  • Carbon paper (yes, it still exists and can be found at any office supply store)
  • Pencil and black Sharpie pen
  • Picture frame
  • Your fave photo of your child, loaded onto your computer

How it Works

  • Visit pixlr.com.
  • Click on the PIXLR Editor program.
  • Select the “Open image from computer” option.
  • Upload the photo of your choice.
  • Click the “Adjustment” tab in the toolbar at the top of the page.
  • Then select the “Threshold” feature that you’ll find in the drop-down menu. You’ll see that a pop-up window has now appeared.
  • Use the arrow in the pop-up window to manipulate your image to the desired effect. Hit the “OK” button.
  • Don’t worry about any jagged edges in the image. We’ll fix those in a moment.
  • Click “File” on the PIXLR toolbar and save to your computer.
  • Print out your work of art.
  • Using a pencil and carbon paper, transfer the image to the archival paper, which is important to use if you want to create an instant heirloom that will last through the ages.
  • Smooth out any jagged or pixilated areas of the image in the tracing process.
  • Use the Sharpie to fill in the remainder of the image and frame it up!

Helpful Tips and More

  • Not all images lend themselves to this project. A bit of trial and error may be in order before you find the photo that works best for this stencil-like vibe.
  • Want to go big on this one? Put the original image on a flash drive and have your neighborhood copy center print it in any size you’d like. Do this step before the transfer process.
  • Do you happen to have or have access to an overhead projector? Print the photo on a transparency sheet and ditch the carbon paper. Just project your image directly onto the paper and trace from there.

Voilà! Your own Warhol-inspired wonder!

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Don’t Fear the Bobbin

May 24, 2014 by

DIY is the trend that’s never going to go away. Ever seen anything on Pinterest or Etsy that made you think, I could totally do that, only to be confronted by a certain lack of skill? Sewing an A-line skirt might be something your grandmother could whip up in 30 minutes, but it’s an endeavor that’s more than a little intimidating for some.

Fortunately, Bonnie Smith is one Omaha grandmother willing to share a few of her tricks with newbies who want to overcome their sewing anxiety. As a grandmother of 12, she keeps her sewing skills sharp with lots of crafts for the kids. “Right now, I’m in a major project making quiet books for everyone,” she says. The colorful, intricate books made from fabric are pricey, time-consuming, and not at all what Smith would recommend a newcomer begin with.

Select Your First Project
Pick a project that’s realistic, which means avoiding clothing or alterations. “Something with straight seams,” Smith says. “Like a baby blanket. Or infinity scarves are super simple.” She recommends finding an online video tutorial instead of a written pattern. “There’s just something about seeing someone do the steps.” You can always upgrade to a more complex pattern, like a simple skirt, for your second attempt.

Collect Your Tools
Smith runs down the list of small tools she keeps close by during every project:

  • cutting mat
  • iron
  • pins
  • rotary cutter
  • scissors
  • seamripper
  • tape measure

For anyone trying to build a sewing kit from the ground up, Smith says to hold off on the more expensive tools and either request them as gifts or make use of the coupons that are always in ads for local hobby and fabric stores.

Choose Your First Machine
Speaking of expensive, “don’t go hog wild over a highfalutin machine,” Smith advises. “The old machines are heavy and made to last. The new ones are made out of plastic.” She suggests finding a used one to begin with—Millard Sewing refurbishes old sewing machines, for example. At minimum, Smith recommends a machine that can sew straight, zigzag, and buttonholes. “You can always upgrade.” Plan to spend under $200 for a decent machine.

Set Yourself Up For Success
Finish off all of that planning with a few extra tips from Smith, and your first sewing project is primed for success.

  • Start with any materials found around the house. Fabric can get expensive. For good-quality material, Smith recommends Country Sampler. For your first project, consider turning an old T-shirt into an infinity scarf or a baby’s headband.
  • Get familiar with your machine. “Thread it and practice on some scrap,” Smith suggests. Maintain it by keeping it oiled and take it in once a year for cleaning. Have the right needle for the fabric you’re working with. Replace the needle after several hours of sewing or whenever it seems dull.
  • Iron everything. “Prewash and dry the fabric in case of shrinkage,” Smith says. “Then you need to iron it. Every time you make a seam, you have to iron. It turns out sloppy if you don’t iron, iron, iron.”
  • Have your seamripper handy. “You’ll be ripping stuff out a lot,” Smith admits.
  • Ask the experts for help. Smith is a fan of Hancock Fabrics and Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft largely because of their helpful staff of professional seamstresses.

“If you enjoy it, for sure don’t give up,” Smith encourages. “It’s so fun to get to that finished product!”

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Design Challenge

January 7, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Omaha Home found Brenna Maldonado rummaging through A&R Salvage and Recycling; the dusty, floor-to-ceiling treasure trove of everything you could possibly want or need in terms of salvaged…well, floors and ceilings, and everything in between.

But would the Union Pacific train dispatcher stand a chance in a design challenge when pitted against such seasoned pros as Omaha Home contributing editor Sandy Besch-Matson and the design mavens of Anderson Interiors—Lori Anderson, daughter Lindsey Anderson, and Erin Jerabek?

But Maldonado has an ace up her sleeve. She studied interior design in college, and her home is filled with creative and budget-friendly trash-to-treasure projects.

Let’s see what happens with a $150 spending limit at A&R Salvage in a no-holds barred design throw-down…

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Sandy Besch-Matson’s Vanity

Materials List

  • Old dresser or similar piece of choice
  • Vintage tin ceiling tiles
  • Vestal sink knobs, 
(get fun with this item)
  • Decorative tacks or nails of choice
  • Paint and glaze 
(1 part paint/1 part glaze)

Construction Time: Five hours

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“I love mixing the old and the new, especially with lots of texture. In my mind I was thinking of something that could be used as a multipurpose piece just about anywhere in my house. Pictured here it serves as a vanity, but that could all change very easily. Next week it could be behind my sofa with a lamp!” Sandy Besch-Matson

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Anderson Interiors’ Console Table

Materials List

  • Reclaimed wood planks
  • Metal drawer pulls
  • Legs from an old sewing machine
  • Cast iron grate steam radiator cover

Construction Time: Four hours

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“Each item used in this table came from very different beginnings. We reclaimed and repurposed the materials to create an interesting console table that could adapt to many styles.” Lori Anderson

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Brenna Maldonado’s Hinged-Door Media Center

Materials List

  • Wooden lockers
  • Steel pallet for backing support
  • Locking casters

Construction Time: Four hours

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“I wanted to keep the paint because I really love the patina, so all I did was lightly sand the lockers and then went over them with a mix of ebony and dark walnut stains. I am forever rearranging my home and the wheels make this a very mobile piece. They also elevate it so it is less boxy and give it a bit of contemporary flair.” 
Brenna Maldonado