Tag Archives: stainless steel

California Dreaming In Omaha

June 13, 2017 by
Photography by Chuck Amoura, Amoura Productions

Mary Anne and Jerry McCrea had to make a decision when they got transferred to Palm Springs, California. Should they sell their 1990s time-capsule of a home during the market downturn of 2010?

Or, should they hold on to their family’s longtime residence and update it when they move back to Omaha for retirement?

They decided to take a chance and held on to the beloved property where they had lived for so many years.

Fast forward to 2016. My task was to remodel the entire home. The home needed to function for large family gatherings. I needed to come up with a floor plan that had a better flow (to accommodate a large crowd of kids and grandkids), was easy to maintain, and (of course) was aesthetically pleasing.

It was bitter cold in Nebraska when they hired me. So, I wanted to give them a taste of sunny California in Omaha. To accomplish this more temperate mood, I chose a light and airy palette of soft sand and soothing blues and greens.

In the kitchen, I changed the layout to open the space to an adjacent family room. All of the golden oak cabinetry was replaced with a crisp white Shaker-style cabinet. White quartz with a splash of warm tan lightened and brightened the space. The blue-gray glass subway tile added a beautiful reflective quality to the kitchen. Sleek stainless steel and massive glass pendant lights added contemporary flair. The dated tile that covered much of the main floor was replaced with gorgeous 4-inch plank hickory. The floors were finished with tongue oil rather than polyurethane to give them a durable low-maintenance matte finish.

One major transformation happened in the master bath. Although the footprint of the space was large, it felt very dark and small. The floor was covered in dark cobalt-blue ceramic tile. The tub was 8 feet long and took up a large area of the room, yet was never used. The shower—which was used every day—was shoved in the toilet area in the back of the room. First and foremost, I reworked the layout to allow for a very large walk-in shower. The space where the old shower was became the perfect spot for beautiful custom cabinetry. Clever use of niches, grab bars, and no curb made this zero-entry shower totally accessible for the couple to age in place with a luxurious master bath.

The McCreas couldn’t be happier with what feels like a brand-new home. I couldn’t be happier that I was able to give them a little taste of California they can enjoy during the long Nebraska winters. 

Visit designerstouchomaha.com to see more of the designer’s work.

Making the Old New Again

November 5, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Sherri and John Obermiller decided their new downtown condo reminded them too much of the suburbs.

They should know. The couple moved in 2011 from their five-bedroom, five-bathroom home in the white-picket-fence-lined neighborhoods off 180th St. and West Center Road to the eclectic, artsy downtown for a reason, and it wasn’t perfection and modernity.

Obermiller2“It was time to downsize and just get rid of stuff,” Sherri says. “Plus, this gave me an excuse not to do yard work anymore.”

The pair looked at five or six buildings before deciding the 902 Dodge Street condos were a natural fit for them. The building is located close enough to walk to yoga classes or sushi restaurants, but far enough from the bustle of the Old Market. “We don’t always like to be in the crowd, but we like to be near it,” Sherri says. “We enjoy being anonymous in a sea of people.”

An available condo on the fifth floor was too small and in need of a facelift, but the Obermillers saw its potential. Their first act as new owners? Asking their neighbor what amount of money it would take for him to move. Their new home instantly doubled in size.

To further construct their vision for the space, they enlisted the help of Stephanie Basham, principal designer and owner of Group One Interiors, and Don Stormberg, owner of Stormberg Construction. The couple rented and lived in a unit on the second floor of the building as Basham and Stormberg’s teams worked to renovate the condo to the Obermillers’ standards.

Obermiller3“It’s always challenging to work in a space that people are inhabiting during construction,” Basham says. “The Obermillers have a finely tuned sense of contemporary style and an appreciation for urban modernism. And to top that, John and Sherri value attention to detail, which is a dream for a designer.”

From using lime green as an accent color to matching the gray of the exposed concrete ceiling to the condo’s columns, the detailed design was inspired from the Obermillers’ travels to metropolises like New York City.

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To make the home feel larger, Basham took advantage of the high ceilings and crafted a floating translucent cloud above the kitchen island. The focal point of the home, the cloud creates a sense of separation between the kitchen and adjacent rooms without impeding the view. Local fabricators and installers used frosted acrylic to have the effect of tinted glass without the weight. This fixture is a personal favorite of the Obermillers.

“The cloud above and countertop below have the same steel lines, so they mirror one another,” Sherri says. “We strived for symmetry throughout our home.”

Following nearly a year of renovations, only the cherrywood cabinets in the kitchen remain in the now-2,400-square-foot condo.  An entire patio was removed; new floors and appliances were installed; iron-welded, artisan-crafted barn doors were mounted; and rooms were ornamented in furniture from as far away as Sweden. The result is a simple, contemporary design that’s entirely unique to the Obermillers.

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The Obermillers saw not only the potential of their condo but the value of the downtown area as well. While the CenturyLink Center was the major draw north of Dodge Street when the Obermillers first moved downtown, the area will soon be home to HDR’s high-rise headquarters and a collection of newly developed apartments, offices, and entertainment space.

“We are incredibly excited about this development and what’s next,” John says.

Obermiller6Embracing an urban lifestyle is a hot trend, yet the Obermillers aren’t concerned with following or setting trends. Instead, their new home serves as a space for them to reinvigorate their story together.

“We can walk to the trails by the pedestrian bridge or quickly go to the restaurants in the Old Market. It’s fun and incredible,” Sherri says. “It feels like we live in a much bigger city than what Omaha really is.”

When the Obermillers aren’t watching Nebraska sunsets melt behind the Woodman and First National from their building’s rooftop terrace, they enjoy a different view from their living room window. They look down onto the interstates weaving under and over themselves, roads looping and stretching in different directions. An image the Obermillers agree is beautiful. Just below the roads and between the urban sprawl of Omaha and Council Bluffs lies the river.

“We always thought at this point in our life we’d have a condo overlooking Lake Michigan,” John says. “Living happily next to the Missouri River in downtown Omaha? Well, that’s just the next
best thing.”

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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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