Tag Archives: storage

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.

Organizing Bedroom Closets

May 25, 2013 by

How many times have you been late to work because you couldn’t find one of your shoes in your closet? Or maybe that cute scarf you bought last month? Whether you have a small amount of closet space or a slight shopping addiction, organization can be your best friend.

The first step to solving the mess: Utilize the closet space you have. Find an organization system that works best for you. If you have a small space with too much stuff, it might be a good idea to purchase an organizer with plenty of shelves and drawers (IKEA has lots of these). Another great investment? Clear storage bins. They’re stackable, and you can see what’s inside without getting them out.18 April 2013- Bailey's home is shot for HerFamily Magazine.

It helps to organize clothing, accessories, and shoes in your closet by season. Store anything that isn’t currently in season in bins and label the season on the outside of the bin. With the clothes that you have out for the current season, hang the hangers from the backside of the rack. Only face the hangers the correct way if you’ve worn the clothes during the season. Any clothes still backward at the end of the season should be donated to eliminate clutter.

Have a hamper in the closet as well. This way, clean clothes and those already worn are separate, making laundry less of a headache. There’s nothing worse than having to wash the entire contents of your closet because you’re not sure what is clean and what isn’t.18 April 2013- Bailey's home is shot for HerFamily Magazine.

Since several home organizing blogs have become popular in the last few years, it’s worth looking around at some of the unique ideas on the web, too. Pam with DIY Design Fanatic suggests taking smaller wicker baskets and nailing them to the closet wall to keep track of socks, tank tops, etc. Multiple blogs recommend installing key hooks or corkboards with push pins to hang necklaces so they don’t get tangled. If you’re not sure where to start looking for ideas, don’t forget about Pinterest. It’s a fabulous source of DIY solutions.

Italian Contemporary in the SoMa Lofts

April 25, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

It was the Old Market specifically that sold Ros Mercio into moving to Omaha from Buffalo, N.Y. “It has a nice vibe and restaurants and art and culture,” she says. “It was just cool.”

Mercio settled into one of the 15 SoMa lofts at 11th and Leavenworth streets in December 2011, scaling down from a large house with three bedrooms, two and a half baths, and a den. “I’m an empty nester,” she explains, “and I didn’t want to take care of a house, and I knew I wanted to be downtown.”20130326_bs_9165

Friends in Toronto had inspired her to try the condo lifestyle for herself. “I wanted to get away from managing a lawn,” she says, “and I don’t have to drive on the weekends. I can walk everywhere.” She has about a 20-minute drive to her job as director of sales at Journal Broadcast Group in West Omaha.

Her SoMa loft is nestled back in a quiet courtyard, past the community garden with its once-a-week wine tastings. The nearby railroad can cause some noise, but she’s used to it. She shares the 1,050-square-foot condo with Tessa, a tiny, gray-and-white rescue cat from Buffalo. They’ve been together for three years, and Mercio says she still couldn’t say exactly who rescued whom.20130326_bs_9196

Something else that’s made several moves with Mercio is one particular framed photo of her family’s farm in Tuscany. She has uncles and cousins there whom she visits every year. “It’s my happy place,” she says, noting that her favorite times to go are in May or September.

Of course, the trips make it easy to supplement her contemporary Italian décor. Carnival masks from Venice decorate the entertainment center, the light fixture in the bathroom is Venetian glass, and the blue-glass plates on the dining table are also Italian. But don’t be fooled. Though the table has a contemporary Italian look, it’s actually from Nebraska Furniture Mart along with the rest of the condo’s furnishings.20130326_bs_9185

Aside from new furniture, Mercio only made a couple changes to the loft when she moved in. Local designer CKF put granite and quartz countertops in the kitchen and marble in the bathroom, as well as a stainless-steel backsplash behind the kitchen sink. Mercio laughs and says the stainless steel shows water stains like mad. She says she knew it was impractical but couldn’t get it out of her head after she saw it in the showroom. “Every time I look at it, it makes me happy,” she confesses. “I don’t have any regrets.”

The kitchen includes an island with a stovetop and Jenn-Air range hood. Mercio says it’s just one more example of the extra thought the developers put into the SoMa Lofts. After having built three homes of her own, she says she knows what it looks like when someone’s cut corners. “It’s a solid feel,” she says. “You don’t hear people walking around. It doesn’t feel like an apartment.”20130326_bs_9169

Though she does love to entertain, she admits she doesn’t use the kitchen to its fullest because “that’s the thing about living downtown…I find myself eating out more.” Mercio doesn’t particularly have a favorite, but she does like walking to J’s on Jackson by herself. “But they know me at Stokes; they know me at Ahmad’s.”

The floorplan of the condo is small but open. The high ceilings and lots of windows keep the overall feel airy, set off with muted blues and grays. Mercio compliments the developers with making great use of the space with clever cabinets everywhere. The only area that she’s contemplating renovating is an odd workspace nook in the condo’s entrance. It looks ready to house a 10-year-old desktop computer. “That was the only thing I think they missed on,” she muses. She plans to expand the empty, dimly lit square to add on to her pantry, which currently houses a modest collection of shoes instead of cereal boxes.20130326_bs_9208

She does have an extra storage room down the hall, in addition to her double, heated garage. “You don’t realize how important it is until you have one,” she says with a laugh. “They did a lot of little extra things that maybe other builders wouldn’t have done.”

Every once in awhile, she’ll see a larger condo and wonder why she didn’t opt for more space, “but then I remember the whole point was to simplify my life.”

Nature Chic

Photography by Thomas Grady Photography

With great bones and a sprawling backyard perfect for kids to play in, all this house was in need of was a little love and renovation to make it function as a home for the young homeowners and their growing family. With only two bedrooms on the main level, the first and biggest challenge was to reconfigure the floor plan to accommodate three bedrooms. With some creativity and a little out-of-the-box thinking, three bedrooms were fitted into the footprint of the main floor. This house has been remodeled and updated to fit the new homeowners’ lifestyle, creating a bright and lively environment which they can enjoy daily with their family.

The homeowners have young children and wanted to open up the existing, divided spaces to better function for them and their family. The kitchen and dining room are connected, creating a large, inviting space for daily living as well as entertaining large groups of friends.

The dining area, open to the kitchen, also connects to the exterior covered patio. The custom cabinetry and appliance panel fronts disguise an ice maker and pair of beverage drawers. The seamless cabinetry allows the design, as well as the homeowners’ beautiful china and glassware, to shine while providing full function. The square kitchen island stands out with the unique Currey & Company Balthazar chandelier glimmering above a distressed piece of walnut.JPeterson4_Web

Just off the kitchen is a multi-use space designed for kids and adults alike. The custom cabinetry houses toys and games within an arm’s reach. The two pairs of cabinet doors function without a toe kick, and the walnut wood floors continue through, allowing toys to be pushed in and out easily. There is also a custom desk for work and study.JPeterson8_Web

The entry has been transformed, creating a stunning and inviting entrance. The bold door color adds drama, while the detailed pattern in the marble flooring creates visual interest.JPeterson3_Web

A once useless space has been transformed into the ultimate utility room. The large windows provide great natural light, while the rest of the wall has been fully utilized to maximize storage.  The extensive marble bench provides space for sorting laundry or putting on shoes before venturing out for the day.JPeterson5_Web

This bathroom has been designed with the children in mind. There is a custom pull-out step, allowing for easy hand washing and independence by the little ones. The unique countertops are a custom creation from Milestone Inspired Composites—a beautiful and durable composite product made from recycled and reclaimed post-consumer aggregate bound with a zero-VOC epoxy resin.JPeterson2_Web

When Less is More

December 25, 2012 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Trish Billotte downsized from a large, traditional house in Fair Acres to a smaller modern condo in Omaha’s Old Market in 2010. But some people would question whether the move was “downsizing.” The contemporary “smaller” home sprawls over 3,200 square feet.

The downtown space was a big, barren area made up of two units when she bought it. She combined the empty shells into one residence. “I loved the brick walls,“ says Billotte. “This space had the most charm of those I looked at.”

Trish Billotte

Trish Billotte

She found ample room to create a stunning home that features windows with wide views of the heart of the Old Market. Within 10 months, the space was transformed into a model of what an empty concrete box can look like with the help of architect Paul Nelson and interior designer Beth Putnam.

Ceilings stretch up 17 feet leading to one pesky inconvenience—changing lightbulbs. The man who changes the lightbulbs requires a 12-foot ladder and lots of patience.

The new condo is the third design project that Putnam has worked on with Billotte. She considered her client’s personality when planning the newest residence. “Trish likes color, and she likes unique things.”

Coral is the color that stands out as you face the open kitchen, which has cabinet covers made of thermofoil. “It’s a lacquer look that isn’t lacquer,” says Putnam. “There’s an underlying wood core that incorporates a metal element similar to metallic paint used in the automobile industry.”20121114_bs_3672 copy

People dream of owning a kitchen like Billotte’s. Two refrigerators. Two ovens. Two dishwashers. A warming drawer. A microwave hidden behind cabinet doors.

Tucked away behind the kitchen is a hallway where items needed for entertaining are stored, including an ice machine and an extra refrigerator that is especially useful during the holidays.

The kitchen, living, and dining areas are ideal for entertaining. A long sectional couch and conversation nook of chairs in the living area tempt guests to relax and talk by the fireplace. The dining table can seat six (or 16 cozily).

Rooms have unique lighting. Pendant lights in the kitchen focus on the kitchen island. Traditional crystal on a contemporary bar makes an interesting contrast in the guest bath. Mesh-covered lights float over the two suspended-base sinks in the bath adjoining the master bedroom.20121114_bs_3691 copy

It’s also what you don’t see that makes the condo unusual. Storage. Lots and lots of storage. “One problem with condos is they normally don’t have storage space. We incorporated as much as possible,” says Putnam.

When planning storage, Billotte took into consideration her height—or lack of it. China and silverware are stored in lower cabinets. “I’m short. In my older home, I couldn’t reach them,” she says.

Black and cream tile adorns the walk-in shower in the master bath. The bedroom’s huge walk-in closet and companion shoe closet adjoin a laundry room. Laundry is placed in baskets on shelves in the walk-in closet. The baskets can be passed through and reached on adjacent shelves in the laundry room.

Windows in the guest bedroom in the second-story loft open to the master bedroom to bring natural light into the room. If you fear reptiles, you may want to forget showering in the guest bath. Ceramic tiles on the floor and in the shower appear to be leather-like reptile skin. It’s like bathing with a crocodile. But a very attractive crocodile.20121114_bs_3696 copy

Artwork in the home is by local artists, including a painting by artist Steve Joy. A high-gloss painting over the sleek gas fireplace in the living area was moved after it started bubbling from the heat. Billotte replaced it with sturdy ceramic pieces by artist Iggy Sumnik, who studied under internationally known artist Jun Kaneko.

She has space for her children to visit. Son Chase, 28, is pursuing a doctorate in physical therapy at Emory University in Atlanta. He met his wife in Nicaragua when he served in the Peace Corps. Daughter Taylor, 31, is a technical producer for a New York City ad agency.

Billotte now has a five-minute drive to work and is loving it. She is co-owner with her brother, Andy Cockle, of Cockle Legal Briefs. The third-generation business, which produces U.S. Supreme Court briefs, was founded in 1923 by their grandparents, Albert and Eda Cockle, both attorneys.