Tag Archives: warm

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.

Frozen Assets

December 3, 2014 by and

You may want to start your child’s winter wardrobe with the luxury quilted leather youth coat from Saks Fifth Avenue. It will cost you $2,350. If you’re on a budget, the shearling jackets for girls or boys from Burberry are priced at $995. That leaves you enough money for a handmade pair of $38,000 Testoni alligator-skin boots. Toss in some high-end Gore-Tex gloves for $200. Add a crystal
fox Russian kid’s hat for $750. Voila! You’re set for around 40 grand for one of your children.

Or, you could spend under $200 for an entire wardrobe—or even under $100 if you’re super savvy—and do a better job of keeping your child warm and dry. It’s not about money, cutting-edge technology, or even having the warmest coat. It’s all about layering.

“Layering is so important because you can add or shed depending on the temperature and conditions,” says Scott Marble, owner of Canfield’s Sporting Goods. “It’s not just about keeping warm. It’s about not getting too warm, too. It’s a balancing act.”

Take an example: Your child goes to school in the warmest down coat available. The temperature rises as the sun comes up, he or she goes outside and plays hard and, all of sudden, the child is wet from sweating. Most likely, they will take that coat off and be running around in the cold in a base layer soaked with perspiration.

Three layers are the standard. Ideally, the base layer—the clothing closest to the skin—is made of a polyester blend with wicking attributes. You don’t want wet fabric against skin. But, cotton usually is fine on most days. The second layer is your insulation. Layers of fleece are good, down or polyester-fill jackets are fine, too. The outside layer should protect against wind and water.

Numerous companies now have coats with removable fleece inner linings, Marble says. And many of them are now reasonably priced. “Kids grow out of coats pretty quickly,” he says. “You can definitely understand why parents would want to keep costs down.”

The best shoes or boots for winter are those with some sort of waterproof lining. Waterproof and breathable linings are the ideal to keep feet from getting wet from perspiration during activities. Gore-Tex has long been the standard for breathable, waterproof materials, but it’s pretty expensive for a coat or pair of boots that may only be used one season. Luckily, Marble says, the market is now saturated with several high-tech Gore-Tex-like fabrics. “You can get high-quality stuff now
for a good price.”

Sometimes parents forget the last step: Protecting the extremities. A good fleece cap is relatively inexpensive, as are fleece gloves. But, going too cheap on gloves can be a bad idea, especially if those little hands will be sitting inactive outside for a long time. You’ll want to get both a light pair of gloves for activities and a thicker pair for, for one, sitting at the late-season football game. And we all know this from building snowmen in our youth: It’s a lot nicer when your gloves have a waterproof liner.

Once you have the proper gear, Marble says, be prepared to adapt to the conditions.

“Is the child going to be running around a lot? Playing in snow? Just sitting in the cold and wind?” Marble asks. “The activity often dictates what you wear. That’s just always something to keep in mind.”


Restaurant Review: Lot 2

November 7, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Benson is fast becoming one of Omaha’s most revitalized old neighborhoods. Maple Street now offers some of the best dining and nightlife experiences in the city. In May 2012, Brad and Johanna Marr opened Lot 2, and in doing so raised the bar for fine establishments in Benson and throughout Omaha.

The space itself is simply stunning. A beautiful brick wall lines one side of the restaurant and an inviting wood bar lines the other. In between are attractive wood tables and a lavish wood-paneled ceiling. There is also a nice patio seating area in the back. I really like the look of this place. Neither over-designed nor over-decorated, it is just plain comfortable and warm.

Meat and Cheese Boards

Meat and Cheese Boards

Executive Chef Joel Mahr is seemingly a big proponent of the “buy fresh, buy local” movement since he sources pretty much the entire menu from local farms and producers. The slate of offerings changes frequently and has something for everyone’s taste, including a variety of sandwiches, appetizers, main dishes, meat and cheese boards, and desserts.

On a recent visit, my dining partner and I started off with one of their often celebrated meat and cheese boards ($9) that included two local cheeses and their house-made pork rillette, along with spiced nuts, garlic confit, tomato jam, Dijon mustard, stuffed dates, and Le Quartier baguette. It’s easy to see why they these boards are so acclaimed. If I had known the serving was going to be so substantial, I probably would not have also ordered the crab fritters ($12) as an appetizer. But it’s a good thing I did, for I would have otherwise missed out on these crispy morsels with a spicy jalapeno aioli and cool cucumber salsa verde. The combo was fantastic.

The Bourbon Chocolate Malt

The Bourbon Chocolate Malt

For entrees, we had the bangers and mash ($14), which was perfectly cooked house-made sausage, lumpy mashed potatoes, and a tasty, stout onion gravy that perfectly complemented this dish. We also had the Truebridge Farms pork chop ($23), which had been brined, making it very moist and nicely seasoned. It was topped with a cherry pistachio relish and served with creamed leeks and a potato confit. I give this dish my top marks. At this point, I must admit I was getting very full, but as an unselfish service to you, the reader, I persevered and also sampled a dessert. The bourbon chocolate malt ($6) is a decadent concoction with small chunks of rich chocolate brownie suspended within. Yum!

Brick and rich wood hues set the tone at Lot 2.

Brick and rich wood hues set the tone at Lot 2.

I have to admit that the wine list at Lot 2 really surprised me. I was not expecting such an extensive and well-curated selection from so many growing regions and varietals. The beer list is also quite remarkable and, like most of the nicer places in Omaha these days, Lot 2 also had a good selection of craft cocktails.

As you might have deduced by now, I am a big fan of Lot 2’s food and beverage. That being said, I think it is possible that the service is its best feature. The style of service is warm, friendly, and casual. The level of understanding among the service staff regarding their array of food and beverage is unmatched anywhere else in Omaha. If this sounds too good to be true, then go check it out for yourself. Just be sure to make a reservation because the word is already out on how good this place is.


 Lot 2
6207 Maple Street
M-Th/4-11pm, F-Sat/4pm-12am, Sun/10am-2pm

 RATING (5 Stars Possible)

Food & Beverage: ****
Service: ****
Ambiance: ****
Price: $$
Overall: ****