Tag Archives: bronze

Colorado Modern

January 22, 2017 by
Photography by Tom Kessler, Kessler Photography

How do two people, each with an appreciation for very different tastes in design, come together to build their perfect dream home?

When our client came to us, the husband leaned more towards a contemporary, midcentury modern look, while the wife loved a Colorado-inspired design. We knew the challenge of marrying these two concepts would be great. But the final product would be even greater.

Lisa Cooper, Allied ASID, and Kris Patton, ASID, feel there is no higher compliment than to obtain new clients by referral from a previous client’s friends and family. This new home construction project was no exception. In order to realize the clients’ multipart vision, we teamed with Marshall Wallman, vice president of design at Curt Hofer & Associates, and his team to create this dream home.


Our clients enjoy the topography and ambience of Colorado and the architecture of that region. They also like things a bit more contemporary, so we tried to meld together a vintage Colorado midcentury modern look for their new home. While the home itself was meticulously planned to achieve this design, the lot the family selected was just as important. A space with abundant trees would set the perfect tone for a woodsy, private residence.

The home’s curb appeal sets the tone for the design elements that wait inside. The entrance—with its vast windows and incredible sightline from the workspace all the way to the dining room—makes a strong introductory statement.

Main and lower levels of the home feature similarly strong design conceptualization in the fireplaces. They aren’t located on exterior walls, as fireplaces typically are; rather, the hearths are positioned in the centers of the rooms (to be more architecturally integrated into the spaces). Carefully placed windows allow for ample natural light to pierce the space. Not having a fireplace in a traditional placement, flanked by windows, adds interest.


Powder rooms on each level also provide an opportunity to get creative, and they incorporate high-end elements such as a stainless steel vessel sink, which perforates a quartzite countertop, and walls tiled in a 3D relief.

A color palette of natural tones with blackened steel blue, fern green, aged ore, slate gray, and metallic burnt merlot creates an ambience that possesses an elusive balance between vintage and modern appeal. We relied upon myriad materials to achieve the design our clients desired. Natural stone, used in both the exterior and interior of the home, gives a rugged, earthy feel. A mix of concrete, weathered and reclaimed woods, organic natural stone surfaces, and quartz work symbiotically. Wood ceiling details, a kitchen backsplash fashioned of fern gray subway tiles with a vintage pattern, and handcrafted wall coverings all add to the unique flavor of this home.


Perhaps one of the most striking elements of the home’s design scheme is the incredible use of light fixtures as art pieces. In an effort to avoid a predictable sea of sameness, we used a multitude of finishes from bronze to antique brass, to polished nickel, creating an acquired look in which each piece can be outstanding.

People oftentimes look at lighting as functional, and they forget that light fixtures can be beautiful, artistic pieces in the home. For this project, we used sconces in the hall to transform industrial design into artful sophistication. The dining room fixture is a chandelier crafted of Cupertino wrought-iron branches, each supporting a delicate chain adorned with a single crystal bead. The entry pendants are made of distressed mercury glass, dressed in antique brass chainmail. And the nursery fixture is feminine and fresh, suggesting a vintage flower design with its glass petals and chrome detailing.

The challenge of melding our clients’ appreciation of contrasting aesthetics of design proved to be a thought-provoking opportunity to create a true standout of a project… and their enthusiasm encouraged our efforts. They seemed to truly enjoy the process, expressing energetic and positive feedback on every aspect of their new home construction. The end result was a dream home with a cohesive design and a unique look…and two very happy homeowners.


This article was printed in the January/February 2017 edition of Omaha Magazine.

Visit asid-neia.org for more information.



Lisa Cooper

The interior design industry is fast-moving, challenging, and multifaceted.  I love that I have the opportunity to be creative and technical, all in a day’s work. Our clients are amazing people, and the projects that I’ve had the chance to work on have been extraordinary.


Kris Patton

Design is my passion, and to have the opportunity to receive an education and the experience it takes to gain knowledge and expertise in this industry is such a privilege. I have amazing clients and have had the chance to work on incredible projects.  I wouldn’t trade this career for the world!


Kirk Vaughn-Robinson

December 18, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

After a lifetime in the performing arts that culminated in 12 years on the road with the blockbuster Broadway touring production of The Phantom of the Opera in the roles of Lefevre and the Fire Chief, Kirk Vaughn-Robinson had come to learn more than a little bit about stagecraft.

But few scenes were as amateurishly staged as the one that played out in his hotel room almost every night in the latter years of his musical theatre career.

“I had this wobbly collapsible table I bought for $20 at Walgreens, a rickety foldable chair, a simple clamp light, and a lazy susan,” says the Muncie, Ind., native who later grew up on a horse farm in Florida. “It was just all so totally absurd.”

Outside of his Broadway gig, the triple threat singer-actor-dancer had performed with the Cincinnati Opera, Dayton Opera, Sorg & Whitewater Opera companies, and the Cincinnati Pops, all after attending the famed American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria.

But Kirk Vaughn-Robinson was now learning a new artform. Carting his curious ensemble of new “props” from town to town, he was teaching himself to become a sculptor.


“It’s only fitting that I have established my first studio here in Council Bluffs,” Vaughn-Robinson says from the surprisingly spacious 1,100-square-foot space in the Harvester Artspace Lofts that has been his live/work home for over a year, “because my sculpting career began when Phantom was here in 2008. I executed my first work here.”

Things moved fast, he says, once he mustered the courage to show his work and the owner of the very first gallery he visited signed the novice sculptor on the spot.

Now venturing increasingly into abstract castings, Vaughn-Robinson is perhaps best known for his exquisitely crafted figurative bronzes of men, horses, mermen and, yes, even dorsal fin-sporting “merhorses.”


Exhibiting a visual language of sensual romanticism, he renders classic ideals of beauty in timeless archetypes that speak to themes that are at once natural and organic, theatrical, and dramatic.

Vaughn-Robinson continues performing in a more localized, scaled-down slate of opera and musical appearances. He recently played the role of Pish-Tush in the Opera Omaha production of The Mikado and was nominated for an Omaha Entertainment and Arts Award for his work in The Sound of Music at The Rose.

Vaughn-Robinson won’t rule out the idea of returning to a big touring production, but for now is happy to sculpt away in Council Bluffs as his gallery representation and commission business grows.

His two worlds—the stage and the studio—offer a stark contrast in workplace experiences.


“Just as being a part of a huge touring company is a decidedly social affair,” he explains, “sculpting is instead very solitary. It is a meditative time for me. My most common experience in all those hotel rooms over the years was that I would be lost in my work and, thinking that maybe a half hour had gone by, I’d suddenly realize that dawn was breaking. It is a spiritual experience for me, and I like to think that this is reflected in my bronzes.”

Jeremy Caniglia

February 25, 2014 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

He walks into the comic shop, and he looks like he belongs. Internationally recognized Omaha artist Jeremy Caniglia is wearing a hoodie, jeans, and sneakers. He’s buried under an armload of books. The one thing all the titles have in common is original artwork by Caniglia.

“This is being optioned for a film…the director loved this concept,” he says of one book cover. “They wanted something bleak, simple. That’s one of my earlier works.”

His Wikipedia page is a Who’s Who of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror authors. Max Brooks (World War Z), Stephen King, Peter Straub, and Ray Bradbury (The Devil’s Wine), William Peter Blatty (40th editions of The Exorcist and Legion), and most recently, Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol, 170th anniversary edition) have all produced books that now proudly carry a Caniglia illustration. Anne Rice’s 38th anniversary edition of Interview with a Vampire will also be getting one of his custom covers.

“I guess people labeled me early on. Oh, he’s a horror artist,” Caniglia says. Well, he is nominated for a Hugo award this year. “I mean, my work’s about the human condition, so that’s everything. That’s love and death. I love the idea of redemption. Life throws everything it can at you. That perseverance that individuals have, I’ve just fallen in love with it.”

To convey the multiple facets of humanity, Caniglia exercises multiple facets of artistry. He works in oils, screen-printing, sculpture, and bronze, to name a few. The self-portrait he painted for this cover of Omaha Magazine, however, is something relatively new to his
body of work.

“I never do self-portraits!” he says with a laugh.


His projects extend to film concept art (season one of Showtime’s Masters of Horror, 2005) to theater (Benson Theatre’s stage adaptation this March of Stephen King’s The Shining), and of course, over 100 book covers. “I try to be a renaissance man in a way.”

By the way, he owns a bakery, La Charlotte, with his wife, Jacqui, an accomplished pastry chef. And he gardens and cooks with their two children, Caravaggio, 16, and Vivian, 14. He writes poetry no one will ever read. And he codes. While still earning his master’s in fine art at Maryland Institute College, he built his first website in ’94, complete with rotating skulls. That’s how author Doug Clegg found him to ask Caniglia to paint his first cover.

“One thing leads to another to another,” Caniglia says. Inquiries came in on his site early on, largely from Europe. “I have this Old World sense that the United States wasn’t really into.”

“I love his dedication to the Old Masters,” says Brigitte McQueen, director of The Union for Contemporary Art. “The way he works is so unlike how any other artist in Omaha is working. The palette, the processes. I remember seeing it and knowing it was different than anything else I was ever going to see.”

Caniglia’s ability to capture light, McQueen says, is itself captivating. “There’s like a luminescence that comes off the canvas,” she says. “The pieces just seem to glow.” Caniglia tips his hat to Caravaggio as his biggest influence in painting light. If you’re   paying attention, yes, he named his son after the Italian artist. Caravaggio popularized the high-contrast light technique chiaroscuro; it’s mimicked in every artistic media today. “You see The Godfather, you see chiaroscuro,” Caniglia says.

The technique highly impacted religious art, which is what Caniglia saw as a child growing up in the Catholic Church. To this day, he says it’s important that even his darkest works have an element of reverence. The artist who produces exhibits like “I Before E Except After Death” is equally passionate about creating the Stations of the Cross for the Omaha parish of Saint Gerald. Perhaps being surrounded by such sacred art from a young age was what drew him to artists like Käthe Kollwitz who tackled the subject of human suffering.

“Best line work, best drawing,” Caniglia says of the painter who ran the Berlin Art Institute. “Actually, I think she’s the best artist of all time.” Kollwitz turned to printmaking in order to produce anti-Nazi art quickly and discreetly. “You could pull like 100 and put them all over Berlin. Her line work…it looks like Mike Mignola.” That’s Hellboy’s artist, to you. “Or Frank Frazetta.” Conan the Barbarian, King Kong, Tarzan, et cetera.

“Understanding form, motion, human condition all in one—wow. If she didn’t have these harsh conditions, I think she would have been the greatest artist.”

That investment in humanity, that passion for the work, is what Caniglia hopes to instill in the young artists he teaches in Omaha. He’s a mentor with Kent Bellows Program and occasionally adjunct teaches painting and drawing at Creighton Prep, where he’s a board member.

“For people to write you off as a high-school student, thinking your art isn’t important…” He shakes his head. “They’re wrong. If you care about something, and you want to develop it, develop it! If I can influence that—if you have passion, and you care, you can do it. Don’t let anybody get in the way of that. And if they do, go around it.”

“A lot of our teenage artists have some self-confidence issues,” says Weston Thomson, community outreach manager at the Joslyn Art Museum Kent Bellows Mentoring Program. “They devalue their work a lot. I remember Jeremy had a student, and he was describing that their work as an artist will be the most important work for their life. And he meant it.”

“I get so excited when I talk art,” Caniglia says. It’s true that enthusiasm is never far removed from a Caniglia conversation. “It is life. I’m excited that I’m doing my work because that’s all I want to do, is my work. I have to do stuff,” he says. “I have to get in the way.”