Tag Archives: colorful

Smart Design Stands the Test of Time

March 15, 2014 by
Photography by Amoura Productions

While attending the High Point International Furniture Market with Shawn Falcone of Falcone Homes this past spring, it was inspiring to find bold, saturated, color in nearly every showroom.

Also timely and fitting that, just as Shawn and I set out to develop the design plan for our 2013 Street of Dreams home (built by Falcone Homes), the home sold to a family who was excited about the idea of incorporating a strong color story into their décor.  >

Our goal became to give this show home a unique and colorful personality.

“We specified top-of-the-line finishes, pro appliances, custom cabinetry, custom furnishings and window treatments, original artwork, fresh paint colors, noteworthy light fixtures, and leaded glass double-entry doors,” says Falcone. “The moment you step into this home you begin to appreciate its character, quality, and charm.”

We took a thoughtful approach to design, one that embraces “on trend” in smart measure so that this work will stand the test of time. Those items which are easy and affordable to replace—think throw pillows, paint, and accessories—are the best areas in which to embrace trends.

And where you should consider a splurge?

Original fine art never goes out of style. Area rugs can be passed on for generations when you buy heirloom-quality pieces. Approach tile as an opportunity to set your home apart from your neighbors. Think of lighting as the icing on the cake.

Investing in fine furniture and custom window treatments will add polish and staying power to your décor. Consider furnishing your home as you would in assembling a wardrobe. Not every item hanging in your closet can be trendy and colorful, and not every item can be timeless and neutral. Some items you find may stretch the budget while others are more easily affordable. The key is to strike a balance by mixing and matching low- and high-end items according to your style and budget.

Good design is not about how much our clients are able to spend. It is about creating spaces that they want to spend time in.

The most important thing about the interior design of your home would be for it to become an extension of who you are, what you value, your interests, and your lifestyle. In a word, it must be you.

I’ll be me and you be you.

February 26, 2014 by
Photography by Dana Damewood


The last time I saw her, she didn’t look herself. Sure, she’d lost at least 25 pounds, was practically bald, and had taken a beating from radiation, chemo, and surgery. But it really wasn’t that. The fabric and colors were all wrong. Wanda wearing black? A black hoodie and sweatpants. And they did not appear to have come from Anthropologie.

I parked my car, and Wanda waved as she huffed her way up the sidewalk to greet me. She’d just finished her two-block walk for the day. Doctors had removed the entire left lobe of her lung a few weeks prior. Now, she was working to regain her strength.

She gave me a big hug, as always, and we walked up the steps to her mother’s house. Inside, we sat down, and after five minutes her rapid breathing had slowed down a bit. Ten minutes later, the rattle quieted. Her breath was shallow, but it didn’t take long before the conversation went deep. It was clear that cancer had changed her perspective on life. “I don’t know how, but things are going to be different now,” she told me.

She was eager to move back to her own house and get back to making art. She hinted at a few other changes, not knowing exactly what they would be. She wanted to make room in her life for more love—starting with a dog and opening up to wherever else love might show up. She spoke of taking on less responsibility, less struggling against the powers that be. She wanted to travel more—to places where she could breathe easy, places that accepted her and her art.

Wanda’s art was an overflow of her own personality: colorful, boldly feminine, vibrant, out there for the world to see. She often teased my husband, Caleb Coppock, and me about our “process art.” If ours was process, then hers was the presence. While our work was quiet and minimal, hers made a splash. Ours was about noticing the smallest details; her brush had the broadest stroke. You had to look twice at our artwork; with hers, you never looked away—it took up space and ended in exclamation points.
A generous mentor, she was the favorite professor of many University of Nebraska-Omaha art students. A hardworking achiever, she donated her talent, time, and energy to countless committees, exhibits, and other people’s hair-brained ideas (and many of her own). A childless, unmarried 40-something with a million friends, she always showed up.

But there was a loneliness to her that accompanied that joie de vivre. In many ways, Wanda’s very presence was a challenge to our community, and she carried the weight of it. She was brave and buxom, smart and sexy, artist and academic. She was controversial and feminist in a conservative, white, male-dominated region. She was a well-educated, successful black professional living in a racially segregated city known for its “failure to keep and attract educated, upwardly mobile black professionals” (Omaha World-Herald, Jan. 6, 2011).

Being Wanda in Omaha took a lot out of her, probably more than any of us knew. She often mentioned the statistic that black, college-educated women over 40 are the people least likely to marry. She’d make a joke about it, but we all knew she wasn’t really laughing. Let’s be honest, Omaha never fully appreciated the treasure we had in her. Wanda knew that, and she carried it with grace. But even the strongest person can only carry that so long.

To those of us who loved her, Wanda was impossible to resist. Her charm was magnetic: huge smile, funny as hell, she had a special way of connecting with people and finding common interests whether it be ’80s pop songs, scary movies, wine, shoes, or art. And there were always the inside jokes that she’d effortlessly slip into conversation. Every interaction with Wanda spoke loud and clear: “I’ll be me, and you be you.”

Last week, I was shopping the sales at Anthropologie, and a memory surfaced. I had run into Wanda at that same table about a year ago. We’d chatted over the clearanced kitchen items, laughing and pointing out the deals to each other. I bought the mildest set of taupe bowls, and of course, Wanda’s hands were on the brightest in the bunch. I use my bowls every day. I love them, but sometimes I wish I’d chosen something more colorful. Now I hear Wanda saying, “You be you.” Minimal, simple…and taupe. Yep, that’s me!

Back at the house, I began to feel I had stayed too long. She was getting tired, but she walked me outside and gave another big hug as I left.

“Love you, Wanda.”

“Love you, doll.”

“Hey, this might be one of our last nice days this year. You should stay out here for bit—soak up some Vitamin D.”

“Yeah, I think I’m gonna do that.”

And that’s my last picture of her: smiling up at the afternoon, eyes closed, November shining on her face.


Omaha artist Wanda Ewing passed away on Dec. 8, 2013. Daphne is a self-employed writer, creative strategist, and communications director (daphneeck.com). She was the writer for Wanda’s website (wandaewing.com) and owns what is possibly the only cream-colored piece of artwork
that Wanda ever created.

Mikala Vandenbroucke

November 25, 2012 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Mikala Vandenbroucke, 28, grew up the oldest of three children in Gretna, Neb. Although she originally attended Northwest Missouri State for three years with a desire to become a nurse, she transferred to Cosmetology at Xenon International Academy in Omaha after being encouraged to make the switch by her parents and a friend who was a hairdresser.

“My parents knew since I was a child that [being a stylist] was what I was going to do,” she says. “I used to cut and color all of my Barbie dolls’ hair and was constantly playing dress-up in all kinds of outfits and playing with makeup.”

Vandenbroucke has been a licensed stylist for a little over five years and with Mod Studio Salon for about a year and a half. Her specialties are cuts, colors, and makeup, and she has a very diverse clientele ranging from women wanting short pixie cuts to long, layering shapes. “The majority of my clients are women, whom I find to be dynamic and independent, so I find inspiration from them and really enjoy our time spent together in the salon.”

 “Standing out in a group is not a bad thing for me!”

Through the course of her styling journey, Vandenbroucke has taught classes and worked trade shows for Rusk (whose products she currently represents), worked New York Fashion Week for the Nolcha group with Rusk, and worked with local clothing designer Eliana Smith for Omaha Fashion Week. “Lately, I’ve been shifting focus toward editorial styling…[In November] I had a four-page spread of work that I’d done with local talents in a salon industry publication that reaches over 100 countries,” she adds.

Vandenbroucke describes her own personal style as unique, colorful, edgy, and sexy. “I enjoy looking and dressing differently than my peers. Standing out in a group is not a bad thing for me!” She likes to wear her hair short and dark at the moment, but it often changes. Her makeup, however, stays very clean and fresh—but Vandenbroucke has been known to rock blue and green eyeshadow from time to time.

Her favorite styling products and tools include:

  • Naked 2 palette and Primer Potion from Urban Decay—“I take these two items with me everywhere, to every shoot and for every makeup application. The primer keeps your eyeshadow in place all day long with no creases, and the colors in that palette are versatile and also very beautiful.”
  • Volare V1 Blow Dryer from BaByliss Pro—“This thing is incredible! It’s an amazing blow dryer that I use on a daily basis in the salon and dries hair with an airflow of about 78mph…It’s like having a hurricane in your hand!”