Tag Archives: Jared Gerber

A Cottage In The Woods

April 27, 2017 by
Photography by Tom Kessler

When the Marshall family approached architect Jared Gerber about designing their home, he met them at the future construction site just outside the city limits of Louisville, Nebraska.

“When I met with them, we immediately connected,” Gerber says. “They were looking for something very homey and comfortable.”

The property is 11 acres with varying terrain features. Open spaces coupled with the surrounding wooded areas gave an ideal opportunity for a secluded paradise.

Gerber doesn’t typically design homes for acreages. He normally works in a city setting, and city lots confine an architect to design within a limited area. The expanse of the Marshalls’ land granted a variety of options for positioning the home and integrating the structure into the landscape.

“We really wanted to have a modern interpretation of a classic farmhouse,” says homeowner K.B. Marshall. “But we also wanted a house that complemented the land it was going to be built on.”

The product of the Marshalls’ vision and Gerber’s expertise was a house set far enough back on the property to be isolated by trees with a design that conjured the idea of a modern-day cottage.

“We recognized the house is maybe a little bit out of character for the local area,” Marshall says. “We didn’t want to have something that was an eyesore or really stood out.”

Built on the edge of town, the house is hidden on a forested plot. A gravel road winds back behind the dense foliage. Drive down the path through the trees, and the spectacular residence emerges.

“It’s kind of a journey. You get little glimpses, little pieces of it as you’re driving through there,” Gerber says. “It’s a nice approach to the house. It’s what I’ve always kind of liked about it.”

The front of the house is framed by its rural setting. Visitors’ eyes are immediately drawn to the red door, which stands out against the exterior’s softer white and blue colors.

Gerber wanted to keep the functionality of the home while maintaining its coziness. Striking this balance motivated Gerber’s architectural design, which led to some changes in the Marshalls’ original requests.

One feature the Marshalls wanted was a four-car garage attached to the house. But Gerber believed this would infringe on the coziness they were seeking. He feared that such a large garage would produce a strange, lopsided appearance. He didn’t want the gargantuan garage to dominate the presence of the house, which he wanted to be the focal point.

“What I ended up doing was breaking it [apart],” Gerber says. “So we had a two-car garage attached to the house, and then another two-car garage that was a detached garage.”

These two garages mirror each other as they stand face to face. In the space between, Gerber designed a paved area that connected to the driveway. The new style preserved the welcoming domestic appearance, while retaining the desired garage space.

The home’s interior continues to uphold a cozy and functional balance first introduced with the exterior design. Gerber strived to create a living space that would serve the needs of the Marshalls and their two sons.

“What I like to call this is ‘cottagey’—which technically is not really a style,” Gerber says. “Cottagey is more of a feeling or a concept of what a house conveys.”

The living room showcases a cathedral ceiling and large fireplace. The feeling emulated by the home’s primary living space is one of versatility. Ideally, one can feel comfortable spending time alone in the spacious area or hosting a group of guests.

The staircase tower connecting each level of the house was a favorite design feature for both Gerber and Marshall. The tower holds a wide, open-style staircase that winds from the basement to the main level to the second story. Windows on all sides of the tower showcase the surrounding natural splendor.

The kitchen-dining area was designed to be a hub of family activity, where they could gather for meals and kids could work on homework during the academic year. A mix of light fixtures and a series of enormous windows illuminates the space. Throughout the house, lighting was a major emphasis of Gerber’s design.

The house also has a secret. A hidden room behind a “Scooby-Doo” door, as Marshall described it, quickly became a favorite feature for his children. The entrance to the room is concealed by a bookshelf, making it unnoticeable to visitors when it is closed.

It is no secret that the house does not fit any single textbook architectural style. But that’s also part of its charm. “Everyone likes to plug all the different styles into a particular category, and I think a lot of times houses don’t fit truly into each category,” Gerber says.

Visit gerberarchitecture.com for more information.

This article appears in the May/June 2017 edition of Omaha Home.

Q&A: Jared Gerber

June 20, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann, Kent Behrens, and Tom Kessler

Inspired by design from a young age, Jared Gerber knew early on he was destined to go into architecture. Today, he makes his living helping homeowners design custom living spaces that not only reflect their personalities, but also fit their natural environment.

Q: Tell us a bit about your background. How did you first come to discover your love of building design?

A: I think the architecture seed was first planted while I was growing up in Virginia. We would take school field trips to Colonial Williamsburg, and I found myself more interested in the architecture of historic buildings than anything else. I really enjoyed studying the aspects that make a building unique—the setting, the form, the details…and trying to discern the things I liked and disliked about a particular building. These experiences also gave me an appreciation for historic preservation.Ascott-07_Web

Q: Where did you receive your education and training in architecture? How did you end up in Omaha?

A: My family eventually moved to Nebraska, and I went to high school in Fairbury. After receiving my bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, I decided to take a break and found a job working at an architectural firm specializing in churches in Charlotte, N.C. I loved being two hours from both the beach and the mountains, but I missed the four seasons and my family, so after a couple of years I decided to move back to get my master’s from UNL. Immediately after graduation, I found a job in Omaha. I’ve been here ever since.

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Q: Tell us a bit about your firm. Do you specialize in any niche of architecture or price range? What do you enjoy most about what you do?

A: I founded Gerber Architecture, PC in 2005. I started as a commercial architect but gravitated to the residential side after designing my first house project. I soon discovered that residential design is very rewarding because it has such a direct, personal effect on a client’s everyday life. Today, about 90 percent of my work is residential. I’ve designed a wide range of projects, from simple room remodels to multi-million-dollar additions and remodels to new-construction homes. I enjoy the design phase the most, as that’s the time when the creativity is flowing and there’s a lot of enthusiasm and energy with a project. I also enjoy the beauty of working with different clients. Each homeowner collaboration—discussing their wants, needs, and ideas—creates a house that is truly distinctive, and each offers different problems and solutions. And although most of the drawings are done on the computer now, I still enjoy doing the initial schematic drawings by hand.810-09_Web

Q: Tell us about one of your favorite projects. What challenges and rewards did it offer?

A: One of my favorites was a new house that I designed on a beautiful 40-acre lot south of town that was full of bur oak trees and teeming with wildlife. With a large acreage, you not only design the residence…the creativity extends to the broader view of the site, the approach of the house. Siting the house can be the most difficult task…the vegetation, views, sun patterns, and topography are all factors the homeowner will live with every day. In this case, there was an open, flat area that initially appeared the best placement option. However, after further analysis, pushing [the residence] back to a spot nestled within some trees gave the house a feeling like it belonged…as if it grew out of the site. The finished house is not huge—less than 3,000 finished square feet—but it’s the siting of the house, the quality of the spaces, and the craftsmanship of the details that reflect the homeowners’ personality and make it a great project. The house was featured on the AIA [American Institute of Architects] Omaha Home Tour a couple years ago, and I’m still getting feedback from attendees on how much they appreciated the house.Wehrbein-02_Web

Q: Tell us a bit about you personally. Family, associations, and interests outside of work?

A: My wife, Kristine, and I have been married for almost 24 years. We have two boys—Creighton, a sophomore at Augustana in Sioux Falls, S.D., studying archeology, and Drew, a junior at Westside High School. We enjoy traveling, touring houses, and trying out new restaurants. I’m currently on the board for AIA Omaha and help organize various events for our membership. Interacting with my fellow architects helps keep me updated on changes going on both locally and nationally. I’m also a bit of a beer aficionado and enjoy some of the local and regional craft beers and the monthly home brewer’s club at the German-American Society. I’m a former athlete and a huge football fan and often take in a Husker game with my boys.