Tag Archives: master bedroom

Mary Beth Harrold

October 16, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

For Mary Beth Harrold, “decking the halls” means something a tad more extravagant than outfitting a fir tree with antique Santa-themed artifacts. A long-time Papillion resident, Harrold has spent the last four decades doing what she loves: decorating homes.

Harrold started her company, Papillion Flower Patch, 40 years ago with a dream and minimal experience. She currently manages the store with the help of her daughter, Stephanie Crandall.

christmascaravan1“I had a love for beautiful home décor,” Harrold says of her conception for the business. “I had to learn with experience, and buy books, and get support. After that, I competed in contests and learned more to become a designer that traveled the United States.”

The most wonderful time of the year also happens to be Harrold’s busiest decorating season.

For the past 15 years, Harrold’s holiday home decorating style has been featured on the Christmas Caravan Tour of Homes, a fundraiser on the first Thursday of November (Nov. 3 this year) to benefit the Assistance League of Omaha. Preparation for the grand tour, Harrold explains, involves spending a full week prepping houses with fellow decorators and florists.

“It’s a lot of work because we have to build a shop in the basement from scratch,” Harrold says of the week-long frenzy. “Then we sell (products) from there.”

The Christmas Caravan gives attendees the opportunity to browse high-end homes decorated by local florists and interior designers, as well as purchase products from the vendors. 

Each house includes a boutique where attendees can purchase featured decorations. Twenty percent of revenue is donated to the Assistance League, with proceeds directly benefiting programs such as Operation School Bell (which has provided clothing to more than 58,000 Omaha children in need).

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Harrold prefers to design homes with winter in mind, as opposed to the Christmas holiday, so decorations can be used all season long.

“We put up our decorations the first week of November and they last long after Christmas,” she says. “So, I decorate in more warm, earthy, wintery tones so it lasts through the season.”

Harrold’s home on the Christmas Caravan tour demonstrates her philosophy of seasonal décor. Natural elements like pinecones, birch branches, holly berries, and sprigs of pine provide an ambiance of warm wintery tones despite the chill. Glowing candles halo Harrold’s stone figurine nativity set; the color palette of browns, earthy greens, and pale blues set each scene. The main piece on the dining room table features white branches, small cardinals, and a dusting of faux snow.

A collection of birch branches wrapped with clear lights, small logs, and large pinecones preface the main staircase—a greeting to anyone wandering in through the front door. Every room of the house, including the master bathroom, contains a subtle touch of Harrold’s woodsy holiday flair. And yes, there is the occasional, familiar snowman.

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“Cozy” is the word that would best describe the atmosphere of Harrold’s Christmas Caravan home, but it seems oddly over-simplistic for the attention to detail and artistic eye that clearly drove the decorating process. The consistency of design carries through even the most minimal of elements— towel racks, windows, bedroom shelves.

Harrold has decorated what she estimates to be hundreds of homes over the years, tailored specifically to her customers’ aesthetic tastes and desires.

“For the Christmas season, the glitz and glamor is gone,” she says of time’s passing decoration trends. “Now, (people prefer) the more natural, simple home look.”

The most rewarding part of the job, she says, is her relationship with customers. Harrold spends weeks leading up to the holiday season consulting with clients who often return each year for her decorating services.

“It’s fun to try to please a lot of different types of people and try out a bunch of different tastes,” Harrold says.

What about decorating her own home?

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“My decorations are very simple and not overly done,” Harrold explains. “I’m not a bright-color decorator, so the style is more subdued. I just like the closeness and the warmth of looking out at wintertime, and feeling cozy, and getting the thought of, ‘I love my house.’”

After all the good tidings and decking of halls, perhaps Harrold can enjoy a well-deserved day off on Christmas Day with her family. Afterwards, the preparations for next season will begin.

“Family is always the best part,” Harrold says with a smile. “I love the warmth and joy, and the feeling of happiness and love, that come with the holiday time.”

Visit alomaha.org for more information about the Christmas Caravan Tour of Homes. OmahaHome

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Colonial Expansion in Loveland

October 1, 2016 by
Photography by Dana Damewood

On the edge of the Loveland neighborhood stood a modest colonial house. When it was built in 1940, the home had a mere 1,320 square feet. When the Ahlers family bought the home in 2009, they made big plans to overhaul the colonial beauty.

transformations7The Ahlers underwent a 2,600-square-foot addition to make space for their growing family. They enlisted my help with the renovations.

In the Ahlers’ home, it was important to keep the charm of the original colonial style while subtly incorporating modern amenities. I began the four-year renovation process with one goal in mind: “Make the spaces usable, livable, comfortable, and beautiful to the unique needs of the family using this home.” Striving to keep the home’s original design in line with the new addition resulted in some uniquely shaped spaces that were unlike modern counterparts of contemporary construction. My expertise in space planning and construction would bring sense and structure to furnishing otherwise awkward spaces. As a result, I custom-designed many of the furniture pieces exclusively for these rooms.

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One of these challenging spaces was affectionately nicknamed the “big empty room.” In the beginning, there was literally nothing in the space other than two dog beds and a child’s trike with plenty of room to ride. Our goal for the space was to create an area where the family could read books together, watch a movie, work from home, or gather with friends and family. I got to work designing the multi-functional space—beginning with wall-to-wall bookshelves nodding to the colonial feel of a traditional home library. The bookshelves were painted dark gray to keep the look updated. Natural grass cloth wallpaper softens the walls, bringing texture and warmth, while bold patterns mix with a contemporary color palette of navy and tangerine to keep the room fresh and modern. The custom draperies diffuse the bright afternoon light, and the wool carpet tiles (perfect for pets) bring cohesiveness to the room. The various furniture groupings allow for many different activities to take place in this versatile space, and now their young son enjoys reading in the room and saves the trike riding for outdoors.

transformations8In the master bedroom, the look is traditional with a fresh color palette. Neutral linen fabrics with a soft damask pattern adorn the bed, while custom draperies in a bright grass-green color, along with black-and-white accents, liven the neutral color palette. I created a small seating area for watching morning cartoons and designed a custom kennel table for the unique use of the space for the family. Finally, what traditional master bedroom would be complete without an en suite bathroom boasting a custom claw-footed bathtub, crystal chandelier, classic black-and-white plaid wallpaper, and puddling green linen drapes?

The kitchen plays center field with honed marble countertops, custom white cabinetry, and an intimate fireplace. A challenge in the kitchen was where to share meals. The narrow footprint was another area where I customized the space for the needs of the family. The light in the morning is truly fantastic in this room. To capture that light and inspire family meals, I designed a narrow dining table stained in a deep black hue, which could take a beating and accommodate the dinette area. The result is a family-style area with room for eight.

There is a cohesiveness in this house that is anchored by the family’s deep-rooted East Coast ties, flair for subtle modernity, and interest in creating family tradition. This house reflects those qualities for this family, and I couldn’t be happier to help create this way of living for them.

Visit asid-neia.org for more information. OmahaHome

*Correction: The printed version incorrectly identified Paul Pikorski of Amoura Productions as the photographer.

 

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.