Tag Archives: OmahaHome

Planting Native Gardens for Pollinators

June 21, 2019 by
Photography by Provided

Many beautiful homes have beautiful yards, and many beautiful yards have gardens. Breathtaking gardens look natural and maintained. One secret is low-maintenance plant selection. Scott Evans, horticulture program coordinator with the University of NebraskaLincoln Extension, advises property owners try using native plants when planting a low-maintenance garden.

A native garden provides low maintenance along with other benefits. Evans says pollinators such as bees, flies, moths, butterflies are adapted to native plants, so they will thrive in native gardens. UNL Extension offers a Pollinator Habitat Certification for individuals who want to learn more about this subject. Evans says many people want to help conserve these insects. “It is a holistic approach to conservation of our beneficial insects,” he says.

Pollinators are important economically because they pollinate many food crops. Unfortunately, according to the website, these populations have become threatened due to causes such as habitat destruction, pesticide use, inadequate nutrition, and disease. Establishing a native garden can help solve the problem.

A native garden that benefits pollinators should have plants that bloom throughout the three growing seasons: spring, summer, and fall, says Evans. “A lot of our native plants are not in mainstream horticulture,” he says. Most popular landscape plants bloom only in summer. A native garden will produce blooms when most other gardens are already done. 

Beneficial pollinators need to spread the wealth of blooms across the three seasons because different types of pollinators are active during different times of the year. Evans advises planting blooming plants in groups of at least three to make them more attractive to pollinators.

Native spring bloomers include indigo, columbine, redbud, snowdrop, and pasqueflower. Summer options are abundant, says Evans. They include single-bloom coneflowers, spiderwort, Solomon’s seal, and liatrice. Evans says that double-bloom varieties of coneflowers are not ideal because many native insects may not be able to reach the nectar. Evans recommends planting goldenrod, Joe Pye weed, and fall-blooming aster in the year’s final season. There are many more options available, and searching websites or visiting a garden store will provide an abundance of suggestions.

These native plants are acclimated to Nebraska’s harsh winters and up-and-down weather during growing seasons. They don’t typically require watering once they are established, and they also do not require fertilization. Most native plants are perennials, so they will come back annually. Because most popular landscape plants require constant care and maintenance, native plants will save a homeowner time and money.

Native gardens geared toward beneficial insects should not be cleaned up much in the fall. The dead foliage provides overwintering habitat for those that remain through the cold months. There are close to 4,000 species of native bees in North America, says Evans. Of those, 1,200 species are tunnel nesting, which means they nest in hollowed-out tubes and stems. Leaving dead foliage is therefore crucial to their habitat.

The other 2,800 species of bees are ground nesting, meaning they require spare soil exposed in order to thrive. “Leave bare soil in a sunny locationground nesting bees prefer that,” says Evans. “And watch your watering because you don’t want to drown them out.”

Beneficial insects need water as well as shelter. Evans advises providing a pie pan filled with pea gravel just covered with water in your garden in a discrete location. The pea gravel will make the water less inhabitable to mosquito larvae and will make it easier for insects to climb on and use. A water feature, like a birdbath, is designed for larger animals. “Think of something the size of a bumblebee,” says Evans, noting that these insects can’t swim.

Evans says there are 75-80 total certified native gardens across the state. They are mostly on homeowners’ private properties. The garden surrounding the Butterfly Pavilion at the Henry Doorly Zoo, the one at the Sarpy County Fairgrounds, and the Hope Garden near 165th and Center streets are all native, Pollinator Habitat Certified gardens.

A native garden has the look of a natural and well-maintained garden while actually being low-maintenance. By establishing a native garden, a gardener provides pollinators with the essential food, water, and habitat they need to survive.   


Visit entomology.unl.edu/pollinator-habitat-certification for more information about the Pollinator Habitat Certification application.

This article was printed in the July/August 2019 edition of OmahaHome. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

A Villa of a Different Color

Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Angie Arkfeld says her builder’s style was traditional compared to her contemporary tastes. However, she liked the open template of a particular villa already underway, and she loved the neighborhood developing near 192nd and Pacific streets west of Shadow Ridge Country Club. So within the parameters of a set floor plan and builder limitations, Arkfeld made some important distinctions to make her new home patently hers.

“There was only so much I could do, but I changed as much as I could,” she says. Some of her ideas weren’t structurally feasible, but her bold approach helped her get key features she wanted. “I would ask the builder, ‘Can I do this?’ I tried to kind of go out of the box with everything.”

One big box—or rather, frame—Arkfeld stepped out of was windows and doors. She modified the shape and positioning of many of her windows, such as placing them in groups of three squares in a series next to a staircase, and using several horizontal styles high enough to need no coverings. “I have to have lots of light,” she says.

Her front door is a playful lime green and her gray interior doors are painted with white lines to create a modernistic, multi-panel effect. The unique features evident from the outside are subtle, Arkfeld says; her house integrates nicely into the neighborhood, but she’s been amused to discover that its custom elements have prompted several people moving into the development to ask the builder about those options.

Arkfeld rolled the color wheel right out of the box with dashes of chartreuse, teals, and magenta throughout her home’s interior. “I’m not into tans…I love color and I’ve always had color,” she says. “And I had a lot from my previous house I wanted to use.”

The primary factor behind moving into a new home may have been downsizing after a divorce, Arkfeld says, but that didn’t mean she wanted to start from scratch. Art and furnishings were transplanted from her previous house, mostly pieces she picked up from boutiques and home decor stores over time simply because they appealed to her. She’d always enjoyed moving pieces around and swapping them out from time to time in her previous home
“just to give it a new look or feel here and there,” Arkfeld says
and finding new places for everything in the new home was a challenge she enjoyed.

The blue-and-green color scheme was carried over from her previous home and extends to new rooms, such as the lower level bar. “I like my backsplash with its teal tile,” Arkfeld says.

Arkfeld's teal backsplash

Some decor elements couldn’t be directly transferred, so they were reestablished in new ways, such as brushed metal fireplace tiles that echo some metallic accents she liked in her previous home.
A designer friend, Janine Dunn, suggested bringing magenta accents into the picture, including dominantly in the powder room and as a focal point of Arkfeld’s oasis of a master bedroom.

“I knew I wanted a black wall somewhere and we ended up putting that in my bedroom behind my magenta headboard,” Arkfeld says. The rest of the room is painted gray and the white beams of the coffered ceiling stand out against the black ceiling surface. She recently re-covered two chairs her grandmother bought as a teenager in 1952 and created a comfortable sitting area with a sentimental touch.

“I love spending time in there,” she says. A master closet she doesn’t have to share adds to the appeal.

“My closet at my old house was very small and that was one thing I knew I wanted to change in this home. I love clothes, shoes, and jewelry, and I wanted a nice-size closet. I had [the builder] build in shelving for shoes, sweaters, et cetera, and also a bureau in the middle for my jewelry,” she says, adding that the closet is so roomy, “I also put a little desk in there because I have no office space here.”

Angie Arkfeld's master bath

Arkfeld’s fondness for accessories extends to fun and contemporary lighting fixtures throughout the home, many of them ordered online and all selected with care. “They’re like jewelry in a house,” she says. “It adds so much.” A wireless home sound system is another personal enhancement that she appreciates every day, Arkfeld says.

The modern kitchen has mitered quartz countertops and unusual champagne-colored cabinets. Arkfeld says Dunn talked her into the color, but she loves it.

“I don’t see anything like them and everyone always comments on them.” The kitchen is also her favorite first-floor vantage point.

“Everything is so open,” she says, making it easy to cook for guests or chat with her teenagers (Ava, 15, and Jaden, nearly 17) or 20-year-old daughter Sydney hanging out nearby. “I can oversee everything.”

Heading into the family’s second summer at the home, Arkfeld says it was an adjustment at first leaving a busy neighborhood to live on a property backed by trees. However, an expanded deck with sectional seating has become a lovely, peaceful space. “I’m very social and I love people,” she says. “But I do love sitting on the deck and looking out at the birds.”   


This article was printed in the July/August 2019 edition of OmahaHome. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Angie Arkfeld's master bedroom

Engaging Senses & Slowing Down

Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Bing Chen, Ph.D., treats visitors to his home graciously, especially when those visitors are there to enjoy his garden. He even provides a walking path to his neighbors’ house for easy access to the trails of his garden and has a welcoming spot at the entrance path of his home where guests can sit and enjoy the beginning hints of what lies beyond the home’s structure.

No guests are as eagerly anticipated as the nesting mallards who visit every year in the spring for four or five weeks. Affectionately named “Donald” and “Daisy” by Chen, the mallards come to enjoy the peaceful pond and quiet setting Chen meticulously planned and executed.

“It’s a living Chinese landscape painting,” he says, referencing his favorite style of art. “It’s supposed to make people wonder, ‘where does the trail go?’”

statue in Bing Chen’s home garden

In the late 1980s when Chen and his wife were looking to buy a house in the Omaha area, he already had a vision for the space. “Land options were limited—I sketched a landscape at each potential location.” He visualized a landscape which, much like the paintings he admires, forces the viewer to “stare for a while until the mind starts filling in the missing spaces you can’t see.”

What visitors always see is a cascading waterfall that empties into a koi pond surrounding a viewing deck. Beyond the pond is a variety of landscape details such as a hillside forest, and created hills and mounds. Walking among them feels like walking on a trail in the mountains. There is also a cave with a fire pit directly in front of it, and numerous trails that prove challenging hikes for visitors who want to explore. Places to sit and reflect are peppered throughout the space.

To call the space behind Chen’s house a “garden” does not do the area justice. To say the creation of the space took some effort is another understatement.

Bing Chen’s home garden deck

Chen tells the story of the day Delwin Rogers of Rogers Sod Farm happened to stop by to see the space Chen was creating. “He looked around and said, ‘You look like someone who needs some boulders.’” Thus began the saga of acquiring the giant rocks necessary to bring Chen’s vision to lifeincluding a 10-ton boulder that “made the neighbors think there was an earthquake” when it was unloaded from the truck. “My goodness, what a thud!” Chen remembers.

Chen named every trail that runs through his space. The two main trailsRidge Trail and Rim Trailmeet up in various spots and combine into one on the west side of the house. He planted everything intentionally to achieve a “changing panorama of color and texture.”

Winter is a resting period. “The gardens are barren and have a quiet tranquility related to winter introspection,” Chen says. “Spring is a quickening of the pulse” and it’s when crocuses begin to bloom. Summer is when “the maturity of the garden displays itself,” he says. “Senses are engaged and new actors appear on the stage.” Fall is a “slowing down. It’s the last spark.”

Fall is Chen’s favorite time because it’s when he starts planning his planting for the next year. The space may look different from one year to another, yet it remains a delightful respite from the rigors of daily life and a hidden treasure in the Omaha area.   


This article was printed in the July/August 2019 edition of OmahaHome. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Bing Chen's home garden from above

Reuse for a Reasonable Renovation

June 12, 2019 by
Photography by Tom Kessler Photography

This transformation project began as a renovation in one of the Regency Villas—a 40-year-old kitchen needed a makeover. Although the layout was efficient the look was dated.

As we explored options, it became obvious this kitchen would be an expensive project for the homeowner. It needed a new counter but the cooktop was in good shape. The existing exhaust was vented to the outside, but the hood was outdated. Decorative touches were cottage-like, with scalloped trim over the sink and a floral valance at the window—not quite the look we were going for.

In addition, the cabinetry above the peninsula blocked the view to the dining area. The chandelier was not centered over the table. The existing wood floor had been refinished recently and would need to be protected. Unfortunately, the microwave had to rest on the counter next to the refrigerator due to the era when this kitchen was built. Lastly, if we didn’t tear out the kitchen, we were forced to keep the 30-inch-wide refrigerator space.

Regency Villa kitchen transformation

How do you renovate a dated kitchen while keeping it practical and within budget, as the homeowner requested?

To start, we discovered a showroom refrigerator perfect for the space, as it measures only 30 inches wide by 84 inches tall. The doors just needed a little paint. We removed the unused cabinets over the refrigerator, and it fit perfectly.

We also removed the cabinet next to the refrigerator and replaced it with a shorter one to hold the microwave.

Regency Villa kitchen transformation

The remaining cabinet doors and drawers received new fronts and hardware. We removed the cabinets over the peninsula, allowing us to place recessed lighting in the soffit. Under-cabinet lighting of dimmable LED strips were placed behind a small piece of trim along the bottom of the cabinets.

We discovered three different colors of white paint had been applied to the trim over the years. Fortunately, the wainscoting was in perfect condition compared to other parts of the kitchen. By matching the wainscoting paint color we avoided having to paint the entire kitchenanother cost saver.

One of the challenges was re-positioning the chandelier. As we attempted to move it, we discovered a structural support that would make it difficult to move. However the electrician was able to shift the box slightly and the medallion covers the necessary electrical changes.

The homeowner fell in love with a Cambria quartz composite material for the countertops. Coordinating an undermount sink and a new faucet with silver-toned wall covering helped unify the dining area with the kitchen workspace.

Regency Villa kitchen transformation table

We saved the floor, reused the cooktop and ovens, added a new hood, and avoided painting the wainscoting. The final touch was a consignment table and chairs, finishing the effect while staying on task.

Designing with my client’s budget in mind is my foremost focus. Sometimes magic can happen when you least expect it. Taking into consideration what is usable and designing the space to be as functional, creative, and refreshed as possible is the final goal.


This article was printed in the Junly/August 2019 edition of OmahaHome. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Crafty Concrete

Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Sophisticated is a not a word that typically comes to mind with the word “concrete.” But these days, concrete is making appearances in places other than sidewalks and patios. 

There is a difference between cement and concrete. Concrete is cement powder that is mixed with water and contains additional fillers that make the substance strong when dried. Cement has a smoother texture when it dries because it does not have these fillers. Either substance will work for these projects.

One thing is certain—this is a DIY even those who do not think they are crafty can conquer. And to top it off, it is virtually impossible to mess up.

This project highlights texture, and the key is to create contrast. I found concrete works wonders when paired with natural elements such as wood, sand, and stones. But the substance will work with many designs to suit anyone’s personal style. I attempted three projects here that are sure to add interest to a home.


Materials Needed:

Plastic containers to use as concrete molds. Make sure it is strong enough to hold the shape of the concrete. I found plenty of large bowls while thrifting or at the dollar store. Two different-sized bowls are needed for the inner and outer shapes of the concrete bowl.

• Plastic storage tub 

• Five-gallon bucket

• Large, heavy stir stick

• Water pitcher

• Fine concrete (I used Quikrete 5000)

• Smaller rocks or sand

• Felt (if placing indoors)

• Sanding block or

sandpaper (coarse)

• Eye and face protection

• Rubber gloves

• Plastic drop cloth

• Cooking spray or WD-40

• Glass hurricane (craft stores have several assortments)

• Plastic coffee can

• Box cutter or handsaw

• Cardboard tube (I used Quikrete’s Quik-tube)


Important step before starting:

Thoroughly grease your molds so the concrete does not stick. Not doing so means that it will be tough to get the concrete out of the molds once the substance dries. Have all of this done and ready to go once the concrete is mixed, and be sure to work on a flat surface.


Hurricane lamp base:

Note: Make sure to use a cardboard tube that is at least 1 inch wider than the hurricane. Also make sure the top and bottom are both level.

Step 1: Create a makeshift bottom for the tube using a foam plate, or anything sturdy that will easily come away from the concrete.

Step 2: Place the tube on a piece of plywood or other level surface. This also protects the working surface from the concrete.

Step 3: Mix the concrete (I did three smaller batches and poured into the tube), then tap the side to make sure air bubbles are out.

Step 4: Press an object a bit wider than the glass hurricane (a plastic coffee can works well) into the concrete.

Step 5: Rotate the can a few times in the first two or three hours. After that point you can remove the can, then let the column dry another 24 hours.

Step 6: Once dry, remove the cardboard tube with a box cutter or handsaw. Spray it with water if necessary.

Step 7: Gently lay column on its side and remove the bottom, then sand the rough edges with a sanding block.

Step 8: Place the glass hurricane in the indention, then fill it with sand or pebbles, and decorate how you like. Mine has a base of 12 inches in diameter.

If you plan to use the hurricane inside, place felt on the bottom of the lamp base to protect surfaces.

Tealight candle holders:

Step 1: Mix concrete with water until it is the thickness of pancake batter.

Step 2: Fill the larger mold with concrete to about one inch from the top. Tap sides to eliminate air bubbles and level the surface. 

Step 3: Push the smaller mold into the area where you want the candle to sit, leaving adequate thickness for the bottom.

Step 4: Place sand or pebbles in the smaller mold (for weight) and let the concrete set for 24 hours.

Step 5: Remove the molds and smooth any rough edges with a stone or coarse sand block.

If you plan to use the candle holder inside, place felt on the bottom of the candle holder to protect surfaces.

Concrete Bowl:

Step 1: Mix concrete with water until it is the thickness of pancake batter.

Step 2: Fill the large, lubricated bowl ¾ of the way with concrete. 

Step 3: Nestle the smaller (lubricated on the outside) bowl inside the larger bowl filled with the concrete. Make sure to tap around the bowl for air bubbles.

Step 4: Add pebbles or weights to the inner bowl, to help create the indentation. 

Step 5: Remove the inner bowl after 24 hours, but allow additional drying time for the outside

Use this bowl to decorate as you like. Placing it on a wooden shelf would be beautiful.
If you plan to use the bowl inside, place felt on the bottom of the bowl to protect surfaces.

Enjoy your décor!  


This article was printed in the July/August 2019 edition of OmahaHome. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Flanagan Lake Gives Omaha a Place to Grow

June 11, 2019 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Tops of trees sprout from the water in a neat row down the center of Flanagan Lake, a new public park situated in northwest Omaha. What was once farmland divided among 17 separate owners has grown into gently sloping green hills surrounding an elongated body of water. This project that has been in the making since 2009 officially opened to the public in June 2018.

Planned and constructed by the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District, the park took three years to complete after groundbreaking before it was turned over to Omaha’s Parks and Recreation Board.

The park will provide a welcome green space for many nearby homeowners. Housing developments around the lake are already beginning to take root. A number of homes-in-progress at Pier 15 development will offer lakefront locations with uninterrupted views of the water, as well as villas and houses within easy walking distance. The developer’s website shows that Villa lots are available for $52,000, while lakefront lots are selling for $110,000. Residences in the villas sell for $350,000-$500,000, while houses sell from over $450,000-$800,000. Anchor Pointe housing development (located along 168th and Ida streets) will be included in the Bennington School District.

“We’re getting a mix of retirees and a few clients who are younger that like not having to worry about the maintenance,” says Matt Caniglia, owner of Silverthorn Custom Homes.

As for the homes themselves, Caniglia says the area will consist of mostly ranch homes with a few two-stories, as requested by customers. While the subdivision itself at 168th and Fort streets does not feature many businesses, it is close to Maple Street, which has grocery stores, drug stores, and other necessities.

The common connection with the residents, though, is the natural amenities. “The people who have bought really like [having] the access to the lake without living on the lake. We see people liking not having the extra costs that come with living on a lake, like needing a boat and a dock.”

The 730-acre park features 5.2 miles of trails for biking and hiking, a boat ramp, restrooms, and picnic shelters. Different types of trees are planted and showcase small gold plaques along the waterfront, each dedicated to a different person or family from Omaha. Solar-powered lights and ample parking space make this park fun and functional for all.

The lake offers an assortment of amenities such as fishing, kayaking, or picnicking. By the end of 2019, a large playground structure will also take root. Visitors can expect multiple slides, bridges, and climbing walls, as well as several homages to the park’s namesake.

In 2017, metro citizens were given an opportunity to cast votes for potential names of the park. While several dozen were suggested, the most voted-for was Father Flanagan, the name of the priest who established Boys Town in Omaha in 1917. Flanagan Lake provides a great opportunity to redistribute some of the city’s sculptures to this new neighborhood. Specifically, pieces from the Take a Seat bench series at Gene Leahy Mall will find a new home at Flanagan Lake.

When asked about how the park will impact citizens and the overall landscape of Omaha, Omaha Parks and Recreation director Brook Bench recounts the various amenities the park makes available to residents. “It adds something very special to that northwest part of the city.”   


Visit flanaganlake.com for more information about this lake and the surrounding communities.

This article was printed in the July/August 2019 edition of OmahaHome. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Lights, Home, Action

Photography by Provided

A house is the single largest purchase most people will make. Yet, it’s tempting to leave lighting the property for a later time. The outdoor lights are often little more than an afterthought.

It’s a significant challenge to make what surrounds a home all-at-once safe, cozy, secure, inviting, and beautiful. A few well-placed lights in the backyard, for example, can make indoor spaces feel larger. A well-lit exterior not only deters unwanted guests but also extends the time a space can be enjoyed for a backyard cookout or relaxing under the stars.

“It’s one thing you can put together to make your house look sharp and a little safer, a little more secure,” says Jerry McKay, owner of McKay Lighting.

Josh Reeves of Midwest Lightscaping says that people need to keep their goal in mind when thinking about what to light.

“Is it security? Is it aesthetics?” Reeves says. “There are also safety aspects, like stairs. Once you know your lighting goals, you can match the proper fixtures to the goals.”

The best way to achieve great outdoor lighting, McKay says, is to have a plan, and a homeowner can’t do that if they aren’t sure what they want. A good way to create a plan is to act like it’s Christmas.

“Drive around the neighborhood and start to notice it,” he says. “See what good lighting looks like…what you like, and what you don’t like.”

For example, some houses are lit in such a way that it produces a lot of glare. It might actually be harder to see the front porch on those houses with the lights on than with them off. That defeats the main purposes of external lighting.

There are three main types, or functions, for external lighting: task, ambient, and accent.

Task lighting is perhaps the most important and should be the first priority. Task lighting includes lighting all entryways and footpaths, the driveway, and the garage. Task lighting is about safety and security, without intruding on anyone indoors, including the neighbors.

Home Exterior Lighting in Omaha, provided by Midwest Lightscaping

Home Exterior Lighting in Omaha, provided by Midwest Lightscaping

Ambient lighting is softer light often used in outdoor living spaces such as the back porch. Lanterns, string lights, or ceiling fans produce the kind of inviting and cozy light that’s ideal for entertaining and relaxing.

Accent lighting can include up-lighting columns or other architectural features. It also includes lighting certain landscaping elements such as trees or bushes. McKay likes to place lights high in trees to create a moonlight effect that casts dramatic shadows throughout the space.

If nothing else, give the lighting all due consideration, because striking the right balance between security, safety, and beauty isn’t easy.

“Design is important,” McKay says. “A lot of times, less is best.”

Once the design has been drawn, the property owner should then consider the best lighting for the area, and be prepared to pay for it. “There’s almost always some sticker shock when people learn the price,” McKay says. But, he adds. when it comes to lighting, he has learned the hard way that you often get what you pay for. He recalls losing a job when he bid $22,000, which was almost double the lowest bidder.

Water Fountain Lighting in Omaha, provided by McKay Lighting

Water Fountain Lighting in Omaha, provided by McKay Lighting

“We ended up going back to redo it five years later when it started failing,” he says.

Most hardware stores and retailers carry affordable options, but some lack in the quality of the materials used, he says.

“It’s like anything. It’s better to save up a little,” he says. “Wait until you can afford it and not go cheap, because you’ll just have to replace it later.”

For any do-it-yourselfers, McKay recommends purchasing through the manufacturers, where it’s easier to find more durable fixtures made with materials like brass and copper.

“Start with the best stuff you can afford,” he adds.

Using cheap fixtures is among the most common mistakes he sees when his crew comes in to fix home lighting attempts, whether it was a DIY project gone wrong or an inexperienced landscaper or lawn care service provider.

Reeves says that matching the lighting to the correct color temperature is important, especially if a homeowner has existing lighting that will not be replaced. Many LED lights produce a bright white or blue glow, whereas incandescent lights produce a warmer, more yellow color. Newer LED lights do a better job of creating warm light or cool light.

The color of the light is dependent on the kelvins, a unit of measure used in lightbulbs, indicated by the letter K on a bulb.

You want to match the kelvins,” Reeves says. “When LEDs first came out, they were in the 5,000 kelvin range. A standard incandescent is in the 2,700-range, and now we have LEDs that are in that range.”

Other common mistakes include misusing fixtures (mounting a path light next to a tree instead of up-lighting it), sloppy installations with exposed or poorly hidden wires, and using cheap connectors, which he says always fail eventually and are tricky to troubleshoot when they do.

Whether outdoor lighting becomes a DIY job or requires a professional, this important part of home ownership should be attended to in order to keep a home safe and secure.   


Visit mckaylighting.com and midwestlightscaping.com for more information.

This article was printed in the July/August 2019 edition of OmahaHome. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Outdoor Water Feature Lighting in Omaha, provided by McKay Lighting

Outdoor Water Feature Lighting in Omaha, provided by McKay Lighting

OmahaHome Entryway

January 4, 2019 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

“New Year—a new chapter,
new verse, or just the same old story?
Ultimately we write it. The choice is ours!”
—Alex Morritt

It’s time to take the Christmas lights down and put the house back in order. Time to freshen things up and plan for jobs to tackle. It’s 2019—and timing is everything.

Another year is upon us and as I sit here writing this letter, I’m flabbergasted to be saying “Happy New Year!” so soon.

Once again, it’s all about making life simpler and less stressful. After doing some DIY research, I found clever ways to do so.

This issue covers the old and the new. The Powells’ fireplace featured in Spaces not only complements their custom home at 90th and Farnam streets, but adds new luxury for these cold months.

Patrick McGee’s article in Landscape” will challenge your thoughts on winter tree-trimming and help you take better care of your trees when pruning.

“At Home” may be just what the doctor ordered for those wintery blues. Scatter Joy Acres shows you how volunteering does many good things for mind and body.

It may be hard to leave the comfort of your own home, but get out and into the community to enjoy the season.

From OmahaHome to your home, have a happy and fabulous new year!


 This article was printed in the January/February 2019 edition of OmahaHome. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Transformations

December 28, 2018 by
Photography by Tom Kessler Photography

Meet the designer: Lisa McCoid is one of the Midwest’s few design professionals with both an architecture license and interior design certification. As co-owner of D3 Interiors, her goal is total customer satisfaction. “The client has to love it,” she says. McCoid loves getting to know clients and their project goals. She strives to improve the lives of her clients through design.

A year ago, this living space was a cold, dark, unfinished basement used for storage and workout equipment. Today it is transformed into an impressive entertaining area.

The airy and hospitable ambiance begins as one walks down the stairs. Where the staircase once felt like a tunnel, a non-load bearing wall was removed, a second landing was built, and the staircase was completed with an illuminated baseboard and a metal banister with thin horizontal bars that leave lots of open space.

The bar area is considered the hub of the lower level. The homeowners chose black matte cabinets and custom chrome tiles for a dramatic effect. The raised bar-table-style island was incorporated to provide a gathering place to converse, watch sports, or enjoy a drink. The island is supported by a custom steel base and topped with a thickened-edge quartz countertop. Decorative pendant lighting above the island lends to the dramatic feel of the space. The ceiling includes a curved, lowered soffit detail to disguise the existing steel beams and house structure. Lighting was added into the soffit design to highlight the locally made, hand-painted Vahallan paper applied to the raised portion of the ceiling. These finishing touches bring the space together.

On one side of the bar area, a linear, two-sided fireplace adds to the contemporary design and provides warmth. The mini, stacked stones add dimension, texture, and style to the room. This fireplace serves as a divider between the areas and holds TVs on both sides. Integrated shelving on the fireplace wall serves as a way to display items. It could also be a pass-through between the bar and game room if the display items were removed.

In the game room, a banquette was designed under the large window as a place to watch a ping-pong game or a quiet spot to turn a few pages of a book. The seat has hidden storage and is encased by shelving. The barn door adds to the fun atmosphere of the game room. This sliding door can be closed to eliminate the noise of a ping-pong game or conversation in the game room for the benefit of those in the theater room.

In fact, every aspect of the theater room has been taken into consideration to achieve a comfortable and fun environment for movie nights. The wall panel incorporates LED lighting and horizontal wood banding, painted to match the bar cabinets. Additional starry-night sky lighting and accent wall sconces allow the homeowner to create varying scenes for different types of entertainment.

The initial inspiration for the powder bathroom was a custom countertop consisting of an exaggerated, L-shaped quartz element with a profile of over 10 inches. A lowered soffit above the countertop mimics the L-shape to create a dramatic effect. It also serves as a barrier between the toilet and vanity areas. The glass chevron backsplash and a horizontal floating mirror accentuate the clean lines of this space, as do the vertical sconce lights.

This exclusively designed, fully-functional space has been arranged to be a gathering place for the family that matches the personality of the homeowners and provides them with a variety of ways to entertain guests.


Visit d3interiors.net for more information.

This article was printed in the January/February 2019 edition of OmahaHome. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

Fireplace & Chill

Photography by Bill Sitzmann

As the sun slowly sets beyond the horizon, the circadian rhythms of Dean and Robyn Powell signal their descent into the basement of their home. Lambent flames from the fireplace deliver a comforting invite to linger in its warmth on chilly nights.

A street view of the Powells’ home could certainly fool the naked eye into believing it has existed for a century or longer. External stone walls and dark wooden beams give the illusion of a classical house rooted within Omaha’s history, yet it was erected less than a decade ago.

During summer 2015, the Powells excitedly began renovating their new home near 90th and Farnam streets. Without uprooting the original creation by the initial owners and builders, the Powells set out to personalize their living space. Together, they remodeled the interior structure in a way that harmonizes their lifestyle and aesthetical preferences while respecting the existing architecture.

The main floor comes to life during the daytime hours. Natural light peeping through the massive windows accentuates the classically designed wood floors, vaulted ceilings, and white furnishings.

The remodeled house called for a new seasonal routine after completion of the magnificent basement fireplace. When darkness falls upon the Powell home, the main floor retires its duties to the basement, and the fireplace becomes the focal point of household activities.

Similar to the home itself, the fireplace is a result of multiple forces cooperating to create a fresh design. After sketching the project for the new basement addition, the Powells contacted Claxton Fireplace Center and Flair Custom Cabinets in February 2018 to implement their vision.

The Powells were accustomed to media rooms; indeed, a media room was their original plan for the basement. While they ultimately decided against this idea, the urge to incorporate an immense television for entertainment remained. The classical integrity of the architecture played a pivotal role in their planning, and they wanted to match stone from the home’s exterior. Finally, they desired the basement to offer a comforting, evening oasis with warm, earthy tones. The challenge became how to incorporate a big-screen television without sacrificing their other needs.

“Let’s put a fireplace in. That way we get the best of both worlds,” Robyn recalls saying.

For Dan Claxton, president of Claxton Fireplace Center, the puzzle was how to prevent damage to the television caused by the fireplace. Claxton and his team designed a venting system to guide the heat behind the television cabinet instead of directly through the vertical face of the fireplace. After months of laborious collaboration, the heart and soul of the Powells’ basement was finished.

An 86-inch television fills the wall, framed with towering Birchwood cabinets. But onlookers’ eyes are drawn below to the 6-foot-wide natural stone veneer fireplace. It is an incredible display of symbiosis between old and new technology.

Prior to the fireplace, the Powells seldom used their basement. Once the project was complete, that all changed.

“The fireplace creates an ambiance that gives the feeling of a multi-purpose space where we can relax by the fire and read a book, watch a movie, write, or even entertain family and friends,” Robyn says.

It is this indulgent glow of flames coming from the basement that contributes to the living quality of the Powells’ home. When the sun ceases to bless the main floor with life, the softly lit basement offers comfort and a place to unwind.

The Powells see endless opportunities hidden within the glimmering fireplace. It represents an area to celebrate the holidays surrounded by the warmth of family. Soft flames dancing beneath the television allow them to watch a movie or enjoy their favorite sporting events in a relaxed environment. The fireplace acts as a centerpiece to work around in their continued creative effort to blend classic and modern styles into a harmonious living environment. Most importantly, it is a vital part to the rhythmic balance of the home that will be a reflection of the Powells for years to come.


Visit claxtonfireplace.com for more information.

This article was printed in the January/February 2019 edition of OmahaHome. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.