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July/August 2012

Fun Ideas for Kids’ Spaces

HOME Summer Oasis OMAHA

Six steps to creating the ultimate backyard experience

MIXOLOGIST Poolside drinks Discover your home’s history HOW TO PAINT ANYTHING








Discover why at Think about it.

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*Contact a Personal Banker to determine “Low Closing Costs” program eligibility and limitations. Appraisal or property assessment may be required at borrower’s expense which may range from $45 to $400. Offer expires August 31, 2012.

JULY/AUGUST 2012 Volume 9 Issue 4 local food | local fashion | local homes | local inspiration

Editor in Chief Chris Christen 402-444-1094 Creative Director Ananda Spadt 402-444-1351 Imaging & Production Coordinator Patricia “Murphy” Benoit

L a n d s c a p i n g


Writers Lindsey Baker, Tina King, Pat Waters, David J. Williams, Heather Winkel & Chris Wolfgang Photographers Jeffrey Bebee, Jeff Beiermann, Dev Hanumara, Daniel Johnson & Kurt A. Keeler Copy Editor Amy LaMar

Advertising Events and Custom Publishing Manager Tam Webb 402-444-3125 Local Sales Manager Carrie Kentch 402-444-1448 Account Representative Cathleen Vanhauer 402-444-1209

1314 Douglas St., Suite 600 Omaha, NE 68102 402-444-1094


Caniglia's Venice Inn was established in 1957 at 6920 Pacific St. and is still going strong in its original location. The restaurant was incorrectly referenced in "At the Heart of Little Italy" in our May-June issue.

Inspired Home Omaha (ISSN 7447026659) is a publication of the Omaha World-Herald. ©2012, Omaha World-Herald Co. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the specific written permission of the publisher. The opinions expressed by those interviewed are their own. While every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of information, no responsibility can be accepted by the publisher for content, opinions or practices, or how the information herein is used. All materials submitted, including but not limited to images, logos and text that appear, are assumed to be the original work of the provider, and the publisher is not responsible for unintentional copyright infringement. Contact: 1314 Douglas St., Suite 600 Omaha, NE 68102 402-444-1094


WEST SHORES The dock gate: Where some of the best summer excursions begin and end. Location: West Shores, Waterloo. More on page 28


GET THE LOOK Custom wrought iron by Kevin Bender,


Editor's Note



ix years ago, my husband retrieved a sock monkey from a huge pine tree in our yard. The hand-sewn toy was grungy and stinky from what surely had been decades of dangling from branches high overhead. We speculated that the monkey was marooned as a result of some childhood mischief. Boys, perhaps, teasing girls to tears. The question was answered on a recent summer afternoon by an unexpected but welcome visitor. I was sitting in the front yard when a two-door white Ford stopped at the end of our driveway. A man, about 60-ish, hopped out and made a beeline for the massive linden tree in our front yard. “This is awesome. I can’t believe it’s still here,” he said as he circled the trunk. “My great aunt planted this tree. The Mormons supposedly bent that branch.” “Hello?” Our visitor, Alan Dale, is a descendant of the Lonergans, for whom our small development and a nearby lake is named. The family patriarch, Dennis Lonergan, was an Irish immigrant who sold supplies, livestock and push carts to Mormons who stopped at Winter Quarters in nearby Florence from 1856 to 1860. We learned


about him in a family scrapbook that had been shared with us by another Lonergan a few years ago. In about 1870, Dennis and his wife, Margaret, bought 80 acres along what was known as Old Ridge Road. They built their house on the highest point (near presentday 72nd Street and Northern Hills Drive), and spent the next 50 years rearing a family (they had five kids), tending the land and breeding prize hogs. “So much is the same, but so much is different,” Dale said as he surveyed our grounds where he once played and later lived. His voice turned wistful as he recalled the sunsets over nearby Lonergan Lake; the sledding hill; the fence that he started but never finished (still marked by a solitary weathered post); the family cat's grave; and the sock monkey dolls that brother Stephen had taken from his sisters and flung into the towering pine tree near the farm road. Dale took care of the farm from 1971 to 1992, but the job got to be too much. So he and his siblings sold the family’s land to a developer, and Dale moved to Benson. We found evidence of the farmhouse when we dug our own foundation in 2005. And, of course, there are the trees with more than 140 rings to mark their years. “It was fun taking a trip into the past,” Dale called over his shoulder as he walked back to his car. Likewise. “Thanks for taking such good care of the place.” Our pleasure. Here’s to a summer of more happy surprises!

Chris Christen Editor in Chief Inspired Home Omaha


Cookie the Cat apparently is buried under the pine tree that snagged a few sock monkeys 50 years ago.

See how others have traced the history of their homes on page 42.

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In the Design Gallery at Nebraska Furniture Mart, our designers understand that a house should be glamorous, comfortable and easy to live in. It should also reflect your personality and lifestyle. Working with you in our store or in your home, our design professionals can help you transform your rooms into a fitting expression of your style. Our design professionals are not only innovative, but have access and extensive knowledge of our eclectic selection of home furnishings — from living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms to window treatments and more. Artistica • Bernhardt • Century • Drexel Heritage • Hancock & Moore • Henredon • Thomasville and more...

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We're more than "fiercely local." We're passionate about Omaha. Our mission is squarely centered on local people, local businesses and local ideas. Look for the neighborhood icons to see places near where you live and areas of town you need to visit.

FEATURES 12 HOW TO PAINT ANYTHING 26 INTO THE WOODS Tree house for the whole family


How to build a fabric story


28 THE BACKYARD OASIS Create your own paradise


44 ROOM TO GROW Kids' rooms with tons of personality


Valuations are out. Areas of Douglas and Sarpy Counties that saw the most change A touch of tangerine


Our summer reading list







The upholstered chair





College World Series memories

16 BEFORE & AFTER Wild card in house hunt proves to be a keeper

40 ART

The new Benson

Flights of fancy


Getaways near home


Downtown Fremont

56 DESIGN DONE RIGHT Paradise at Home



Little umbrella drinks

On the Cover OLD MARKET

61 DINNER WITH The Cubby's crowd

Summer living at West Shores, Waterloo Photography: Jeffrey Bebee See more on page 28.




Visit our showrooms inside and out! Let our hardscape specialists help you select the right Visit our showrooms inside and out! Let our product for your outside living space.

hardscape specialists help you select the right MEET THE SATURDAYS! product forCONTRACTOR your outside living space.

10AM - 12PM


10AM - 12PM

14306 Giles R Road • Omaha • 402-896-0900 • M-F 7 - 5 SAT 8 - 12 •

14306 Giles R Road • Omaha • 402-896-0900 • M-F 7 - 5 SAT 8 - 12 •


Pattern Play Find Those Unifying Elements and Start Mixing With Confidence


ome rooms just draw you in. But what makes them so compelling? Often, it’s a rich layering of patterns, textures and colors. On the surface, the art of the mix might seem a little confounding. But really, pattern mixing isn't much different from building a great outfit. Follow a few unifying principles and you’ll be blending textiles like a pro. Julia Russell of Julia Russell Designs shows us how it’s done in three of-the-moment decoring themes using the hottest fabrics in home interiors – decorative weaves, silks, cut velvets and stamped linens.

Moroccan METHOD: Middle Eastern design celebrates the vivid colors of Western Europe, the calmness of Asian design and the comforts of a traditional American home. Everything has value, a history of its own. And because of that, your entire room should tell a story.



Concentrate on fabric designs that draw inspiration from Mediterranean architecture and metalwork. Find a strong representation and use that for a signature piece in your room. The fabric at right would be stunning on a traditional sofa or a wing chair.

–Vibrant jewel tones in solids and prints with strong repeats –Greek key motifs, plus scrolls, glyphs, rings, diamonds and triangles found in architecture –Batiks and mosaics –Primitive accents –Artisan woods –Antiques and brass –Handwoven baskets Variation of Pollack, Cachet woven jacquard

STEP 2: LAYER IN PATTERNS Designers Guild, Molveno Trevira Collection velvet Jim Thompson, Enter the Dragons linen (both patterns above)

Robert Allen, Aniston silk

Repeat patterns for harmony. Layer in other designs until you reach the right mix. Don't get matchy-matchy when coordinating colors. For paint and carpet, harmonize with an in-between hue.

Roma, Delano linen


You can introduce an abstract or geometric print or a bold stripe to make the room feel more contemporary. But you also want to give the eye some rest with more subtle fabrics in interesting textures.


10  JULY/AUGUST 2012


Accessorize with ornate objects that look like they have been sustained for centuries.



METHOD: Indonesian-style décor incorporates warm, neutral colors with splashes of color reminiscent of the country's flowers. But let one color be the hero, Russell says. Everything else plays second fiddle.

METHOD: French décor is all about assembling an eclectic mix of textiles and furnishings that convey a sense of history or heritage. Color is the magic element in the execution of the style. ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS

Designers Guild, Molveno Trevira polyester


Start with an ethnic pattern with a strong neutral background and a bold solitary color like berry, teal, orange, yellow or red.

–Warm and rich but muted palette –Painted wood, antique white or black; slightly distressed –Black lacquered furniture piece –Ornate motifs; Baroque, Rococo or Neoclassical


Start with a multicolored wallpaper or fabric pattern that you love. Elitis Foulards, Rajasthan


Jim Thompson, Wasabi silk blend

Pull colors from that pattern for the rest of the room. Purples and blues star here, with browns, neutrals and black in supporting roles. Wallpaper: Romo, Folia


Academy, Zebra velvet

Castel Maison, Manor III velvet Left: Amethyst found at Collector's Choice gave Russell added inspiration for her palette: Accents could have a hint of pink.

Repeat fabric patterns in varying shades of gray (the new neutral) for a cohesive look. For example, you might repeat your drapery fabric on accent pillows or a bench or side chair.

STEP 3: REINFORCE COLOR Strive for a heavy mix of textured fabrics. But do not stray from your solitary bold color.

Clarke & Clarke, Academy velvet



–Ikat, an ethnic print woven in hazy zigzag contours –Textured throw rugs; sisal mats –Simple but interesting furnishings; at least one signature piece –Teak, bamboo, rattan, wicker, clay, metal accents

Opuzen, Jasmine velvet

J. Robert Scott, Edwardian Floral linen

Mix up the textures of your fabrics. Don't use all formal fabrics or all casual fabrics. One texture sets off another. Decorative velvet, for example, is visually interesting against linen.


STEP 4: DETAILS Ceramic rings, possibly from a wind chime, illustrate the type of texture the style demands. We'd turn these beauties into coasters with corkboard and hot glue! Another Russell find at Collector's Choice.

Work the details. Accents should be ornate and look collected or acquired. Russell adores old and new painted woods with distressed finishes; decorative finials; and tabletop accessories with rich marbling.

Textile styling: Julia Russell & Design Assistant Alexis Waker, Julia Russell Designs.  11


The Upholstered Chair


Reinvented Classic as Good as Art

iane Flynn of Tweed Couch Interiors has a love affair with chairs. She “rescues” them every chance she gets. This includes dining room chairs, office chairs, occasional chairs and even church chairs. Flynn has, in a way, been on the hunt since she was a child growing up in northeast Nebraska. She remembers as a 7- or 8-year-old accompanying her parents to farm auctions. That, she says, is “truly what I love the most.” She looks beyond – and beneath – layers of varnish and wax, ugly fabric and marginal upholstery work. What Flynn sees is the potential to become something uniquely beautiful. Flynn can spend months and even years searching for fabric that is just right for a chair. She loves prowling New York City’s fabric warehouses to finalize design details such as tufting and welting. Her fiancé and business partner, Lance Gunderson, strips, refinishes and paints most of the pieces and tackles any necessary structural repairs. Then the chair is sent to a professional upholsterer. (Sorry, she’s not divulging her pro’s name: “He’ll never be available when I need him.”) Aim for “something so unique and different that it is like a piece of art,” Flynn says. “You’ll never see that chair anywhere else.” -Pat Waters


Search garage sales, estate sales, consignment shops, farmers markets, flea markets and furniture closeout sales. Flynn enlists the help of "scouts" who spot pieces they think she’ll like. Flynn has even revived new chairs with “boring and dull fabrics” straight from the manufacturer.




Don’t rescue just any old chair. In addition to good “bones,” look for character and personality. Flynn adores chairs that have feminine lines and sexy legs.

“Gabriel,” a1960s tufted slipper chair upscaled by Tweed Couch Interiors, $830. The iconic chair originally was covered in gold velvet.


Ignore a chair that has severely damaged cane. “It’s astronomically expensive to repair,” Flynn says.

12  JULY/AUGUST 2012


Strip wood to its bare finish and apply either fresh paint or stain.


Redo the stuffing in the frame and cushion.


Play with contrasts. Opposites can attract in incredibly striking ways. Pair a feminine fabric with a masculine frame and vice versa. Flynn has covered chairs with rugs and men’s suit fabric. Such unusual choices create texture, interest and fun.


Repurpose more than chairs. Flynn and Gunderson recently updated a large rectangular footstool with a bold gray and red polka dot material. They also converted an antique Jenny Lind youth bed into a casually chic chaise with a French-script fabric cushion.



On the Up Side of the Latest Valuations BY M AT T W Y N N & PAU L G O O D S E L L


very June, homeowners in the Omaha metro area find out just how much their houses are worth. Or rather, homeowners find out how much the county assessor says their houses are worth. Assessors are tasked with putting a valuation on every house for tax purposes. That valuation is used to determine each homeowner’s tax bill – money that schools, cities, counties and other taxing entities rely on. Unfortunately, it has been another down year for home values. Of the nearly 40,000 homes in Douglas

County that were re-assessed, about 30,000 decreased in value. (That’s still better, however, than in 2010 when a whopping 70,000 homes decreased in value, and 30,000 more saw a decrease last year.) The story was much the same in Sarpy County. There, 30,000 homes saw a decrease in valuation in 2012, while only14,000 went up in value. Valuations are meant to reflect the sales market, so they provide a unique opportunity to see how experts perceive values on a large scale.

Here are the three neighborhoods from each county that have the highest median valuations according to the most recent assessments.

Sarpy County South Sarpy

Shadow Lake

Tara Hills

Buoyed largely by homes along the Platte River in neighborhoods such as Hawaiian Village, South Sarpy has the highest median valuation of any neighborhood in the two-county area.

Paced by new construction, the area around Shadow Lake Towne Center bucked the metro’s trend, with the majority of its homes increasing in valuation this year.

The subdivisions near Tara Hills Golf Course, bounded by 84th Street, Papillion Creek and Giles Road to the north, continue to be high-valuation areas.

Median valuation: $296,662 Increasing: 189 Decreasing: 291 Same: 14

Median valuation: $273,922 Increasing: 322 Decreasing: 300 Same: 14

Median valuation: $235,033 Increasing: 426 Decreasing: 638 Same: 17

Douglas County Zorinsky Lake South

Zorinsky Lake North


As has long been the case, the neighborhoods bordering Zorinsky Lake continue to have some of the highest valuations in the metro area.

The boundaries of the lake neighborhoods include more modest-priced properties, but lakefront homes have sold for more than $1 million in the past year.

The neighborhood at 156th Street bordered by West Dodge Road to the north and Pacific Street to the south saw few changes to its tax valuations this year.

Median valuation: $197,000 Increasing: 99 Decreasing: 257 Same: 2,479

Median valuations: $179,600 Increasing: 8 Decreasing: 2 Same: 1,265

Median valuation: $167,900 Increasing: 4 Decreasing: 1 Same: 1,740

Information provided in partnership with, your one-stop shop for the latest on real estate in Douglas and Sarpy Counties. Track housing sales (weekly updates). Look up your property valuation. See how your property compares with nearby homes. All at  13





Behr Flame Yellow 360B-6 Valspar Exotic Sea

SherwinWilliams Java SW6090




14  JULY/AUGUST 2012











A splash of color makes old pots look new. 1. Wash pot and let it dry. 2. Using water-based acrylic paint, apply a design with a brush or sponge. Apply 2 to 3 coats. 3. If you’ll use your pot outside, seal the pot (inside and out) with two coats of a clear acrylic indoor/outdoor sealant (Krylon spray works well). 4. Let it dry thoroughly before handling.

Can’t find a china pattern that you adore? Make your own. 1. Choose a piece of pottery. Remove the oil with rubbing alcohol and wash it well. 2. Use a porcelain paint marker (available at craft stores) to draw a design. 3. Let piece dry for 24 hours, then bake it for 35 minutes at 300 degrees to seal.

Fabric paint will work, but we prefer wall paint because it provides stability similar to upholstery fabric when it’s dry. 1. Purchase premade curtains and iron out the creases. 2. Lay curtains flat, measure them out and create a stripe design with blue painter’s tape. 3. Use a roller to paint the stripes. Let them dry, and then apply a second coat. 4. When dry, remove painter’s tape. 5. Hang the curtains.

Bring an old piece of furniture back to life in a matter of hours. 1. Evaluate the furniture’s surface; sand the entire piece if necessary. 2. Apply a coat of primer with a small roller or paintbrush. As long as the entire piece is primed, it doesn’t matter if the primer coat is even. Let it dry. 3. Using a new small roller or paintbrush, apply two thin, even coats of paint. Let the first coat dry before applying the second one. 4. Wait at least 72 hours before placing anything on your freshly painted piece. 5. Renew hardware by washing it, applying a coat of primer and then several thin coats of paint.

Spray paint is your friend when it comes to painting trinkets. 1. Clean the trinket thoroughly, removing all oil and grime. Allow the piece to dry. 2. Place the trinket in a shallow box or shoebox lid (This will allow you to turn the item to paint all the sides); coat trinket with primer and let dry. 3. Apply several thin coats of spray paint. Allow the coats to dry between applications.

TIP: Throw the tape measure out the window and go with the striped flow. A perfectly symmetrical pattern isn’t necessary.

TIP: Keep the can moving when spray painting to prevent uneven coats and drips.

TIP: Apply two thin coats of water-based polyurethane to your finished piece for easy upkeep.

Feel like a pro? Take on a larger paint project. BRICK FIREPLACE If you can paint a wall, you can paint a fireplace. 1. Wipe down the brick with a moist towel. 2. If your fireplace is especially dirty, apply an oil-based primer (to keep stains from bleeding through your paint). 3. Use a nappy roller to apply 2 to 3 coats of paint to the brick. Use a paintbrush to reach the crevices. 4. Let it dry and you’re finished! TIP: Brick is porous and absorbs more paint than you might think. Don’t be caught shorthanded.



Before you tear out that wood paneling, consider painting it. 1. Fill any holes with caulk and sand the paneling down when the caulk is dry. 2. Wipe down all paneling with a moist towel. 3. Tape the ceiling. Use a roller to apply a coat of oil-based primer (a paintbrush will help you get between the panels). 4. Once the primer is dry, apply several thin coats of latex paint with a roller (again using a paintbrush to get deep into the cracks). Let each coat dry between applications.

Give your old deck a modern look with a punch of color. 1. Remove debris from the cracks and wash, wash, wash the deck until it’s sparkly clean. Use a wood cleaner (available at hardware stores) if the deck is really dirty. Let the wood dry before painting. 2. Use blue painter’s tape to protect the side of the house that the deck touches. 3. Pick a color and start painting. (We recommend porch or floor paint in high-traffic areas.) One coat should cover it, but if you feel that a second coat is necessary, wait 24 hours before applying. 4. Paint any missed edges and all of the railings. 5. Wait a few days before walking on your new deck. TIP: When painting a floor or deck, be strategic about where you start and know where you’ll finish. You don’t want to paint yourself into a corner!  15


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Calendar of Events River City History Tours Through Oct. 14 The Durham Museum, 801 S. 10th St. Five tours of Omaha’s rich heritage via trolley. Hours: Check website Admission: $15, museum members; $20, nonmembers Information: Register: 402-444-5027

Weekly Outdoor Concerts July and August Various metro area locations Bring lawn chairs and blankets. Turner Park (Jazz on Green) Thursdays, 7 p.m.


MOBA’s Summer Parade of Homes July 14-15 and July 20-22 Greater Omaha, various locations See dozens of newly constructed homes on the Metro Omaha Builders Association tour.

Sumtur Amphitheater Thursdays, 7:30 p.m. Shadow Lake Towne Center Fridays, 6:30 p.m. Rockbrook Village Fridays, 7 p.m. Village Pointe Saturdays, 6:30 p.m.

Admission: Free

Stinson Park Saturdays, 7 p.m.


Admission: Free

Cox Music & Movies

Courtyard, Holland Performing Arts Center July 20 The Betties and “The Muppets” Aug. 10 UNO Faculty Jazz Combo and “The Raiders of the Lost Ark” Hours: 7:45 p.m. concert; 8:45 p.m. movie. Courtyard and concession stand open at 7:30 p.m. Bring blankets and lawn chairs. No outside food, drink or pets.

Nebraska Balloon and Wine Festival

Omaha Fashion Week Aug. 20-25 The KANEKO, 1111 Jones St.

Aug. 10-11 Coventry Campus south of 204th and Q Streets

Weeklong event spotlighting collections by independent Midwestern designers.

Local wine tasting, food and a hot air balloon launch.

Hours: Doors open at 6 p.m.; shows at 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Hours: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday Admission: $15 at the gate

Tickets: Weeknights $30-$50; VIP seat with admission to pre-show cocktail party, $65. Saturday finale showcasing week's best: $30-$60 for reserved seats; $120 for VIP seat including gift bag and pre-party admission.

Information: 402-346-8003

Information: SeasonTickets



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Before & After


A Sure Bet

Wild Card In House Hunt Proves to Be a Keeper BY CHRIS CHRISTEN PHOTOS BY JEFFREY BEBEE


very now and then, Bill and Carol Henrichs get what Bill calls a “wild hair” when it comes to real estate. To explain, let’s go back to 1998. The Henrichses were recently married and living in Escalante Hills in northwest Omaha when plans were announced for The Players Club at Deer Creek. Bill loves to golf and they were thinking about building a house anyway, so they drove out for a look. Along the way, they became distracted by a farmhouse at 114th and State Streets. Just down the road from the old Sunset Speedway, the once-neglected farmhouse now was looking good and was nearly ready for resale. “Wild hair” No. 1: They fell in love with the idea of something old instead of something new. “We didn’t want to like this place,” Carol says while sitting in the farmhouse’s family room, which was 70 percent complete when the couple put an offer on the property. At the time, the house was surrounded by cornfields and wildlife. “We loved it,” Bill says. “We had a fawn play with our dogs in the backyard for a couple of days.” About six years later, the couple caught wind of plans for a housing development going up adjacent to their property. Not liking that, they put a “For Sale” sign in their yard. continued on page 19

18  JULY/AUGUST 2012


The lower level, a national award-winner for T. Hurt Construction, is the pride of the Henrichs' home. The area is highly used; it’s not just a showpiece. The homeowners’ six sons jokingly ask, “Why didn’t you do this years ago?” Mural by Pat Gehrman.  19

Extra-wide stonework on the arched entry to the pool room gives the illusion of walking into a cellar. The stone appears to be supporting the wall, but it’s only a facade.

20  JULY/AUGUST 2012

It's hard to imagine that these are the same houses, but the original core of the 1912 farmhouse remains intact. continued from page 16

Expecting to move, they snagged 40 gorgeous acres a few miles away at Glenn Cunningham Lake. They were planning to build a house there when they learned that a park and children’s playground – not a housing development as originally announced – would be going in next door to their existing 2.5 acres in the Deer Creek area. The “For Sale” sign came down. Today, their home is buffered from neighbors thanks to the park, a

recreation trail, SID tennis courts and protected wetlands. With the decision to stay put came a few home improvement projects. They ripped out a wraparound cedar deck, put siding on the house and redid the lower patio off the walk-out basement. Then, in April 2008, Bill got “wild hair” No. 2: “We bought a home in Vegas. We looked at 12 houses on a Saturday and put a down payment on one before the end of the day,” Bill remembers as

Carol shakes her head knowingly. Bill, vice president of Miller Electric, slips away to Vegas about once a month now to play golf. Then Carol got “wild hair” No. 3: Something needed to be done about the view into their basement from that new and improved lower patio. They confide that they ended up investing twice as much as they had intended in the basement remodel. “We have a bad habit of starting at a continued on page 20

A Templeton Rye mural (inspired by a bottle label and lore of Carol’s grandfather bootlegging whiskey during Prohibition), is a conversation piece in the bar area. The mural by Pat Gehrman is painted on Masonite which allows it to be removed from the home, if necessary, down the road.  21

The laundry room's transformation from rags to riches was a high point of the main floor remodel for Carol. The room went from catchall to serve-all with a countertop that doubles as a staging area for catered parties. This view looks straight into the room from the hallway off the kitchen.

continued from page 19

price point and then blowing it out of the water,” Bill says. The Henrichses knew that they wanted a bar, a pool area and a TV area. They sought three bids, and went with the team that Bill says “outdid everybody” with ideas, passion and energy for the couple’s nondescript walk-out basement. “We didn’t know what we didn’t know” about the design process, says Carol, a nurse manager with Alegent Health. “I didn’t have any idea of the hours involved in selecting materials.” Terry Hurt, the general contractor, and Libby Pantzlaff, the interior designer for the project, didn’t have an open checkbook, but they did have open eyes and ears, Bill says. They started with a basic floor plan, and then took it to the next level with details that would eventually win the design team a prestigious

national CoTy Award for excellence in basement remodeling. The centerpiece of the project is a back-lit 3-D mural of a joker scattering a deck of cards. “We initially decided against it,” Bill admits. “We couldn’t envision it.” Then the couple saw a Coca-Cola mural on a wall at another home, and everything else they had considered for the wide drywall expanse at their own home seemed underwhelming. As the basement project was progressing, the Henrichses started looking at their kitchen. “We realized how dated it was compared to the basement,” Bill says. You know where this is going … They refinished the golden oak cabinets with a darker stain and modernized the hardware, sink, appliances, countertops and backsplash. While they were at it, they replaced doors and spiffed up

22  JULY/AUGUST 2012

the laundry room, front entry, dining room and guest bathroom. All of the work was done with neither an original blueprint of the 1912 house or a blueprint for any of the additions made by the former owner. “We gave Terry’s guys a challenge because they didn’t know what they were tearing into,’’ Bill says. The homeowners lived with nearly five months of construction in the basement starting in January 2011. The upper level was out of commission from October 2011 to February 2012. What’s next? The addition of a master suite and exercise room off the back of the triple-car garage. “Bill needs new knees,” Carol quips. “And our three dogs, who are really old, have trouble walking the steps to our bedroom upstairs.”

The basement kitchenette is a knockout with its hammered copper sink and copper sheeting with a distressed patina. The copper is repeated in the cabinet lattice, which is fastened with rivets and backed with mesh to prevent reflection. Amber seeded glass on other cabinets plays into the old-but-new theme.  23

The oak cabinetry and flooring in the kitchen were refinished in dark, warm colors. The paneled oak doors in the entryways were replaced with farmhouse-style versions in a distressed finish to match the baseboards and trim.

The Henrichs' Approach To Home Remodeling Bill and Carol Henrichs have picked up a few pointers after two major remodeling projects and another one beginning soon. 1. Take a deep breath and dive in. 2. Expect delays. Work on both their main level and basement took longer than the homeowners planned. “But we were OK with that,” Bill says. 3. Don’t remodel for the present. Remodel for the future.

The dining room ceiling, which looks like tin, plays off the rustic charm of the original1900s farmhouse.

24  JULY/AUGUST 2012

4. Set a budget, but be open to adjustments. Bill recently reviewed their total remodeling expenses to date and told Carol, “This is unbelievable.” Was it worth it? “Yes. We wouldn’t have done anything differently.” 5. Involve an interior designer early on and be open to ideas. The Henrichses gained the confidence they needed to stick with decisions and keep their projects moving forward.




Poolside Lit

A little serious and a little fluff: these books are on our to-devour list for the summer.

The Happiness Project

The Paris Wife

Gretchen Rubin

Paula McLain

She wasn't depressed, in fact she generally considered herself a happy person. But could she be happier? The author spends 12 months putting research and her gut feelings to the test in order to maximize her enjoyment of life.

"The Paris Wife'' captures a remarkable period of time in the 1920s and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife, Hadley.


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks Rebecca Skloot She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells – taken without her knowledge in 1951– became one of the most important tools in medicine. Yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance. Soon to be made into an HBO movie by Oprah Winfrey.

I Love Capri Belinda Jones This sweet summer novel is perfect for the midyear months. This chick-lit book tells the story of young Kim, who experiences the beautiful Capri once her grandfather dies and leaves her mother with a boutique.

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26  JULY/AUGUST 2012



Mike Lewis (left) and Rocky Swanson admire the new stadium sign.

CREDIT Omaha World-Herald archive


Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium 1202 Bert Murphy Ave. (13th & Deer Park), Omaha, NE

CREDIT Omaha World-Herald archive

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Sun and shade gardens stop and weeds take over in a natural progression. Typically, Jane spends two to three hours gardening each day. “It’s a joy for me,” she says. “It’s not something I have to do.” The courtyard was the first area that Jane tackled when they built the house in 1999.



Get the Look


28  JULY/AUGUST 2012

The Artist, the Artful Gardener and Their Magical Woodland Retreat


nce upon a time in the land of Blair, an artist and his artful gardener wife built a homey cottage in a glen at the edge of a magical forest. All summer long for several years strong, the artful gardener worked the soil and tended her hostas, hemlocks, bleeding hearts and hundreds more until they grew full and lush along her winding woodchip paths. Meanwhile, the artist fashioned trellises from cedar poles and branches, cast birds in bronze

A pair of antique automobile lanterns purchased years ago finally have a home as sconces at the front door. A well-worn spade became a door handle.


Jane Heinrich has more than 1,000 hostas in 150 varieties at last count. Her tips for cultivating her emerald displays: 1. Buy from a reputable dealer or nursery. 2. Fertilize plants with a mixture of one-half horse manure and onehalf natural soil. A friend who has horses delivers a truckload of manure each spring. 3. Water well during dry periods. 4. Do not put mulch up and around the roots or there will be slugs. 5. Select plants with interesting leaf colors and textures. Jane’s favorites: Blue Angel, Guardian Angel and Earth Angel.

and pondered his dream of a storybook clubhouse at the edge of an emerald green ravine. One day, the artist fixed his gaze on a patio lantern. He thought of the musical “Brigadoon” and knew his plan. “There’s a terribly gushy, romantic side of me,” the artist, Milt Heinrich, proclaims. And so the artist, with his oldest grandson by his side, toiled with hammer, nails, saw and trusty level until they had built the most enchanting clubhouse that Milt, his artful wife, Jane, and their seven precious grandchildren could have possibly imagined. Cleverly perched on a platform with one corner touching grade and the opposite side resting on 12-foot posts, the clubhouse feels more like a tree house dangling over the ravine. Here, spirits soar. “Papa” and “Mimi’s” grandkids, who range in age from 3 to 14, have the best time here on weekend “spendovers.’’ Goosebumps and giggles are guaranteed, along with silly card games, Mimi’s sandwiches and chocolate milk and Barred Owls in the cottonwood trees. Relaxation and contemplation are enjoyed here, too. “Discovery,” Milt says. “That’s the reason for all of this.” - Chris Christen

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The Heinriches read, play checkers and sip wine with friends in the clubhouse between visits with the grandkids. Milt, who specializes in site-specific artwork, writes here, but only when he feels inspired. “My journal entries aren’t sequential; they’re cyclical.”

Addison, 3, plays peekaboo with Papa at the clubhouse door.

Jane and her granddaughters have great fun inspecting bugs, butterflies and nature’s other curiosities along the woodland trails.

The clubhouse easily sleeps six. The Heinriches simply put down an air mattress, string up a hammock and add a layer of padding to a built-in bench opposite the screened-window wall.  29



30  JULY/AUGUST 2012

The best place to relax, play and enjoy the season could be right outside your window. Trees, awnings and pergolas aren’t just great adornments in this Linden Estates setting. They provide much-needed shade for daylong enjoyment when temperatures soar.



Built for Serious Outdoor Entertaining


omeowners continue to stretch the limits of outdoor living. Swim-up bars. Kitchens outfitted as luxuriously as their indoor counterparts. Folding walls that link indoor and outdoor rooms. Jason Decker, owner of Elite Landscaping in Omaha, has watched the outdoor movement gain momentum during his 12 years in the business. "My clients – whether they are empty-nesters or have children at home – like to entertain," says Decker. "The weather here in the summer is beautiful and people like to be outside. It’s all part of the backyard oasis trend." Here are six dynamite outdoor living trends that you can either adopt or adapt, depending on your budget and space.  31



32  JULY/AUGUST 2012



Smokin’ Hot

Fireplaces and fire pits are red hot. If you really want to make a statement, you might opt for a fireplace made of stone or brick that matches your home. A fire pit allows you to pull up a chair, roast marshmallows and easily share conversation.

At left, a flagstone stream cuts through a cobblestone hardscape at West Shores near Waterloo. The 20-by40-foot pool (installed 30 feet into the terrain to obscure it from boaters’ views) has an automatic cover. A sunken fire pit with a glass finish, LED lighting and variable water jets are handsome accents for saw-cut stone walls and steps and pillars with polished stone caps. The custom outdoor kitchen has a granite countertop and high-grade appliances.

Featured properties at West Shores, Linden Estates and Springfield are Elite Landscaping projects. Jordan Michael Signature Homes was the general contractor for the West Bay Woods II project. Lanoha Nurseries was among the subcontractors.  33

WEST BAY WOODS For a West Bay Woods II homeowner who likes to entertain, Interior Designer Eric James created several small furniture groupings for mingling, suntanning and relaxing. A cabana and waterfall fire pit at the pool's edge see a lot of use from early spring through late fall.

Water, Water Everywhere The popularity of simple backyard streams and waterfalls has receded a bit, but demand is still high for the ultimate water experience. The centerpiece of these projects is, of course, a pool, which is often surrounded with pavers that mimic natural slate or stone. Swim-up bars, waterslides and swim-out areas are replacing ladders. Also popular are covered, raised dining areas, sunken hot tubs and terraced patios to allow for private sunbathing.


34  JULY/AUGUST 2012


If you’re thinking you need new outdoor furniture, this is a good time to buy. But before you get swept up in a great summer closeout sale, consider the weight of the pieces. Do you want heavy furniture that won't whip around in the wind, or lighter furniture that you can move around and store yourself? Teak, aluminum, wicker and wrought iron are durable choices. Just make sure your selection is water-resistant and rust-proof.

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Schedule an appointment today. This is not an offer to sell, or solicitation of an offer to buy, real property. Purchasers should review the Federal Property Report prior to signing a contract. No federal or state agency has judged the merits or value, if any, of this property. Prices, plans, products, and availability are subject to change without notice. Artists’ renderings are shown for illustrative purposes only. Designated Broker: Sandra S. Lent, Shoreline Marketing, Inc., 833 N Orleans, Ste. 400, Chicago, IL 60610, 312.475.9800. ©2009 Midtown Crossing, a Mutual of Omaha Mixed-Use Development. All Rights Reserved. All contents herein are copyrighted and may not be used without permission.

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The owner of our West Bay Woods II home bought a vacant lot next door and ramped up his outdoor living space with a sport bottom pool, stamped concrete patio and natural-screen landscaping. Lounge-style seating, an outdoor sound system, and a weather-protected big-screen TV (lower right) make the backyard a natural hub for gathering and entertaining. The homeowner takes full advantage of the space, inviting friends over at least weekly during the summer for mojitos and turkey burgers.

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The Big Cover-Up Outdoor rooms such as decks, patios and porches are increasingly being covered. These coverings can be actual roofs outfitted with ceiling fans, lighting and outdoor stereo speakers, for example. Or the covering can be a pergola. A pergola’s primary purpose is to provide shade, but if planted with vining plants it can also be quite dramatic. Roofs are becoming more elaborate in both design and construction materials as well.


The backyard of the Linden Estates property was a selling point for the current owners, who saw an opportunity to create a multilevel retreat. This view shows a portion of the kitchen and pergola; a fireplace and sunbathing area are nearby. The hardscape was created with colored, oversized pavers that look like slate. The project included replacing the pool’s surface with glass mosaic tile and building a hot tub from Italian stone tile.



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A Springfield homeowner installed a16-foot folding wall that opens the house to an outdoor kitchen and covered eating area (this page and opposite page). A see-through fireplace is shared by the indoor and outdoor rooms. A stone staircase connects the two areas.


Open the Wall Many builders, rather than installing French or sliding doors, are putting in folding or movable walls to link indoor living spaces with outdoor rooms. Decker has seen these panels in lengths ranging from 12 feet to 22 feet. While still outside the mainstream, a few such projects have been done for Omaha-area homeowners who want to move effortlessly between their indoor and outdoor spaces.

Everything Including the Kitchen Sink Outdoor kitchens have been around for a few years, but the current generation now is likely to include gas and charcoal grills, sinks, refrigerators, freezers and bartending centers. Also look for bar or pub-style seating and electrical outlets to power blenders, Crock-Pots and other appliances. Outdoor kitchens with "the works" can be expensive, but Decker says that this project can also be adapted to smaller areas.  39



Finishing Touches

Keep things informal and comfortable. Plump, oversized pillows make seating more inviting. Add an all-weather rug to define a seating area, and stash blankets in a storage ottoman or stool for cuddling up on cold nights. Set the mood with ice-cold beverages and accent lighting that casts a warm glow when the sun sets. The final element: Background sounds, whether it’s trickling water from a fountain or tunes from your iPod.

40  JULY/AUGUST 2012


At right, setting styled by Interiors by Eric James.

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rtists have long been recognized as catalysts in transforming urban neighborhoods. Increasingly known as a vibrant destination for indie music hipsters, foodies and treasure-hunters seeking the most eclectic of shopping nooks, Benson is also home to a growing number of artists. Situated behind the historic facades along a mere nine-block stretch of Benson’s Maple Street business district are 10

artists’ studio spaces. You don’t have to wait for their next gallery show to explore the Benson gang either. See their studios on the First Friday Benson Art Walk on Aug. 3, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. A recent visit to Ying Zhu’s That Way Studio found the Chinese-born artist sorting through mountains of Lego pieces for a sprawling 500-squarefoot permanent BENSON installation for the offices of Project Harmony. The local nonprofit helps abused children and families. She’ll use an estimated 2 million colorful little gems in her Lego wall. That also seems to be the number of projects the artist has been juggling since her spring opening of a studio space she

shares with six other artists. Zhu has lived in Nebraska for 12 years, and was a 2011 artist-in-residence at Omaha’s internationally acclaimed Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts. In February, she won Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards for Best Emerging Artist and Best New Media Artist. On the day of our visit, Zhu’s Lego collection was dwarfed by the set pieces that she designed and built for the Great Plains Theatre Conference. The artist, whose works are represented in public and private collections all over the world, will

be packing her bags this summer for the prestigious Third Moscow Biennial of Contemporary Art, where one of her installation projects will rise in the Russian capital. Then it will be off to the Vermont Studio Center for a September/October fellowship at the famed artist/writer residency program in Johnson. Upon her return to Omaha and That Way Studio, Zhu will put the finishing touches on her work for not-to-be-missed solo shows: Tugboat Presents in November and RNG Gallery in December in Council Bluffs.

Ying Zhu's installations are significant in scale and intricate in design. One day, she's working with piles of Lego pieces; the next she's twisting and twirling hundreds of white lights into a precision grid.

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Mads Anderson Studio Suite 16, 6523 Maple St. The artist’s abstract paintings and sculptures speak to a visual narrative that seemingly chronicles a battle between opposing forces of order and chaos where chaos – often of the Jackson Pollock variety – emerges triumphant. Anderson is one of the area’s more active artists in terms of commissions and gallery sales. He works out of the Jess Benjamin studio.

Achieve the Look...

...ataa Fraction of the Cost.

Justin Beller 6110½ Maple St. In a culinary career that took this accomplished chef to New York, Seattle, Los Angeles and even on a seaborne stint aboard a South Seas cruising yacht, Beller often relied on art sales to bankroll his next career move. Now the Omaha native has returned home to live and work above a tattoo parlor while crafting his angular and colorful “stripey and strippy” wall sculptures.

Jess Benjamin 6523 Maple St. This ceramic artist cut her teeth as a studio assistant under the sculptor Jun Kaneko. She has been featured on NETV’s “Statewide” program, and won the 2009 Omaha Entertainment and Arts Award for Best 3-D Artist. She is preparing for her second annual Think Tank, a public event at which artists, philosophers, writers and thinkers of all stripes convene to explore the essence of what it means to be creative.

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Thomas Prinz 5912 Maple St. The godfather of the artists sharing Maple Street addresses, Prinz is the founder of Arc Studio, which was launched in 1990 to explore the "nebulous boundaries" between art and architecture. He has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and as a visiting critic at the NU College of Architecture in Lincoln.


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History Lives Here BY LINDSEY BAKER


icah Evans is no stranger to history. He grew up in the landmark Joslyn Castle neighborhood and lived in a 1921 house that his family knew a lot about. As a teen, he roamed Omaha Central High School where he gained an even greater awareness of the city’s architectural treasures. In 2002, Evans and his wife, Jennifer, bought a Queen Anne-style home near the Gerald R. Ford Birthsite and Gardens. Evans naturally fell into researching the home’s history. Meanwhile, next door neighbor and realtor Tim Reeder was tracing his home’s lineage. He and his partner, John Gill, bought a condemned Victorian home in 1998 thinking it would be fun to restore. It turned out to be a huge undertaking, Reeder says. But along with being excited about what the house would become they became excited about what the house had been. Evans and Reeder are like a lot of people who dig into their homes’ history, says Gary Rosenberg, a research specialist with the Douglas County Historical Society. Some researchers are remodeling and want to know how their homes originally looked. Then they start wondering who lived there, what they looked like and what they did for a living. With help from the Historical Society, the Omaha Public Library, county offices, newspaper archives and a bit of luck, those who want answers usually can find them. Rosenberg recommends starting with the Douglas County Register of Deeds to identify when a particular plot of land or home was purchased and by whom. Once you have the owner’s name, you can explore census and other records. W. Dale Clark Librarian Martha Grenzeback directs people to the Douglas County tax assessor’s website and suggests searching newspaper stories and obituaries on microfilm. She also guides them to reconnaissance surveys, books on historical


2012 Tim Reeder hit the jackpot when he acquired a scrapbook filled with yesteryear photos of his home.

neighborhood architecture and even water permits. A deed, she says, won’t necessarily give you a specific address for a property. “If water was connected, you know the house existed.” Perhaps the most informative sources are city directories, which are available for review at both the Historical Society and the main branch library. The Historical Society’s collection goes back to 1912; the library’s records date back to 1866. You can look up an address and learn about its residents. Then you can use the directory’s alphabetical name and business listings to glean more information. Try to locate relatives of previous owners, Reeder advises. He did so and ended up receiving a 100-year-old family album crammed with yesteryear photos of the home’s interior and exterior. Some images show a portion of Evans’ home next door. “Be resourceful,” Reeder says. “One hundred years is not as long ago as it seems. … Many people have been in their homes since the 1940s and ’50s. They know what the property was like before that time.” Reeder and Evans both intend to be neighbors who have a history to share. “We are the trustees of our home,” Evans says. “It was there 110 years before us, and we hope it’ll be there hundreds of years after us.”

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Get the Story On Your Home Local history buff Micah Evans shares this list of logical starting points when looking into a home’s history. Be prepared to be lucky, Evans says. “Sometimes things just fall into your lap.” • Douglas County Register of Deeds, • Douglas County Historical Society, • Omaha Public Library, W. Dale Clark branch, • Douglas County Assessor, • Greater Omaha Genealogical Society,, • Omaha World-Herald archives, 1886-1982, • City directories, typically on file at historical societies and public libraries • U.S. Census reports, • The Durham Museum’s photo archive, • Fraternal organizations including the Scottish Rite Masonic Center, • Who’s Who directories, available at many public libraries








Mar/Apr 2012

A N O M A H A W O R L D - H E R A L D P U B L I C AT I O N








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May/June 2012

Travel Europe like a local


The Style Issue!

Get this look in Omaha


Fresh paint palettes

Where are the top-dollar homes?

A N O M A H A W O R L D - H E R A L D P U B L I C AT I O N





Winter 2012




The Makeover Issue!

Omaha’s #1 local home and lifestyle magazine, delivered directly to your mailbox



A condo designed to be an extension of the outdoors Inspired Home Omaha is published 6 times annually in January, March, May, July, September and November. Subject to change without notice. The magazine is a product of the Omaha World-Herald Company, 1314 Douglas Street, Omaha, NE 68102; 402-444-1263.  45





hen Anita Wiechman of The Interior Design Group is designing a room for a child, she thinks ahead. Way ahead. “Whatever age they are, I try to think of two years from now,” she says. “You blink, and it’s two years later. Does the room still work?” Decorating a nursery can be a challenge, particularly if the family is planning to stay put for awhile. Wiechman answers the question of how to balance the temptation to splash cute cartoon characters everywhere with a toddler’s or tween’s needs later on. continued on page 47

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‘Wild and Sassy’ Jenni Holoch of Lush Living Design and Collection captured daughter Charlie's “wild and sassy” personality in a bedroom that the 4-year-old can grow into with flair. Three design styles (this page and opposite page) keep things lively. A ceiling pendant, wall mirror and damask wallpaper play off the Rococo style, while colorful paper lanterns and curtains have an SOUTH Asian vibe. The high-gloss, sleek furniture and ceiling paint are 13TH STREET decidedly modern. Holoch’s choices were highly influenced by “children spending so much time looking at mobiles and ceilings and being fascinated by light and color.” Paint: Diamond Vogel Fuchsia Flock. Wallpaper: Villiers from Zoffany, D & D Associates.  47



48  JULY/AUGUST 2012

continued from page 44

“Paint is an easy thing to update,” Wiechman says, but you may not want to paint over stripes or other designs in five years. Accessories can pull a room together without making changes a challenge. “If you want Kermit the Frog to be your theme for a little while, there are always stuffed animals or laminate wall decals,” she suggests. While it’s fun to decorate, a room has to be functional too. And a child’s room has to remain functional even as his or her needs evolve. Carefully selecting furniture from the beginning can go a long way in ensuring a room’s flexibility. Consider a crib that converts into a toddler bed, or a changing table that can double as a bookshelf or dresser in a couple of years. “You can buy furniture like that, but you can also rehab something you get at a secondhand store,” Wiechman says. You continued on page 48


Showstopper Kaila Cassling, 17, is a “Broadway baby” through and through. Anita Wiechman gave Kaila’s room star power with a Times Square mural, black ceiling and custom glittered walls. Except for the pop of color in the carpet, lighted marquee and Broadway posters, the room is neutral. “We wanted it to look like the cityscape,” Wiechman says. Light fixtures give the suggestion of being backstage on Broadway, which is exactly where Kaila, a senior at Millard West High School, wants to be someday.  49

continued from page 47

just put a little pad on top of a waist-high chest now and later it can become a dresser.” Speaking of furniture, don’t forget storage. “You can spend a lot or you can spend a little,” Wiechman says. “Grab an ottoman that has castors and a lid. It’ll be a toy box this year, a stool next year and a desk chair in five years.” As you put together your child’s room, consider your main source of inspiration: your child. “Decorating is incredibly personal,” Wiechman says. When she’s asked to decorate a child’s room, she is insistent on talking to the person who’s going to be in the room most. “I think that if a child has ownership of a room, they’ll take better care of it. It’s more a part of them – who they are.”


Teen Hangout Megan and Kaila Cassling, sisters and self-proclaimed “besties for life,” practice dance routines and hang out in a finished attic space adjoining Megan’s bedroom. A custom mural by Kelli Zaugg spills over three walls. A series of magnetic, cork and blackboard squares are filled with fun messages scribbled over the years.


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Glitzy Glam Girl Anita Wiechman played up 15-year-old Megan Cassling’s love of Paris fashion in an ooh-la-la mix of hot pink (Sherwin-Williams 6843) and black (SW6993). Accessorizing was a snap with fun, glitzy glam finds at Target and Hobby Lobby, in addition to clear crystal chandeliers from Lowe’s and Home Depot. A boring beige chairand-a-half came to roaring life with a très chic animal print. Window treatments stayed minimal at Megan’s request. “Sunshine makes me happier in the morning.”  51



Storybook Approach The nursery Laura DiMaio initially designed for her firstborn, Vincent, in 2007 is the one room in which she pulled out all the stops when she redecorated the family’s Tudor home near 90th Street and West Dodge Road. The furniture was hand-painted with storybook scenes specifically chosen by DiMaio and her husband, Dominick. The bedding was custom-made. The child’s initials were even painted on a plaque that was affixed to one end of the crib. "I haven’t seen it anywhere else," DiMaio says of the crib, dresser and other furniture she fell in love with at a Dallas design market. Now with 7-month-old Giovanni occupying the nursery, she just needed to paint over Vincent’s initials on the plaque.

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Vincent has now moved to a "big boy" room, which has denim bedding and touches of brown and red. "It could take him through the teen years," DiMaio says. "But knowing me, I’ll be changing it for his teen years."

Play and See What You Come Up With


Tots at Work Amber Rinehart spends a lot of time in her home office. In order to get things done throughout the day, she built in play space for her two toddlers. Tarike and Demeke (pictured) love sitting at their pint-sized table and coloring while Mom works at her computer. Designer Libby Pantzlaff had a carpenter tuck a child-friendly bookcase under the window seat. Little hands can go after puzzles, games and books without Mom’s help.


Garden Patch This bright yellow room by Julia Russell has bloomed right along with the little girl, now 5, who has occupied it since birth. The extra bed is for sleepovers, and is a regular hangout for her stuffed animals. Roller shades black out the room, while sheer custom panels with ribbons and crystals add color. The metal wall flowers are from Ace Hardware. REPURPOSED FURNITURE


Calming Influence Kate’s mother wanted her daughter’s study to be calming and have a more sophisticated feel than her bedroom. Most of the furnishings were provided by the family. “We just reupholstered the cushions,” Russell says. “And we created cabinets for the dolls.” The wall-to-wall carpet with a trellised border gives the illusion of a floral rug. The wallpaper is by Anna French. It has a faux-painted look with the advantage of pattern consistency, Russell says.

• Listen to your gut. “People crave the colors they need,” says Interior Designer Anita Wiechman. If you want a red room but are trying to settle for beige, just go for the bold. • Mix patterns with confidence. Look for a large-scale pattern that has all the colors you want. Then find a medium-sized pattern with a few of the same shades. Tie it all together with a small pattern with just one or two colors from your theme. • Change your perspective. How long has it been since you rearranged the furniture? This exercise has two pluses: It’s never permanent and it’s always free. • Asymmetry is beautiful. Place two pillows at one end of the couch and one pillow at the other end. Hang pictures in groups of three instead of two or four. • Look for nonpermanent changes first. Change out the hardware, the light fixtures or the window treatments. If you don’t like any of it tomorrow, no harm, no foul.


Tweaks to Try Right Now • Create instant artwork. Little kids love to draw, but so do teenagers. A wall with a whiteboard, bulletin board, magnetic board or chalkboard looks artsy and provides tons of fun (and memories) throughout the years. • Refurbish what you already own. Reupholster a drab chair with leopard-print fabric, or turn a toy chest into a window bench with a bright cushion. • Create a space within a space. Use a canopy, bookshelf or throw rug to define a space as a reading nook or play area within a room. • Think vertically. If you’re short on space, look up. Loft a bed to create storage above or below, or use nets to turn corners into homes for toys, extra blankets or pillows. • Switch up a window treatment. Just adding a sheer panel to existing blinds can add softness to a room.  53

At the Heart


Small-town lovers looking for a daylong sojourn will find plenty to enjoy in historic downtown Fremont. Just a 30-minute drive from Omaha’s western edge, this Dodge County community’s FREMONT Main Street has a walkable mix of antique shops, country/cottage décor stores, clothing and shoe stores and restaurants. Although a couple of longtime favorite antique stores have closed, new businesses continue to find a home here. Try not to time your visit on a Sunday though, because many shops are closed.

J's Steakhouse offers a break from chain restaurants and a menu featuring shrimp scampi, pan-seared duck breast and prime rib.

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Park Avenue Antiques/ Country Choice 515 N. Park Ave., 402-721-1157

The collection of metal garden arbors outside the unassuming exterior of this store doesn’t really hint at the wealth of antique furniture inside. It’s hard to find furnishings like this anymore – big, heavy, built-to-last wooden dining sets, barrister bookcases and desks. One side of this spacious shop is dedicated to gift items such as embroidered quotes, scented candles and ceramics.

J’s Steakhouse 406 N. Main St., 402-727-6100

When this locally owned fine dining restaurant opened a few years ago, it added diversity to the community’s inventory of outlying chain restaurants – and weekday pedestrian traffic downtown, too. Stop inside – or enjoy outdoor dining – at lunchtime for soup and salad. You could also end a shopping day with a dinner spread that includes shrimp scampi, pan-seared duck breast or prime rib.

Alotta Brownies 317 N. Main St., 402-721-9400

The Studio

502 N. Main St., 402-721-9656 This inviting corner boutique specializes in women’s clothing and accessories, consignment art and a few one-of-a-kind accents for the home. Exposed brick walls, corrugated steel displays and dressing rooms made from old wooden doors give the shop a lot of character. It’s easy to figure out how to pull together an outfit here, as the shirts are displayed with scarves and necklaces. Signs up front say “Wear fun, be happy” and “Welcome girlfriends,” and this is indeed a great stop for a girls’ day out.

The pink walls and cheery yellow tin ceiling here make for a fun girly hangout, and the attention-getting, tennis ball-sized chocolates are an art form. Although the staff may try to explain the process that goes into making the round chocolate/cake/mousse gateau, it might not register. When you look at this sweet treat decorated with its cute little white chocolate curls, all you can think about is eating it! While the gateau is the prettiest sweet here to behold, you’ll also fall hard for the swoonworthy cookies and cream cheesecake if you’re an Oreo fan. Reese’s fans should try the peanut butter and chocolate brownies or one of the other brownie varieties on display. For fruitier flavors, try the smoothies.  55

Yankee Peddler West 141 E. Sixth St., 402-721-7800

Book and antique lovers could spend an entire day browsing through room after room of vintage tomes and treasures at this favorite Fremont stop. The shopkeepers make it easy by offering free lemonade and helpful tours of whatever areas among the two floors of merchandise that interest you most. Although books seem like the stars of the show here, there are also many vintage and antique items displayed in themed rooms. You’ll find things like vintage doll carriages and school desks near copies of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “Treasure Island.” Vintage militariana is displayed among World War II books. There are areas dedicated to religion, sewing and Scandinavia. And it’s easy to take a trip back in time by browsing through the racks of old, chronologically arranged Life magazines.

Country Traditions 330 N. Main St., 402-721-7752

A beautiful array of colors meets visitors’ eyes as soon as they step into this fabric store. You’ll find a few crafts and seasonal décor items too, but this shop caters primarily to quilters’ needs. Natural light streams into the shop to brighten the atmosphere, and the staff is eager to help customers navigate the more than 7,000 bolts of fabric. Quilting classes are available at varying levels of expertise, and the shop carries both Pfaff and Handi Quilter sewing machines.

Nancy’s Boutique 529 N. Main St., 402-727-4592

Upscale brands like Nic & Zoe, Cartise, Brighton and Spanner hang from displays inside this downtown women’s clothing shop, which shares its first floor space with a coffee shop and a hair salon. Although the clothing shop is small, the selection is topnotch, and you can expect excellent service.

56  JULY/AUGUST 2012

Sampter’s 517 N. Main St., 402-727-1531 You can find everything from Levis, to Tommy Bahama and Fossil, to tuxedos at this landmark retailer, which has served the Fremont area in its original location since 1925. Bob Missel, grandson of store founder Gerald Sampter, carries on the family tradition in fine style. Sampter’s has long had a reputation for dressing hard-to-fit gents.

The Junktion flea market 305 N. Park Ave., 402-727-7755

Treasure-hunters who don’t mind seeing vintage collectibles such as ceramic flower frogs, figural brooches and art pottery planters mixed along shelves of Troll dolls, Hot Wheels and Sturgis T-shirts will enjoy the thrill of the hunt at this multiroom, multi-vendor shop. Be sure not to miss the back room, where you can often find larger furniture pieces and a nice mix of vintage housewares. If you find yourself losing steam or shopping at a quicker pace than your companions, there’s a nice spot to rest and have a quick snack up front.

Buck’s Shoes

550 N. Main St., 402-721-3192 High-quality footwear and accessory brands like Merrell, KEEN and Red Wing Shoes fill the displays at this independent shoe store, which celebrates its 90th anniversary this year. The original owner, Earl K. Buck, once owned a chain of 30 such shops mostly in Nebraska. Since then, the store has changed hands and locations. It has been in the family of its current owner, Kirk Brown, since 1964. Once you peruse the new styles in the front of the store, be sure to check the back room for sale merchandise.  57

Design Done Right


Who Needs the Caribbean? Resort Living Is Possible Right Here in the Midwest


continued on page 58

58  JULY/AUGUST 2012


just wanted a pool,” Kathy Strawhecker says with a laugh about the backyard project that evolved into so much more. She and her husband, Kurt, love tropical resorts and were looking at vacation properties in the Caribbean, when they stopped short and considered something more intriguing closer to TOMLINSON home. WOODS As Kurt explains, “We thought, why invest in the Caribbean when we can have a private resort right here that we can use 12 months out of the year?” Two years later, they’re making daily trips to an outdoor kitchen, pool and spa area without leaving their Tomlinson Woods home. The amenities are perfect for their laid-back lifestyle. “The yard naturally lent itself to the pool,” Kurt says. All the trees were  59

Kurt Strawhecker tends to the grill for an informal gathering with friends. The Strawheckers use their outdoor kitchen almost daily.

continued from page 56

60  JULY/AUGUST 2012

PROJECT VENDORS Architectural plan: Straightline Design Overall project contractor: T. Hurt Construction Inc. Interior design: Susan McMannama Pool: Continental Pool & Spa Retaining walls: McGill Landscaping Brick and stone: Baltazar Sauceda Masonry Electric wiring: Precision Lighting & Electric Plumbing: Backlund Plumbing Landscaping: Mulhall’s Lighting: McKay Landscape Lighting Sound: Niver Electronics


spared, although some required extensive trimming. The pool glistens with the sun’s rays until late afternoon, when dapple shade starts filtering across the patio. The landscaping was designed to minimize yard work. “I only have 10 square feet of grass to mow," Kurt says with a grin. T. Hurt Construction put in the patio and the pool in two phases. The job included shoring up major preexisting structural issues off the back of the house. Workers dug down 20 feet, jacked up a corner of the screened porch and installed a new foundation. In the process, a cedar deck and a railroad tie retaining wall were removed, and various drainage issues were addressed throughout the yard. This is the couple’s first full summer

without backyard construction. Kurt, managing partner for The Strawhecker Group, has an office at home and often slips to the patio to work on his laptop, eat lunch or smoke a cigar. “We cook outside every day and we always have brats and burgers on-hand because we never know who will stop by,” Kathy says. “We’ve entertained a lot since last July.” Neighbors Nina and Jerry Byrnes, who watched the backyard’s evolution mostly from afar, were thrilled to finally see the completed project at a recent barbecue. “They really do use the space,” Jerry says. “This isn’t just for show. They’re outside all the time.” “Yes, but the landscaping is maturing,” Nina teasingly laments. “I can’t even find a place to peek in anymore. But I can still smell the cigars.” -Chris Christen


Kathy Strawhecker (at left) keeps her menus and décor easy and elegant. Her advice is to stay in your comfort zone and to “make it a party that you’d like to attend.” Other secrets from this low-stress hostess: 1. Don’t try to prepare all of the food yourself. Make one specialty and order in or buy the rest. 2. Put together a good guest list. Invite people who will mix well and engage in conversation. 3. Don’t go crazy stocking the bar. You don’t need as many selections as you think. Find out what your guests like to drink and have that on-hand. 4. Once guests start arriving, enjoy your own party. Ask a friend or hire someone to serve drinks and tend to the food. 5. Don’t get caught up in details that aren’t necessary. Buy party supplies in bulk and use them year-round. Dress up serving tables with flowers or potted plants from your garden.


Casual alfresco dinner for 11 THE MENU Whole grilled Branzino Meatball sliders* Shrimp skewers* Pasta salad Fruit salad Meat and cheese board* *Ordered from Dante Ristorante, where the Strawheckers’ son, Nick, is the chef and owner. Kathy picked up her other menu items from Whole Foods in Regency.  61

Wish List

Flights of Fancy


Birds, burlap and butterflies are summer's darlings in home accessories.

Graves Water Kettle by Michael Graves, $180, from The Gadgeteer.


Lamp with stamped burlap shade, $99.99; songbird plate, $8.99; burlap box, $35.99; burlap sack with greenery and butterfly accent, $21.99. All from Andrea’s Designs, Elkhorn. Cloisonné napkin ring, $14, from Williams-Sonoma.

Pindler & Pindler Odette in Graphite, about $38 per yard. Available from Julia Russell Interiors.

Botanical Bird salad plate by Marc Lacaze. Set of 4, $49.95, from Williams-Sonoma.

62  JULY/AUGUST 2012

Wine totes, $9.99 and $12.99, from Lauritzen Gardens Gift Shop.

Dinner With ...

Cubby's Faithful

Fill 'er Up: Quick Shop Crowd Knows Its Fine Wine



ho goes to a gas station to drink fine wine? Cubby’s rings up 60 or more customers each month for the experience. But don’t think that you’re going to just drop in and plug into the party. The Old Market quick shop’s wine and food tastings sell out as quickly as they are announced. “I was utterly shocked the first time I came,” Burkes Young admits as introductions are made at our banquet-sized table. Holly Hackwith, our bubbly host, knows everybody. “It’s so much fun. You see all ages, from their 20s to 80s, and not all of them are downtown residents.” Hackwith, a fine art consultant and appraiser, discovered the tastings as a Cubby’s customer. She attends as often as she can with Young and two other friends. Larry and Linda Boukal, who live at Riverfront Place Condominiums, routinely reserve a table for four to six. Their guests always are first-timers who inevitably return on their own. “When I invite them they always jump on the chance,” says Larry. A refrigerated trucking specialist, he started attending the tastings four years ago with a group of Union Pacific transfers from St. Louis who still claim a table each month. Chef Hiomara Vandenboogaart – a last-minute fill-in on this particular evening – delivered innovative fare that Cubby’s guests have come to expect. In tableside chats between courses, we learned that she fell in love with food and wine while waiting tables at nearby La Buvette. After four years of on-and-off culinary studies, she’ll finally complete her degree in December at Metropolitan Community College.



IF YOU GO CUBBY'S WINE & FOOD TASTING Third Wednesday of each month 601 S. 13th St. Reservations: 402-341-2900

THE PAIRINGS Holly Hackwith, left, is a regular at Cubby's monthly food and wine tasting. When events are announced, the Old Market quick shop packs the house quicker than you can pump a tank of gas.

Vandenboogaart (she jokes that she hopes to marry a “Smith” or a “Jones”) had four apprentices plating and serving family-style platters. Their prep work included three hours of shucking 100 oysters for the night’s first tasting. Our sommelier was Matt Price with Quench Fine Wines, a likable marketer with inviting discounts on bottles and cases through Cubby's. “People in the store know a lot about wine,” says Bruce Friedlander, director of operations for Cubby’s. “But we don’t try to guess the answers for an event like this. We bring in an expert.’’

“The food and wine pairings are so well thought-out. It’s amazing,” Hackwith says. “You find yourself talking about wine because you learn so much.” Like most popular dining spots, Cubby’s overbooks reservations. “Sometimes everyone shows and then we’re in real trouble,” Friedlander jokes about drafting himself into service. “We don’t want to disappoint anyone.” Black tablecloths, mismatched china, gourmet food, generous wine pours and lively conversation add up to a heck of an evening at an unbelievable $25 per person. “It’s about having a good time more than anything,” Friedlander says. And how long has this been going on? “It’s a secret.” Not anymore.

PEJU SAUVIGNON BLANC Whipped blue cheese stuffed with dates and wrapped in smoked prosciutto drizzled with a balsamic reduction. KEN WRIGHT OREGON CHARDONNAY Oysters two ways: Rockefeller, and orange and Grand Marnier granita. KEN WRIGHT CELLARS WILLAMETTE VALLEY PINOT NOIR Herbed quinoa risotto with wild mushrooms and candied spiced walnuts. SIDURI SONOMA PINOT NOIR French lentil soup with shredded duck. GERARD BERTRAND CABERNET SAUVIGNON Oxtail Bolognese with penne pasta. MATCHBOOK SYRAH Cayenne and walnut fudge brownie with vanilla pastry cream, garnished with cinnamon tortilla strips.  63

Field Trip

Make Yourself at Home

Truly Relaxing and Enjoyable Guest Properties Right Here in Omaha There’s a subtle difference between wanting to feel at home and wanting to be at home, especially for a traveler. Finding a place to spread out, relax and enjoy a few amenities that are not readily available at home is a dream deal when you’re on the road. Here’s a look at three guest properties that fit the bill in high style. -Lindsey Baker







Element Omaha Midtown Crossing

Hotel Deco XV

Little Italy Row House

3253 DODGE ST. 402-614-8080

1504 HARNEY ST. 402-991-4981


Element’s most popular room, the King Studio, lures guests with its simple, functional design, says Sales Manager Erin Sorenson. “Even though it’s a studio, it feels like it has very separate spaces,” she says. “The TV rotates to face wherever you are. Whether you’re in the kitchen or the couch area or the bed, it adjusts to you.” The open-design room, like every room in this LEED-certified hotel, was also designed with the outdoor environment in mind. The hardwood floors are made of 25 percent recycled material; the sofa cushions are made of soy; the faucets and fixtures are waterefficient; low-toxin paints and finishes are utilized; and there are recycling bins dedicated for glass, paper and plastic. FEATURES Open-flow design; kitchens have microwaves, coffee and tea makers and refrigerators; free high-speed Internet access; work spaces have ergonomic desk chairs; Rainforest shower heads

The Luxury King is the hottest suite at downtown’s Hotel Deco XV. Unofficially known as “the whirlpool room,” guests actually vie for a chance to experience the spa-like amenities, says Ashley Kuhn, director of development for the White Lotus Group, which owns the hotel. The 14-story Hotel Deco building was built in 1930 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Every room boasts dark gray or black wood floors, as well as super-glam Art Deco-inspired décor in black, white and gray with pops of pink and purple. The whirlpool tub in the Luxury King has six body jets and room for up to four people. FEATURES Pillow-top beds with natural cotton mattresses; Italian bath tile and glass-walled showers with Rainforest shower heads and eight spray settings; custom wallpaper and draperies; Italian leather chairs; wet bars and seating areas with sleeper sofas in the suites

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In 2010, when Marc and Char Riewer bought an over 100-year-old row house to rent out in downtown’s Little Italy neighborhood, they wanted to remodel it as a place where they’d want to live. So they included an open living room, dining room and kitchen area where guests can mix and mingle freely, as well as two second-story bedrooms that offer a relaxing escape. The Riewers also opened up an 8-by-8-foot room next to the master bedroom to create a single space with a master bath. Connected to it is a four-season porch with a gas fireplace, heated floor and TV. “It’s warm in the winter and nice in the summer,” says Char. “The master bedroom kind of turned into a nice little suite. It’s a great place to hang out and have coffee.” This space, just south of the Old Market, is a popular vacation rental property during the NCAA Men’s College World Series and the U.S. Swim Trials. Only 14 feet wide, the row house packs loads of personality into a small space. FEATURES Washing machine and dryer; full kitchen with refrigerator, cooking utensils, microwave and dishwasher; enclosed balcony with riverfront view; wireless broadband Internet access; off-street parking


Lush Living Design

Freshly Organized

LK Design

Anita Wiechman ASID

We offer a wide range of design services: space planning, paint, remodeling, reupholstery & more. Each design blends function and organization to fit the client's vision.

We offer professional organizing services for your home, office, children & life. Our team will help create customized systems to make your space fun, fresh & functional.

Interior design with a particular eye for contemporary styling. Commercial/Hospitality Residential

Space planning, interior design, project management. NCIDQcertified, NARI-Certified Kitchen & Bath Remodeler. 30+ years design experience. Outstanding service.

1716 S. 13th St. 402-490-3008



13748 F St. Suite 500 402-398-9100


K. Methot-Swanson

The Laurel Tree

Landmark Luggage


Capturing the people and places of Omaha with her unique eye and award-winning talent. Now showing at the Artists’ Coop Gallery in the Old Market.

We are a locally owned boutique and gift shop offering a wide variety of unique clothing, gifts, jewelry, shoes and home décor all at affordable prices.

Our experienced, knowledgeable staff will help you select from the highest-quality, most updated styles from brands like Briggs & Riley, TUMI & Vera Bradley.

World-renowned for its chairs, Fermob also creates tables, benches and loungers. Countless shapes & colors. Made in France of enamel-coated steel.

405 S. 11th St. 402-932-0509

16827 Q St. 402-861-8733

One Pacific Place 402-392-2500

7317 Douglas St., Omaha 402-397-0808




Have a seat.


Le Peep


Interior Design, Custom Upholstery, Drapery and Wallpaper

An amazing lounge and great happy hour deals will make Hiro 88 a place to remember. Book a private room or reserve bottle service today.

A clever and original culinary concept with a menu that reads like a cookbook. Our food is prepared fresh daily. Voted Omaha’s Best Breakfast for four years in a row!

Dante is Omaha’s first restaurant specializing in Neapolitan pizza and rustic Italian cuisine featuring ingredient-driven dishes with fresh produce from local farmers.

149th & Industrial Road 402-399-8764

Eagle Run Plaza & Old Market

Three area locations

The Shops of Legacy 168th & Center 402-932-3078

Norwalk Furniture



Little Umbrella Drinks BY LINDSEY BAKER


ummertime is the perfect time for a tall, cold glass of … well, just about anything. Whether you’re mixing up a pitcher of fruity margaritas for a backyard barbecue or shaking martinis for two on a date night at home, we’ve got a tipple to keep you refreshed on a muggy night.

Gingersnap martini

Früli margarita

“Ginger in general is a refreshing flavor,” says Ryan Gish, owner of the Zin Room. “Ginger vodka is a new phenomenon. People are starting to ask for it, especially during the summer months.” The Gingersnap Martini is a constant on the Zin Room's menu.

“Who doesn’t enjoy a margarita in the summer, let alone one made with such a delicious beer?” asks Dustin Bushon, co-owner of Krug Park in Benson. Früli, a Belgian brew, is part white beer, part fruit juice. 2 ounces Sauza Extra Gold Tequila 1 ounce Cointreau 3 ounces Früli Strawberry Belgian white beer Fresh-squeezed lime and lemon juice

4 ounces SKYY Infusions Ginger Vodka 2 ounces Limoncello 1 ounce simple syrup Splash of lemon juice Garnish with candied ginger.

Serve tall on the rocks, with or without salt.

Anne Boleyn “This craft cocktail is a great summer drink because strawberries are in season,” says Ethan Bondelid, co-owner of House of Loom. “The shrub (a fruitinfused simple syrup with vinegar) creates a smooth, slightly sweetened finish to the bourbon. It’s a very approachable sipper for anyone.” 2 ounces Bulleit Bourbon 1 ounce Strawberry-Basil Shrub (see recipe) 1 egg white The Bitter Truth Old Time Aromatic Bitters Strawberry for garnish

66  JULY/AUGUST 2012

Combine bourbon, shrub and egg white in a shaker without ice and shake vigorously. Add ice to shaker and continue to shake vigorously. Doublestrain into a cocktail glass and garnish with bitters and a fresh strawberry. Strawberry-Basil Shrub: 1 16-ounce package strawberries ¾ ounce fresh basil leaves 2 cups sugar ½ cup red wine vinegar or to taste In a bowl, cover strawberries and basil with sugar. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least three days. Stir vigorously (sugar will eventually dissolve). Strain berry mixture. Add vinegar; depending on taste, add up to ½ cup more if needed. Mixture should be tangy – not overly sweet or vinegary.

Bonus: Use leftover shrub to make Strawberry-Basil Margaritas: 1½ ounces blanco tequila 1 ounce Strawberry-Basil Shrub (see recipe at left) ½ ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice ½ ounce Cherry Heering Basil leaf for garnish Add ingredients to shaker; shake and strain over ice. To garnish, take a large basil leaf and rub it in your palm to invigorate the scent (this is called “spanking the leaf”). Place the leaf near the straw to bring the sipper’s nose into the flavor.

shop. dine. be entertained.

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Opening Summer 2012 ��������� ���� ������� ������ ������ ��������

Distinctive shopping, dining and entertainment

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How do you follow up an icon? By making it better than ever.

Introducing the 2013 Audi Allroad. Sized like the original allroad and unlike anything else on the road. The premise is simple: to marry the all-wheel drive capability and cargo capacity of a crossover with the agility and refinement of an executive sedan. For the new Audi Allroad, Audi engineers took this winning formula and improved on it, increasing efficiency and adding even more fun to the driving experience. A test drive awaits you at Stan Olsen Audi.

Stan Olsen Audi

808 North 102nd Street - Omaha, Nebraska 402- 397- 8200 -

Inspired Home Omaha July/August  

Summer issue of Inspired Home Omaha Magazine. 100% local content about living and entertaining in Omaha, Nebraska

Inspired Home Omaha July/August  

Summer issue of Inspired Home Omaha Magazine. 100% local content about living and entertaining in Omaha, Nebraska