Omaha Home March/April 2024

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MARCH/APRIL 2024 A LWA Y S L O C A L , A LWA Y S B E A U T I F U L

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OmahaHome

E N T RYWAY G oodbye, Winter/Hello, Spring!

In like a lion, out like a lamb—or vice versa. No matter what March delivers, we can take respite from winter and enjoy sliding into April’s springy weather with the gorgeous interiors featured in this issue. No matter your preferred aesthetic, you will find something you love in these pages. There’s Sarah Arnold’s groovy homage to the 1970s in a home that features quirky period pieces from the hippy era. Avocado green and cinnamon red remind us not to be afraid of color—it can enliven and brighten a space in a way that is easy to change. If you prefer more sedate environs, visit Molly and Trent Flodman’s serene home, inspired by a relaxing vacation they didn’t want to leave behind. It would be difficult not to feel calm returning to such a spacious, airy home. Serenity is similarly evident in Diane Hayes’ Field Club solarium, where she grows orchids and other botanical marvels. ( Just don’t disturb Wendy, the resident feline.) Interior designer Nikki Klugh also demonstrates how to appeal to all five senses in her West O home. Even if you decide not to use a whole house fragrance system like Nikki, you can light a Good Life Candle & Craft candle after reading about Jon and Nicci Nunnenkamp’s cheeky approach to scent. We’re also delighted to introduce Amanda Yong to the Omaha Home family. She will be a regular contributor with “Frances in Dundee,” a column that details her loving approach to decorating and renovating her historic home in one of Omaha’s oldest neighborhoods. This issue marks her debut, and you can get more glimpses of her home in future issues later this year. Irrespective of lamb or lion, find a cozy space and settle in with unforgettable interiors, inspiring renovations, and novel approaches to making your house a home. Kim Carpenter Editor-in-Chief, Omaha Home kim@omahapublications.com

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OMAHAHOME ENTRY WAY

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SPACES Where the Orchids Bloom

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MAKER Good Life Candle & Craft

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FEATURE Irrefutably Groovy

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AT HOME Home to the Senses

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FEATURE Incredibly Unique

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FR ANCES IN DUNDEE Corners & Keepsakes

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HARVEST Getting to Bed

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A SID AWARD FEATURE Country Meets Western with Classic Touches

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ARCHITEC TURE Standing the Test of Time

Serenity reigns throughout Molly and Trent Flodman’s serene renovation. Get all the details starting on page 26. Photo by Sarah Lemke.


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Where The

Orchids Bloom

DIANE HAYES’ FIELD CLUB SOLARIUM

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inding a space to make your own is an enchanting experience. Even more novel is when that space ref lects the personality and history of one of Omaha’s grand Gold Coast mansions. Located in Omaha’s Field Club neighborhood, Diane Hayes’ solarium serves as a sanctuary away from daily routine and has evolved into one of her favorite places to spend time, relax, and enjoy nature.

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STORY Natalie McGovern PHOTOGRAPHY Bill Sitzmann DESIGN Nickie Robinson

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“Every morning I come out here with my morning coffee and read the paper. It’s my zen.”–Diane Hayes

S PA C E S Back in its day, the sunroom served as an escape tucked away from the rest of the sprawling 107-year-old, 25-room mansion and offered a serene retreat from the demands of high-class society. Albert Condon, who moved to Nebraska in 1902 and reportedly became the first physician to specialize in general surgery in Omaha, built the Georgian Revival estate in 1916. His daughter, Corinne, became an Olympic swimmer and was dubbed a “human fish” and “the mermaid of Omaha,” prompting rumors that the building housed an indoor swimming pool in the basement. Over time, the massive 10,000-square-foot mansion was turned into apartment units. Hayes was lucky enough to rent the one with the solarium, which still offers the same tranquility as it did over a century ago. “Every morning I come out here with my morning coffee and read the paper,” Hayes remarked. “It’s my zen.” Although she enjoys all seasons, Hayes especially cherishes the winter months. During blizzards, the solarium transforms into a tropical wonderland. “It turns into an oasis in the wintertime,” she shared. “All 30 orchids will probably be in bloom.” That kind of horticultural success is due to Hayes’ considerable green thumb as well as the room itself. The solarium is an ideal growing space for delicate f lora and foliage that would struggle in most interiors. The double-glazed beveled mirrored window panels stand at an estimated eight feet tall, allowing for the perfect amount of natural light. The f looring is the original terra cotta, which provides temperature control, retaining heat for an ideal growing atmosphere. Such period elements appeal to Hayes, who majored in history as a college student. Now retired, she took her penchant for crafting and turned it into a burgeoning career. She runs several businesses on Etsy, including Omaha Orrery, for which she meticulously constructs solar system models that resemble antiques. Hayes’ orreries have caught the attention of prop masters for TV shows and have been featured in "Star Trek, Discovery," "Picard," and "Snowpiercer."

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The solarium is dotted with vibrant blooms cascading from an array of tropicals, and Hayes’ eclectic, artistic interests are ref lected in perfectly curated décor and furnishings. In one corner sit two leather Henredon chairs, luxury finds she scooped up on Facebook Marketplace. In another, stands a fiddle-leaf fig, splaying majestic, luscious, green foliage. Hayes is particularly proud of a large hibiscus which she nursed back to health, and she also has some experimental carnivorous plants to which she devotedly tends. Her most prized plant, however, is the Prince of Orange, a form of philodendron. When its leaves come in, they turn a bright red that fades to green. Wendy, Hayes’ irascible black cat, is a welcome companion and gardening assistant. The American Shorthair has her own reserved space to sleep amid the surrounding blooms. Wendy doesn’t eat the plants or disturb them—as long as Hayes acknowledges her feline presence and preeminence. The artist has an especially impressive record of being able to sustain the life of her plants and winterize them successfully each year. Her perennial orchids are a prime example: she brings them inside every winter to protect them from the elements when the temperatures drop below 55 degrees. The amateur botanist is particularly careful not to overwater them. “Unless you are a commercial grower, it’s not common to be able to command your orchids to go into bloom,” Hayes said. “I can manipulate them to a small degree with grow lights and monitor them a little bit closer, but for the most part, I just let them do their own thing.” Mark Maser, a good friend and neighbor, attests to her skill for winterizing. “Plants require both knowledge and patience. She has both in abundance,” he said. “Whether it’s her old apartment in Blackstone or at her new apartment in Field Club, she is the go-to person for plants. She will take plants that are on their way out and will revive them.”

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STORY Katy Spratte Joyce | PHOTOGRAPHY Bill Sitzmann | DESIGN Nickie Robinson

GOOD LIFE CANDLE & CRAFT J

Making Wick-edly Great Scents

on and Nicci Nunnenkamp never set out to run a small business crafting natural soaps and candles, but in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in Jon losing his job in the auto sales industry. He took one day to grieve and lick his metaphorical wounds before deciding to jump back into the workforce and be productive. “[Losing my job] turned out to be a blessing, because I always wanted to do something of my own, on my own,” he confessed. Jon explored designing and printing tshirts, but that first idea didn’t quite click. Then, wife Nicci, a lifelong crafts lover, suggested a candle-making kit as a quarantine boredom-buster. “We made candles as a hobby first; then it spiraled from there,” Nicci explained. The rest is history. Good Life Candle & Craft was born in the couple’s 1,000-square-foot downtown Omaha condo. They chose the name to evoke their shared roots and values as Nebraskans. “We liked the former ‘Good Life’ state slogan, and we knew we wanted to make good products,” Jon said. “So, [it] means a combination—a good quality of life using good, natural products.” By August 2020, the Nunnenkamps were promoting Good Life Candle & Craft wares at events like the Omaha Farmer’s Market, where their lineup included selections like the wildly popular “Life’s a Beach,” a nod to their destination wedding in Jamaica. “Scent is a powerful trigger for memory, and we were able to make candles that evoked some of our favorite places and people,” Jon said.

Going from hobby to successful business (with a brick-and-mortar as of July 2023) was a short timeline, although not a similarly short process. Jon used his childhood experience on the farm, where he developed a love for creating and problem-solving, as inspiration for approaching this new entrepreneurial endeavor. He tinkered with labels, logos, and packaging. Nicci noodled on small-scale marketing efforts and fragrance families. Together, they tested ingredients like wicks, essential oils, and clean waxes to launch the initial core product. “We custom-blend 90% of our scents,” Jon shared. "That’s what I love: getting to create every day.”

“2021 is the year that Jon really focused on the business and realized this was no longer a hobby—it’s a professional calling,” Nicci explained. He is full-time with the company, while Nicci helps with marketing and events, balancing those duties with her longstanding real estate career.

The hardest part, however, involves naming the candles. The couple has devised some inventive monikers, like “Sweater Weather,” “Ranch Hand,” and “Awesome Blossom”— three of their top sellers.

As they grow, the Nunnenkamps continue to hone Good Life Candle & Craft’s local, clean, and sustainable mission. They use beef fat from Jon’s hometown butcher for candles and goat milk from a farm in Lyons, Nebraska, for soaps. Reusing containers for their “Vintage Can Collection” provides another way to lessen their environmental impact while simultaneously offering a unique product.

Good Life Candle & Craft had some timing hurdles to jump, too. Pandemic shortages and supply issues meant they changed their jar design three times during the first year. Although the company f lourished in its infancy, only so much room for candle making existed in a downtown loft. So, in August 2021—a little more than a year into the project—the Nunnenkamps transitioned to a production space in Ralston's Hillcrest area.

“Scent is a powerful trigger for memory, and we were able to make candles that evoked some of our favorite places and people.” –Jon Nunnenkamp

That same year, Good Life Candle & Craft perfected its bread and butter: candles and wax melts. Amusing categories such as “Funny & Sweary Label Candle Collection” with scents like “Sappy Christmas Movie” and “Mom’s Last Nerve” help them stand out from the crowded candle marketplace. “We really have fun with it,” Nicci said.

Always expanding, the company explored adding liquid soap, air fresheners, and lotion to their lineup. The couple met in the middle with lotion candles, which, once lit, can be used as warming skin-safe lotion. They sell all this and more, including products from other local makers, at their Ralston shop, a complex that also houses their production facility. The storefront opened in 2023 and helps, Jon said, get the candles and products “into people’s hands— where it matters.” Learn more at goodlifecandle.com.

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The Arnolds’ 1970s Far-Out Abode

ainy days don’t seem so gray inside Sarah and Chance Arnold’s house. The Benson bungalow radiates with shades of green, yellow, and orange, as well as thrifted items, popular half a century or more ago.

At least, that’s the way the house appears on the day of the interview. Sarah rearranges her irrefutably groovy collection of vintage finds as she discovers new favorites. Her maximalist style started many years ago.

A fabric artwork of orange and brown wavy lines undulates on one wall in front of a brass mineral-oil rain lamp. Situated on a bookshelf that displays a variety of vintage Halloween decorations and other orange items sits a Saturna series lava lamp from the late 1970s, oozing red goo up and down its glass cylinder. A spherical terrarium rests on its white plastic base as inside green plants thrive.

“I’ve been into vintage and collecting in general since I was maybe 11 or 12,” Sarah said. “I used to go down to Homer’s, and they would have cardboard boxes full of posters that were promos for old shows that you could pick through and get for free. I have a few of them still—I have Jimi Hendrix; I have the Stones; I have the Beatles.”

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"I’ve been into vintage and collecting in general since I was maybe 11 or 12." –Sarah Arnold M A R C H /A P R I L 2024

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F E AT U R E It would be a while before she could fill a home with a “Partridge Family” aesthetic. As a youth, she and her family resided in apartments, and Sarah and Chance also lived in rental units when they moved to Denver soon after graduating high school. Rents constantly f luctuated, facilitating nearly annual moves. In 2020, however, Sarah and Chance returned to Omaha and purchased the Bedford Avenue house. While Sarah has long collected smaller vintage pieces such as Pyrex dinnerware, she and Chance purchased many of their large pieces after acquiring the home. The Arnolds’ retro treasures often come from estate sales. Sarah also uses online searches. That’s how she scored a yellowish-green, fireplace-esque electric heater, which possibly originated from a Midcentury Montgomery Ward “Style House.” It displays a glowing plastic log on a wall near a sturdy couch covered in brown-printed fabric. “I think it was on Craigslist,” she said of the heater, for which she drove more than two hours to obtain. “I’ll search basic words, like ‘vintage furniture’ or ‘1970s’. People say ‘I just need this out of my barn.’ I drove past Atlantic in Iowa, and it was at a literal horse farm. I had to go off the gravel main road down this crazy dirt path. The guy was like, ‘Just pull your van over to this corral.’ He put it in my van, and I think I paid him about a hundred bucks.” The fab vibes follow throughout the living room. A swath of orange-and-black patterned fabric lines the wall underneath the breakfast bar, and an olive-green velvet chair and ottoman begs one to sit and read the final issues of Look magazine. Sarah found the shag rug beneath the chair, featuring a variety of red shades and patterns, after nearly three years of looking for the perfect such carpet to place in her living room. Her favorite items, however, tend to be small items that people used every day, such as coffee mugs, measuring spoons, and a green cloth wall calendar printed with psychedeliclooking pink-and-purple mushrooms dated 1973.

The Benson bungalow radiates with shades of green, yellow, and orange, as well as thrifted items, popular half a century or more ago. M A R C H /A P R I L 2024

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F E AT U R E “The majority is estate sales. I’ve been lucky to be able to go into some really great timecapsule homes in the country and areas around Omaha,” Sarah said. It also helps that she runs a popular Instagram page on which she sells vintage items she has restored. Sarah also sells items at Brass Armadillo and Junkstock. Her account, @highwaychildvintage, had more than 27,000 followers in late 2023, often prompting people to ask her if she wants their “old stuff.” “People will reach out and be like, ‘Hey, myself or my relative is clearing out a house, and all this will be going to a dumpster, but do you want to come buy some of it?” The retro feel extends to the eat-in-kitchen, where she and Chase dine at a white fiberglass table.

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“I screamed when I saw it on (Facebook) Marketplace, almost the minute it got posted, and I messaged the lady and said ‘I live so far away, but I’ll drive there right now,’” Sarah said. “Please don’t sell it (to someone else).” A collection of greeting cards from her father is stuck to the refrigerator with vintage magnets. She acquired those from her grandfather, who lived in the same house for 50 years and kept many precious physical memories such as birthday cards. While the majority of her buzzed-about items are preserved as though sealed in a time-capsule, one modern item in the kitchen also garners attention. To keep her dishwasher from sticking out like a 21stcentury sore thumb, she covered it in contact paper featuring retro f lowers in shades of emerald, tangerine, and sunf lower.

"The majority is estate sales. I’ve been lucky to be able to go into some really great time-capsule homes in the country and areas around Omaha." –Sarah Arnold “Everyone comments on that,” she said. “It’s just contact paper.” Whether sitting on a couch watching a lava lamp, eating snacks from a 1970s Lazy Susan set in the kitchen, walking through a beaded curtain to the bedrooms, or drying one’s hands on a towel with shades of pink and red in the bathroom, the Arnolds have curated an aesthetic that is far out of the ordinary in 2024. Visit @highwaychildvintage on Instagram for more information.


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STORY Veronica Wortman Ploetz PHOTOGRAPHY Bill Sitzmann DESIGN Nickie Robinson

NIKKI KLUGH TURNS PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE INTO PERSONAL HAVEN ucked into the curve of a quiet cul-de-sac in the Eagle Run West subdivision is a charming brick home recently renovated by Nikki Klugh, an interior designer with a national design portfolio, who has been featured in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Ebony Magazine, and USA Today. She and husband, Dr. Arnett Klugh, moved to Omaha in 2020 when he joined the neurosurgery team at Children's Hospital and Medical Center. The couple met at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, raised four sons together, and are now empty-nesters. The family moved many times with the military for training and assignments. Each time, Nikki rebuilt her interior design business as she responded to the needs of the new locale’s clientele and changing external environments.

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Nikki can recall being passionate about design at the young age of 8 years old. “My mom and I were decorating our home as far back as I can remember. We were Weekend Warriors before it was ever a hit TV show—painting, installing crown molding, making custom draperies and changing out light fixtures,” she said. When Nikki left the Naval Academy and returned home, she and Arnett continued a long-distance relationship. After Arnett graduated, they married and started a family. His first training assignment moved the family to Albuquerque, New Mexico. “I was busy raising a family at the time—I didn’t know interior design could be a professional career,” Nikki ref lected. “I waff led among design, chemical engineering, and math, because I was also really good at science.”

"We love bold colors and art." –Nikki Klugh


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AT HOM E Settled in Albuquerque, the couple purchased and decorated their first home during the emergence of HGTV. It was then that Nikki decided to obtain an Interior Design degree from Santa Fe Community College. She worked in a furniture store on the weekends and found it helpful to have a sense of furniture styles and trends to pair with her school experience. “My very f irst design job was working on a $14-million design build with Lisa Delong as the principal designer for t wo years,” Nikki said. The next project was with one of the nurses who worked with Arnett, and word of mouth built her clientele in northern California. Arnett recalled that during this time, Nikki worked incredibly hard to obtain her

professional status with the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and her National Council for Interior Design Qualif ication (NCIDQ ) accreditations. The family moved to San Diego during the housing crisis, which presented new learning opportunities. Nikki became practiced at stretching budget dollars during an austere time. She networked with entrepreneurs and learned the business of design, marketing, and pricing goods and services. She also became adept at team building, for which the State of California recognized her work hiring veterans and military wives. The momentum of success was in full swing, and Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., selected Nikki to be lead designer for its international headquarters in Washington, DC. The project spanned two years,

and Nikki learned to work with a large construction project management firm. Long-distance design concepts, paired with the exploding inf luence of social media, ignited Nikki’s entrepreneurial energy, and she began defining signature topics on which she could speak with authority. She built an online community around topics like creating “sacred spaces” (ones that exude peace and calm) and “money spaces” (typically, office spaces designed to help generate profit). Through the pandemic, for example, she coached clients through developing home offices for maximum productivity and profitability. “There is scientific and evidence-based design to enhance focus, clarity, and creativity, keeping goals in front of you so you can do better,” Nikki explained.

“COMFORT IS THE MAIN GOAL IN ANY SPACE. WE TRY TO CREATE A CASUAL ELEGANCE." –NIKKI KLUGH

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The Klugh family moved to Omaha when Arnett’s military career came to an end. Nikki began renovating the four-bedroom, sevenbathroom, 6,000-square-foot home. While she loves to involve Arnett in the choices she makes for their home, the only thing he desires is a lot of storage room for his extensive sneaker collection. “It may sound tongue-incheek, but she is home to me, so whatever she does with the space, I trust her implicitly,” he said. The couple describes their style as a blend of modern and transitional and more on the contemporary-modern side. “We love bold colors and art,” Nikki reflected. “Comfort is the main goal in any space. We aim to create a casual elegance.” Personally and professionally, Nikki has developed her own approach to design. “Yes, I call it ‘sensory design.’ but more importantly, how spaces feel—how spaces are textualized, so that they are tactile, both physically and visually,” she said. The first of five senses to engage when visiting the Arnett home is smell. Nikki has installed a whole-house fragrance system and carefully selected a signature scent that is diffused through the HVAC system. On their way into the living room, the Klughs may offer guests a smoked whiskey from the infusion kit located on the cocktail bar. Nikki uses soft and inviting fabrics to create cozy seating areas, furniture, and pillows, while kitchen and work spaces are more durable. In the renovation of their current home, Nikki featured bold, saturated colors and alternating textures in her design. She added and reconfigured walls to create defined spaces, using “anchor furniture,” highlighting a view of the golf course and creating a blank space to fill with fabulous artwork. An oversized print of Bisa Butler’s “Daughter of the Dust,” framed by Malibu Art Gallery, is overlaid on matting with deckle edges complementing the texture of the quilted portrait. She’s taken pages from the art book, "Memories and Muses: Selected Works" by Tamara Natalie Madden and framed them above the couch in the living room.

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AT HOM E To engage their auditory sense, Nikki plays light mood music throughout their home and carefully controls volume to allow for conversation. Nikki stimulates their tactile senses by using plush velvets and soft linens. Aroma 360 hotel scents are infusioned throughout their central air, allowing them to enjoy scents they both love. Visually, their design styles and "tastes" are expressed in each of their spaces. Purchasing their home was an exercise in analysing the use of space. "It was important that we both have our own closets, bathrooms and offices," Nikki shared. This allowed for Arnett's ample shoe storage and for both to have spaces that express their individual design aesthetics. With the help of Allison Helligso of NEAT Method Omaha, Arnett was able to organize

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and proudly display his sneaker collection. "Allison really helped me pair down my wardrobe and keep the pieces that I truly love," Arnett said. Nikki united the various spaces by using color palettes that complement one another. All the sensory design elements come together beautifully in the room Nikki and Arnett refer to as their “sexy kitchen.” The selected elements work in concert to communicate sophisticated style that engages the senses. Walls, pantries, and closets were reconfigured to an even plane for cabinetry and appliances. Zongkers custom furniture manufacturer sourced the Euro-style cabinetry. Beneath the cabinets are sleek black granite countertops from Counterworx. The kitchen's gathering point is a stunning natural Patagonia granite slab with f lecks of iridescent mother-of-pearl from GMS Werks. Arteriors Caviar lights, designed by

Laura Kirar, are polished, perforated nickel pendants with clear glass globes. They create ambient light over the kitchen island and cast a textured shadow on the ceiling. The kitchen sink faucet is motion activated, and the dishwasher runs silently. Functionality was not sacrificed for style: the microwave drawer and the stove area pot filler are great aging-in-place elements. The French-style range is the platform for cooking delicious holiday meals with traditional fixings. Nikki enjoys setting the stage to entertain in their home. She ref lected, “Arnett is a department chair and it is important to us to have an inviting space to host members of his team who may not be rooted yet in Omaha.” To follow the interior designer’s work, visit nikkiklughdesign.com.


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FEATURE TRENT AND MOLLY FLODMAN’S PERMANENT ESCAPE

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appiness is living a life you don’t need to escape. It was on just such an escape from life that inspiration struck Trent and Molly Flodman. Just shy of three years ago, the couple were on a trip through the luxury travel subscription service Inspirato. “The houses we stay at on Inspirato trips are absolutely amazing,” Trent said. “Molly and I were talking and came to this point where we agreed we wanted to come home to one of the Inspirato houses. We wanted to feel like we were on vacation every day.”

STORY S

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ara Loc ke | PH OTOGRA PHY

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Sarah L emke & Bill

Sitzman n

| DESIGN

Nickie R obinson


Incredibly Unique

"Their home is bright, welcoming, and exciting and does a much better job of representing who they are as people and as a couple." –Shawn Hovey


FFEEAATTUURREE Inspiration met opportunity when a window in their home came loose, and the pair decided that if it was time to update their windows, they should also update the kitchen. But it wasn’t long before they had gone all-in on the home. “We brought some builders out to see what they thought and looked through their ideas,” Trent continued. “They had all done a beautiful job, but their ideas just felt like every other home in Omaha and Lincoln. We weren’t seeing what we wanted and didn’t know exactly how to express where we were going with our ideas.” The Flodmans reached out to the husband-and-wife team of Matt and Tamarah Kronaizl of Sierra Homes. “I’ve never designed anything, and I’m not a creative person,” Trent insisted, “but I made a Pinterest board and just started pinning inspiration pictures, and every time I loved something, Tamarah would come back enthusiastically saying, ‘Yes! Let’s do it!’ And then she would find a way to make it happen.” “Trent and Molly came to us about remodeling the kitchen and expanding the master bedroom,” Kronaizl recalled. “We did the first round of drawings, and once they were able to better visualize it, they started getting really creative. They wanted it bigger, and they wanted to refurnish. Then, they added this amazing walk-around butler’s pantry in the kitchen, hidden jib doors throughout the home, and landscaped the yard. We added electric car chargers in the garage and engineered a f loor system to add a f loating staircase. The project continued to evolve, and it took time to get it right, but it was completely worth it!” The Flodmans are a cosmopolitan pair of empty-nesters, who wanted to create a space that ref lected their bright, open approach to life but was still a welcoming space to host friends and family. Their ‘90s-era home had begun to look dim and dated and was the perfect place for their redesign team to get creative.

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"We wanted to feel like we were on vacation every day.” –Trent Flodman

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F E AT U R E

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CREATE YOUR OWN ENVIRNMENT In nature, evolution can require a process of thousands of years. At Curt Hofer & Associates, helping you to create your environment is second nature to us. Bring your designs, your inspiration, your preferences, pictures and even pins. Together we’ll move through a process that lets you ease into a flawless execution of your ideal surroundings. Contact us today to see why Curt Hofer & Associates has earned top awards for our iconic design and inspired living spaces for more than 30 years.

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F E AT U R E The drastic home makeover started with an expansion, creating a spacious primary bedroom retreat with a spa-like ensuite bath. A custom wood accent wall featuring a natural Halifax stain brings the organic and earthy elements of the home into the master bedroom. The main f loor was opened, with the original dining room converted into a wet bar. A double-sided fireplace provided an element of separation between spaces without creating exclusion, allowing the Flodmans ample space to host. Floating stairs add to the open-air energy of the home and create an additional point of architectural interest. “I really believed that the fireplace was going to be the main focal point of the home when we got started,” Trent ref lected. “But even now when we are hosting, something new grabs the eye. I really credit Tamarah for always making our crazy ideas happen and our designer for finding a way to work with all of our ideas.” That designer is Shawn Hovey of Foundry Homes. Hovey came on to the project at “the cabinet stage” and helped the team to visualize the final result better. She perused Trent’s Pinterest board and set to work finding ways to incorporate the tone he had set throughout the home. “This home was a lot of fun to work on, mainly because Trent and Molly are so open and communicative about what they want,” Hovey said. “There were definitely elements I suggested that surprised them, but they had done such a great job of expressing what they wanted that it was easy bringing in surprising elements I knew they would love.” One such element was the exterior color of the newly bright and earthy home. “We planned to paint the outside of the home white,” Trent said, “but Shawn immediately said, ‘Black.’ We were shocked, and while it was in process, even the neighbors started asking when we were going to paint, not thinking it was going to stay black.”


"The project continued to evolve, and it took time to get it right, but it was completely worth it!” –Tamarah Kronaizl “The black exterior was a really natural way to connect the interior with the exterior of the home,” Hovey explained. “I know it initially felt shocking, but the way the home is tucked back into those beautiful trees, this dark exterior became really organic.” The Flodmans aren’t the only ones who have come to agree with the bold choice, and black exteriors have begun to pop up throughout the neighborhood. “This home is incredibly unique,” Hovey said. “When you say unique, people think it has to be avant-garde. I use textures, colors, and use of space instead. Unique is great, but it still has to be functional. I love the juxtaposition of crisp, clean lines with rounded corners and natural plants we created. We used performance fabrics on the furniture, which means that the Flodmans don’t have to worry about tears or spills, but still have really beautiful furniture and décor. Their home is bright, welcoming, and exciting and does a much better job of representing who they are as people and as a couple.” For more information, visit sierrahomesomaha. com and foundryhomegroup.com.

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Fr a n c e s i n

Du n d e e

s & r e Keepsa n r o ke C s

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STORY AND IMAGES Amanda Yong DESIGN Nickie Robinson

Introducing a Home With Character All Her Own

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elcome, kindred spirits, to our 1912 Dundee home. We’ve named the house “Frances” as she’s such a character in our lives. Being of an established age, she’s got her whims and fancies, which we’ve happily (and sometimes begrudgingly) listened to, and I’d like to think she’s pleased with us so far.

For the past five years, myself, my husband, two dogs, and two cats have enjoyed life within these walls. We’ve embarked on restorative changes big and small, from gut renovating the kitchen and main bathroom on the structural end of the spectrum to painting walls and hanging art on the decorative end. (The trim was already painted white. It’s still a beautiful feature of the house as it is, with eight-inch baseboards, a six-inch crown, and classic craftsman window trim.)


FR A NCES IN DU N DEE I’ve enjoyed sharing the journey on an Instagram account called “thebirdsdothus” after the Robert Frost poem: I Slept all day, The birds do thus That sing for awhile At eve for us, To have you soon I gave away— Well satisfied To give—a day. Life’s not so short I care to keep The unhappy days; I chose to sleep.

I started the page shortly after we settled in, and things began a bit shabby and hodgepodge. With nine-foot ceilings, arched doorways, two sunrooms, and wood f loors throughout, I knew from the beginning that this home could be something special. In bringing new life to this old house, I’ve wanted to cultivate a cohesiveness, a coziness, an elegance, and remind Frances of how lovely she is. Previous layers of renovations have been peeled back for a more timeless design. Maintaining the closed concept layout and keeping all original features have been priorities. I lean traditional in décor style, but in a laid-back kind of way in which I focus more on atmosphere and what connects

"With nine-foot ceilings, arched doorways, two sunrooms, and wood floors throughout, I knew from the beginning that this home could be something special." –Amanda Yong 34

OMAHAHOME

emotionally rather than staunchly sticking to a specific era or style. Most corners are filled with keepsakes I’ve come across in dusty antique shops, triumphantly obtained from Facebook Marketplace after invariably asking for measurements, or are sentimental tchotchkes that have been in the family. A Chinese silk passed on from my grandma is displayed in the living room; an oak-and-cane accent table from my great grandma claims the center of the foyer; an antique dinnerware set from my husband’s paternal grandparents is displayed in our dining room; books read by my mom as a teenager sit on my shelf as well-loved favorites…


Memories live in each object—I believe this is what makes a home. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed starting this renewal, and I think Frances has enjoyed being a brief side character in your day today. Frances is a historic home in Dundee being affectionately restored and cared for by homeowner Amanda Yong and her husband, Kyle Dworak. Follow the couple’s journey in Omaha Home and on Instagram @thebirdsdothus.

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Harvest

STORY Claudia Moomey DESIGN Nickie Robinson

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Getting to Bed


Preparing Gardens for Spring

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hether you’re striving to attain a f lower bed that’s worthy of the neighbors’ envy or harvest fresh, home-grown vegetables for the summer, be sure to follow these guidelines for a healthy garden and a fruitful harvest this year.

Robert Kozol of Robert’s Nursery provided Omaha Home with his pro tips on the key aspects of making sure a garden is healthy and lasts through the season. “The easiest, most common, and carefree vegetables to grow,” he said, “are tomatoes, peppers, and radishes; for f lowers, I would say petunias, geraniums, and marigolds.” These are common plants that will be fairly easy to grow. But what do you need to know to be sure they have proper care? “What you really need to look at is how much sun versus shade you’re going to have,” he emphasized. “Every vegetable or f lower is going to require somewhat different conditions.” When choosing plants to fill your garden bed, pay attention to the zone in which they can grow (Omaha sits in zone 5a of the USDA Hardiness scale). Also, take note of how much sunlight they will need to grow properly; determine if your gardening space is in direct sunlight all day, or if there is shade at certain times. According to popular planting website Gardening Know How, “Most crops depend on at least eight hours of full sun in order to grow properly and maintain overall health.” “Another aspect to consider is time,” Kozol added. “Gardens need consistency—you need to visit it every day. If it’s really hot or the sun is intense, visit it two or three times a day.” Daily care includes ensuring plants are in the correct amount of sun or shade, leaves and f lowers are intact and healthy, weeds are exiled, and, of course, that plants receive the necessary amount of water. Often, an entire garden bed is too much, or plant enthusiasts simply do not have the time or resources to cultivate a healthy bed. If this is the case, or you do not have the greenest thumb, Kozol recommends perennials, which can last 15 to 20 years, as

opposed to annuals, which, as their name suggests, grow for a season and cannot last outdoors through the winter months. “The most important thing is soil,” Kozol concluded. “You need to cultivate the soil and put in certain fertilizers and things that are unique to your plant.” There are many types of soil with varying amounts of chemicals and organic or synthetic matter. There are even “slow-release” formulas that will provide a certain amount of iron, calcium, and other nutrients over a period of time, usually about six months, which is the general timeline for vegetable plants. “Composting is a great way to add fertility to poor soil areas,” Gardening Know How notes. “Nearly any plant material can be composted and used in the garden. Kitchen waste such as fruits, vegetables, eggshells, or coffee grounds can be used as well as leaves, lawn clippings, and straw.” When it comes to pest control, there are a variety of options. “Gardens attract raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, voles, and so on. There are both mechanical and chemical solutions to this problem,” Kozol explained. The scarecrow, of course, is a classic because it works. Pest control tactics are “mostly trial and error,” he continued. “You have to figure out what works best for your area and the pests that you have.” You can also install motion-triggered sprinklers or lighting for nocturnal animals. If they try to interfere with your garden, a sudden shot of water or an unexpected bright light will scare them from your garden beds. If you’re considering chemicals, just be certain there is nothing in the formula that will harm your plants. Kozol recommended a repellent called Repels-All. “It comes in liquid and granular forms, and it is very potent, which is good. Rain, heat, and other weather conditions lessen the potency of garden chemicals, so you can keep this stuff on all season and maybe have to reapply it once, if at all.” For more information, visit robertslln.com and gardeningknowhow.com. M A R C H /A P R I L 2024

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STORY Brianne Wilhelm | PHOTOGRAPHY Tim Perry Photography | Contractor KRT Construction | DESIGN Nickie Robinson

Country Meets Western with Classic Touches

W

A Prairie Ridge Road Renovation

e all want a home that feels as though it was made for us. The interior design community was still working with the many homeowners who struggled through the COVID shut-down, when it became exceedingly clear how poorly many homes functioned for their lifestyles. Shortly after that time, I was asked to assist with the renovation of a beautiful home owned by friends, where I had been welcomed as a guest to plen-

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ty of parties and casual gatherings. Built in 2008, the home is a custom ranch with soaring ceilings. Tucked into trees on over five acres outside Omaha, its many amenities were perfect for this active family, but their kitchen and main f loor just weren’t meeting their needs. Improving function, storage, convenience, and updating the aesthetics were the goals for the project.


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"All finishes, furniture, and fixtures were selected to embrace the family's love of Nebraska farm culture without feeling too over-the-top country." —Brianne Wilhelm In the adjacent great room, a new wine bar with f loating shelves above doubles the great room storage and is perfect for entertaining, bringing guests out of the kitchen to enjoy the full space. The new furniture layout and furnishings provide better f low. Finally, a full wall of functional built-ins was added to the otherwise blank front corner office; the family can now use the office to read, do homework, or take work calls behind closed doors. The contractor, KRT Construction, and their cabinet shop, were instrumental in bringing to life all of the drawings and concepts.

al Estate r/Re Ag lto en ea

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The opportunity to update a home like this was a dream come true given my love of remodels and renovations. Investing in existing homes with purposeful design choices is more sustainable and can be a rewarding choice over moving or building new, especially when the homeowners love their current neighborhood and are willing to live among temporary chaos. After thoughtful discussion and taking inventory, I developed a new kitchen layout concept to provide better f low and easier access to appliances. The previous layout and tiered ‘batwing’ island forced all activity and access to all major storage and appliances to one tight zone. The new cabinet layout includes a huge island for family dinners and baking. A 48” commercial gas range was a dream addition for this family, who love food and preparing meals. A large pantry cabinet on one wall and deep drawers in the base cabinets provide more functional storage than standard base cabinets with doors. The new layout and design featured in the upper cabinets and hood embrace the 12’ ceiling height and create a focal point to balance the opposing great room fireplace.

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A S I D AWA R D F E A T U R E The design vision for this remodel was country-meets-western with classic touches. All finishes, furniture, and fixtures were selected to embrace the family's love of Nebraska farm culture without feeling too over-the-top country. A painting of a white barn they already owned provided the color palette for the entire project. Newly finished hickory f loors, brighter neutrals on cabinets and furnishings, and the satin

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bronze hardware finish bring brightness and contrast to the rich, waxy leather and dark iron accents. Smooth ceilings painted a light off-white, fresh wall paint, and the newly finished hickory f loors throughout help to brighten and make the whole space feel updated.

sion to move back to their family farm in central Nebraska provided the opportunity for a new family to benefit from the improvements made to the home. As a designer, it is rewarding to see how this next family is enjoying the space and have made it their own.

For this family, the temporary chaos paid off. In an unexpected twist of fate, a deci-

For more examples of Brianne Wilhelm’s design work, visit d3interiors.net.


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ARCHITECTURE

Standing the Test of Time

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STORY • PHOTOGRAPHY • DESIGN Claudia Moomey • Bill Sitzmann • Nickie Robinson

Bygone Era Lives On In Historic Blackstone Home

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long 38th Street in the Blackstone district of Omaha, a historic manor sits on the crest of the hill, its red brick exterior overlooking the street as if it’s queen of the city. A plaque embedded in these bricks next to the front door reads: “This property has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior.” Since its erection in 1910 by Liechtenstein-born architect John Latenser, the residence has retained most of its original f looring, walls, fixtures, and architectural f lourishes.

“This house has really stood the test of time,” said Tim Reeder, a historical real estate specialist and president of Preserve Omaha, an advocacy group of “old building lovers,” which calls attention to historical buildings in the city. “It is an amazing piece of architecture, and it’s in extraordinary condition.” The 7,409-square-foot property took minor damage from a tornado, which hit the area in 1913 and took out the house’s back wall. Kim Isherwood, the current owner and a Preserve Omaha board member, claims her home got lucky that year, as the rest of the area was devastated by the natural disaster. “The back wall was damaged, but that’s it—the rest of it miraculously survived. The next door neighbor’s house was completely destroyed, and Joslyn Castle (a short distance away) had so much damage,” she explained. Isherwood bought the eight-bedroom, sixbathroom house in 2020. “We redid the kitchen when we bought the house,” she said. “It was very dated and inefficient. We put heated floors in here because this room is freezing cold, and we tried to keep it old-

looking, unlike most modern kitchens that are stark white and have quartz countertops.”

stays very cool,” Isherwood added. “They really did know what they were doing.”

Next to the kitchen lies the original butler’s pantry, complete with cupboards lining the walls and a closet that stored detachable leaves for the dining table. The pantry also hides the end of a laundry chute that begins on the second level. This built-in convenience allowed the family (or hired help) to complete laundry chores without having to trek the staircase.

At the top of the old wooden stairs, which have retained their integrity for over a century, the bedrooms boast a 1910’s-era charm with original lighting and fixtures. The slanted walls complement the adjacent accent walls that Isherwood herself painted. “I wanted them to look like wallpaper, but I didn’t want to have to deal with wallpaper,” she laughed. Her solution was simple (although the design isn’t): break out the brushes and stencils.

“We want to preserve them as long as we can so we can learn from the architecture.” –Tim Reeder This main staircase features a curved set of steps at the base, a simple yet eye-catching detail. “Back then, they wouldn’t have had electric tools,” Isherwood said. “So, all of this is hand-made.” There is no air conditioning on the main level, as it is naturally cooled from the way air f lows through the center of the building. This is a prime example of why Reeder believes in saving such buildings.

Excluding one, all of the bathrooms have their original fixtures and f looring. One features an authentic, fully functional ship window that acts as the building’s compass, pointing due north. “It’s the only round thing in the house,” Isherwood chuckled, alluding to the square, angular theme the rest of the building follows. When asked about her favorite feature of the building, Isherwood said, “People ask me that question all the time,” pausing with a sigh. “This ceiling is clearly amazing,” she said, referencing the white, intricately molded patterns that look down upon the common living area. “I try not to take it for granted because it is so unique and special. And of course the butler’s pantry is breathtaking,” she added.

“We want to preserve them as long as we can so we can learn from the architecture,” he reasoned.

“Not every home or structure can stay standing forever,” Reeder lamented. “Preserve Omaha is really just about recognizing something that’s beautiful and taking care of it until its eventual death. We need to appreciate what we have when we have it.”

“In the summertime, you can feel cold air drop, and it comes down and this f loor

To learn more about Preserve Omaha, visit preserveomaha.org.

M A R C H /A P R I L 2024

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