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Omaha Magazine

Basement Block Party

May 29, 2014 10:32AM ● By Kristen Hoffman
“What in the name of all that is black velvet?” exclaimed host Josh Temple during a recent episode of HGTV’s House Crashers that featured an Omaha couple’s basement renovation. Complete with shag carpeting, ugly arches and mirrored tiles, one could only imagine the epic parties that went down in that basement in the late ’70s.

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Temple and his redo crew had help from locals Stacie Muhle of Artistico Interiors and Chris Oldenhuis of Oldenhuis Contracting. The two were contacted by producers from HGTV, who found them thanks to the popular home remodeling and design site, Houzz. After completing an interview, the designer and contractor were put on call and told to be ready on a Sunday morning, if needed. Luckily for them, the phone rang.

“We had a one-shot deal to get in there and measure and take pictures to get whatever information we needed,” Muhle says. From there, she had five weeks to draft her design plans with a few crazy stipulations; any last-minute items needed would have to be in stock, the use of preexisting art was not allowed because of trademark concerns, and the use of tile was forbidden because the setting materials wouldn’t set fast enough in the allotted time.

If that doesn’t seem like a designer’s biggest pickle of a challenge, how about the fact that Muhle was creating a personal space for a couple that she wasn’t even allowed to talk to? “All we had to go off of was a video of what the client said they wanted and we had a budget from the producer and we had to stay within that,” Muhle says.

“The client said she wanted teal, she loved barn wood, and she wanted a slider door. He was super into baseball and they love craft beer,” Muhle says. From those simple tidbits, Muhle and Oldenhuis were able to put together an inviting space complete with a DJ table, two TVs for the maximumsports-fan experience and a Kegerator.

Red Solo cups sold separately.

Muhle began Artistico Interiors a little over a year ago. “Artistico is Italian for ‘artistic spaces.’ We specialize in what our clients like. I don’t like to be tied to anything or any style,” she says.

After contemplating the clients’ wish list, Muhle then submitted her drawings to the producers for approval. “We had three days from the start of demo to the completion,” she says.

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Then it was time for Oldenhuis Contracting to get to work. But Chris Oldenhuis’ Nebraska work ethic was so efficient, he at times needed to be reined in by producers. “We were flying right along doing what we were supposed to be doing. We had several points where they told me to stop because I was getting too far ahead of the cameraman,” Oldenhuis says.

“Three days was pretty extreme,” he says. “At one point, I think we had close to 20 people working in the basement at the same time, from carpet layers, to people painting and doing drywall patches, and the carpets going in. There was a lot of activity.”

The project was made complete with a lighted Onyx table, a bubinga wood-finish coffee table, a corkwall backsplash, and vinyl flooring. Original paintings that fit the modern, cozy feel of the room were painted by Omaha artist Kelly Zaugg.

The homeowners were discovered by the host in his trademark style of attack: scouting while shopping at Lowe’s for their kitchen remodel. “It’s kind of like winning the remodel lottery. They got a fabulous basement,” Muhle says.

“It’s so surreal. It’s almost hard to believe that it even happened,” says Muhle. “I am very proud of what we did. All in all, with the amount of time we had and the budget and everything, I feel like it turned out good.”

The producers agree. After the show, Oldenhuis and his wife Lynn were taken out to dinner by Temple and the HGTV producer. “Both of them kind of pulled me aside and said, ‘You know what, out of over 100 shows, in our book, you were in the top five.’ It made me feel really good.”

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