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Omaha Magazine

Art Deco

Sep 14, 2014 09:00AM ● By David Williams
This begins a new series in OmahaHome magazine where we tour the city looking for great examples of different architectural genres.
Our first entry is this Art Deco gem on the corner of N. 53rd Street and Country Club Avenue owned by Janice Snyder, who grew up in the home. It was built in 1933 by the Jaycees as “The House of Tomorrow,” a showcase of modernity at a time when Art Deco was at the apex of its popularity.

The design style was born in France in the years following WWI and later became popular in the states before waning by the end of WWII.

Art Deco Field Guide

  • The main distinguishing characteristic of Art Deco is a streamlined vibe boasting vivd geometric patterns and often lavish ornamentation.
  • Almost all homes in this style feature a flat roof, but they are not to be confused with Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie School of design that was popular at the same time. The eclectic style may also be differentiated from Art Nouveau in that it embraces a less organic, more Machine-Age celebration of technology.
  • Note the “stair step” means of connecting the garage to the main structure. This home was built in the same year that King Kong scaled a similarly stair-stepped building in New York City that had opened just two years earlier.
  • Art Deco homes often—as this example certainly does—evoke a sense of movement. Think here of the sleek ocean liners and gleaming trains that also borrowed heavily from this style in an era when the promise of technological and social progress seemed limitless.
  • Quiz Time: What element is out of place in this picture? The shutters were a later add-on and are not true to the Art Deco aesthetic.
  • Commercial examples of Art Deco (think Empire State Building or Chrysler Building) pulled out all the stops when it came to embellishments, but most residential examples of the genre were decidedly more reserved. The subtle striping atop the chimney and at the rear of the home is just the right touch to accent the clean lines of this 81-year-old landmark.
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