The Basement That Dreams Are Made Of
Oct 24, 2018 12:08PM
By Kara Schweiss
The house that had once been featured on Street of Dreams was still beautiful, but they wanted new features like a lower-level bar and enhanced entertainment area, and they hoped to address some inefficiencies in layout.
They soon discovered that the renovations they wanted most were structurally impossible or unreasonably expensive. “The cost would have been excessive,” Stenger says. “That drove us to start looking at existing homes. We looked for over a year and couldn’t find exactly what we wanted.”
Ultimately, instead of settling for not-quite-right, she says, “We decided it was best to build.”
Friends recommended Elizabeth Monical of Elizabeth Monical Interior Design, who collaborated with the Stengers and builder Dave Boltinghouse to design the perfect home for the family in a new Bellevue neighborhood.
The new design incorporated every feature on the Stengers’ wish list and more: a ranch-style floor plan with an open layout, a cigar room, canine-friendly luxury vinyl flooring (the family has four rescue dogs), great flow, and a transitional look with interesting textures, natural finishes, and a warm-yet-modern vibe.
“It’s user-friendly and functional, and everything is where I wanted it to be,” Stenger says.
And best of all, the Stengers now have the deluxe lower level they dreamed of.
“We really like to have friends and family over,” Stenger says. “There is a lot more space and more areas to congregate; the house is so much better set up for entertaining.”
The space first and foremost boasts an element the family has wanted for years: a full wet bar. Roomy enough to seat four with a view to a large wall-mounted television, the area also functions as a kitchenette with prep space and storage.
In their former home, the Stengers felt hindered by load-bearing posts. Advances in residential engineering make it possible for their new home to have the open entertainment space they envisioned, with 10-foot ceilings and room to seamlessly accommodate both shuffleboard and pool tables. There’s also a fireplace sitting area with multiple TV screens, and a large table seats up to six—equally perfect for card games or meals. A popcorn machine is another fun touch to the basement.
Extending from a golf simulator room (“My husband’s favorite room in the house,” Stenger says) are golf-themed décor details. There is a custom-made, oversized mixed-media art piece dedicated to Augusta National Golf Club (created by local artist Jennifer Radil), a floor-to-ceiling golf course wall mural, and appealing artifacts throughout the space.
Monical, who decorated and furnished the entire home, “made it all come together,” Stenger says. “She really did some personal touches that surprised me.” The homeowner’s favorite? A “Wally’s” sign honoring her late father.
“She would always say, ‘Wait until you see the final vision,’” Stenger says. “And it was awesome when it was finished.”
“The thing that makes this house so successful is the amount of trust they had in our service as a design firm,” Monical says. “We really got to know their family, friends, and daily needs. We selected finishes that they approved and proposed ways to make certain areas extra-special…It was so amazing to be a part of their life story.”
Stenger says she and her husband intend to stay in this home through their golden years, so their experience with building and designing the new home was truly a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence.
“Hire someone you trust and who you can bounce ideas off of,” she says. “When you work with a professional, they think about all those functional things. It’s so worth it in the end because you end up with the design you want, the functionality you want, and the look you want."
Visit monicaldesign.com for more information about Elizabeth Monical Interior Design.
This article was printed in the November/December 2018 edition of OmahaHome. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.