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Omaha Magazine

Redesign after the Great Flood

Feb 25, 2019 08:59PM ● By Tara Spencer

We awoke the morning after Christmas 2017 to devastating water damage throughout the entire main floor of our home. The dishwasher malfunctioned overnight, and seeping water destroyed most of the living space on the main floor.

The mitigation crew arrived within hours and revealed their plan to demolish the entire kitchen. All flooring on the main level and anything set on the flooring had to be removed—including all the moldings, some drywall, and even the fireplace.

Being an interior designer, I realized this was an opportunity to update the early-2000s home. It was my chance to move away from darker earth tones and create a lighter and brighter residential space. The most significant challenge on this project was incorporating some of the existing furniture pieces into the new soft neutral gray color palette. Meanwhile, the bulk of the budget was allocated for creating the dream kitchen.

blue kitchen island with two stools

My wish list for the kitchen design included a 67-inch refrigerator/freezer combination, a wine refrigerator, double ovens, and a coffee bar. I was able to accomplish all the criteria by removing the large walk-in pantry; however, that created the challenge of replacing 32 linear feet of pantry storage space. A custom-built, floor-to-ceiling pantry cabinet that is only 12-inches deep solved this problem. The new pantry provides 36 linear feet of storage and includes a hydraulic lift in the appliance garage for easy access. Another advantage of removing the corner pantry was the space gained. 

I was able to use every inch of the reclaimed space to equip the coffee bar area with an espresso machine, floating shelves (to house plenty of mugs and coffee knickknacks), and a storage cabinet below. Special LED lighting and tile to the ceiling add charm and character to the whole kitchen.

dining area w/ table, windows on three sides

The old oak floors were replaced with 4-inch hickory wood boards with a coffee-hued tung oil finish. The finish gives the floors a casual matte sheen. The red brick fireplace stone was replaced with floor-to-ceiling silver ash ledger stone. The soft neutral cream and gray colors in the stone add lightness to the whole room. 

Dark red and gold walls were repainted with a soft yellow and gray palette. I chose gold accents to complement some of the pieces that remained, as well as add warmth to the new gray coloring. Contemporary wallpaper was strategically placed in the dining room off the entry to add character. Also, a light cream, tone-on-tone wallpaper with a subtle, classic pattern replaced a heavy metallic bronze faux finish in the powder bath. Opposite the dining room, the office was transformed from a dark red cave with cherry furniture to a light and bright workspace. The medium wood and metal furniture contrast the light walls and create a beautiful workspace.

powder room featuring floating vanity

The whole main floor was transformed from a dated, dark, earth tone color palette to a light and bright neutral space. The whole house seems larger and more open. What started as a disaster turned out to be a wonderful blessing for what feels like a brand-new dream home.   

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This article was printed in the March/April 2019 edition of OmahaHome. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.
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