Field Club Home Embodies Owners Passion for Art
Apr 25, 2019 04:49PM
By Patrick Mainelli
Although Katie and Craig LeDoux have lived in their Field Club neighborhood home for only a year, the house already contains more than one lifetime of memories.
Built in 1910 in the American Foursquare style, their residence is full of tasteful touches common to the unassuming style that’s often described as a middle road between the Prairie School and Craftsman aesthetics. A hearty fireplace anchors the main living area, while several bay windows open the space to light from all sides.
“It had been on the market a while,” Katie remembers. “It was totally empty, unstaged, and the whole main floor just blended together into one open space. It must have intimidated some people, but we saw right away how we could make it our own.”
Today, it’s hard to picture the space in anything but its current state: bursting with color and meticulously designed, with large works of art dominating each room and dozens of smaller pieces waiting to surprise around every corner.
The richly diverse art collection is the fruit of relationships built with artists from around the country and years of traveling and shared memory-making. For nearly every piece hung on the wall or adorning one of the house’s several built-in shelves, there is a story or personal connection attached.
“It’s really important to us, when we buy a piece of art, to make or have a personal connection to the artist,” Katie says. “We feel that makes it more meaningful for everyone involved. We love getting to know the creators, the stories behind the pieces, and what inspires them.”
The LeDouxs moved to Omaha in May 2017. Coming off of nearly two decades working in Washington, D.C., Katie admits that Omaha wasn’t exactly on the couple’s radar: “We didn’t know anyone who had ever even been to Omaha.”
Settling first in a downtown apartment, Katie and Craig found themselves quickly taken by their adopted city. “It has everything we enjoy: great restaurants, lots of art galleries and cultural events,” Craig points out.
“And everyone is so nice here!” Katie chimes in, relating the story of her early encounter with a passing stranger in the Old Market who offered a cheery, though unsolicited, hello. “My first thought was, ‘What does this person want?’” Katie says with a laugh. “That someone would just say hello to a stranger was unexpected. It was almost like I didn’t understand the concept.”
While downtown life was nice, after so many years living amid the bustle of the nation’s capital, the LeDouxs were ready for a little more space. When their realtor asked if the couple would be comfortable with a 20-minute commute (Craig works at Offutt Air Force Base as manager of the U.S. Air Force Heartland of America Band), Craig could only laugh. “It used to take me that long just to get from the office and out of the parking lot,” he says.
The Field Club neighborhood charmed the couple immediately. “We loved the great mix of quirky different homes,” Katie says. “Plus, it’s so family-friendly. Our first Halloween here was so much fun—so many kids and families out on the streets.”
“The second we walked into this house we knew it was the one,” Craig recalls. It’s apparent that the house took to the LeDouxs rather quickly as well. Although they have only owned the residence since May 2018, the couple’s eclectic taste defines the space so completely that it feels as if they’ve already spent decades settling in.
After cultivating longstanding relationships with artists like Lynn Boggess, Aron Fischer, and Jonathan Blum, the LeDouxs collection now includes a number of commissioned original works. Many of these pieces pay specific homage to places from their past and stories of their time together. From personal references as subtle as a gin and tonic (a favorite cocktail) perched on the head of a hippo (the unofficial mascot of George Washington University where Katie and Craig met), the collection quietly embodies a narrative story unique to its owners.
Nowhere is this more apparent than the home’s front door. Paneled with stained-glass images of flowers made by Omaha artist Valerie Batt, the door sets the tenor for the home as both art piece and personal history. In the top panel, a sunflower (a nod to van Gogh, the couple’s favorite artist). Below that, morning glories, reflecting those grown at Craig’s childhood home. Below that, hydrangea, invoking memories of the couple’s time spent on Cape Cod.
Ultimately, the collection and the home that contains it are the reflection of a shared life—one rich with a passion for travel and an appreciation for the new. “We’ve never actually had the conversations about what kind of art we’re looking for,” Craig says. “We’re attracted to abstraction, I suppose, but we’re open to whatever grabs us.”
It seems clear that the couple has been “grabbed” by Omaha as well. “I had no expectations,” Katie says, “but this felt like home right away, like a community I can count on.”
This article was printed in the May 2019 edition of OmahaHome. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.