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Omaha Magazine

A Rustic Home with Bohemian Charm

Apr 20, 2020 12:48PM ● By Megan Fabry

Four years ago, Amber and Eric Goodenough walked into a home near 50th and Cuming streets and were immediately taken with its early-1900s style. It wasn’t perfect, but they could visualize what it could become with some imagination and a little elbow grease.

The Goodenoughs are not Omaha natives; Eric grew up in Santa Barbara, California, while Amber grew up “everywhere.” Her parents relocated their family to Omaha when she was in high school, and she attended Brownell Talbot and Central High School before moving to Lake Cunningham. Soon after she met Eric, and they married in 2000. 

The couple briefly settled in Omaha and opened Caffeine Dreams, a popular café on Farnam Street. However, they soon became overcome with wanderlust and decided to sell the café and travel the country. They traveled nonstop for five years before coming back to Omaha in 2013, buying a place downtown.

Then just a few years later, although they loved the Old Market and all it had to offer, they decided to sell their loft and settle down in Dundee.

“We just love the walkability [of the area],” Amber said. “If [Eric] had his choice, he would live with no car. We love just being close enough to walk everywhere, and Dundee has this great neighborhood feel. And I just love an old house because there’s so much character. The new builds just don’t have that,” she added.

The Goodenoughs realized early on that, in order to turn the century-old three bedroom, 1 1/2 bath house into their dream home, they were going to need some professional help. They reached out to Bryan Frost, owner and founder of Black Awning, an interior design company that specializes in designing and decorating historic homes. Frost’s first priority was to discuss the Goodenough’s vision for their home and build on their ideas.

“I ask the client what spaces are of top priority and work with their budget to see how much we can realistically do at one time,” Frost said. “Amber and Eric had more concerns about the small kitchen size. I like to look at the bones of the home, and I started to brainstorm ideas on how to achieve a larger kitchen.”  

As the couple had little use for the large dining room, they decided to relocate the kitchen to the dining space. This project took over 50 man-hours to plan and two months to finish. In the end, they created a large, functional kitchen with modern finishes and vintage touches, while still keeping the original charm. 

Amber, a wellness coach and yoga teacher, decided to turn the former kitchen space into her home office. This project proved to be a bigger endeavor than expected as well. They had to dig through two layers of tile and linoleum to discover wood floors underneath and break open the plaster walls to reveal exposed brick. Despite the extra work, the effort was well worth it, Amber said.

The Goodenoughs’ decor features a black and white contrast in the cabinets and tile, while keeping defining features, including floating walnut shelves, copper decorations, and concrete countertops (which Eric poured himself) and finishes.

“I wanted to keep it warm with all the wood and keep everything else kind of neutral. That’s my vibe, I’m kind of like a hippie lady,” Amber said with a laugh. “So I kind of brought my aesthetic in, which is lots of greens and earthy things.”

A pass-through window was created between Amber’s home office and the kitchen, where a cozy coffee bar is set up in the corner and light constantly shines through the south-facing window. 

“Amber and Eric had several inspirations for the kitchen on their wish list,” Frost said. He said he drew from those inspirations when choosing materials to use throughout the house. “I wanted the materials to have repetition and cohesion as the spaces transitioned, room to room.”

Next, they began renovating the upstairs bathroom. The floor flaunts a concrete Moroccan-inspired tile, which the couple installed themselves, along with a new sink and cabinet that recesses into the wall to save space. 

One of the extra bedrooms serves as Eric’s workspace for his web developing job, while the third is a yoga and meditation room that reflects both of their personalities. Eric’s Ganesha tapestry, which symbolizes strength and power, features prominently in the room, while Amber’s Buddha figurines, sage and crystals, and photos of the couple’s family and friends provide soothing focal points for meditation. The couple begins each morning in this room sharing thoughts and sipping coffee before starting their day.

From the outset of the home reno, the Goodenoughs were dedicated to keeping a tight budget and avoiding expensive decorations that would quickly add up over time. Frost, Amber, and Eric searched places such as Target, IKEA, and Junkstock for modestly priced furniture and accessories to add personality and flair to their new home. 

“I try to mix vintage pieces with new stuff and do something really clean and calming,” Amber said. “I think mostly it’s just about making a space that’s relaxing and chill. I’ve got enough anxiety in my life, I don’t need to be anxious when I come home.”

The Goodenoughs continue to work on their home together and come up with new ideas every day to make it exactly what they imagined. After so many years of travel, they are happy to finally have a permanent abode that truly encapsulates who they are. 

This article was printed in the May 2020 edition of OmahaHome. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.