Showcasing Local Art in a MidCentury Modern DreamApr 21, 2020 11:04AM ● By Liz Stevens
In a neighborhood nestled off 84th and Pacific streets, amongst a sea of light-toned and neutral color schemes, one home in particular catches the eye; its dark charcoal paint and midcentury modern flare create an aesthetic contrast that’s hard to miss.
Homeowner and BUNGALOW/8 Hairdressing owner Eric Burden purchased the ranch, built in 1962, in October 2014 and began renovating in June 2015. The home was reimagined with midcentury modern design elements and pops of intrigue from local artists’ works and family mementos.
Using his cousin’s construction company, Ideal Construction, the home was stripped down to its bare bones, Burden said.
“We did our best to maintain the original structure of the house without getting rid of the character,” he added.
While the layout was being reconfigured, the plumbing, electrical work, and windows were all replaced, Burden said. Today, tall, vertical windowpanes all along the back side of the house allow in an abundance of natural light, bringing the home alive again.
Burden said he was inspired by midcentury modern design, having spent much time at his grandparents’ home as a child. “I was in love with that house. It was my favorite place to be,” he recalled.
When construction ended, the home’s interior was reconceived with the help of designers Julia Russell of Julia Russell Designs and Roger Hazard and Chris Stout-Hazard of Roger + Chris.
Russell, who also has a passion for the design style (“I have a midcentury modern house myself” which she partially restored), said the project goal was simple. “When we went into [the Burden House], they [previous owners] had really changed the style. We tried to honor the original integrity of the house.”
Midcentury modern design is about form and function while making pieces feel artistic. This was accomplished by choosing unique textures, comfortable accent furniture, and a few custom pieces that make a statement.
Moving up a long driveway, a solid wood half wall with large chrome house numbers frames the walkway up to the home’s front door. The front patio, which was formerly just a few steps leading to the entry, is now roofed in to give the space a modern flare. The door opens up to living space with a fireplace and great natural light.
To add color to his home, Burden incorporated artwork from the original collection created by his father, painter Steven Burden. A large blue and orange abstract piece above the fireplace brings a modern flair and great energy to the space. The room has a custom cream-colored leather couch from Roger + Chris that Burden describes as a “modern chesterfield, but without the rivets.”
Adjacent to the fireplace is a gallery wall showcasing work by famous pop artist Donald Robertson. One piece features a woman in the foreground and a Reese’s peanut butter cereal box design in the background.
Burden selected an installation piece from local designer Angie Seykora as well. “I am really into artwork, I am really involved with the Lauritzen Gardens antique show, and I am a big gardener, personally. A lot of the artwork in the house was bought at Omaha [events].”
Russell said she appreciated working with a huge art lover. “Eric has such a unique style of art, which made it fun. Because he has been collecting, we laid everything out. He was thinking about what he had and what he could get, and was excited at the prospect of adding new pieces to his collection.”
Moving through the home, the kitchen has a bright and spacious feel. The light fixtures hanging over the island’s waterfall countertop were refurbished from an old diner from the 1950s. Two gold table lamps, set back in the countertop corners, and plants on top of the island add points of interest. The small railing just off to the side of the room was created to mimic a piece from his grandparents’ home. The focal point in the room, however, is a large circular painting done by his father, with bright blues, oranges, and yellow.
“I spend most of my time in the kitchen,” Burden said. “We did all lower cabinets so there is plenty of space. We can see the natural beauty of the neighborhood [from here.] Whenever we have a party, everyone is hanging out here.”
What is now the dining room and living space used to be the garage, Burden said. He brought more family art into this space by adding some framed Mola art pieces from his grandparents’ trip to Panama in the late 1960s. The dining room table is situated along several large windows with white transparent treatments. The dark wooden table is accented by a couple red chairs.
Directly next to the kitchen area is another living space with a custom-made red-orange couch from Roger + Chris, who also refurbished chairs to match. The space is defined by a large built-in bookshelf and entertainment center separating the living room from the entryway.
The master bedroom and en-suite are toward the back of the home. The side wall in the master is full of windows with delicate fabric treatments. Burden said he loves waking up to the natural light poking through the blinds.
Double doors open to the master bath to reveal a bright spa-like oasis. Burden selected a dark grey tile to complement the charcoal cabinets and silver accents around the room.
The other rooms in the house continue to pair neutral tones with pops of color and statement furniture pieces.
“Really, we wanted to keep it simple, picking accents that went really well together,” Burden said. “You just learn that simpler choices are much better.”
This article was printed in the May 2020 edition of OmahaHome. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.