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Omaha Magazine

High-Country Design in the Black Hills

Sep 30, 2020 12:19PM ● By Elena Kerwin
wooden bunk beds with red bedding

Photography by S. Rose Studios

When designer Elena Kerwin received a call from one of her longtime clients saying they’d bought a vacation home in Deadwood, South Dakota, and needed her expertise, she was thrilled. The Omaha couple had finally found the ideal family retreat they’d been searching for and was excited to see how Kerwin’ s ideas would transform this great home into a high-country mansion in the middle of the Black Hills.

Kerwin’s design concept was to bring the beautiful views and wonderful history of the surroundings inside the house, while using furniture and accessories to showcase her clients’ amazing new Western art collection. 

To start, Kerwin used the magnificent views from the family room as a picture gallery and selected furniture from the Design Gallery at NFM to complement the view. A black Habersham custom media cabinet and a wood-tone bar were chosen to bring down the high ceilings and welcome their guests with a real wow factor. Additionally, a Century Furniture dining set, cozy and light country chairs, plus a custom two-toned sideboard created the perfect frame for the breathtaking views. 

The primary bedroom features an authentic stone fireplace, so Kerwin selected an embossed king bed and an ethnic accent chair, introducing a Western flavor in a tasteful way. In one of the guest rooms, she chose a lodge bunk bed to give a fun mountain vibe. Finally, the home’s loft furniture was designed to be more relaxed, with a leather sofa and leather/Southwestern fabric recliners. The end result was stunning.   

A few years later, the clients decided to build an addition to their garage to accommodate their collection of cars, bikes, and four-wheelers. The addition kept growing until it became a luxury guest house with more fun high-country furniture and accessories. Shades of aqua were introduced in the living room on accent pillows and a cocktail leather fabric ottoman, as well as fun bar stools with crocodile backs. A dining set with cowhide and leather chairs added more high-country style. And more space meant more opportunities for the couple to display their ever-growing assortment of art. In the guest house’s primary bedroom, dark Western furniture, one-of-a-kind Southwestern rugs, and a bluish crocodile desk chair created the perfect mood for this addition. 

The final result was a guest home as impressive and welcoming as the main house. Together, they make a vacation retreat to remember. 


Meet the Interior Designer
Elena Kerwin
Allied ASID
Design Gallery NFM

Elena has been an international interior designer for many years. Her world view allows her to tailor unique styles to accommodate each one of her many clients’ unique lifestyles. Elena’s work has been published in Architectural Digest, as well as international newspapers and local magazines.

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