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Omaha Magazine

Opposites Attract: The Lupos’ Living Room Combines Clean Lines and Culture

Feb 25, 2021 02:18PM ● By Lisa Lukecart
white living room, mid-century look

Photography by Bill Sitzmann

The room blends introverted self-reflection with extroverted extravagance, much like the couple’s personalities. Lisa López-Lupo embraces her vibrant Hispanic heritage while her husband, Tony Lupo,  prefers a clean, midcentury look. After 10 years of marriage, both have a keen eye for what works—combining their maximalist and minimalist aesthetic.

Though Lisa did question some of Tony’s selections when they first moved into the Cape Cod-style house in Dundee three years ago. 

“As a wife, I didn’t want to listen to him. I really wanted to hate it, but I loved it,” Lisa joked. 

The small living room was transformed, swapping drab gray for clean white walls. Tony found chairs and a sofa at Mod Lines Vintage Mid-Century & Retro. The shop reupholstered the furniture, but the design remains reminiscent of the 1960s. The room, along with the RCA record player purchased at Mod Lines, reminds guests of bygone days when friends gathered over a cocktail and discussed events. Tony and Lisa wanted it to be a conversation area, but the pandemic has halted even casual get-togethers. The style lends itself to intimate settings, free of modern-day technological intrusions.    

Tony, 32, loves to sit in his burgundy vintage chair, reading philosophy or theology under the curved reading lamp. Their gray terrier mix, Henry, either nestles in his lap or growls at people who dare enter his turf. Lisa, 30, lounges on the navy sofa, listening to music from the antique RCA console. The white and mustard square-patterned pillows are a point of contention.  

“I hate couch pillows. A couch is a pillow. It’s putting a pillow on top of a pillow. It makes no sense,” Tony argued. 

Lisa got some help picking out the décor from interior designer Bryan Frost. Frost, founder of Black Awning, curated the space. Since it’s an older house, the artwork leans against walls rather than hangs, so as not to make holes in the plaster. Lisa also does this in part because it’s less of a commitment. Tony, an Army officer, has to move often, so sometimes it doesn’t pay to become too attached to homes. Some of their decor items were picked up along their travels, such as a wooden stool from Scotland. The couple use it as a drink stand. Others were shipped in from exotic locales, such as the beanbag cover from Morocco. It was stuffed with paper and made to hold books. Even though they’ll be moving to Texas in June, they find comfort in their surroundings, however temporary, by adding artistic touches. 

“Beauty in your living space nourishes the soul,” Tony explained. 

Much of that nourishment comes from religious Hispanic art. Lisa shows appreciation for her heritage by adding prayer candles, which cast a scented, warm glow above the white fireplace. A traditional Our Lady of Guadalupe, made out of crushed mosaic glass, takes center stage on the mantel. Lisa picked it out during a trip to the shrine in San Juan, about 10 minutes from her hometown of McAllen, Texas. 

“[Lisa’s] love for her heritage is just really unique and beautiful,” Frost said of his client and friend. 

The room’s relatively neutral color palette allows Lisa’s collections to shine. A large framed poster of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo rests against the wall. A print of an acrylic painting, “La Virgen y el Luchador (the Virgin and the Fighter)” by Jesus Lorenzo, adds a flamboyant cultural touch to another wall. A bit of Texan influence can be seen in Matt Messinger’s painting of two light-blue deer set against a tan backdrop. A drawing of a voluptuous, naked woman wearing a cross was picked up at a shop in nearby Lincoln. 

“Whenever I see something a little different and out of the ordinary, it catches my eye,” Lisa added. 

Wherever their life might take them next, the pair will find comfort in the familiarity of their worldly, intimate art and decor, adding new inspirational pieces along the way.  

This article was printed in the March/April 2021 edition of Home Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.