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Omaha Magazine

Studio Style in Blackstone

Oct 01, 2021 01:47PM ● By Hannah Amrollahi
square shelves with sculptures and art

Photo by Bill Sitzmann

Shelby Bockman’s entire 500-square-foot studio in Blackstone Corner, a luxury apartment building at 36th and Farnam streets, could fit snuggly inside a single room of an expansive west Omaha home. But that doesn’t make it any less appealing, she said.

In fact, Bockman might argue that studio living is the way to live as a city dweller, requiring less housekeeping and monthly expense and freeing up more time and money to enjoy the arts and entertainment of the urban center to which she was drawn.

“The area matters, and the building itself (matters),” she explained, more so than the actual square footage. “Everything in your apartment, you can make work.”  

  Bockman moved to Omaha’s Blackstone district from 120th Street in June 2020, becoming the first apartment owner in the building. Her studio looks out onto Farnam Street, aka main street Blackstone, as well as the Kimpton Cottonwood Hotel, the Cottonwood Pool Club, and southwest sunsets. 

Bockman takes advantage of the nightlife and restaurants in the area, including Red Lion Lounge and Mula. She was especially excited to see the restored Kimpton open in 2020 and loves spending time there. She even spent last Christmas at the revived hotel. 

“I saw everything coming in” [as they furnished it], Bockman said. “I think it’s just the coolest place in Omaha.”

Preparing for studio living took some real work, Bockman said. She had to downsize considerably and identify key possessions.

“If I don’t think I’ll love it in two years, I have to say goodbye,” Bockman said, sharing her method to minimalism.

Photo by Bill Sitzmann    

After paring down her belongings, Bockman had few decorative items to move and spent a year filling the apartment with an eclectic collection of new finds from HomeGoods, and Beyond the Vine and other local retailers.

Bockman’s apartment entry is a small hallway with a cork board wall displaying watercolor portraits she’s painted, along with other posters. The hall extends past her sleeping nook and an additional clothes rack, and opens into the living area and kitchen.

“Use the wall,” Bockman said, offering a tip for studio space planning. “You need to get something on the wall.” 

By forgoing a desk and choosing a bookcase divider between the sleeping nook and living area, Bockman created substantially more storage and display area for clothes, books, and art. The bookshelf wall also acts as a barrier between the living room and sleeping area for more privacy. In addition, an elevated bed with shelves built below provides yet more storage in the sleeping nook.

Her galley kitchen is well-appointed, with a slate-colored subway tile backsplash, clean white cabinets, and an oven, a microwave, and a large fridge, though Bockman seldom cooks at home. 

“I’ve never been someone who sits down and eats,” she said. 

White walls add a sense of space to the room and allow the colors and textures in furnishings to take spotlight; among them, a deep-red velvet chair, a rug in a weathered Persian design, and furry throw pillows. 

Blackstone Corner was developed by Green-Slate, which owns more than 15 properties in the area, most of them between 35th and 42nd streets along Farnam. The building’s lot was once home to a mansion built in 1894 that acted as a residence, mortuary, and fraternity house before demolition.

In addition to apartments, Blackstone Corner features commercial space on the ground level; restaurants; and gyms on every floor specializing in cardio, spin, or yoga. Other building amenities include a large communal patio with grills, firepits, and a  lounge area—plenty of options where Bockman can host gatherings with friends. 

“You don’t have to have [private] space,” Bockman said. “It is doable.”  

This article originally appeared in the October 2021 issue of Omaha Home. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.  

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