Becky Anderon's Aksarben Gem: Arts & Crafted to PerfectionNov 01, 2021 10:57AM ● By Sean Robinson
Photo by Bill Sitzmann
Surrounded almost completely by windowed walls and roofing, Becky Anderson sits munching ruby-red raspberries and petite cheese slices in her kitchen nook. The angled shape of the room combined with all its glass windows give it the appearance of one giant jewel. Outside meets inside here as Anderson’s bountiful yard is visible all around. For her and husband Bill Minier, life inside this gem—and the remainder of their Aksarben-area home—is as sweet as the fruit she’s eating.
“This is my favorite place in the house. My glass room,” Anderson said. “It’s close to the garden in the summer, and there’s no better place to have warm coffee while it snows in the winter.”
Built in 1925, the English Tudor Revival has received its fair share of updates since Anderson and Minier bought the property in 1986. Over the past 30 years, Anderson has worked with Marilyn Hansen, a local acclaimed interior designer, to renovate the space while still retaining much of its original character.
Room by room, piece by piece, the duo has brought charm back to the interior of the once-dated home by respecting its roots and incorporating Arts and Crafts styling.
While most homes today strive for modernism or minimalism, Arts and Crafts is all about individuality. This décor movement evolved in Europe as a protest to Victorian style, focusing on function and superior craftsmanship instead of ornamentation and over-the-top accessorizing. Richly textured wallpaper, earth tones, and stained-glass windows are all cornerstones of Arts and Crafts. That’s why it’s no coincidence all those elements are found within the Anderson-Minier home.
“There is detail through and through in this home. You don’t just get a table, then stick it in,” Hansen said. “Many clients just want to know how much it’s going to cost and how quick. This home—Becky—isn’t that. We think so much alike, and it works really well.”
So well, in fact, this home has netted numerous accolades and mentions throughout the years. Better Homes & Gardens once featured the property, and Hansen’s work on the home's main floor earned silver recognition last year at the American Society of Interior Design Awards for the Nebraska and Iowa chapter. That's high praise from her fellow designers.
Walk through the home and it’s no wonder there’s a buzz surrounding this place. The window-encapsulated portion of the kitchen was added to the original structure in 1994, winning its own ASID award at the time. But that’s just the beginning of what makes this house unlike any other.
The living room looks like something taken right from a storybook, with the furnishings centered around an Inglenook fireplace that has a shortwave radio built above it. Beautifully crafted lamps in glass and mica imbue the room with a rich glow, while wood beams above run counter to the adjoining library with built-in bookcases.
Big projects, such as restoring plaster detailing in the dining room ceiling or completely updating the kitchen, have kept Anderson and Hansen busy over the past three decades. However, the finer details have been just as important. A walnut table fit for a family of 12 to dine, wall treatments, runners—it’s all been meticulously picked by Hansen and approved by Anderson.
“Fidelity to the Arts and Crafts era inspired the design. We looked at lots of books, then also resourced our own sense of proportion and aesthetics,” Anderson said. “A lot of what’s here are family items, too. We had to find a way to blend them that’s not jarring.”
The Anderson-Minier residence is as fun to ogle on the outside as it is inside. All red brick with a steeply pitched roof that arches above the driveway, this 3,400-square-foot home is truly Tudor on the exterior.
“People need to stop flipping these darn houses and look at what you already have. Be sensitive to the flavor of the home. Look at it from the outside, and that architecture should be reflected once you get inside,” Hansen said.
Today, this is a historic home that retains its historic aesthetic. As much as it harkens to the past, it has an equally bright present and future. The resident couple enjoy hosting family Christmases, complete with elaborate glass-blown ornaments adorning a big fir tree inside, and an annual midsummer celebration with 75 of their closest loved ones. “I want this to be a welcoming place,” Anderson said. “There are grander homes and far more ornate ones, but this one combines the elements of great design and high livability. There’s a story to tell here. Now it shows.”
This article originally appeared in the November/December 2021 issue of Omaha Home. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.