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Omaha Magazine

The Carollo's Evolving Family, Evolving Home

Apr 28, 2022 05:12PM ● By Karen Campbell
gallery wall featuring prints and a pipe-smoking elk

Photo by Bill Sitzmann

For a couple who “never thought we’d end up settling in Omaha,” Mary and Scott Carollo admit they’re surprised to say they’ve been happy homeowners in the heartland for more than 25 years. In fact, they’ve lived in their Linden Park home so long, they recently began renovating it a second time.

The two met during student orientation at Creighton University. Mary, originally from Minneapolis, is a yoga instructor. Scott, a native of Los Angeles, graduated from Creighton University School of Medicine. He’s an interventional cardiologist at CHI Health.  

Photo by Bill Sitzmann

   “I had two sisters living here, and Scott and I have friends and colleagues from Creighton here in Omaha, so it made sense to live here,” Mary said. They moved into their current home in 1997 with their two small children. Within a few years, two more children joined their family. 

Decades later, the kids have all moved away. Vince, 26, works in Washington D.C.; Erin, 24, is a medical school student in Chicago; Isabella, 23, works in Kansas City; and Joey, 20, is a student at the University of San Diego. Yet, Mary and Scott remain in their spacious West Omaha home, not yet ready to downsize. Instead, they’re reinventing it.

“When we bought this house, everything was white,” Scott said. “And I mean everything from top to bottom.”

Photo by Bill Sitzmann

 In the late 1990s through the early 2000s, the Carollos renovated their home to reflect a rustic, Tuscany-inspired look. In 2021, with their nest now empty, the Carollos decided it was time for more updates.  

  “The house had a very comfortable feel, but the warmer colors and deep red tones made it much darker,” Mary said. “We really wanted to maintain the welcoming vibe of the house while lightening things up.”

The couple worked with Bryan Frost, owner of Black Awning Interiors, for the renovation of their kitchen, guest bathroom, and living room.

Photo by Bill Sitzmann

The kitchen was the starting point to bring in greens and earth tones and more of a natural feel to the house. The kitchen’s heated tile floor and all of the appliances were in good shape, so they stayed. But Frost faced the challenge of making the existing floor work with the new color palette.

“We used Moroccan zellige tile for the backsplash, which is a really popular tile,” Frost said. “It has a slight undertone of pink that is pulled out by the terra cotta color of the floor.”

The contrast between the matte black granite countertops and the Sherwin Williams’ Earth Green-painted cabinets lends depth to the space.

Photos by Bill Sitzmann

The centerpiece of the kitchen is the marble-topped oval table encircled by four retro leather chairs. The black rattan pendant light above the table, much like the black countertops, adds contrast.  

Frost said the “fun” green kitchen curtains, which allow in great natural light, inspired the push to sprinkle in more vibrant and varied colors throughout the three-room renovation.

Photo by Bill Sitzmann

The guest bathroom, Mary said, is really “all about the wallpaper.” The fair-trade L’Aviva Home wall coverings feature an original design by African women artisans. The background of the wallpaper is a natural linen tone, creating continuity with the earth tones of the kitchen and the living room. 

“The vanity is a vintage piece that we put some legs on and made it into a midcentury style,” Frost said. “The top is the same matte black, honed granite we used for the kitchen countertops.”

The sconces, featuring a hint of linear travertine, appear as if they were custom-made to be displayed next to the mirror over the vanity. 

Photo by Bill Sitzmann

Although it is technically a living room, the Carollos use the space more often as a bit less formal family room. It was imperative to make the space inviting to guests when entertaining, while still casual enough to lounge cozily while reading or playing guitar, as Scott sometimes does in his downtime. 

“The biggest compliment I am given about my home is that it’s comfortable.” Mary said. “We are comfy people, and if you spill your coffee here, we don’t care.”

Frost said guests cannot help but want to touch the two 96-inch moss green-colored couches in the living room, which were created by local furniture designers Roger + Chris. 

The coffee table between the couches is also an eye-catching piece. “It is made from genuine South Pacific teak wood,” Frost said.

Photo by Bill Sitzmann

The burnt orange drapes in the living room help balance out the green couches, he explained. To add a layer of texture and visual interest, Frost chose to add a grass cloth to the back of the living room cabinets and went with a carpet with a tartan-plaid design.  

  While the couches are awe-inspiring, the real highlight of the living room is the gallery wall that features pieces from the Carollos’ artwork collection.

“We really wanted to showcase the art we’ve collected over the years,” Mary said. “We have art from our travels, from friends, and from the Bemis Art Auction.” Past travel destinations include Barcelona, Tibet, Pompei, Sicily, and Easter Island.

A sentimental piece from Mary’s grandfather and a painting by local artist Bob Bosco (one of Mary’s favorites) are counted among their cherished works as well.

Photo by Bill Sitzmann

“I love their art and the great diversity of their collection, I think their collection is super cool, and I challenged myself to incorporate the colors in their artwork in that space,” Frost said. 

“Sir Reginald,” a bronze-toned, aluminum-pipe-smoking bespectacled deer head given the moniker, adds a playful touch to the room. “We even put a tie on him at Christmas,” said Scott, smiling.

The couple plan to continue making their home all their own by renovating the formal dining room and converting an upstairs bedroom into a dressing room.

“We’ve just been really happy living here,” Scott said. “We have four kids who out are of the house, and we now have this space to enjoy for ourselves.”