A Historic Home Charms in HanscomNov 01, 2022 08:04AM ● By Leo Adam Biga
Photo by Bill Sitzmann
History and beauty speak through time and distance. An appreciation for both led a Colorado-based family to recently purchase a Victorian Colonial Revival home in the Hanscom Park neighborhood without visiting it in person.
New owners, Christine Hethcock and daughters Jennifer Bergin and Brittany Hethcock, said the house—built in 1892 as the model home and residence of Hanscom Place developer George N. Hicks—checked all the boxes for their ideal Airbnb investment property.
An online search led them to the designated Omaha landmark property at 3017 Pacific Street, whose bright blue and white exterior pops as much as its architectural detail delights.
“We bought it off the pictures,” Christine said. “Our realtor, Marilyn Hinn, walked the house with us on a Zoom video tour. It was just what we were looking for in terms of something very unique that had some great historical charm. As the model home, [the developer] put in every single upgrade offered at the time. For that era, it was completely state of the art.”
“We love history,” Jennifer added. “It’s part of the heart of the home. We want to bring our guests into that history. As they walk through the home, we’re going to have newspaper articles, photos, and other pieces for them to enjoy. We want to leave them with a greater sense and bigger understanding.”
Developer Hicks and architect F.C. Ledebrink had opulence in mind when they built the residence. The new owners appreciate how every design element is substantial and considered: the interior’s massive oak main staircase with fluted columns and intricate lattice work; eight-foot-high, four-panel doors with transoms and large wood-framed bay windows throughout; generous baseboards feature molded trim and corner blocks.
Solidity and whimsy start outside. “The grand front doors are so beautiful, tall, and heavy,” Jennifer said. “Solid pieces of oak,” Christine noted, adding, “Every door in the house was hand-built on-site.”
Exterior adornments include the frilled columns and crowns framing the facade, a steely pitched roof with cornices and dormer, and the recessed, arched second-story balcony off the primary bedroom accented by a diamond-paned slit window above. A rich color palette and a full-length front porch add warm, welcoming elements.
“The outside features draw you to the home,” Jennifer said. “You instantly fall in love and can’t wait to see what magic and fun is inside.”
The 3,800-square-foot interior practically glows from a subdued white and dark espresso motif that makes the already spacious rooms seem even larger.
“The wallpaper is stunning. It really gives the whole house an understated but dramatic effect,” said Jennifer, adding that a 2016 restoration by the previous owners brightened and updated the house. “The family that owned it before obviously took a hold of that and did a very nice job with it.”
Additional interior delights include an original clawfoot tub, a Pullman sink, pine floors, and a nursery. “Chandeliers add an extra touch of elegance to every room,” Jennifer said. Two sitting rooms and a bedroom feature stained glass window flourishes.
Omaha’s real estate values made it too good an opportunity to pass up.
“A house of this historical magnitude, size, and detail in Denver would sell for over $1 million,” said Christine, who purchased the Omaha home with her daughters for $320,000.
The location, near amenities Hansom Park, Midtown, Old Market, Henry Doorly Zoo, and Lauritzen Gardens, also makes it appealing.
With its landmark status, the owners cannot make major renovations without special permit. Not that they want to anyway. “We like it just the way it is,” Christine said, though new safety and access features have made it code-compliant and user-friendly.
The women see it as an ideal home away from home for visiting nurses, doctors, and other professionals, as well as tourists or locals seeking a unique staycation site.
A property manager handles rentals and upkeep. Though they reside in Colorado, the family uses it for their own getaways. “We just love it,” Jennifer said. “We want to share it with as many people as possible to see its rich historical value and aesthetic appeal.”