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Omaha Magazine

After the Flood

Dec 27, 2022 08:10AM ● By Megan Fabry

Photo by Bill Sitzmann.

After The Flood | The Matthews' Home [10 Images] Click Any Image To Expand
Sunlight streams in through the west windows of Rose and Jason Mathews’ home, bathing the kitchen and family room in a warm glow. The ‘Swanbridge’ Cambria quartz island countertop catches the light just so, highlighting its subtle marble-like tonality. 

All seems rosy in the couple’s Bellevue-area home on Hanson Lake #2 today. But it was just a few short years ago when major spring flooding destroyed their former residence—Jason’s beloved childhood home, which he’d purchased from his parents—forcing the Mathews to find temporary housing. Then, the couple had a difficult decision to make:  tear down their water-ravaged home and build anew, or move away for good.  The choice did not take long to make; they would rebuild from the ground up. Losing the house was tough, but leaving the site they had such a strong emotional connection with would have proven more difficult.   

 “After going through insurance, I ended up tearing it down myself,” Jason said.

Demolition took place July 2019 and construction began December 2019. A mere three months later, in the thick of working with contractors on the new-build, COVID shut down the country.

“It was a challenge because we were building it during the pandemic, and some of the sub[contractor]s for the house didn’t want to meet with anybody. Or we had to social distance, and it’s difficult to build a house and social distance,” Rose said.

Eventually, their slate of ideas began to take shape with the help of Interiors by Eric James. James, a veteran designer of 20-plus years, would be the one at their side throughout the experience to assist in the decision-making on everything, from the Ethan Allen furniture to the golden handles on the kitchen cabinets.

“We met Eric, who was a godsend, because I was really suffering from decision constipation, and he really helped a lot,” Rose said. “He has a great eye for how things blend and mesh. Based on our conversations with him, he got an idea of what our style was and what we really liked.”

“They showed me some Pinterest stuff to give me an idea of what they wanted, and we coordinated with what was functional and affordable,” James said. “A lot of people know what they like, but not how to make it work (in their space), and that’s where I come in.”

“A lot of times [Rose] would like something different than what I would like, and then somehow he would figure out a compromise that we both liked,” Jason said.

James described the Mathews’ home style as modern farmhouse—casual, comfortable decor with a bit of refinement. The design color scheme was influenced by the home’s locale, he added.

“The lake is definitely a focal point of the home, as they have a great spot on the water,” he said. “We used lots of blues and cool, calming colors to create a really mellow feeling throughout.”
Cultured stone on the fireplace, espresso wood shelves, exposed beams, and heathered-gray furniture in the family and dining rooms add to the dressed-up farmhouse feel. In the guest suite bath, a black frame shower wall, brushed nickel cabinet pulls, and white subway tile create a classic yet striking look.  

 “Customers seem to be loving the black metal accents,” James said. “And there’s really no reason you can’t mix metals.”

James did so again in the kitchen, pairing the black faucet and farmhouse-style light fixtures with fanciful brushed gold cabinet pulls and pendant light fixtures.

The overall design is polished,  yet the homeowners worked in a few playful touches, including geometric wall slates and floor tiles in the upstairs bathrooms and laundry room.

The Mathews moved into their new house in late October 2020, although design work is still in progress. The couple is once again collaborating with James to complete their basement with a speakeasy theme.

On the main level, a watercolor painting that depicts both the old house and the new is displayed on the wall. The painting includes a large tree standing firm on the north side of the home, one planted by Jason’s parents years ago. The work also includes a pelican sitting on a lake piling, placed there by Jason’s father. The sentimental artwork is a daily reminder of the home and father loved and lost.

“Jason’s dad passed away unexpectedly in December 2016,” Rose said. “So, it’s really important for us that the artist included that little piece for his dad.” 

This article originally appeared in the January/February 2023 issue of Omaha Home magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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