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Omaha Magazine

From Drab to Distinctive in Regency

Dec 27, 2022 08:09AM ● By Lisa Lukecart
At Home. Photo by Bill Sitzmann.

Photo by Bill Sitzmann.

At Home | The Prenger's House [9 Images] Click Any Image To Expand
Scary-looking, Holly Prenger thought as she gazed at the overgrown lawn crawling around the brick façade of a home listing in Regency. The interior, dressed in a neglected and lifeless design, coordinated all too well with the exterior. The entryway repelled visitors with its dated tile, while mismatched carpet and tired vinyl flooring spread through the rest of the house. Dreary river rock surrounded a small fireplace outlined in gold trim, and drab wooden shelves bookended the hearth—the whole look cloaking the living room in darkness despite the light streaming in from above. Closed-off walls created a claustrophobic scene in the kitchen.

But despite it all, Holly’s husband, Nic, remained ‘all in.’

“We were looking for a forever home, so the location was important,” Nic said. The founder and CEO of the digital consulting firm Prenger Solutions Group soon convinced his wife to see the neighborhood’s charm and the house’s potential, and a purchase ensued in 2013. A major makeover of the interior would be put on hold, though, until the children grew older. Eight years later, the couple—who met while studying for the bar exam at Creighton University School of Law—decided renovations needed to finally happen to keep their home filled with contentment and merriment. 

“It was worth the wait,” Holly said. “It feels like home. It feels like us.”

The Prengers started renovations with the primary bedroom and transformed it into a tranquil retreat. A salmon-colored chair now sits tucked to one side under a reading lamp, waiting for Holly to consume another book. A tufted beige linen headboard brings out the shades of striped taupe in the blue wallpaper behind it, while light-gray walls cool down the room. Charcoal-hued barn doors lead into the primary bath suite.  

 The main floor’s facelift would come later that same year, in September 2021. 

“It was obviously dated. There wasn’t a good flow to the house, the rooms were closed off, and the space wasn’t being maximized how it could be,” said Mary Ritzdorf, director of residential design with JH Interior Design Studio. 

A jackhammer smashed through the ugly entrance tile, which was replaced with luxury vinyl plank in a warm wood tone. A cozy glow from a circular chandelier now embraces guests who walk through the door. A round mirror above a black console table with gold knobs accents the design.

Ritzdorf wanted to dress up the boring, flat staircase walls. Walls2Floor, which handled all the construction in the house, created white paneled millwork to add depth and dimension. A chevron-patterned gray carpet runner lends a blush of contemporary color to the stairs. 
The home’s layout lacked cohesiveness, but tearing down walls and putting down the same-toned plank wood flooring in the kitchen and living room solved the issue. 

“It wasn’t all open, so now it’s helpful when I watch my little brothers and they get into trouble. I can still see them,” Lilly, 12, said. Although she loves all the changes in her refurbished home—“especially the smell”—Lilly spends most of her time in her bedroom reading on her window seat. 

The new remote-controlled fireplace with white marble tiles and paneling brightens up the living room. Beechwood cabinets in a stone-colored stain mixed with lighter-painted shelves provide a rich, timeless guise. A beam on the ceiling, painted a charcoal color, accents the neutral tonality of the design. Their chunky bunny, Otis, matches the décor with his velvety, smokey-colored fur coat. He even has his own little house with a private ‘restroom.’  

A linen gray sectional couch makes the most sense for the large family, who might battle for the remote control while watching movies on its soft cushions. A titanium-colored leather armchair is on back order and should arrive soon. No one has claimed the future spot. 

“It’s whoever gets there first,” Holly declared.

Light streams in through added windows and the sliding glass doors in the kitchen. Holly prefers shutters to curtains since they remind her of growing up in her home state of Texas. The family enjoys dinner around the gray-brown Amish table. The snowy cushions of the chairs surrounding it might seem impractical with three children, but their protective Sunbrella fabric makes them almost stain-proof.

“So far, so good,” Holly said with a laugh. 

The marbled-gray leather bar stools, perched by the white quartz-top island, provide easy clean-up for messier dinners in the kitchen. Recessed flood lights rejuvenate the previously gloomy room. Nic frequently sits at the island, an ideal spot for working on his laptop or for helping the kids with homework. 

Another issue with the old kitchen was the lack of storage space for canned goods and mini appliances. Ritzdorf designed a hidden walk-in pantry (replacing the formal dining room) behind the kitchen. A mini “coffee shop” resides there now, with mugs and machines at easy reach. The concealed space also doubles as an office space for Holly, who helps out with family business on occasion. Above her desk, a long window overlooks the backyard, giving her a broad view of kids playing and lots of natural light.  

 The main upstairs area took about four months to complete while the Prengers lived in the basement. The lower level has since been turned into a “man cave,” at least according to the two little boys watching The Amazing World of Gumball series on the big screen. Simon, 10, sat cuddled under his fuzzy brown blanket on a rusty leather chair passed down from his grandfather while watching the show.

“Every guy likes a good recliner. I have plans (to get rid of it), but haven’t succeeded,” Holly explained. 

“And you never will,” Reed, 7, yelled from yet another sectional sofa; one so large he’s barely visible. 

The bar area does appear quite masculine, with its deep brown ceramic backsplash. Besides an entertainment area, the basement houses Nic’s office, which doubles as a guest bedroom. 
The Prengers plan on adding gaming options such as a ping-pong table and dart board. But shhh...don’t tell the kids.   

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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