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Omaha Magazine

Room for Reps, Guests, and Kids to Grow

Feb 24, 2023 12:50PM ● By Megan Keyser
Hulm basement

Photo by Sarah Lemke.

In Sandra Hulm’s eyes, her ranch home in Bennington was a great fit for her family of four with the exception of the lower level, which needed a more spacious layout for her growing kids to host get-togethers with friends.

The family brought in G. Lee Homes in March 2020 to kick off a basement remodel project with a short four-month timeline. The general contractor/design team met the tight deadline, hanging the final piece of decor in June, right before pandemic supply-chain issues became a major hangup in construction.

“The house was built 15 years ago and it was getting dated. It was very choppy,” Hulm said. “We wanted it more open.” Putting her full trust in G. Lee’s team, led by project coordinator and designer Angie Hall, Hulm passed off most aspects of project configuration and interior design to the professionals.

“Sandra was unique because she didn’t want to pick out items. I picked everything out and laid it out in front of her. She said, ‘Perfect. Go!’” Hall explained.

That is, with one exception. During the consulting process, one of the ‘vision’ images that she shared with Hall was a photo of a bar with a creamy stacked-stone veneer and a custom-made walnut waterfall countertop, which Hulm had found randomly on a home decor website. Hulm fell in love with it and was set on recreating one just like it. 

In a wild coincidence—the image was of the custom bar built in G. Lee Homes owner’s personal home.

“Well, I guess this is a good fit!”  Hall recalled thinking of their similar tastes.

The G. Lee team built a very similar bar for the Hulms and constructed a pub table and fireplace to match. The end design goal for the entertaining space was clean, glamorous, and industrial.

Just as dramatic as the basement's aesthetic makeover was the layout transformation. The remodeling team elimin​​ated a basement bedroom,  replacing it with a sitting area, and moved a bathroom to the far back end of the basement. They also created an exercise area—complete with floor space for stretching, a weight lifting area, and a Mirror studio fitness system—and a playroom for the Hulm’s two tweens.  

 “The workout area was really important to me. They also made it so that this room could close and [become] a bedroom in the future if we want,” Hulm explained, then pointed to a Murphy bed that fits the bill for overnight guests in the meantime. “It’s so easy because you just fold it down. We don’t have guests all the time, so we can fully utilize the space…maximize the space.” 
The team also created a game and billiards area. “As the boys get older, they can play darts or shuffleboard,” Hulm added.

Today, light, wide-plank wood floors and neutral beige walls create an open, airy feel in their revamped lower level. New, larger windows and a much more open floor plan allow natural light to flow through the entire space. Gold hardware, installed throughout, adds some glam while a sparkle-flecked countertop dresses up custom green cabinetry in the mini kitchen. 

“It’s so custom,” Hulm noted. “Angie would always come up with that flash element. I came down[stairs] one day and she was literally gluing, one by one, corks on the dartboard.”

While initially fearful of a troublesome, drawn-out remodeling project, Hulm said she no longer dreads renovation. In fact, she's caught the design bug, and more projects for their upstairs living quarters and backyard renovations are in the pipeline.

She credits that in great part to Hall and the G. Lee team.

“We love the company. We love the people. I really have enjoyed all of them,” Hulm said.  

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