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Omaha Magazine

Amping up the Standard

Apr 26, 2023 04:32PM ● By Kara Schweiss

Photo by Bill Sitzmann.

Andrew and Sara Radil built their previous home, so when plans began for their new home in the Granite Lake neighborhood in Papillion, they knew what they wanted, what they didn’t want, and even what they thought they wanted in their last home—but discovered wasn’t quite right for them. 

So, for their “forever home,” the couple started with one of their builder’s standard models and customized various facets of the design. And they ended up getting the look and all the details they wanted. 

“They really like modern, clean lines,” Ideal Designs/Trademark Homes owner/partner Ryan Krejci said. “We really like the kitchen, the neat upgraded appliances, and the high ceilings and fireplace in the great room…we enjoyed working with the clients.”

Among the Radils’ refinements were taller doorways, a tray ceiling, and a soffit atop the kitchen wall cabinets.  

“Part of the way that I design is large-scale. Bigger is better, in my mind,” Sara said, adding that some of the inspiration for the basic look of the house was from her employer HDR’s new headquarters facility. “There’s a lot of white and black and raw wood, and I think it’s so beautiful,” she explained. 

She and her husband have also watched plenty of real estate and home-design shows on television, Sara added. “And I have thousands of pictures of just inspiration on my phone.” 

“The one style that we could agree on was sort of this LA modern/contemporary style; and the wood, the black, and the light wood floors and white everywhere,” she said. 

The couple made a few changes along the way, like the pale floors. 

“That was such a last-minute choice,” Andrew said, describing the original wood stain color he chose as evocative of a basketball court. “I had the worst floors picked out.”  

The kitchen cabinetry, he added, was supposed to be painted black.  

We came in and saw them when they were raw. And they were just so beautiful,” Sara said. “We said we couldn’t paint them. So, we did a very light whitewash on them to remove some of the yellow, because they’re birch.”  

 The results are still very contemporary, she said, with the added bonus that the cabinets will now be more resistant to fingerprints from the couple’s 3-year-old daughter, Kenna, and her new sibling, expected later this year. 

The couple was able to apply Andrew’s Nebraska Furniture Mart employee pricing to high-end Fisher & Paykel and Zephyr appliances. They worked with kitchen contractor CKF on the quartz countertops and with Titan Custom Cabinets for the cabinetry. The backsplash is made up of large panel tiles, an unusual look that is carried into the home’s bathrooms.  

Andrew and Sara’s last home was a two-story design, so they chose a ranch plan for their new home and made some layout changes to maximize the great room size for family activities. It also gives their dogs, Kobe, Doc, and Rusty, more roaming room. A bedroom on the main level was removed from the plan.

“The original layout for this model has a two bedrooms over there with a jack-and-jill [bathroom] in between them,” Andrew said. “So, this is all just pushed forward.”

“We actually extended this area to have a really big living room versus an extra bedroom up here,” Sara said. “It makes this room larger for our kid –—and eventually, kids—to be able to play. And when we have parties, we want people to be able to just enjoy this area, with everything right here. We also did double sliders [patio doors]. Yes, we live in Nebraska, but there are certain times of the year that I can leave them both open and just enjoy that indoor/outdoor living.” 

The great room features large, industrial-sized windows with motorized blackout shades for privacy at night. “The builder has brought people in to show them that option for window layout,” Sara said. 

Another modification was for sheer convenience. 

“The closet, the master bathroom, and the laundry room all connect,” Andrew explained. “There’s a door here normally;   we took that door out so it’s all right there,” he said while motioning to show room flow.

The lower level, to be finished later, was thoughtfully designed with two bedrooms and a second laundry room, along with additional entertainment space.  

 One big lesson from the last house was making sure the new garage space wasn’t too tight. There’s abundant room for maintenance equipment and a workshop area, the space is heated, and windows provide some natural lighting to augment the interior fixtures. 

The couple’s taste for simplicity generally equates to reduced clutter and less main tenance, and nods to their practical side. The Radil home’s luxurious touches and investments in quality are balanced by great finds, like large wall art from World Market, and by working in existing pieces, like the light leather sofa from their last house. And they’re always looking for good deals on items like the tall stools they have envisioned for the kitchen island, Andrew said. 

The Radils, who met in high school and returned to the Omaha area after Andrew completed military service, said they especially appreciate family gatherings and look forward to hosting indoor parties and cook-outs in the backyard. They applied some customization outdoors by extending the patio area; it’s partially covered and exposed to sunshine and great for entertaining. They’re still working on landscaping, but the plans are for—what else?—simple greenery and clean lines. “Even in the outdoors,” Sara said.  

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