Refurbishing a Forever HomeJun 21, 2023 04:25PM ● By Lisa Lukecart
Photo by Bill Sitzmann.
Haskell Family Home [10 Images] Click Any Image To Expand
Canopied driveways, verdant lawns, and shorn bushes—the Leawood West neighborhood felt like coming home for Kelly Haskell. She grew up mere blocks from the two-story house she and husband Paul purchased in the west Omaha enclave in 2019. The couple hoped their four children would cultivate fond neighborhood memories of their own.
The murky interior of the 1971-built home, though, didn’t match the balmy expanse outside. The main level's cherry-wood floors and the kitchen's dull-gray and brown-toned backsplash and tight-fitting peninsula put a claustrophobic squeeze on the large family. The Haskells realized a dramatic transformation was in order.
The pandemic meant putting renovations on the back burner until a later date. Fate intervened when Kelly took her daughters to Deer Ridge Park for an outing in the summer of 2021. During the visit, she chatted with another mother, Courtney Otte, the founder and principal designer of The Modern Hive Interior Design.
“I feel like I meet clients at weird places,” Otte confessed.
Kelly, who works from home as a graphic designer at Chip Thompson Design, enlisted her new friend to help fully realize her vision. Otte stepped up with a combination of classical and traditional elements for a much-needed first-floor makeover, while Gitt Construction served as contractor on the remodel.
A narrow layout in the kitchen threatened to steer the plan off course, but Otte was determined to push the space to its limits. An additional window now allows streams of sunshine into the kitchen. A longer island replaced the previous one, forming a streamlined symmetry with the wall. Cone-shaped brass lights softly illuminate the milky quartz countertop adorned with gray veins. Charcoal gray doors, mimicking drawers for further décor detail, conceal plentiful storage underneath. The adults like to cozy up to the island for a date night with some take-out after the little ones fall asleep, reclining in wicker-back chairs with performance fabric cushions. A brass footrest mirrors the handles on snowy cabinets as white permeates the space, splashing a lustrous glow on the subway tiles behind the stove, on the fridge encased in paneling, and on the granite in the niche designed for a coffee bar.
“We always wanted a white kitchen,” said Paul, despite the possibility of dirty fingerprints.
“We try to keep it clean because we love it so much,” Kelly mentioned. “I need to live in it. It’s okay if something happens.”
Natural-stained oak accents break up any monotony, giving the room eye-catching details—from a shelf for cups above the coffee bar, to a small strip on the range hood.
“I love doing that in my designs to add interest,” Otte said.
Daughter Monroe, 22 months, stomps across the engineered handwork floors in her cowboy boots—though Paul prefers going barefoot while working at home for Salesforce. He sipped a pale coffee and explained that the family no longer bumps into each other.
Almost 5 years old, Noelle enjoys spreading out on the tobacco-colored banquet bench by her brother Callan, 10, during family dinners. A custom-made oval table with black chairs allows additional seating. Sports, especially baseball, often blaze on televisions in each room. A glass-covered steel door helps showcase a deep pantry. Connor, 12, enjoys this part of the remodeled kitchen the most because it holds plenty of snacks. Or, one might find him downstairs with Callan in the man cave crushing some Fortnite. Paul's soundproof office allows him to work while the boys battle.
Kelly, a busy mother, appreciates the mudroom since it saves time and energy. Stormy-colored tile leads the way to a drying rack, and brass-grill doors vent any clothes hanging up. Laundry baskets wait inside cabinets, making it easy to toss items when leaving or entering the house. Other times, Kelly freelances in a corner nook in the living room. Decorative brass rails and floating shelves mingle perfectly with the rest of the layout.
“We will probably never get the chance to do this again,” Kelly said of the home remodel. “I love it.”
Before, the Haskell family hesitated to entertain, but the fresh vibe and new, roomy environment of their home has dispelled any reservations. Gitt Construction removed a supporting wall and opened the layout; the plan included an expansion for the living room, not an easy feat with the ‘L’-shaped stairs. Surprises, such as dated electrical wiring, plumbing, and installation, required swift action.
"They can create amazing memories and a great space to grow up in. I don’t see them leaving. They are really in love with it,” said Tim Silknitter, owner of Gitt Construction.
The final product became part of the 2023 Professional Remodeling Organization of Nebraska-Iowa Home Tour in April, showing what happens when a busy family takes the design a tad further than simple a kitchen makeover.
“The inside feels just as good as the outside,” Kelly said, smiling.