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Omaha Magazine

Le Petit Manoir in Rockbrook

Sep 22, 2023 11:22AM ● By Tamsen Butler
architecture Le Petit Manoir  in Rockbrook Josh and Jill Ludington

Photo by Bill Sitzmann.

French Country-style homes originated when former French citizens and Francophiles alike emulated the look of the French palaces that had captured their imaginations. These lovely country homes were noticed by American servicemembers during World War I, and it wasn’t long before this inspired home design started popping up in the United States. 

Nestled in the Rockbrook neighborhood, this four-bedroom, three-bath home was purchased by Josh and Jill Ludington in February 2023 after an extensive search for a house where they could put down roots in Omaha after moving from Amarillo, Texas. Jill is a theater teacher, and Josh, who is an accountant by trade, is a musician, so it’s no surprise they would fall in love with the artistic look of this fairytale-worthy home.

Because of their school-aged child, the Ludingtons wanted to find a home in District 66. Caldwell Banker real estate agent Laura Larson helped them in their search. She knew this rustic charmer was exactly what the Ludingtons wanted.

Built in 1934 and designed by famed architect Reinholdt Frederick Hennig, credited with drawing up plans for dozens of Omaha’s most treasured homes, this residence sits on more than half an acre and has an appearance that makes passersby gaze in wonder and think, ‘What’s a French Country estate doing in Omaha?’

Larson doesn’t refer to the home as “French Country” or “French Farmhouse,” as many do; instead, she’s titled it “The Little Mansion,” or, in French, “Le Petit Manoir.”

Jill describes the home as “absolutely beautiful, unique, special, and artistic with a historic warmth. That house is a piece of art.”

Husband Josh added, “It’s the perfect amount of space for a family.” 

The home boasts a French Country exterior and interior. Vaulted, wood beam ceilings, painted leaded-glass windows and patio door, three fireplaces, and timber doors with wrought-iron latches help this 2,633-square-foot home feel historic and positively cozy. A newer DaVinci shake-style roof made of low maintenance, firesafe composite and a creamy-white stucco exterior complete the refined, old world look.

The Ludingtons have been hard at work updating landscaping since moving in. Josh credits Jill with doing the lion’s share, clearing overgrowth and tidying the lawn.

Not surprisingly, they have no plans to do any major renovations on the property since they already love the unique look. Jill said they will eventually replace the windows. That’s it.

Dispelling some rumors that have appeared online about this historic house, Jill said she’s not witnessed evidence that the residence is haunted. 

“We’d heard that, but we haven’t seen anything in the house,” she said. And as to the online claim that this house is riddled with secret passageways, Jill responded, “They’re probably thinking about the back staircase that leads to what used to be the maid’s quarters.” Other than that staircase, no such secret passageways exist. 

The home has earned the designation of “our forever home” by the Ludingtons. In fact, it’s helped the family fall in love with Nebraska after living their entire lives in the Lone Star State. It’s a storybook ending in the making. 

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