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Omaha Magazine

Midcentury Merriment

Oct 21, 2023 06:05PM ● By Katy Spratte Joyce
The Gabrial Gallagher residence

Photo by Bill Sitzmann.

The Gabrial Gallagher residence [7 Images] Click Any Image To Expand
The Gabrial Gallagher residence, home to parents Jenna and Brian, and a trio of daughters (Beatrix, 14; Irish, 12; and Millie, 7), is a mid-century modern dream house, perfect for entertaining. The family has hosted all sorts of festivities there, including two weddings, a concert, and a slew of parties. A thoughtful, era-appropriate kitchen renovation by WDO Custom has further elevated this special space, which especially shines during the holiday season. 

Jenna Gabrial Gallagher, a freelance writer and editor, had form and function on her mind when planning the kitchen refresh. “I love that some of my cabinets are extra deep because I have so many vintage silver serving platters, inherited from various family members and collected from estate sales. They were moldering in the basement before,” she explained. 

 A dreamy color-blocked fridge, sleek cabinetry, and a bold cerulean Amalfi Coast Fireclay tile backsplash are other creative touches from the project that combine to make the space warm and welcoming, especially for holiday guests. 

Gabrial Gallagher delights in transforming her home into a particularly festive spot. She even utilizes holiday decorations and furniture she grew up with, which feel especially poignant after losing both parents in the last decade. “That '70s style fits really well in my mid-century modern house,” she said. Playful traditions, like misspelling four “Noel” candles (N-O-E-L) to say “Leon” instead, Jenna’s father’s name, have lasted, too. The family takes turns switching the candles, back and forth, almost daily. 

 Additionally, the “GaGas” (the family’s affectionate nickname for each other) aim to avoid the holiday consumption/waste cycle by bringing in as much as possible from nature, like fresh-cut greenery from the yew tree in the front yard. It adorns the railing around the traditional sunken living room and serves as a garland around various windows, built-ins, and mirrors. Pomanders, citrus fruits stuck with cloves in patterns then hung with ribbons, are another elevated touch for hosting. “I like to do pomanders as party/table favors at the holidays,” Gabrial Gallagher said. “They are a fun project for the girls to do, a sustainable favor, and they smell divine.” 

Some new decor is mixed into the family collection as well, like a Palm Springs Santa Village from World Market clustered on the fireplace hearth. The kitchen cut-out is home to a vintage Nutcracker collection and is festooned with golden 3D stars from Target. A dresser from her mom, “which was in every house I ever lived in,” says Gabrial Gallagher, has been refinished in a soft green hue and now serves as a buffet in the dining room and another surface to decorate for the holidays. 

A legendary brunch has become the star of the holiday show. “Jenna always treats us to a sumptuous and bountiful Christmas brunch…her recreation of our mother’s oversized steaming pop-overs swaddled in bright cotton fabrics and placed in her intricately carved teak bowl (handed down by our parents) are, by far, my favorite holiday brunch tradition!” shared Michele Gallagher Glesinger, one of Jenna’s sisters. “Popovers are nonnegotiable,” Gabrial Gallagher added. “It’s the only time of the year I make them.” 

The jazzy holiday standards oozing through the speakers, part of the GaGa holiday playlist, have become a nonnegotiable, too. Everything from Shirley Temple to, appropriately enough, Lady Gaga, helps set the tone for the feast, an abundant pescatarian-themed spread. The fish-forward meal, featuring a rotating cast of oysters, calamari, mussels, lobster tail, and crab, is loosely inspired by the “The Feast of the Seven Fishes” Italian holiday tradition. Caprese candy canes, Raclette, oven-baked artichokes, and cranberry, olive, and caper crostini are additional signature dishes served over the holidays. The capers present like “little jewels glistening,” the hostess explained. She serves mocktails and cocktails, particularly champagne and bourbon, in specialty stemware, another family heirloom. 

No matter the drink, nothing but holiday cheer (and cheers) flows through the marvelous mid-century modern GaGa house this time of year. 

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

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