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Omaha Magazine

A Timeless Take

Dec 22, 2023 11:49AM ● By Sara Locke
home feature a timeless take Courtney Perkins home january february 2024

Photo by Bill Sitzmann.

A Timeless Take [12 Images] Click Any Image To Expand
"The verse that always comes to mind when I’m designing a living space is Isaiah 32:18: ‘And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting place,’” Courtney Perkins reflected during a recent tour of her spacious Elkhorn home. The homeowner said she incorporates the verse into everything from the architecture of her newly constructed residence to the lighting in a client’s toddler-friendly hearth room redesign. 

The Chicago native and mother of three relies heavily on meaningful items when creating a living space, favoring natural elements and sentimental keepsakes over mass-produced tchotchkes and clutter. 

“I love layering different materials for dimension and depth, but a minimal approach is the way I like to do things,” Perkins explained. “I would prefer that the architecture of a space serve as the backdrop to life and everything else in the room just accentuates it. I don’t want anything fighting with the character of the house.” 

The Taylor University graduate doesn’t shy away from statement pieces or even a bold aesthetic when called for, but insists that a timeless take is the one you’ll never regret.  

 “Styles change every seven years. This is true in everything—hair, clothing, backsplashes. You can see trends change, and suddenly your expensive flooring or unique wallpaper is looking really dated,” Perkins shared. “For most of us, it’s more realistic to choose beautiful, high-quality, timeless designs, and then accessorize with contemporary fashions when they really speak to you.”

When previously living in the family’s 1939 Colonial home in Dundee, Perkins enjoyed the challenge of styling around the home’s charm and unique character. But moving into their newly constructed custom home in Elkhorn, she knew that charm would have to be something the home built over time.

“It was important to me to avoid using anything hyper-trendy when we were building our home and to let the space just be a peaceful setting for our lives to tell their own stories,” she said of their five-bedroom, four-and-a-half bathroom Elkhorn residence. The 5,599-square-foot home was custom built in 2016 by Kirt Jones of Castle Brook Builders, and Perkins has spent the last seven years thoughtfully incorporating elements of the family’s history into each room.

“In the last month before our Elkhorn home was completed, I was having a lot of strong feelings about leaving our Dundee home,” she said. “This was where we raised our babies, and we wanted to hold onto part of our past home while moving forward into this bright new space we had built to fit our present and our future.”

At that time, the Perkins’ Dundee neighbor was cutting down a tree that the family had walked past every day. 

 “I asked if I could have a slice from the trunk,” she shared. “It lives on our shelf in the Elkhorn house, and it’s a really meaningful piece to us. It makes me happy every time I see it.”

In fact, every item in the Perkins’ home recalls a memory or adventure the family has enjoyed together. Leaves and palm branches brought home from a pilgrimage to Gethsemane, pottery from a 10th wedding anniversary trip to Greece, even the bed where their daughter sleeps. 

“My husband’s parents were talking about getting rid of this really beautiful bed frame they had in their home,” Perkins recounted. “It was classic, with a pristine wood finish. It was the bed my father-in-law slept in when he was growing up, and it was in excellent condition. I almost painted it. That was the trend at the time. But I listened to my intuition that reminded me that classic, organic, and natural is never a mistake.” 

 While you can find nature making itself at home in all of Perkins’ designs, you can also find the family making themselves at home in nature.

“When we were building our home, we knew we wanted to use our outdoor space.” Perkins said. “For me, I had to have a great front porch. We’re right along the Elkhorn River facing west and a little up on a bluff, so one of our favorite things is to enjoy the sunsets from our porch with a glass of wine."

A dedicated dining room was also a must. “Everyone insisted that nobody builds dining rooms anymore, but we knew we needed one,” the homeowner said. “We love hosting friends and family and invite a group from our church to our home two or three times a month. It’s not uncommon to have 25 people over for a gathering, and we are always so grateful for the space.”

One friend turned design client, Sarah Clatterbuck, enlisted Perkins to update her family’s main first floor.

“I had a tall order for Courtney when we were talking about what I wanted for our Hearth room and living space,” Clatterbuck said. “I wanted something kid-friendly and light, but warm.
 Something comforting, but still bright. Her first thought was that we should address the lighting. Something that would have a big impact and be worth the investment, but that wasn’t within reach of our children’s curious little hands. There is so much longevity to the design she created, with these beautiful colorful accents and space for our own creativity in time. She’s such an incredible listener, and such a light and cheerful presence. It really fills her bucket to use her gifts and talents, and it shows in the work she does.”

And it shows throughout Perkins’ own thoughtfully curated Elkhorn residence.

See more of Courtney Perkins’ interior design style by visiting her on Instagram @CourtneyPerkinsDesign.

This article originally appeared in the January/February 2024 issue of Omaha Home magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

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