Monday, March 12, 2012

Houzz Tour: Artful Vintage Style in Omaha

Retro design brings you back in time!

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Houzz Tour: Artful Vintage Style in Omaha

Vintage furniture and one-of-a-kind art give this Nebraska home a cozy and well-loved look

Jessica McKay designs her home around the things that she loves. From the vintage pieces handed down from her mother to unique artwork by local artists, Jessica and her husband, Christopher, fell in love with each and every piece in their home. The couple, who own Birdhouse Interior Design Consulting, live in a 1940s home in Omaha, Nebraska. Their neighborhood is made up of older homes with lots of character and charm, and the twosome decided to reflect that in their home's d├ęcor. "I feel like you honor the character of the old with great pieces from that time, then you add more interest by layering your tastes in other eras and styles over that," Jessica says.

Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: Jessica and Christopher McKay
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
Size: 2,000 square feet; 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms
That's interesting: The couple's cozy master bedroom was originally the attic.

The McKays based many of the rooms' color palettes around specific textiles or pieces of furniture. "But sometimes I just find things I love when I'm out shopping and think, 'I'll make this work,'" Jessica says. Although all the pieces in the dining room were purchased separately, the brown, white and blue all blend seamlessly.

Light: eBay; table: vintage

Jessica likes to combine vintage pieces (either thrift finds or hand-me-downs) with more contemporary elements for an eclectic look. "I want to keep everything fresh and not like a decorated set for an old house," Jessica says.

The quirky and colorful living room is a great example of this look. Vintage accessories, modern art and colorful textiles combine in a unique and personalized space.

Curtains: custom, with fabric from; table lamps: vintage; Lucite chairs:; coffee table: custom by Peter Cales,

The McKays had this vintage chair with classic bones re-covered in gray vinyl with a brass nailhead trim. The modern color gives it a fresh new look.


The McKays painted the fireplace a bold color to get some contrast in the room. After playing around with a few colors, Jessica settled on a glossy black to cover the dated brick and mantel.

The original artwork above the mantel is by Omaha artist Cristina Renfer Vogel, and it's one of Jessica's favorite pieces in her home. The McKays love working with local artists and host art openings from their interior design studios. Often the pair will start collecting pieces from the artists that they work with. "Nothing adds more interest to your space than original art," Jessica says. "My advice is to find artists you love and get friendly with them. Save, because art is an investment that can be passed down through the generations."

Fireplace paint: Dark Kettle Black, Valspar

Wall-mounted shelves are the perfect storage solution for barware and serveware, and provide some extra space in the couple's small kitchen.

Lamps: vintage; console: CB2; wall paint: Sable, Sherwin Williams

Although they would love a bigger kitchen — particularly since Christopher is a brilliant baker — the couple has managed to make do with the space they have. A movable island at the end of the space allows for extra storage when stationary and becomes another work surface when wheeled into the main kitchen space.

Island:; gray lamp: Target

This vintage-style metal cart is a reproduction Jessica found through one of her vendors. It was picked up for a project but didn't quite work for the space. Christopher had been complaining that he was running out of room for his baking ingredients, and this was the perfect solution.

A cute little built-in nook serves as a display case and storage shelf for glasses and other serving items. This built-in is just one of the many great architectural features that came with this home. "I don't think I could live in a house newer than the '70s," says Jessica. "I want to live with a little patina and extra quirkiness that comes with age."

The basement family room is one of the couple's favorite rooms in their home. Designwise, it initially presented some dilemmas, and the budget was tight. The walls in this room were an unattractive knotty pine that the couple couldn't afford to completely replace, so they decided to paint them navy and keep the grooves white for a pin-striped look.

Vintage chairs were recovered in a Southwestern-inspired fabric for a colorful touch. "I'm originally from New Mexico, so I can't pass up a good Southwest print," Jessica says.

Chairs: vintage; couch;; wall paint: Naval, Sherwin Williams

The couple reworked their home's attic into a cozy master bedroom with slanted ceilings and plenty of nooks and crannies. Jessica made the headboard herself because she wanted a bold material that looked like leather and couldn't afford the ones she saw out there. This DIY vinyl headboard has the same look for a fraction of the cost. The side tables were found at a garage sale and painted a bold and glossy red.

Bedding: Dwell Studio; table lamps:

The leopard stool for Jessica's vanity is one of her favorite things in the house. "I'm not super girly, but something about that leopard print just screamed chic to me, and if there's any place you want to feel chic, it's where you get ready in the morning," she says.

A dormer window in the master bedroom became the perfect dressing area for Jessica. A turquoise chaise from the previous home was tucked underneath the window for a luxurious touch.

Chaise: Target; ottoman: