Stay Awhile -


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Carmen Augustus had her heart set on granite for the countertops. She says she was a “granite stalker” until she found what she wanted – a polished double-thick custom-etched slab with a chiseled edge.

Photography by Daniel Johnson

Stay Awhile


Story by Chris Christen & Amy LaMar
Photography by Daniel Johnson

We all want guests to feel welcome in our homes. Thanks to a recent kitchen remodel, Bob and Carmen Augustus's lake home goes a step further, encouraging guests to “stay awhile.”

“I didn't really like having people over (before) because the kitchen seemed so closed off,” Carmen says.

Designer Joanie Fredenburg of Millard Lumber's Design Gallery attributes the new open feel, in part,
to a logical placement of elements that draws you into the space.

Among them are bay windows, flooding daylight into the kitchen to allow a bird's-eye view of other year-round lake homes in Sarpy County's Hawaiian Village subdivision. The windows, installed a year in advance of the new cabinetry, frame an inviting seating area with three armchairs made of leather and cowhide and glass- and stone-topped side tables.

Capping the nook is the ceiling, which is constructed of prefinished, hand-scraped and distressed tongue-and-groove flooring planks.

In another key structural change, a wall between the living room and the kitchen was redesigned and reconfigured to open up the two spaces. It improved the traffic pattern throughout the main level.

Finishes were among the toughest decisions, Carmen says.

For the kitchen cabinets and center island, Fredenburg and Carmen decided on a rustic knotty cherry wood species. The perimeter cabinetry was created with a Covington door style in a java-tinted varnish finish, while the island was created with a Castlebarry door style in a chestnut and ebony-tinted varnish finish. The 27-step finishing process is known as the Chateaux Old World textured and distressed artisan look.

Contrasting finishes play into Carmen's desire for an overall rustic aesthetic.

A three-ring binder filled with magazine clippings of rooms and décor elements helped with decisions throughout the process. Reviewing the pages now, “It's amazing how the actual space resembles the ideas that
I originally had,” Carmen says.

She trusted her contractor, Rick Derry of Derry Construction, and she relied on Fredenburg's expertise during the six-week-long project. “She wasn't afraid to tell me 'no' if something wasn't going to work,” Carmen says. “Her style is to lead you to the right choices.”

As with any remodel, this project, which was completed in January 2013, required patience. But Carmen is no stranger to all that goes into a home project. She and Bob have a vacation home in the Ozarks, and Carmen has both remodeled and redecorated it.

Carmen doesn't pull any punches when asked what's next on her list of home improvements:
“I want to pretty much gut and update the master bath,” she says. The current bathroom has “movie star” lighting, among other outdated features.

Look out, binder, here she comes!


Joanie Fredenburg of Millard Lumber's Design Gallery offers tips for
remodels large and small:

- Keep outsiders out of the decision-making process. Everybody's tastes are different, and their opinions could lead to confusion.

- We are creatures of habit. Sometimes it takes time to accept new concepts. Sit back and digest what is being proposed.

- Start a binder – an inspiration book. Pictures help when you can't adequately describe or articulate what you want
to contractors.

- Focus on one decision at a time to keep yourself and the project under control and on track.

- Be patient. Your design scheme will come together when you buy only what you love.

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