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Screened porch, enlarged kitchen give Omaha couple the home they always wanted

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The Curt Brannon designed fifth-floor condo in the 1101 Jackson Lofts building has caught the eye of many in and outside Omaha.

When Eric Yarwood and Aaron Persen decided to update their ranch home near 72nd and Pacific Streets, they wanted a master bath, a functional kitchen with more space and extra storage in the basement.

But that wasn’t everything on their list.

“I grew up in Minnesota,” Persen said. “Everyone loves to have a screened porch.”

The renovation, done by Gitt Construction, took six months. The finished project is everything they wanted.

Yarwood loves spending time outdoors — without needing bug spray. Their kitchen, which grew by about 200 square feet, includes a backsplash made from extra-large handmade Italian porcelain tile that they say fits their quirky personalities.

With the removal of one wall, they can stand in the kitchen or the sunroom as they enter from the garage and have sightlines to most of the first floor.

“I love the way it improved the flow of the house,” Yarwood said.

Their tub-shower combination with a marble surround in the main bedroom proved less expensive than a separate tub and shower. The raised base cabinets have under lighting that gently illuminates the floor.

The couple’s 1954 home will be part of the April 10 and 11 remodeled home tour sponsored by the Greater Omaha NARI organization. The event, which runs from noon to 5 p.m. both days, features 10 projects from members of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

Six entries will be open to the public for in-person tours and all will have virtual tours. There is no charge this year.

Yarwood and Persen have lived in the house for 9½ years. One of the first things they did when they moved in was replace all of the carpeting with hardwood floors.

Persen, an architect, was in charge of designing this renovation, which also included new windows and siding. Basement space added underneath the larger kitchen became the storage area he always wanted.

But even with his expertise, he recommends getting advice from and working with other professionals such as an interior designer. That person could have access to materials you aren’t aware of, he said.

If you plan to spend $50,000, he also says to make sure to have a healthy contingency fund. Because of that there was no hand-wringing when they had to replace a water heater for $2,500. You also will have funds if you find something you love that isn’t in the budget.

Interviewing several contractors to see who you feel comfortable with is also crucial. Remember, Persen cautions, you are going to have them in your house five days a week, for eight to 10 hours a day, over six to nine months.

“If you don’t like them that’s going to be miserable,” he said.

As an architect, matching roof lines on an expansion is also important. Otherwise, it just looks awkward. They also looked for extra storage everywhere. A new space off the kitchen is perfect for the vacuum cleaner, cleaning products and odds and ends.

Yarwood said the house is now done and they are content, unless Persen decides he’d like to design a bigger project, such as a new home. Their love for their neighbors and the area would make it hard to leave.

“We like where we are at,” Yarwood said, “and hope we can stay here another 20 years.”

<&rdpStrong>Photos: Screened porch, enlarged kitchen give Omaha couple the home they always wanted</&rdpStrong>

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Marjie is a writer for The World-Herald’s special sections and specialty publications, including Inspired Living Omaha, Wedding Essentials and Momaha Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @mduceyOWH. Phone: 402-444-1034.

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