House hunters George Kleine and Tom Knox once might not have given this home in the Westside school district a second look.
At only 1,000 square feet, with a small master bedroom and an even tinier kitchen, it definitely wasn’t what they were looking for when they decided to downsize and move across the river to Omaha.
The couple, eager to put their Council Bluffs home on the market, already had been searching in Omaha for months. They looked at everything: new construction, existing homes, places that would need total remodels. They were on the verge of signing a deal to build a house near the North Omaha Airport ... but the location wasn’t ideal.
“We really wanted something that would allow us to walk or ride a bike easily to amenities such as restaurants and grocery stores,” Kleine says.
Todd Sanwick of Sanwick Remodeling Contractors, meanwhile, had purchased the small house on a big lot to help a friend. He’d given residential design specialist Mick McGuire of Straightline Design Inc. carte blanche, and while he loved the new addition and second floor, he was concerned. Costs were mounting, constant rain had stretched their usual renovation timeline, and he worried that the home wouldn’t sell.
Then Tom and George happened upon the neighborhood. Intrigued by the house’s unique architectural style, they decided they wanted a closer look.
“It grabbed our imagination,” Knox says. “I called the number on the sign that day.”
Two days later Sanwick met them for a walk-through. After seeing only the main floor, Kleine declared this was it.
“I’m good,” he remembers saying.
After purchasing the house, Sanwick had thought about starting completely over. But with its concrete floors and foundation, it was a sound start to a bigger project.
“You just don’t get that anymore,” he says.
The addition added space for dining and family rooms and a two-bedroom second floor. The basement also grew, and a full bath was added.
Knox and Kleine got in early enough to tweak the countertop and tile selections, and design of the kitchen cabinets and fireplace. They nixed plans for carpeting, expanded the back deck and widened the driveway.
Kim Hansen of Absolute Design Interiors helped transform the interior. She brought in a living room sectional and chairs for the master bedroom and basement to be mixed with existing pieces.
Hansen and her crew also hung the couple’s art collection in groupings that bring splashes of color to every space.
Still in the works is the landscaping, which Kleine is eager to start. They plan to add patios in the front and back, a fence for their two dogs, a vegetable garden and some trees and shrubs.
“Low-maintenance plants that are good for bees and birds and more native to the prairie,” Knox says.
The couple say they love the whole house but enjoy the kitchen area the most.
It’s graced with a 12-foot island with a waterfall finish and custom MDF and poplar cabinets that Sanwick had already picked.
“The original beamed ceiling is still intact in that room,” Kleine says, “and we couldn’t be happier.”