Grace: Mansion makeover

Grace: Mansion makeover

By Erin Grace February 20, 2013 3:40 pm Comments are Disabled

I love walking through houses. Especially old ones.

So I happily forked over $2 on Sunday to walk through the Smyth House for a preview of what’s to come in May. ”House” is an understatement for this Gold Coast grand dame, which officially has 4,200 square feet among its first, second and third floors. It has five bedrooms, 4.5 baths and enough room over the garage/carriage house for the current owners to reside for three months while Omaha’s version of Extreme Home Makeover occurs.

This 107-year-old home on North 38th Street faces Duchesne Academy. It was open last weekend for a preview of what’s to come in May. As the 2013 Designer Showhouse, anyone will be able to see what local designers do to some 20 rooms – from an entryway that has a fireplace to a lovely, light-filled third floor.

This residence underwent a similar redo in 1980, and vestiges of that, er, lovely period (lots of florals, lots of fabrics) remain. Some of the designer boards, which give samples of fabrics, paint colors and room layouts, was so mid-century modern (i.e, “Mad Men”) that I’m wondering if what’s “new” will seem old again in another 20 years.

One of the surprises of walking through this empty work-in-progress was the scale of the rooms. For how big a house this is and how Gatsby-esque from the outside (the lot is to die for), the rooms were not overly big. Let’s put that into a little perspective. The rooms were a lot bigger than anything I’ve owned – but they didn’t have this cavernous quality that would make them seem cold or unliveable. The layout was great.

So put May 3-19 on your calendar and save your pennies. It’s $10 a head to get in.

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