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2012 STREET OF DREAMS: The master bath at the R&A builders home has a walk through shower behind the tub.


PHOTO: JAMES R. BURNETT/THE WORLD-HERALD

New ways to ‘Wow!'



Street of Dreams Highlights New Ways to ‘Wow!'

By Cindy Gonzalez
World-Herald staff writer

Visitors to the 2012 Street of Dreams will see the latest trends in upscale living — including staircases that float, ceilings that sing and murals that pop from the walls.

They'll also be hit with a blast from the past: The Absolute Customs house incorporates icons from the historic Stockyards, the old Omaha City Hall and the former French Cafe.

Here's a sampling of other eye-catchers:

>> The Absolute home is among those with architectural ceiling detail that transforms an otherwise flat or blah surface into a sunburst pattern, a coffered or other textured look. “It's the fifth wall,” said designer Sallie Elliott. Why waste it? Today's electronics technology also allows for speakers to be hidden in the ceiling fabric, letting sound burst from on high.

>> While an open floor plan is still the rage, Widhalm Custom Homes has included room dividers of sorts that provide a sense of separation without taking away the openness. “It's kind of a happy medium,” said event producer Cari Rasmussen of SB Productions.

>> A three-story floating staircase, as Rasmussen called it, provides an open and airy feel in the Malibu Homes layout. Rasmussen said a steel undergird eliminates the need for heavy support columns that can inhibit the view to another side of the room.

>> A sunlit herb garden room off the Renaissance Customs Homes kitchen is an increasingly popular way to grow plants used for cooking. Outside, the concrete entrance pressed with a design and then stained adds relatively inexpensive flair, said Rasmussen.

>> The residence built by ADC Homes (Advance Design & Construction) features three-dimensional murals that, in one room, pulls visitors into a storybook adventure and, in another, a freshwater-fish aquarium. In a powder bathroom, Libby Tantzlaff also designed an art sculpture tree that grows out of the floor through a wood countertop to the ceiling.

>> R&A Builders spotlights the increasingly popular open entertainment area with a basement that has a second kitchen plus a walkout to an outdoor kitchen.

>> At the Nathan Homes property, the porch screen is retractable, which lets homeowners decide whether to use the area as an exterior or interior space.

>> Stainless steel appliances and granite remain popular in kitchens, but builder-designer teams also infused fresh touches. At one house, the counter island features a circular serving station topped with drift wood. At another home, the outdoor pool and beach theme carries indoors to a counter area decorated with rocks and sand.

Of the eight homes at the event put on by the Home Building Professionals of Greater Omaha, three have buyers and the rest are for sale. Street of Dreams runs Wednesdays through Sundays through Sept. 30. www.streetofdreams.org




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