Editor's note: This story was originally published in Inspired Living Omaha magazine in 2011.
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Stephani and Brian Moon experienced a bit of heaven on a hilltop and knew they were home.
“Stephani was the guiding light,” Brian says of a building site search that ended on three perfect acres overlooking Omaha’s Ponca Hills.
It was a newspaper item that drew the Moons to The Mill at Timber Creek in northern Douglas County. Intrigued by the area’s description, the couple went for an afternoon drive. When they turned their vehicle into the new-home development and spied the first lofty crest, Stephanie knew her Victorian-style home belonged there.
“One evening, we drove out and just sat on the hill,” Stephani recalls. The moon’s glow sealed the deal.
The next day, the couple embarked on what would become the “house of a million decisions.”
Their inspiration came from grand homes remembered from their childhoods. “Everybody we knew grew up in a house like this,” says Stephani. “It’s a big house (4,600 square feet), but the layout feels intimate.”
The architectural style fulfills both Stephani’s longing for a turn-of-the-century Queen Anne, and Brian’s practical need for modern efficiencies. “He didn’t want to be a slave to repairs,” says Stephani.
They found their general contractor, Terry Hurt with T. Hurt Construction Inc., and their interior designer, Libby Pantzlaff with Creative Interiors by Libby, on the 2009 Remodel Omaha Tour. Hurt led the Moons to Mick McGuire of Straightline Design Inc. McGuire, along with associates Jeff Seaman and Willis Deterding, designed the home.
“The details are over the top,” says Pantzlaff.
The home has vintage-inspired hardware, five-panel pocket doors and wide-slat hickory floors. Retro tiles, porcelain sinks, smoked mirrors, candlestick sconces and faux marble finishes add to the illusion of living in an older home.
Extra-special features include warm-toned custom cabinetry and a reclaimed tin ceiling from Preservation Station Architectural Salvage in Burlington, Iowa. The Moons drove through 18 inches of snow to see the tin in storage. The tin ceiling found a home in their kitchen, along with rough-cut stone from Watkins Concrete Block Company in Omaha.
“This is more house than the two of us need but we love to entertain,” Stephani says. She and Brian host both low-key gatherings and big parties throughout the year. “It’s no problem hosting a half-dozen or 70,” Stephani says. The open floor plan allows guests to move throughout the main floor without feeling crowded.
The bar between the kitchen and living room features a clever backsplash with tiles collected in California’s Napa Valley and Sonoma County. “We stole that idea from a woman we met on a trip,” Stephani admits. And no Victorian home would be complete without a butler's pantry with a swing door and gliding ladder.
A doublewide closet just off the dining room conceals an elevator shaft. It was installed with the intent of helping the couple age in place if stairs should become a problem. “We hope we never have to use it,” Stephani says.
The Moons, who had been 20-year residents of Council Bluffs, were recently retired from Hy-Vee when they began working on their Victorian masterpiece.
The table in their sunny breakfast nook reminds them of how far they’ve come.
“We were going to pitch the table, but it’s the first piece of new furniture we bought as newlyweds,” says Stephani.
Pantzlaff suggested reworking the table’s honey finish with cream-based paint, a warm glaze and hand-distressed rubbing. It was another heavenly decision.
This story originally appeared in the March-April 2012 issue of Inspired Home Omaha magazine, the forerunner to Inspired Living Omaha. The Moon home was a reader favorite that year.