The Street of Dreams opens up for its 28th year this weekend. The past few events have been scaled back a bit, to match the market, but if this year's event is any indicator, local home buyers are ready to splurge a bit.
"They're ready to spend," said Realtor/Designer Sallie Elliott. "This year, everybody's excited, and they've saved up. It's going to be an amazing show."
Elliott served as realtor/designer for one of eight houses along the tour in the Estates of Coventry, southwest of 204th & Q Streets. It was built by Absolute Custom Homes.
Barn-washed gray eucalyptus flooring was one strategy Elliott used in her interior design plan, to keep the feel light and airy. She found reclaimed and salvaged bits of Omaha history which are scattered throughout the home. They include ornate wooden planks from the French Cafe, used as wall decor, and wrought iron from the Omaha stockyards.
Within the kitchen, custom cabinetry conceals a giant, corner walk-in pantry. High and ornate ceilings, a children's loft and a downstairs sports court are just a few of the features that set the $750,000 home apart from others.
But one thing common in most newer homes, with the Street of Dreams being no exception, is an open floor plan. "You know, a wasted living room and a wasted formal dining room are just things of the past," Elliott said.
"The big open space where you can have a lot of seating, but yet not have a dedicated space... Everybody wants to be together because time is precious."
Family time was the inspiration behind another home on the tour, one built by ADC Homes with the interior designed by Libby Pantzlaff. "The homeowners have three children, and they're all boys," she said.
"One likes to read. We did a 3D mural, and the steps going up to the bunkbed were painted like books."
For another child who likes to fish, a mural artist painted a water scene, with an aquarium built within that wall.
For a bonus room, to be used by the children, Pantzlaff used thousands of shiny copper pennies under a clear sealant as the top of a corner desk unit. And in the basement, the kids and their father, who all love to wrestle, they have their own gymnasium inspired wrestling room.
The extravagant features are coming back in vogue, locally, said Prudential Realtor Teresa Elliott, of Team Elliott. She's the listing agent for empty Coventry lots, and she doesn't expect to have a hard time finding buyers.
"The market has turned around tremendously, and we are seeing people out spending money again. And they want quality, and they want craftsmanship. And I think because interest rates are down, we're seeing a huge turnaround especially in new construction," she said. "They're willing to pay for it."
Tickets to tour the Street of Dreams, starting Saturday, cost $10 for adults at the door. Advance purchases online or at No Frills supermarkets are discounted. Children aged four through 12 are $5. And those under three are free.