Stories from middle America

After months of designing/decorating a space, I usually forget what everything looked like before we started working on a project. It’s party due to the length of time, but also because as a client starts to tell me anything about themselves, I start visualizing how the place will eventually look and its current state doesn’t really register anymore.

When we finish and take photographs for our portfolio, it’s an extra treat to compare the before and after images and realize the transformation.

I mentioned that Birdhouse was working on a downtown Omaha condo here. And now, with the help of a lovely photographer/client, we can share the end results!

Mood board

Beginning living room mood board and design direction for the clients’ condo. A few elements changed completely and others morphed into a slightly different version of the original concept – such is the nature of design.  

The condo living room Before:

before amanda

And After:

downtown omaha | birdhouse interior design Birdhouse Interior Design

Say what?! Yes, we’re pretty pleased with the results.

Kitchen Before:

before kitchenAfter:

lights  The old pendant lights were replaced by these industrial lights found on etsy.

A couple of thoughts about the design process.

In order to maximize the light in the small space and also draw attention to the large windows, the walls were painted a crisp white and the window trim became a semi-gloss black. We created a couple of seating areas with some vintage chairs our clients already owned and a multi-purpose sectional; which can be used for lounging or seat several people around the coffee table for an informal dinner gathering.

There is no dining room, just the counter bar off the kitchen. Rugs typically define areas from one another (and really tie the room together, Dude). However, a large rectangular rug would have felt overwhelming and cut up the room. Instead, we went for something more organically shaped with the cowhide. It still grounded the couch and softened the room, but didn’t crowd the stools or get in the way.

The TV wall Before:

before living room

And After:

birdhouse interior design birdhouse interior design

Again, the condo is on the small side, so we really needed to use the space efficiently and find storage where possible. Enter our good buddy, Peter Cales, of Measure Cut Cut Studio. We collaborated with him to design the floating walnut shelves on the TV wall – and he never disappoints. The shelves are a beautiful statement and also very functional, showcasing art and a book collection.

We also worked with Peter on the living room coffee table. Since one of our clients (of the delightful couple) often works from home, she wanted a space to hide her laptop and other papers. The extra shelf is a perfect spot to stash stuff and instantly makes the room feel tidier.


Some fiddle-leaf fig sexiness, a mid-century desk (used as a bar) from hutch and the clients’ mid-century chairs.

Hallway Before:

before hall


birdhouse interior design

A salon wall featuring personal photographs and mementos.

We redesigned the bedroom and helped revamp the bathroom as well. Screen Shot 2014-08-12 at 10.55.19 PM

Bedroom Mood board and design concept.

Before Bedroom:

before bed


birdhouse interior design

Vintage desk from hutch used as a vanity, updated bedding, and repurposed wine barrel pendant above the bed. There is a electric roller shade on the window for privacy at night.

The goals in the bedroom were to make it feel less cluttered by getting rid of the desk system, bring in some color and add more lighting options. We kept the bed to save in the budget, but added new bedding with a lot more personality.

The sconces above the vanity were a happy accident. We originally wanted to use them in the kitchen, but they weren’t the right length (oops). We still loved them and wanted to figure out a way to keep them in the design. Luckily, we stumbled on this fantastic idea thanks in part to our creative clients. And it’s my favorite part of the condo!

No lemons here, y’all.


 Bathroom Before:

before bath


bathUpdated wall color and trim, new mirror and some new shelving.

There was a small amount left in the budget to add a little love to the bathroom. It’s amazing what a can of paint can do to breath new life into a space!

We loved working with these clients and feel like the condo now really reflects their lifestyle and personalities.

All photos by Amanda Kohler Photography.


  • Amanda

    This blog post is great! Thank you so much again for all your hard work. We LOVE the space. And it was lots of fun getting to know you 🙂

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