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Sisters whip up recipe for new home, build on their success – Omaha World |

Sisters whip up recipe for new home, build on their success – Omaha World

Soup, hors d’oeuvres and home designing.

Not your traditional Thanksgiving lineup, unless you are Salvage Sisters Stacy Fahrenbruch and Julie Zielinski.


No collapsing on the couch for these two, who are part owners of Dundee Flea in midtown Omaha.

Instead, they spent the November holiday designing Julie’s new home.

“Just have faith in me,’’ Stacy told her sister. “It’s not rocket science.’’

Eighteen months later, Julie’s 2,700-square-foot home, with its three bedrooms and an office, was complete — as drawn to plan.

They’ve since finished a home for their parents and have a few more houses in the works.

Stacy got things rolling in 2015 with the design and construction of her own home in the Little Prairie subdivision five miles south of Gretna. It’s the same square footage as Julie’s house but with three bedrooms and a suite above the garage. Both have sunny open floor plans.

The subdivision, with its 21 lots of three to five acres each, sits in the middle of the countryside — a place where kids can run free. That’s a must for the sisters, who each have two children. Brother Jake and his three boys live nearby in Gretna.

“We just wanted to be out on an acreage,’’ Stacy said. “But close enough to town to get to Target in 15 minutes.’’

It was at Stacy’s house where they sat that Thanksgiving and designed a home for a lot that Julie and her husband, Bret, had purchased close to Stacy and her husband, Andy. The couple were living in Denver at the time, but when the house plans came to life, they accelerated their move back to Nebraska.

Then their parents, Donna and Dan Ring, decided to join the crew in the Little Prairie subdivision. With the size of the lots, they use four-wheelers to tool from home to home.

Stacy, a project manager for an architecture firm in Atlanta, always wanted to build her own home — something unique.

“Something special,’’ Julie says.

Stacy describes her home as an industrial farmhouse with lots of natural wood, steel railings and exposed bolts. She likes clean lines.

The big island separating the kitchen and living room is a reclaimed bowling alley lane from Elkhorn Lanes, which had burned down.

“Don’t leave stuff there,” she’ll warn the family. “I’m psycho about the island. It’s like my room.’’

Special touches include a bookcase door built by Andy to conceal steps to the basement. Upstairs, a small closet holds a craft room for daughter Hadley, with make-your-own-art wallpaper she can decorate to her heart’s content.

Julie, a hairstylist, wanted a modern farmhouse, with brick paver tile in the entryway, shiplap on the walls and barnwood doors for the laundry room and an office. She bought two massive barnwood doors in Wyoming and hauled them to Denver and finally to Omaha.

She insisted on a wood-burning fireplace.

A 10-by-2-foot table between the kitchen and living room is a workbench she found at an estate sale. It’s perfect for arts and crafts projects.

Julie jokes that she likes to buy things for the house and hopes they fit when she gets them home. Stacy bought four light fixtures for her second-floor stairway before she found the perfect one for the space.

“I had a lot of crazy ideas, and luckily everyone went along with me,’’ Julie says.

One thing they agree on — the majority of the space in both homes is devoted to the first floor. Smart, livable space, they call it. The master bedrooms are on the main floor, too, but neither sister wanted a big sitting area and all the frills. They didn’t think the space would get used.

They’re thrifty builders. They rely on trusted subcontractors to do the early work, but the sisters and their families finish the homes from the drywall on. Andy, an electrician, takes care of that job. Then everyone pitches in on such things as laying tile, painting walls and installing trim.

There’s always a lengthy punch list of jobs. Each home takes seven to eight months to complete.

“We all love it when we get to cross one off,’’ Julie says.

Meet the Salvage Sisters

There’s little rest for the Salvage Sisters, who began repurposing furniture for Junkstock 3½ years ago. Now, besides their full-time occupations and home-building, the two are co-owners of Dundee Flea at 50th and Dodge Streets. The store specializes in repurposed furniture and home decor and accessories. They love their new neighbors, many of whom have provided items for the store because they are downsizing. “It’s the perfect neighborhood for us with vintage furniture.’’

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