Your home is far more than a compilation of bricks and mortar. It’s the place where you build your family and memories, a place that delivers a sense of peace and celebration, a gathering place for family and friends, a place for thoughtful solitude and a place that gives you a sense of accomplishment. G.K. Chesterton put it well: “The truth is that the home is the only place of liberty, the only spot on earth where a man can alter arrangements suddenly, make an experiment on indulging in a whim. The home is not the one tame place in a world of adventure; it is the one wild place in a world of rules and set tasks.”

When it comes time to consider a new home, the first of many decisions ahead is whether to build or to buy. If it’s not immediately clear which one is the best option for you, looking into both isn’t a bad idea at all. There are generally pros and cons either way you go, as with any fork in the road that you’ll encounter in life. Specifically with respect to building a home, at the top of the list of pros is the ability to design your home to be exactly what you want it to be, with control over every single aspect from floor plan to finishes.

Since we are still in the first half of the year, 2023 design trends are slowly starting to take form. If you are looking to be the trendiest home on the block, try some of these features for your new home:

  1. Patterned Hardwoods: Old World craftsmanship, including two-tone inlays, patterns or even different tones, is growing more popular. Expect to see lighter hardwood flooring, whether covering an entire room or just part of a room.
  2. Biophilic design: Homeowners are embracing “biophilic design” principles, which include more organic materials throughout interiors and maximizing sunlight, fresh air, plants and other natural elements within the home.
  3. Outdoor luxury: Homeowners are sprucing up their outdoor spaces and making them an extension of their home. They’re adding outdoor living rooms with televisions and fireplaces as well as high-end pools.

When you get the opportunity to build your dream home, you have a monumental task in front of you. The good news, though, is that you don’t have to go it alone. Lincoln is home to experts in the entire process, starting with finding the right spot to build to putting together an accurate budget of costs and financing to mapping out just the right size, layout, materials and technologies, to designing and furnishing the insides and then settling into your dream in real time.

Mixing it Up

Merritt Concrete has supplied the Lincoln community with ready-mix concrete and construction materials since 1894. They are proud to have served the community for over 125 years. In addition to their original one-yard U-Kart trailers, Merritt has recently purchased four new volumetric mixing trucks. The volumetric mixing trucks measure and mix your concrete on demand for jobs large or small. They use cutting-edge technology to bring the batch plant to you, ensuring fresh loads are mixed on-site and eliminating waste. With these trucks, you only pay for what you pour.

Terry Howell
Merritt Concrete

“The concrete industry has experienced a significant shift in recent years with the introduction of volumetric mixing trucks,” said General Manager Terry Howell. “This innovative technology has allowed concrete professionals to increase efficiency, reduce waste, minimize carbon footprint, and deliver higher-quality products to clients. Our volumetric mixing trucks are unique in their capability to mix and pour concrete on-site. This cutting-edge technology means trucks can produce concrete and pour on demand, reducing the risk of overproduction and waste. The precision of the mixing process also ensures that the concrete is of the highest quality, with the exact mix ratios adjusted on-site as needed.”

Concrete industry professionals have embraced volumetric mixing trucks to streamline operations and reduce costs. With the ability to produce and pour concrete on-site, projects can be completed faster and more accurately, leading to increased customer satisfaction and repeat business. Always remember to schedule your deliveries and leave plenty of time for the concrete to set.

“The benefits of volumetric mixing trucks are not limited to the home building industry. Their ability to produce and pour concrete onsite is ideal for remote locations and hard-to-reach areas, making them a versatile option for various projects,” Terry explained. “As the concrete industry continues to evolve, it is clear that volumetric mixing trucks are here to stay. Their ability to increase efficiency, reduce waste, and deliver high-quality products has made them a game-changer for concrete professionals worldwide.”

In addition to their upgraded ready-mix concrete production capabilities, their team members have completed ACI Field Test Technician Training and are now certified to perform field testing on ready-mix concrete. These certifications demonstrate their commitment to providing the best service to customers and becoming an end-to-end concrete solution.

“When starting any project, it’s great to have an open mind,” encouraged Terry. “There are so many options out there that it can become overwhelming. We are here to help guide you and help find exactly what you are looking for. Enjoy the process, and enjoy watching your vision come to life!”

Create Cozy Spaces

Barnwood & Leather features custom-designed leather and fabric furniture pieces along with wood dining, kitchen, bar and occasional table and bedroom furniture. Their goal is to work with small businesses and artists close to home and with American companies offering solid wood designs.

Brenda Clark
Barnwood & Leather

“Our area of specialty is providing you with the ‘finishing touches’ to your new home. We offer our customers high-quality, customized furniture that fits the space, look and needs for any room in your home,” said owner Brenda Clark. “This includes pieces made from 100% top-grain leathers, fashionable fabrics, and from American hardwoods and reclaimed barnwood. Our vendors produce American-made products that bring quality and uniqueness to your home.”

Consumers trends indicate shoppers are looking for pieces made from authentic, natural materials that are repurposed and sustainable. At Barnwood & Leather, that is what we offer our customers—genuine top-grain leather on our sofas, chairs and solid wood construction in our wood furniture that is made from both new and reclaimed woods. We do not sell bonded leathers or veneered furniture.

“We are PLEASED to share that our timelines have returned to normal, pre-pandemic timeframes and that we are able to get our custom-ordered pieces to customers more expediently than when we first began this business,” shared Brenda. “In general, most of our vendors are able to ship pieces to us in 8-12 weeks. However, it is advisable to always plan ahead when ordering furniture. If needed, we will hold pieces in our warehouse so they are available when customers are ready to move into their beautiful, new home!”

Barnwood & Leather is family-owned and operated, and they pride themselves on offering personalized services and follow-up in every aspect of your shopping experience. The mission at Barnwood & Leather is to provide shoppers with an inviting atmosphere to shop where they feature distinctive styles that will bring comfort to your home. Their lines allow them to offer customization so you can select furniture that accommodates your space and budget while giving you the ‘one-of-a-kind’ look you want to achieve. They are located at the corner of 14th and Yankee Hill Road, 1401 Dahlberg Dr., and are open Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., but are available for appointments outside of regular store hours.

Find Your Flooring

The flooring you choose to install in your home can greatly impact the functionality of the room as well as the ultimate look. Picking out your flooring involves considering your personal tastes as well as how the room will be used. We spoke to the pros over at Underfoot Flooring Solutions to learn more about what to consider when picking out your floors.

Flooring is another piece of the puzzle that will really bring the entire room together for a beautiful, finished look. Underfoot Flooring Solutions offers a wide variety of flooring choices for homeowners to choose from, including materials in tile, vinyl, linoleum, laminate, engineered hardwood, LVP, LVT, carpeting and stone.

Underfoot is owned by Cory and Ela Schlisner who took over ownership in June 2021. In addition to the change in ownership, Cory and Ela also merged Underfoot together with their other business, PureCare Carpet Cleaning, and now the two businesses work hand-in-hand to deliver outstanding flooring solutions to the Lincoln area.

Chad Schlisner
Underfoot Flooring Solutions

“Hardwood floors can add an elegant and timeless look to any space,” suggested Operations Manager Chad Schlisner. “It’s also a great choice for high-traffic areas. Carpeted areas add a coziness and intimacy to your home, in addition to offering a certain amount of sound-proofing and insulation.” Underfoot proudly carries all types of flooring. It can be difficult to make a decision – it is your dream home, after all – which is why their knowledgeable team is on standby to help answer any questions you may have and help you select the perfect flooring for your home.

PureCare Carpet also offers repair and re-stretching services for carpet that has experienced years of wear and has begun to pucker or develop wrinkles. This allows you to repair your carpet to look like new and last for years to come at a fraction of the cost of a full carpet replacement. Keeping up with maintenance on your new flooring will keep your home looking new for years to come.

Tie It All Together

The tile and stone that you select to implement into your dream home can really make a difference in how well all of the elements of the house are tied together. From kitchen backsplash to entryway flooring to the shower walls, tile and stone are some of the most important details you’ll pick out when building. For these needs, we recommend Maven Tile & Stone, a tile design studio in Lincoln. They will offer both specialty and commodity products, and clients who purchase through Maven are offered Owner Lizett Nissenson’s tile design services at no charge. The store will be open to both the general public and the trades. To make the building process even more convenient, job site delivery is also available at an additional charge.

Lizett Nissenson
Maven Tile & Stone

“We strive to help you pick the best product that will meet the needs and goals of your family’s home,” shared Owner Lizett Nissenson. “We are here to make your process easier, which includes answering the technical questions and doing walk-throughs on projects during non-business hours. Plus, clients that purchase through us are offered my tile design services at no charge.”

Lizett’s history in the world of tile design dates back to the age of 20 when she became a sales associate at a tile store in Long Beach, CA, where she was born in raised. It was a total fluke, but Lizett ended up never leaving the industry. She went on to open up her own shop in Manhattan Beach at the age of 36, working by appointment only for high-end clients. Then, about three years ago, Lizett and her husband Hugo decided to leave California and find a good home where they could raise their daughter. The guidance from a few friends lead them to Lincoln, and now Lizett shares her expertise with our local community.

The hands-on tile design studio has samples available in their showroom and design center for homeowners who want to get ideas and advice for their new home.

Contact Lizett at (531) 249-5917 / or visit / Instagram (@maventileandstone) to check out Maven’s beautiful tile and stone collection. The studio is located at 7011 Kentwell Ln., STE 300.

Hand-Crafted Concrete Creations

Concrete Craft of Lincoln can provide nearly endless solutions from simply staining concrete, to adding color and texture to entryways, walkways, patios, garages, basements and mancaves or just about any area of your dream home with concrete. Decorative concrete finishes are great alternatives to traditional flooring options. Whether you want a simple look with polished gray concrete or something with a bit more character, Concrete Craft offers a variety of solutions that are durable and easy to maintain. Even more, they offer a stamped concrete seat wall and outdoor kitchen system that is a fast and economical way to create the outdoor entertaining area of your dreams. This cost-effective method will give you an additional seating that looks like natural stone but is made with the more durable material of stamped concrete.

Whether you are looking for the wow factor on the inside or outside, Concrete Craft can help you to transform your space and upgrade and never explore new paint technologies that can help you improve your home. Remy Refinishing is committed to evolving and growing with the current trends to provide you a space you can be proud of.

“When you invite people into your home, you want to make sure you are putting your best foot forward,” Jeremy said. ”Paint is one of the highest impact things you can do to make your space look beautiful and inviting to your friends and family.”

Remy Refinishing is also offering their DIY Kitchen Cabinet Painting Program, where you can save 50% off cabinet painting. Do you feel like you could paint your own cabinets but are unsure of all the details? Remy Refinishing will spray paint your doors and drawer faces in their shop, and then teach you how to brush and roll your own frames, and how to uninstall and reinstall your cabinets.

The Remy Refinishing team can do any percentage of the job you need them to. If you want to paint your frames but can’t transport or install your own doors, there is no problem. They can also drill new handles and install new hinges for you if needed.

The purpose of this program is to open up the possibility for more people to use Remy Refinishing’s services in any capacity at all. This program is available for homeowners or other contractors that may not have a shop to spray cabinet doors in. Give them a call at (402) 570-9427 to find out more.

For top-notch paint jobs and top-of-the-line customer service, look no further than Remy Refinishing!

Brighten Up

If you’re investing in a new home, don’t forget to include lighting in your project plan. The choices are endless, and the effects can really be the cherry on top!

According to the National Electrical Contractors Association, less than 10% of electrical contractors nationally are owned by women, and Oak Electric, Inc is proud to be one of them. 100% owned and operated by Crystal Collins, she has intentional focus on her team to ensure everyone has what they need to be successful. This includes anything from a new tool in the field, skills and safety training, or administrative support. Her team of knowledgeable professionals are ready to help you get your home shining bright.

Matt Collins
Oak Electric

“Lighting is one of the most important things to think about when building a new home,” said Matt Collins, master electrician with Oak Electric. “For example, if you are investing thousands of dollars into a new kitchen, why not invest a little more to install under-cabinet lights to showcase your new space? The same goes for bathrooms. You can install new lighting over the shower or bath area, and you might be surprised how much it showcases your investment.”

Matt says the most popular trend in home lighting today is strategically placed can lights. Another stunner is to design directional lighting to enhance artwork or photography that you have hanging on your walls. Don’t forget your exterior lighting, either.

“Lighting is equally important on the exterior of your home as it is on the inside,” Matt said. “Outside lighting provides safety after dark. It provides functionality to use your patio and/or deck later into the evening and it also gives your home greater curb appeal.”

When you’re starting a project of just about any kind in your home, Matt warned us that it’s absolutely crucial to make sure you know exactly how it will affect your home’s overall electrical workings to ensure the safety of you and your family.

“Before you start any project, please have a licensed electrician evaluate your home’s electrical panel to ensure that it can safely handle any and all upgrades.”

Evolve Your Walls

It’s amazing what a professional paint job can do for your home’s curb appeal. A fresh coat of paint, whether on the interior or exterior of your home, can be all a room needs. We highly recommend Walter’s Painting Inc. for all of your painting needs. Walter’s offers first-rate exterior- and interior-painting services, in addition to wallpaper removal, power washing, refinishing of decks and other outdoor areas, re-staining, painting cabinets and nearly any coating removal or application you can think of. They offer efficient, reliable service with minimal disruption to your commercial activity. If you want to make sure your painting project is completed on-time and on-budget, you need to work with the crew at Walter’s Painting.

Jeff Walters
Walter’s Painting Inc.

“Walter’s Painting uses only top-quality products and qualified painting crews experienced with helping clients make the most informed decorating and painting decisions,” said Owner Jeff Walters.“With our team of well-trained and experienced painters, we understand what homeowners expect from a painting company, and we are always ready to deliver.”

Walter’s Painting makes the process simple by providing free estimates and quality prep work, in addition to a consultation after the first coat of paint has dried and a final inspection to ensure the painting job is satisfactory.

“Many homeowners are tempted to simply do the painting work themselves, but this takes up valuable free time that could be spent elsewhere,” said Jeff Walters, owner. “We know that today’s fast-paced lifestyle means that most people are just too busy for home improvements like painting and plastering, and especially all the prep work. We strive to make the entire process stress and worry-free, in addition to providing premium quality products and services that produce outstanding results.”

The mission at Walter’s Painting is to remain a leading contractor by providing the best quality work. Client’s satisfaction is their priority, so you can be sure that they will always take the extra time to make sure you love the finished product of every project.

Beautiful Brick

For those that are looking for a more historical, classic design to spruce up their home’s exterior, brick is always a stable choice— and has the big advantage of being low-maintenance. Established in 1881, Yankee Hill Brick works with local contractors to supply quality brick of all varieties and colors. Brick is an ideal material for siding and retaining walls and it continues to be a popular choice for its charming aesthetic. Yankee Hill produces its own clay mixes and high temperature firing kiln to produce a range of looks for their own brickwork. In addition to their own bricks, they also import a selection of bricks from other manufacturers, chosen to complement the local Nebraska market.

Retaining walls continue to gain popularity as they hold both functional and decorative purposes. For example, they can stabilize sloping landscapes and prevent rainwater from flooding your landscape, all while giving your property an aesthetically pleasing look. When installing a retaining wall, use a quality brick locally produced by Yankee Hill Brick. They offer a variety of brick in many different colors and styles to perfectly match your landscape. Brick pavers are also a popular trend that continues to grow, with residents opting for this style for their patios, pool decks, driveways and pathways. Yankee Hill pavers are hard and durable, low maintenance and long lasting. They come in 15 different colors and can be formed into a variety of patterns to reflect contrast or unity. The products produced by Yankee Hill Brick are a sure way to instantly boost the curb appeal of your home.

Fine Outdoor Living

As providers of fine outdoor living, Landmark Nursery and Landscaping in Eagle wants to fully understand your goals, so they can create a space that is designed for you. Your outdoor living space is an extension of your home and personality. Landmark’s goal is to showcase your style, utilize your property’s dynamic characteristics and work within your budget to bring your dream oasis to life… and exactly how you want it!

What started with driving around neighborhoods with minimal tools in the backseat of a car, has blossomed into a regional destination for high quality and rare plants, a vast selection of trees, personalized landscaping services and trendsetting home decor. It’s all due to the lasting relationships they have cultivated over the years. This commitment to their customers is why they have maintained an unmatched reputation for quality, dependability, value, and above all, exceptional customer service. They start every landscape project by simply listening and getting to know you.

Next, they pair you with the perfect member from their design team who will be dedicated to you from consultation to completion. The talented designer and experienced horticulturist will collaborate, inspire and guide you along the way until it’s time to put your feet up, and take it all in.

No dream is too small, or too big. Allow Landmark Nursery to tailor the perfect plan for your lifestyle, property and budget. They take great pride in their landscape services, so that you will take great pride in your outdoor living space for generations to come.

If you’re looking to create your dream outdoor living space, the hardscaping design team at Landmark has your back. Take your living space outdoors through the addition of hardscaping, which as the name suggests, is the hard, non-living design elements that are incorporated into the landscape. Outdoor kitchens, fire pits, patios, walkways and even decks are all examples of modern hardscaping. Combining the two in a way so that they complement one another is key. Hardscaping adds usable outdoor square footage to the property and increases your home value, while improving its livability.

Your outdoor living space is something that brings you great pride, and has become an extension of your home – a place to gather with family and friends. Allow Landmark to enhance that space through the addition of professional-grade outdoor lighting, and let’s take back the night by extending your outdoor time into the evening! Today’s modern outdoor lighting offers many options – path lighting, spot lighting, mood lighting, underwater lighting, etc. The use of low-voltage LED technology not only saves money, it’s also long-lasting and practically maintenance-free. Plus, not only does it provide that wow factor and additional time outside, but it also increases safety and security when professionally designed.

If you’re not a new homeowner but are still looking for something special to spruce up your outdoor living space, head to Landmark! Landmark is a garden center redefined. Come enjoy their events aimed at bringing together local artisans, food vendors, creators, musicians and purveyors of fine outdoor living. The Refuge at Landmark is cultivating educational and shopping events, to spark your creativity, against the backdrop of their carefully curated, unique boutique and gift shop.

Make a Splash

Growing up, every kid dreams of having a pool in their own backyard. Make your dream house complete with a brand new pool! Since 1998, Strawberry Springs has been serving the Lincoln and Omaha metro areas. They provide unmatched attention to detail, complete customer satisfaction and great service. As authorized and trained spa technicians for most brands, Strawberry Springs will repair your hot tub or pool with efficiency and professionalism. They can help you design and build In ground pools, spas, water features and splash decks.

The new pool may be a spectacle for the first few weeks, but what happens when you have to start taking care of it? A proper start-up will get you swimming faster and enjoying the pool more, and help prevent problems during the summer months.

  1. Remove, clean and store pool cover with cover cleaner deodorizer and perform housekeeping chores such as brushing, vacuuming and emptying skimmer baskets of dirt and debris.
  2. Add water. Water level should always be approximately half way up the skimmer opening.
  3. Prepare equipment following manufacturer’s recommendations.
  4. Balance water by taking one quart of pool water to your professional OMNI dealer for a complete water analysis. Follow the dealer’s instructions for balancing the water.
  5. Continuous disinfection. Regular sanitation consists of using OMNI Chlorination Stix or one inch to three inch tablets in your skimmer or automatic chlorinator. At all times, maintain a free chlorine level of at least 1.0 ppm, to continuously kill bacteria.

Strawberry Springs is your trusted partner in making your pool and spa environment work well. They can bring new and cutting-edge design and efficiency to your project. When they’re done with your pool it will be perfectly clean, balanced and ready to make a splash!

Building your dream home is a huge undertaking, and as you can see, there are a multitude of pieces to the puzzle. This should be an exciting time, so remember to find moments of calm throughout the chaos. Fortunately, if you contact the experts featured here, you can make your build a lot less stressful—and your dream home a reality!