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A Treasure Hunter’s Home Full of Simple Comforts

by Bethany Joy Foss

Three years ago, Nick Huff and his boyfriend opened a mid-century modern furniture store called Hutch in the heart of Omaha, NE. Their collection of local, new and old furniture and décor is thoughtfully curated by working with makers in the community and frequent vintage-hunting. Nick is a self-proclaimed, “chronic thrift store junkie” and enjoys the thrill of discovery. “We are the [fanatics] first in line at all the area estate sales.” His own home is full of objects that are handmade, vintage or family heirlooms. Nick loves identifying human connections and significance with the artifacts he finds for his store and with what he chooses to place in his home. “It is important for me to find things that tell a story. These items comfort me and make my home feel complete.” His decorative practice is to use objects with an original, historic reference and an adventurous approach to mixing various styles with texture and bursts of color. After owning his home for the past year, Nick welcomes pieces that offer comfort and a unique narrative that reflects his appreciation for storytelling through objects.

Nick spent six months to find and furnish his 1920s brick duplex in midtown, Omaha. The area is full of neighborhood charm, including a local farmer’s market and a few restaurants close by. Nick values the diversity and culture of the community he is a part of. “I often find myself chatting with my neighbors as I walk to and from work every day. There is something comforting in that.”

After the passing of his Grandpa, Nick visited Arizona to take care of the family home and was gifted an original Navajo bowl and tapestry from his Grandma’s best friend, Midge. “Over the years, she would often make and give my Grandma beautiful objects including tapestries, large pots and woven bowls. I always felt a special connection to what my Grandma received.” Nick was overwhelmed with emotion when Midge handed him the gifted items. “In that moment, my world stopped and I was very thankful.” With those gifts leaving a lasting impact on him, Nick wants each guest to feel this same sense of comfort and discovery when they are in his space. “This life is too short. We all need to enjoy the ride and lift each other’s spirits.” Bethany Joy Foss

Photography by Joshua Foo

Nick's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
1/17
The 1946 security bank sign with original brass frame and gold plated lettering is a piece from Nick's grandfather’s company. This is layered with a framed fan of pheasant feathers from his grandparent’s estate in Ord, Nebraska. Other thrifted pieces like the tasseled ottoman bring in texture and create a charming, commemorative vignette in the corner.
Nick's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
2/17
Nick found the vintage fold-up rocker with a canvas sling for his living room a few weeks ago. “I almost hate that I love it so much. I have to be careful though, because if my Danish modern dining table and chairs knew how much I love it, they would probably disown me.” The Gus*Modern hardboard bi-sectional is from his own store, Hutch. The handmade, brass morel mushrooms on the coffee table were created by local artist, Luke Severs and the hand-poured Wax Buffalo candle was made in Lincoln, NE.
Nick's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
3/17
The living room proved to be one of Nick’s biggest challenges in styling his space. “Initially, I tried to align my furniture either parallel and perpendicular to my walls, but that wasn’t working. I inevitably had to put all the furniture in the room at an angle.” Nick was unable to find a coffee table that he liked, so he bought a vintage barn wood desk from Craigslist and deconstructed it to make the coffee table and shelf in the guest bedroom. Nick’s vintage toboggan with orange leather cushions increases the verticality in the space and adds a bright spot to the mid-century palette of the home.
Nick's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
4/17
One of Nick’s first thrift store finds is hanging next to his front door. “It’s of a monkey running with all its heart up and all of its energy going forward. It is honestly me.” This image is a daily reminder of who he is and has been hung in each of his living spaces since college. “I would describe myself as a positive force who goes against the grain — a rebel with a conscience, if you will. I am most comfortable in motion."
Nick's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
5/17
A love of thoughtfully placed color is expressed in Nick’s dining space through a vintage Danish Modern dining set with bright turquoise chairs purchased from a local thrift shop and white wire Bertoia chairs at the kitchen bar, collected from a client. The yellow globe pendant from CB2 adds a warm, sunny glow to the room even when turned off.
Nick's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
6/17
The handmade, Navajo tapestry was given to Nick as a gift by his grandmother’s best friend, Midge. This particular piece is one of the reasons he tries to find objects that tell a story while estate sale hunting for his store. “The connections I make during these times are very special to me and I always value the human connection over anything that might be in the home.”
Nick's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
7/17
“During the whole entire six-month process of furnishing my home, I wasn't in a rush. I believe with your own space you should spend time to find pieces that make you feel good. The key is to not get discouraged and to keep playing with your space and layout until it feels right.” The Navajo woven bowl on the dining table showcases more of Midge’s fine craftsmanship.
Nick's Kitchen on Design*Sponge
8/17
Nick makes an effort to add small doses of whimsy to his home that balance the thoughtful nature of his historic artifacts like the oversized, Styrofoam pretzel and pendants over the bar from Nuevo Lighting. As a furniture and décor store owner, Nick understands the significance of the maker’s craft and tries to collect work like the ceramic plates on the bar from The Object Enthusiast that are both functional and beautiful.
Nick's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
9/17
The hanging manifesto by Holistee, vintage chairs and handmade canvas bag by local Omaha maker, Artifact Bag Co. transition the living room into the dining area. Nick chose not to have digital entertainment in his living space and opted for a message board instead. “The layout is awkward and doesn't really leave room for a TV and media center, which I later decided against having altogether. Instead, I found an old classroom chalkboard that I fell in love with.”
Nick's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
10/17
Lighthearted, geometric wall stickers from Ferm Living are pasted onto one wall in the bathroom. The black accents and surrounding white finishes make it a practical, monotone room with a touch of fun.
Nick's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
11/17
The shelf Nick made in the guest bedroom showcases his late father’s first license plate. “From the stories he told me, his first car was an orange Corvette (hashtag cool dad).” A vintage Yale medicine ball and handmade weaving by local décor company Hey! & Co., create an original display, mixing vintage and personal items that offer an authentic narrative of Nick’s life.
Nick's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
12/17
The 900-square-foot home is overflowing with small, carefully orchestrated scenes that blend the feelings of old and new. In the second-floor guest bedroom, a vintage American flag and telescope from an estate sale highlight Nick’s love of discovery and adventure.
Nick's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
13/17
Nick is an expert at giving a fresh life to vintage pieces like the clock, key holder and fold-up table shown beside the guest bed. The small, ceramic pottery was made by The Object Enthusiast in Kansas City, MO.
Nick's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
14/17
Nick’s goal for the home was to create a space that looked good and made him feel good as well. He loves playing with various styles of texture, like the bedding found at an estate sale and bed from Moe’s Home, enhanced by a lustrous vintage brass lamp found at a thrift shop.
Nick's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
15/17
30-year-old Nick considers his style to be somewhat like an upscale, vintage dorm room with a modern influence. His love of collecting and curating displays makes his space a warm, cheerful trove, full of comfort and a handful of stories. “I am thankful for every guest who walks through my door and that I get to share a part of myself with them.”
Nick's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
16/17
Nick hopes everyone who enters his space will see the true version of himself, which is reflected in his life motto written on a notepad from The Paper Cub.” I want myself and my guests to walk in my home and feel a sense of discovery, comfort and understand who I am a little better.”
Nick's Home Tour on Design*Sponge
17/17
Nick’s 900-square-foot brick duplex in Midtown, Omaha, Nebraska.

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Comments

  • Nick spent six months to find and furnish his 1920s brick duplex in midtown, Omaha. The area is full of neighborhood charm, including a local farmer’s market and a few restaurants close by. Nick values the diversity and culture of the community he is a part of. “I often find myself chatting with my neighbors as I walk to and from work every day. There is something comforting in that.”

  • Would Nick be so kind as to share the color of paint and brand that covers the wall in the living room?