The Home of Eddith Buis

The Home of Eddith Buis
Omaha Magazine (March/April 2011)
By Wendy Townley

Tucked away among the traditional homes near 36th and Pacific Streets sits a cozy residence that’s anything but ordinary. Wipe your feet, say hello and look around as you enter the recently renovated (and very contemporary) two-story home of Omaha artist and sculptor Eddith Buis.

Known for organizing public art projects – J. Doe and Bench Marks come to mind – Buis worked with local architect Eddy Santamaria to completely renovate her 1900-era carriage house into an artistic piece of architecture whose focus is very green.

Buis and Santamaria met through the Hot Shops Arts Center and worked in tandem during the remodeling and construction stages of the home. Buis sought storage and light when envisioning the remodeled home, and Santamaria certainly delivered. An abundance of natural light streams through horizontal and vertical windows on the home’s first and second floors. In fact, Buis rarely uses artificial light during the daytime hours. And for an artist, she says, natural light is the ideal setting when creating art.

The home was remodeled using Earth-friendly and green construction materials, with natural woods as a large part of the overall look and design.

Storage abounds throughout the home, but it’s not immediately visible upon first glance. Shelves, closets, cozy pantries and hidden drawers were all part of the redesign, and Buis uses the space economically. What appears at first to simply be a floating wall to display an original painting is actually, on the opposite side, deep shelves for Buis’ plentiful collection of hardcover art books.

It’s no surprise that Buis’ home is filled with original art. Oversized paintings and sculptures abound ­– pieces both by Buis and her close friends. While redesigning the home, which was originally built in 1907, Buis wanted her new space to have a cozy feel for entertaining, but also serve as an ideal setting to display her extensive and diverse art collection.

For Santamaria, an artist and an architect, the renovation project proved uniquely satisfying.

“Eddith had an open pallet for her home design,” Santamaria says. “Most artists tend to move from the concrete to the abstract. In architecture it is the opposite; one tends to move from the abstract to the concrete.”

Santamaria says he views the home as a reflection of the changes that naturally occur in life: “Eddith’s house is smiling now, saying, ‘Look at what I’ve become.’”