KEARNEY — The person who coined the phrase “you can never go home again” never spoke with Tom Roeder.
Roeder and his wife, Marta, spent most of their married life as vagabonds, chasing down job opportunities.
Marta was a teacher and Tom was an accountant, and both said the times were rare when one or both of them weren’t commuting. Most of the time Marta answered the call for teaching opportunities, but Tom also had career opportunities that came with daily doses of windshield time.
All of that commuting and moving — they lived in 10 different towns — came to a screeching halt about one year ago.
Tom’s mother had passed away and he and Marta had an opportunity to live in Kearney, in the 2700 block of Avenue I in east Kearney in Tom’s boyhood home.
The house was built in 1955 and was a modest 950 square feet.
Before Marta and Tom moved in, they spoke with architect Keith Eschliman and decided that Tom’s boyhood home would become their forever home, but first it needed some upgrades.
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After Eschliman came up with a roomier, more functional floor plan, the Roeders handed the project to John McCarter of Husker Tech Construction in Overton.
“Everything is low maintenance, which is what we wanted,” Marta said.
The Roeders invested in more space, the exterior is sheathed in long-life quality siding, and there’s a driveway as wide as an aircraft carrier for easy take-offs and landings. After trips to the market, Tom and Marta can easily unload their vehicle from the shelter of their double garage.
Indoors, new kitchen appliances make food preparation more pleasurable. There’s plenty of storage space in beautiful sage-colored Shaker cabinets. A generous center island topped in quartz gives Marta and Tom plenty of space for food preparation.
After living in many different places in south-central Nebraska, the Roeders could employ a lot of decorating and floor plan ideas they picked up along the way,
Their trail began with a spell in Kearney. In chronological order, the couple then moved to Grand Island, Fullerton, Gretna, Fullerton, Grand Island, Central City, Clarks, Aurora and Fullerton.
They moved into their enlarged and remodeled Kearney home in November.
“We’re gypsies,” Tom said about living in so many communities. He said for the final move, “we wanted to be in a larger town with health care. We’re excited to be back.”
Marta was an art instructor, so she looked forward to decorating their home. She chose simplicity for the look and functionality for the materials. The palette is earthy, with gray being the dominant color. The sage kitchen cabinets are a pleasing complementary color, while white elements turn up the contrasting brightness.
Marta and Tom treated themselves to a luxurious master bath. For him, there’s a roomy walk-in shower. Marta enjoys a daily soak in a sit-down tub.
Visitors might not discover the well-planned look of the interior immediately, but a few minutes of casually observing things unveils a lot of subtle details. Husker Tech produced a quality build that shines through with perfect drywall and handsomely installed wood flooring. Windows are high quality, with retracting shades sandwiched between twin panes of glass.
It’s just a snap to darken a room or to brighten it, and Marta said they’ll never have to purchase curtains. “I love the details — the cupboards and the quartz countertops — and it’s easy to clean.”
A few details are still are on the checklist for interior decorating. One element stands in a place of honor: a china cabinet that Tom’s father, Dale Roeder, built for Marta. Dale enjoyed many hours tinkering in a detached garage/workshop that is heated and has plumbing. Marta and Tom currently are storing a few possessions in the workshop. They said one of the items on their to-do list is installing a lawn sprinkler system and sodding the front and back yards.
Asked if they overlooked any details or would do anything differently, the Roeders said they feel proud and satisfied with their home.
“I like the openness and simplicity,” Tom said.
“We are so very happy with this house,” Marta added. “And the best part is I won’t have to spend the rest of my life commuting.”