Jenni Holoch was eager to buy a condo in downtown Omaha, but her husband, Dave, wanted a two-car garage and a big backyard for their growing family.
A real estate listing on South 13th Street offered an intriguing compromise.
Frankie Marino was selling his family's landmark building, A. Marino Grocery. The brick two-story storefront has a sidewalk view of the downtown skyline and a lot big enough for the kids to play. The couple looked at the property and found a diamond in the rough.
The 1887 building was in sorry shape when the Holochs took possession nearly four years ago. Jenni, who was pregnant at the time with the couple's first child, managed the renovation while Dave did the demolition work.
“I do the jobs a drunken monkey could do,” Dave quips. “I'd kill myself if I had to put it back together.”
The family lived with Jenni's parents in west Omaha for 10 months while Dave removed lead paint and asbestos (“The dumbest DIY ever,” he says now.) “We redid all of the mechanical and electrical, added insulation, redid floors and ceilings and built-out walls,” he says.
The project took about 17 months from start to finish, with Dave working on the interior as time allowed in the evenings and on weekends.
Today the Holochs have 2,000 square feet of living space on the main floor and the potential for an additional 1,000 square feet on the upper level.
“Someday it will be a master bedroom,” Jenni says about the upper level, on which they started work in August.