Almost everyone who walks into Hilary and Jonathan Spurgeon’s home in Gretna asks the same question.

How do they keep this beautiful white decor clean with two kids and a dog?

That was the beauty of hiring a designer to realize his vision, says Hilary. Belinda Pabian of Belinda Pabian Interior Decorating and Styling was fabulous at finding durable fabrics.






Belinda Pabian


DANIEL MUELLER


“Performance fabrics are slip-covered and machine washable. The paint is also wipeable,” Hilary said. “Everything you see has a slipcover on it so you can throw it in the washing machine.”

It may still sound perfect, but there have been plenty of spills in the year since the Spurgeons moved to Nebraska for Jonathan’s job. He’s a federal scientist who does research on fish. She is a nursing leader at CHI Health.

Eight-year-old Zoe and four-year-old Fletcher know they’re supposed to eat at the kitchen counter, but kids will be kids, Hilary said. She also doesn’t want to tell Australian Shepherd Paisley, 12, that she can’t nap on the couch.

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A hand-blocked ikat print on this chair brings a neutral pattern that divides space in the living room.


MANDY McGREGOR PHOTOGRAPHY


“It’s a place where we can still live,” Hilary said. “It’s not just pretty.”

The Spurgeons loved being outdoors and hiking in the winter while living in warmer Arkansas, and Hilary wanted to bring that feeling to Nebraska.

The early 2000s Tuscan look of the house’s interior, with its yellow walls, just didn’t work.

“Winter here is long and hard,” she said. “I wanted to have this light and this feeling of the outdoors. I wanted to be able to look outside and have everything clear and bright even in winter.







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A burl wood coffee table gives this room a special look. “I like to bring really unique pieces. I feel like they stand the test of time because they’re not trendy,” Belinda Pabian said.


MANDY McGREGOR PHOTOGRAPHY


Hilary loves decorating for Christmas and Halloween, and the white base gives her a good canvas.

Bright pillows and accents fulfill her need for color.

“Neutrals would allow me to change things up with the season and have a timeless look but do a few trends,” she said.







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The sofa was hand built by a company in North Carolina. It is covered with a slip but with a tailored look.


MANDY McGREGOR PHOTOGRAPHY


They also hired Nook Construction to do work on the ground floor. They painted the kitchen cabinets white, built a new range hood, added a white hexagonal backsplash, and updated the hardware. A two-level island has been transformed into one and the old cabinets in the living room have been updated. The terracotta tile floors are now oak hardwood.

The hallway and bedrooms have all been painted. The exterior also needs painting, and it’s on the list.

Most of the work went smoothly, although a sofa and two chairs ordered in March did not arrive until September due to supply chain issues related to COVID-19 and a shortage of foam in industry. Hilary still laughs at the memory of Jonathan watching a game in the living room as he sat in a Pottery Barn children’s chair everywhere.







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It used to be a two level bar. The upper level was knocked down to expand the space on the island. “She has two small children. They can sit and eat easily and do arts and crafts,” says Belinda Pabian.


MANDY McGREGOR PHOTOGRAPHY


Hilary already knew Pabian from when they both lived in Lincoln, so she was an easy choice for the design job.

They talked about what Hilary wanted and Hilary sent Pabian some ideas she had seen on Pinterest and other websites. Pabian came back with a design plan, with three options for each item.

Pabian bought it all, with his design discount making the whole project more affordable, Hilary said.







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The new hexagonal kitchen backsplash has a 3D dimension.


MANDY McGREGOR PHOTOGRAPHY


She also calmed Hilary’s mind about the white fabrics. Pabian said she would often give customers a fabric swatch to test. So far, their picks have withstood just about anything.

“I love the fact that we live in an era where fabric manufacturers have come up with solutions where we have easy-going, lightweight and beautiful performance-based fabrics,” Pabian said.

With the exception of the furniture, the rest of the renovation of the house was completed in May, four months after it started. Both women are delighted with how it turned out.

“It’s just happy when you walk in,” Pabian said.