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Holiday guests in the Tom and Mary Alice Lanspa home will get a feel of Christmas around the globe.
That’s because many of the 10 nativity scenes in the couple’s new home in north Kearney came from foreign lands.
“The various nativity scenes show that Christmas is everywhere,” Mary Alice said. She listed the nations and continents represented in the Christmas decor. The couple has collected numerous items during their globe hopping, and many have holiday or religious themes.
The Lanspas love to travel, and they love their seven children even more. They are: Michelle of Florida, Amy of Omaha, Nicholas of San Francisco, Jacob of Norfolk, Elizabeth of Boston and Sarah and Emily, both of St. Louis. The entire clan came together recently for Nicholas’ wedding.
Mary Alice said she’s hoping Christmas will bring the children together again so they can enjoy traditions, such as everyone cramming into the kitchen to prepare a holiday seafood feast.
Tom, a cardiologist, and Mary Alice, a nurse, raised their family in Omaha. The children attended Omaha’s Duchesne Academy and Creighton Prep. The Lanspas are Creighton University fans, as shown by the Bluejays sports memorabilia sprinkled around the home.
Holding a photo of family “pajama night,” Mary Alice said the family is close and enjoys dreaming up new activities to laugh, joke around or just let down their hair together. While showing her home last week, Mary Alice passed by a pair of comical moose figurines near a sofa in the basement.
“Where’s the third moose?” she asked as her eyes scanned the room. She spotted the third moose on top of some shelves.
“Tom moved it up there to see if I was paying attention,” she laughed as she reunited the moose with its two partners.
Tom and Mary Alice raised their family in a 7,000-square-foot house in Omaha, but their new Kearney home encompasses 5,000 square feet. Moving into the smaller place meant finding homes for a lot of the furniture and trappings that were part of the 7,000-square-foot house. Many things went to their children and family, while charities benefited from the rest, Mary Alice said. “Downsizing has been wonderful, it was very cleansing.”
During the holidays, she said smaller accommodations will require some adjustments. With six bedrooms, not everyone will be sleeping on a bed.
“We’ll need to get out an inflatable mattress. Somebody will be sleeping on the floor,” Mary Alice said. Also, the Omaha house had a formal dining room with an oversize table, but the new place has a smaller space, so they might need to jockey around the table to seat more people for formal meals.
She said that she and Tom make daily use of both the basement and ground floor.
Downstairs is the exercise room with weight machines and free weights. Also, there’s a pool table in the fun room, which has the home’s only television. She said that she and Tom prefer spending their limited time together not watching TV, but doing other activities.
One is reading. The home office doubles as a study and is a great place for Tom to catch up on his patients’ charts. The room also is the repository for a variety of reading materials, including medical books and classics.
The Lanspas’ open-concept home, built by Chris Holz Construction LLC of Kearney, features a generously proportioned floor plan. There is plenty of elbow room in places such as bathrooms, closets, spare bedrooms and the pantry. Special design touches are sprinkled throughout the home. Among the standout custom features are a ceramic tile inset in the maple hardwood floor near the main entry and built-in bookshelves in the study.
Also evident is the emphasis placed on organization and keeping things tidy. Cooking supplies, spices and appliances are tucked away in the pantry, leaving the quartz kitchen countertops free of clutter. The same is true for other spaces. The laundry/mud room has an organizer where the family can shed its jackets and coats and then hang them on hooks. The large walk-in closet in the master suite has shelves and numerous drawers for a tidy look.
Mary Alice said she desired a festive feel with her holiday decorations. They are sprinkled throughout the house, but they never overwhelm a space or a room.
She said it took her and an assistant from Indigo Bungalow the better part of an afternoon to complete most of the Christmas decorations.
Visitors in the Lanspa home will see a large decorated tree near the fireplace in the great room. As they venture into other spaces, they’ll notice religious-themed memorabilia throughout the home. Some of the displays celebrate the holidays, while others illustrate familiar religious occasions in unfamiliar fashion, such as a Last Supper rendering from Africa.
Tom and Mary Alice frequently mix faith with travel, visiting landmarks and even participating in services. One occasion was an Easter morning Mass in Sicily.
Mary Alice and Tom stuck with basics to simplify and coordinate the interior look of their home. Walls are an earthy gray. The floor in the great room is darkly stained maple, which extends throughout the living room and dining areas. The kitchen floor and backsplash are ceramic tile. The same flooring is used in the mudroom and other high-traffic zones.
Carpet is reserved for bedrooms and the basement.
Just as the walls all are an earthy gray, all light fixtures are brushed nickel.
Among the special architectural touches are a large stone fireplace as a focal point in the living room, a cathedral ceiling over the great room, a large covered deck with fireplace and an adjoining patio with a fire pit.
The home has a three-car garage, six bedrooms and 3½ baths. Adding visual interest are the handsome brick exterior and complex roof line. Various landscaping features help break up the expansive triangular lot on the north side of a cul-de-sac. Mary Alice said she and Tom team up to keep the lawn trimmed.
The end of the day means some quiet time in the master bath, where Mary Alice enjoys a soak in a large white tub. “I soak and relax in it every night. I wanted a tub because it’s just ‘me time.’”
Opening their home to visitors for the HelpCare Clinic’s Holiday Home Tour was an easy decision, Mary Alice said. She and Tom volunteer their medical services at the HelpCare Clinic, so it wasn’t a surprise when Becky Kraenow, the clinic’s executive director, invited them to feature their place as one of the six homes that are a part of the Dec. 6-7 fundraising tour.
“We feel very strongly about the HelpCare Clinic. Being a home on the tour is a way to keep the clinic going,” Mary Alice said.