Skip to main content

Omaha Magazine

Forever Home Potential: The Ostlunds Settle In at West Shores

May 27, 2020 10:37AM ● By Katy Spratte Joyce

After moving nine times in the past 17 years for various career opportunities, Tracy and Mike Ostlund were ready to settle down. The pair, longtime sweethearts who met while working at Baker’s Square in high school, were ready to return to their Omaha roots with kids Garrett and Bailey and charcoal Lab Grizzly in tow.  

 When they learned through a personal connection that a home on a rare point lot at the upscale West Shores development had become available, the Ostlunds jumped at the chance for lakeside living. (Point lots include about double the waterfront length of other parcels in the area.) They purchased the Waterloo home without delay.  While the newer home was in good shape when the couple purchased it in 2019, the inside was painted a pinkish-brown tone that was not to their liking. So, Tracy and Mike promptly changed it. (They closed on the house on July 22 and the painter was there on July 23.) They opted for a custom, creamy white paint to make the space feel beachier and wide open. Soon after, the master bedroom’s his and her closets got facelifts. Tracy chose cheetah carpet for hers. “I had always wanted cheetah carpet in my closet since I saw it in a Street of Dreams house. But then Mike didn’t want to be left out…he picked a tiger carpet for his!” Next, the real work began, and as Mike likes to say, “[the project] just snowballed from there.” 

Renovation of the kitchen and adjacent area was the first major project. The Ostlunds hired Mandy Lassek and Janine Dunn, designers with Lassek and Dunn Design, as consultants and Tackett Construction as general contractor. While a live-in renovation is no easy feat, the firms and the homeowner worked together well, creating a glorious result. Designer Lassek had this to say of the working relationship: “[The Ostlunds] were full of energy and were very appreciative of our design input. They were both very decisive, which makes the project progress quickly from start to finish.” Tracy added, “We were very much on the same page; I would see something in my head, then tell Mandy and she would just get it.” 

 The kitchen reno began by removing a wall that obstructed water views and formed another small room. The space was used by the previous owner as a home office, but Tracy elected to turn this enclave into her version of a “she shed.” Designer Dunn explained: “Tracy wanted a room that she could call her own and be able to absolutely enjoy the beautiful view of the lake.” It’s since become Tracy’s favorite spot to relax and enjoy a cocktail.

Major updates to the kitchen meant that pizza connoisseur Tracy, who fittingly has Italian ancestry, had four ovens installed instead of the original one. (Her quirky specialty is a peanut butter pie inspired by northern Minnesota eatery Zorbaz). CE Smith Custom Cabinets and CKF Countertops brought their expertise to the project, while a chevron-patterned hood added a fun touch. 

Lassek said that she and her design partner appreciate the unique features of this reimagined kitchen. “We love the color palette with the amazing marble-patterned backsplash. We had not used this color palette with the different Cambria from CKF [before],” she said. “Mike and Tracy were bold with their choices and it paid off in design.”  

 Lassek continued: “[Additionally], the white picket fence backsplash along the perimeter really complemented the bold pattern on the range backsplash area. We introduced the brushed brass handles along with the faucet, and it really popped with the navy and white cabinetry.”

One point of contention was whether to include a unique round detail on the end of the large kitchen island. Lassek and Dunn both thought it would be “too much going on,” but Tracy had always wanted a rare feature like this, so she stuck to her guns. Ultimately, Lassek said, “We listened to the homeowner and couldn’t be happier with the end result.” 

The reno team completed several projects in the home’s lower level as well, including replacing basement carpet with new tile, turning the downstairs kitchen into a bar, and adding a butler’s pantry with extra bar storage. Additionally, they took an unused nook and crafted a special space for avid fowl hunter Mike—a locked gun room, complete with a Browning safe door.

Even with multiple large-scale projects under their belt, the Ostlunds look forward to tackling their future to-do list. Up next? Converting their outdoor patio space into an entertainer’s dream, complete with custom pizza oven for Tracy’s signature pies, an outdoor kitchen, a fire pit, and an open sky bar with dreamy lake views. 

The Ostlunds never say never when it comes to moving yet again, but they both agree…this West Shores home is sure beginning to feel like their forever home. 

This article was printed in the June 2020 edition of OmahaHome. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.