An Ashland Oasis: A Modern Industrial Home with an Organic FeelMay 27, 2020 10:52AM ● By Carrielle Sedersten
Photography by The Mullers Photo Co.
What is it about going to a lake that makes the air feel fresher with each inhalation? A feeling that starts in the chest and quickly floods over your entire body. Everything that’s not right in front of you falls away, and worries begin to fade. You start to notice all the small details: the way the light hits the trees and which way the wind blows, and for that moment, you don’t feel separate from, but part of it all. You slow down. Feel the grass beneath your feet. Come back to your senses. Back to now.
Stepping inside Marci Sesker’s house feels just like that. It transports you to another place. A place that mixes industrial elements like steel beams and concrete floors, often found in historic buildings, with cozy, organic materials mimicking nature’s warmth and serenity.
The centerpiece of the newly built, 1 1/2 story, open-concept custom home in Ashland is the peaceful panoramic view of Sandy Pointe Lake. Natural light pours in from all the windows lining the entire perimeter, making you forget where the walls should be.
"You walk in and you can just instantly breathe,” said Monica Freeborn, owner and designer at Amethyst Home, the interior consultant for the house. “You just feel like you’re in nature...Really, it’s like you’re in a glass box.”
Everything in the home was intentionally chosen to complement the lake. From the massive windows lining the entire length of the kitchen and living area, to the water- and sand-resistant concrete floors running throughout the main level. Both features were must-haves for Sesker when building her home.
“It was more important to me to have big, tall windows that go to the ceiling…than having a full top level,” Sesker said.
The vaulted ceilings in the living room reach more than two stories high, and both interior walls have a row of rectangular windows right below the ceiling that bring in additional light further expanding the room. Painting all the walls white creates an even greater feel of openness, as the places where the walls start and stop blend together into one cohesive, blank canvas that has no end.
Not everything in the home is black and white. Artwork, like the oversized print in the dining area, adds small pops of color, while real and faux greenery lend an organic feeling to the space.
The clean white walls contrast with the onyx steel beams, adding dimension and grounding the space to create a cozy downtown loft atmosphere. The yin and yang of light and dark elements results in a timeless aesthetic that is striking and sophisticated.
Nowhere is that more evident than the matte black, ceramic floor-to-ceiling tiled wall on the north side of the living room. What Freeborn describes as one of her favorite “moody moments.”
“We loved that the colors are just slightly different, so it has a handmade look to it. They’re not perfect. We love to embrace the imperfections in design. If you look at it closely, they’re not all the same size,” Freeborn said.
To balance out the modern architecture, Sesker and Freeborn selected soft ivory, natural linen slip-covered sofas with down feather cushions and pillows that are not only comfortable, but also machine washable—perfect for the Seskers’ laid-back lake lifestyle.
Sesker enjoys the lake view most often from one of these relaxed, low-profile sofas that barely peek over her giant back window. She fondly recalled the day she got them.
“We [she and her daughter] just sat on these couches and were like, Is this heaven or what?” Sesker said. “Everything was just so perfect. To look outside. The couches are just the right look. It’s such a cool coastal sort of beachy feeling.”
Also chosen to complement an aquatic lifestyle are the low-pile rugs, which don’t trap sand and vacuum easily. A gray and ivory Indian hand-knotted wool rug in the living room brings in a natural material that adds both softness and warmth to the hard concrete floors while anchoring the handmade, black-stained pine coffee table. A pair of round camel leather chairs sit opposite the ivory sofas.
This theme of pairing hard and soft plays out with another hand-knotted Indian rug in the entryway and continues in the kitchen with a deep onyx-colored vintage Turkish runner.
In the kitchen, the countertops, waterfall island, and backsplash—all of which are made of white quartz—work in perfect harmony with modern stainless steel appliances and dichromatic Euro-style cabinets. The lower cabinets are done in natural wood, and the upper cabinets in black.
Making the black upper cabinets the same height all the way across as Sesker envisioned was a challenge during the build.
Sesker explained, “[In] A typical house, [the cabinetry] goes across, and then you have to go up because of the gas stove for ventilation. So my cabinets are a little bit higher than the normal.”
Freeborn added that because they had to raise the upper cabinets, the backsplash is about six inches higher than what’s standard, which adds to the overall lofty feel of the home.
Ultimately, it turned out exactly how Sesker wanted it, and she loves everything about her new house.
“My goal was for Marci to be happy and wake up in a home that felt like a true expression of herself,” Freeborn said. She feels the mission was accomplished.
What Sesker is most looking forward to is having get-togethers this summer with her family and her neighbors, many of whom decided to move out to Sandy Pointe Lake after living in the same neighborhood for nearly 17 years.
“I think we always talked about that when we first got married, that someday we’d want a lake house,” Sesker said. “I’m so happy that we’re out here just to be able to see the water flowing by. It’s kind of like your dream house...it’s really what I wanted.”
This article was printed in the June 2020 edition of OmahaHome. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.