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Omaha Magazine

A Rejuvenating Retreat: The Russells' Spa-like En Suite Bath

Aug 28, 2020 11:48AM ● By Katy Spratte Joyce
deep soaking tub, window above

Photography by Bill Sitzmann

A private retreat for a little serenity. That’s what the Russells were seeking with their 2019 en suite bathroom renovation. The couple worked with contractor Wetzel Properties and Remodeling, and Omaha-based designer Courtney Otte of The Modern Hive Interior Design, to help them create that bit of heaven.

A busy military family with two active kids, the Russells moved to the Omaha area following a work assignment at Offutt Air Force Base in nearby Bellevue. With the Omaha metro’s low cost of living, great public schools, and a top 10 ranking for best cities for military to retire, the family decided to settle here for the long term and bought their house in 2014. They picked Sarpy County’s La Vista enclave as their forever home, which was large enough for their family but did need some updates. 

Following a scary fall out of the much-too-small bathroom shower, it became obvious to Mrs. Russell that it was finally time to renovate the space. After gutting the room themselves and getting a referral by their contractor to designer Otte, who herself is part of a military family, the Russells moved full steam ahead with the task. 

The design plan for the 144-square-foot bath, according to Otte, was to create “a spa-like master retreat to relax and wash the worries away” without scarificing function, all while maximizing the potential of the small space. Custom solutions, such as relocating a closet door and building a vanity with a hidden laundry chute, were incorporated into the plan. Another custom solution—a “must-have” by the Russells—was a heated bathroom floor, since the room sits atop the garage and can get extremely cold in winters.  
Waterproof can lights were installed in the shower and tub area, and designer wall sconces from Rejuvenation were used in the vanity area, which was accented by a painted shiplap wall. 

By playing around with textures and using a total of six materials in the bathroom, Otte used her personal aptitude for pattern play to deliver  “a hint of modern farmhouse flair” for her clients. Navy scalloped tile was used on the vanity backsplash as well as in the shampoo niche in the shower to add a hint of color. The end result is a timeless five-piece en suite, equipped with dual sinks, a toilet, a stand-alone soaking tub, and a huge walk-in shower with a rainfall shower head and sprays, that delivers on the retreat atmosphere they strived for.

The Russells said they enjoyed the collaboration with Otte, built on the shared trust of their military backgrounds. They also appreciated Otte’s upfront, transparent, and timely communication. 

And fittingly, the shower that inspired the bathroom facelift is now a favorite part of the bathroom renovation, which the client said (with a laugh) is “almost too pretty to use…almost.”

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