Views from Every Angle: At Hanson Lake, a Couple Bends Their Dream House to Suit Their OutlookDec 27, 2020 03:04PM ● By Jenna Gabrial Gallagher
Photography by Bill Sitzmann
Carri and Jeff Siedlik have only been in their Hanson Lake home in Bellevue for a little over a year, but they’ve always known that lake living was the life for them.
“Carri grew up on a lake north of York [Nebraska],” Jeff Siedlik explained. “And we owned a cabin on this property before we built the house.”
Jeff, who worked as a general contractor for 18 years before founding Commercial Solutions Insurance in Old Towne Bellevue, knew he wanted to manage the construction of the home. The couple also knew they wanted two stories, with the primary suite on the main floor and a loft upstairs for their two young-adult daughters (one still at home, the other away at college). The second floor houses a large kitchen and features floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the water. That left one wild card. Like many beachfront properties, the Siedliks’ lot is unconventionally shaped: it’s long, but not very deep, and bound, both front and back, by two immovable borders: the road and the lake. Plus, the lot curves right about in the middle—just where the heart of most homes would be situated.
“It was a fun puzzle to figure out how to fit everything they would need on a relatively small footprint and make the best use of the lake,” said Elizabeth Monical of Monical Design, who worked with the Siedliks to design the house. She decided to play up the lot shape to the family’s advantage, bending their home at a 70-degree angle. Combined with the 22-foot ceilings, the white-and-black color scheme, and the lake views from every vantage point, the effect manages to be both dramatic and serene.
“When you put the importance on just a few key areas, it makes the space feel bigger,” Monical said. “And, by allowing negative space, it gives the eye a chance to rest.” The Siedliks chose three main focal points for the open-plan design in the central part of the house: an extra-wide front door; a stone fireplace with wood beam detail that presides over the great room; and an expansive hood over the double oven over which hangs the kitchen’s pendant lighting.
“This is the point where the house bends,” Carri Siedlik said, indicating the large, white kitchen island. “So, if we’d hung the pendant lights over the island, it would have looked off.” Around the corner, a butler’s pantry equipped with a wet bar, microwave, and drinks refrigerator is easily accessible from the screened, heated porch. The well-furnished porch, with its comfortable seating and an entertainment center, doubles as a second living area and overlooks the fire pit and the beach down below.
“I really like how all the entertaining spaces worked out. There are so many different areas to hang out in,” said daughter Autumn.
“We definitely built this home for entertaining,” Carri agreed with a laugh, pointing out hidden design features like the central vacuum to take care of sand after hosting beach outings. “At the lake, you’re always entertaining, whether you want to or not!”
Although COVID-19 restrictions limited the Siedliks’ ability to host as often as they’d envisioned this year, their breezy beach lifestyle gives them plenty of outdoor space for socially distanced gatherings and activities, including tubing, swimming, fishing, and, on at least one occasion, pizza delivery by boat. Even working from home feels more relaxed. “Shoes are always optional, and we can just bring our laptops out to the back deck,” Carri said. “At one point this summer, I realized all of our laundry was swimsuits.”
Not that it’s all about warm weather fun. The house stays comfortable year-round thanks to heated floors, and Jeff’s favorite season is fall, when the mature trees on the surrounding hillsides are in full color. As for Carri, she said nothing beats a winter sunset.
Since the above-ground power lines are often vulnerable to the whims of Nebraska weather, the Siedliks took the advice of neighbors to buy a generator. “Our older daughter was home from Creighton [University] doing online learning last winter and our power went out right before she was about to take a test,” Jeff recalled. “Nothing like having the power go out in a pandemic.” Fortunately, the generator kicked on in the nick of time.
The Siedliks also found a hidden blessing in the 2019 Nebraska floods, which destroyed the family’s original cabin on the land. “We had to get a special permit to build on this lot, and [home construction] was delayed by about six months,” Jeff said. “But in the end, that delay might have actually saved us from problems with the flooding.”
While building a home is always a lesson in expecting the unexpected, Carri, an APRN-Nurse Practitioner, seems naturally cool under pressure and said she took all the challenges in stride. The combination of Monical’s vision and her husband’s industry expertise helped her stay focused on the big picture during a natural disaster, construction delays, and other twists and turns along the way.
“If someone had told me when we bought this property that we’d be able to build our dream house here, I would not have believed them,” she said. “But it ended up being better than we could ever have imagined.”
This article first appeared in the January/February 2021 issue of Home Magazine. Click here to subscribe to the print edition.