Finding Balance in Bluewater: Tranquility & Practical Design in Valley Waterfront HomeFeb 26, 2021 12:00PM ● By Jenna Gabrial Gallagher
“When we chose this lot, I told my husband that I’d like to have a pool,” said a recent retiree, formerly of Fremont, of her new lakefront home in Valley’s Bluewater community. “He understood that to mean, ‘We will have a pool.’”
The mother and grandmother, who loves to entertain at home, had a practical reason for the request. Because the lake is a filled-in quarry, the drop is extra deep, making it great for boating but less than ideal for swimming. “The end of our dock is already 15 feet deep,” she explained. “So, when we want to be in the water, everyone just hangs out in the pool.”
The homeowners had a few other criteria. The primary bedroom and the office, with its barnwood wall and unique ceiling design that incorporates custom beams, had to be on the main floor.
They took advantage of the soaring 22-foot ceiling in the great room to showcase an awe-inspiring, two-story stone and reclaimed wood fireplace, with special ironwork details done by Nollette Metal Works.
“[My clients] wanted a wood-burning fireplace with a hearth that you can sit on,” said Diane Luxford, whose company, D-Lux Interiors, received a Bronze award from the Nebraska/Iowa chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) for the work she and her colleague, Dagmar Benson, did on the project. “They had seen one similar to what they wanted and, together, we adapted it to their home.”
The effect provides a softened, cozy counterpoint to the home’s dramatic architecture, helping to convey the tranquil, transitional style that the couple love. The space is also warmed by an open kitchen with two French door ovens, a hidden pantry for small appliances, and an expansive center island. Surrounding the gathering spot are five counter stools upholstered in an ikat fabric by textiles maker Pindler that draws upon the lakehouse vibes. The light from three European handblown glass pendants glances off the gleaming backsplash tiles and Cygnus granite countertops, casting a sunlight-on-the-water glow, even on gloomy, off-season days.
The final—and perhaps most important—must-have on the homeowners’ list was a large craft room upstairs with breathtaking views of the lake for the wife, who is an avid photographer and also designs greeting cards.
“She had [a craft room] in her basement in their former home, and she was so excited to have the lake view,” Luxford said. “I remember the husband saying, ‘I’m never going to go up there, so do what you want.’ We had a lot of fun playing with different room arrangements and deciding how many built-ins and what kind to include.”
They settled on all-white cabinetry, which lines an entire wall and was tailored precisely to the homeowner’s needs, resulting in a bright, yet serene, space to work and relax. “I spent most of my days up here working, doing jigsaw puzzles, and reading,” the homeowner said of last spring’s pandemic shutdown.
Across from this swoon-worthy crafting command central are framed photographs taken on the family’s travel, and chairs from their former home, which Luxford had reupholstered. The chairs now pop against a colorful floral rug, also from the prior residence, and the homeowner has fallen in love with them all over again. In the corner is a discreet Murphy bed for when their young grandson stays overnight. “It’s a very flexible room,” Luxford said.
The one amenity the lakefront property didn’t allow for was a basement, so the laundry room has concrete walls to make it a tornado shelter. The homeowners dedicated an extra-large upstairs bedroom to holiday decorations and miscellaneous storage. And the garage, with its immaculate flooring and special built-in shower for the family Goldendoodle—lovingly described as a crazy man down on the beach—was outfitted by Monkey Bar Storage Solutions, of Bennington, Nebraska. Neighbors have confided that they wish they had planned for storage as well as these homeowners. “One of our goals was plenty of storage, and now we have more storage than we can use,” she said.
Clearly a fan of organization, the homeowners said they appreciated how simple and streamlined the design and building process was. Luxford attributes much of this to the
CoConstruct project management software they used. She arranged the showroom meetings and guided her clients through the process of choosing the materials and models that would best fit their goals; then that information was uploaded so they could see how it would look before committing. “They are very easy clients to work with,” the designer said. “When you click with someone and you know it, it just makes the whole process go so smoothly.”
The homeowner agreed. “Some people get really stressed about building. We just weren’t.”
That seamless design experience set the tone for the general sense of well-being the homeowners have achieved in their luxurious lakeside retreat.
“The neighborhood calls this area Bald Eagle Cove. We get yellow finches, and pelicans in the spring and fall. We’ve seen swans,” the wife said. In every season, she enjoys the four-mile walk around the lake and, of course, the ever-changing and endlessly spectacular sunsets she and her husband can see from the back of the house. “It’s so peaceful. You can look out at the lake and it just refreshes you.”
This article first appeared in the March/April 2021 issue of Home Magazine. Click here to subscribe to the print edition.