Skip to main content

Omaha Magazine

A Zen Vision Realized

Nov 01, 2021 11:02AM ● By Ali Circo & Lindi Janulewicz
bathroom with grey trim

Photo by Bill Sitzmann    

The architect working on this renovation project in the heart of Omaha’s Westside area introduced me to the homeowners, and we clicked immediately. Working with their existing basement bathroom, the clients wished to create a true spa feel for this new space. We decided incorporating an infrared sauna and Japanese soaking tub would best set the tone for the zen atmosphere they desired.

Because this bathroom is in the home’s dark basement, we needed to cut into concrete walls—requiring a new steel header be put in place—to bring in more natural light. We captured light from the adjacent room featuring a glass garage door, and selected materials and finishes that evoke and reflect light. 

Sleek, large-format tiles throughout the shower and surround going up to the ceiling were used to accomplish our minimalist design directive. We combined cool gray-washed stains, cream and white stones, and warmer-toned tiles in the design to offer a subdued color palette. Finally, we used mixed materials, including wood, quartz, cement, and champagne metallic fixtures to complement the color scheme.  

Photo Provided


A custom wall-hung vanity made of live-edge black walnut is recessed into a niche and lit from below to achieve a spa ambience. Architectural paneling, wall-mounted plumbing fixtures, and a cobblestone backsplash all enhance the refined rustic feel of this bath suite. 

Another challenge was working with the Japanese soaking tub, which fills from the bottom rather than by faucet above and is not designed to be installed on concrete slab floors. This made plumbing installation extremely difficult. 

Working with quality trades and craftsmen and utilizing our construction experience and specific materials, we were able to deliver the gorgeously appointed spa-like retreat my clients had envisioned.  

Meet the Interior Designer: Ali Circo of Interiors Joan and Associates.

Allied Member ASID

Photo provided

Circo has a bachelor’s in interior design with a minor in studio art from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She started her own retail and design studio, Alleyway, when she was 24, later moving to Florida and focusing her design efforts on private yachts. She’s also flipped homes and was a project manager for Lowe’s Kitchens and Baths before joining Interiors Joan & Associates. Her best design tip: Always mix up an interior. If it all matches too well, your eye stops at nothing.

Ali Circo with Interiors Joan & Associates was recognized with a Gold award for this project at the 2020 Nebraska/Iowa Chapter ASID Awards in September 2020.

This article originally appeared in the November/December 2021 issue of Omaha Home. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.  

Evvnt Calendar