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Omaha Magazine

I'll Have a Bluewater Christmas

Nov 15, 2021 10:39AM ● By Katy Spratte Joyce
silver reindeer on black mantel shelf

Photo by Bill Sitzmann    

Nearly 250 acres of deep lake with seven miles of sandy beaches­—that’s how Lanoha Development describes its beautiful Bluewater community near Valley, Nebraska. 

Tammy and Jim Knight, both born-and-bred Nebraskans, have always adored spending time at the lake and enjoy reminiscing about family memories at their grandparents’ cottage on Iowa’s Lake Okoboji. These days, the couple have their own lakeside residence—their full-time home in Bluewater. 

Photo by Bill Sitzmann    

 Three years in, the Knights have settled into a quieter lifestyle following a couple of busy decades spent raising two girls in Elkhorn. With both daughters away pursuing athletic and academic endeavors, the couple said their new community feels like home. Jim said he loves watching the seasons shift and the lake change throughout the year. He also enjoys being a spectator to the wildlife that calls Bluewater home, including an array of wild birds, foxes, and deer. “One year, we even saw six swans on Christmas Day,” he remembered fondly. 

The Knights’ waterfront locale helped inspire the coastal Christmas decor for their main living and entertaining space, a collaboration with Rose McCormick of Beyond the Vine. The longtime west Omaha shop offers a mix of interior design, florals, and gifts, and veteran decorator McCormick has offered her holiday home styling services since 1985. 

“I decorate for over 100 clients a season, from small home installs to local country clubs, churches, and hotels,” McCormick said. 

Tammy and the designer have been working together at holiday time for several years, using different decor themes, from traditional burgundy hues in their former suburban home to the blue-and-white nautical hues in the Valley home. “Each year it keeps evolving and [extending] to different spots [of the home],” McCormick shared, adding, “Tammy was easy to work with, opened her home, and let me interpret the design for the new home on the lake.”   

 The theme of their holiday decor clearly pays homage to their location. Bright royal-blue arrangements delight on a foyer console table, the mantle of a modern fireplace, the dining room table, and the living room coffee table. Striking pieces of ocean coral add a natural element, while silver tinsel brings some glam and sparkle. 

Traditional greenery grounds the decorations with a classic note, and a pair of reindeer statues stand guard in the entry. The tones of the holiday decor match the overall aesthetic—clean, modern lines with pops of aqua, cerulean, and azure. The Knights’ main Christmas tree is also dressed in blue and silver tones. This star of the show was difficult to find, since it needed to be especially narrow to nestle into the nook by the stairs. 

The Knights share their beachy, festive home with guests throughout the Christmas season when hosting several events—an annual ornament exchange with friends; a business holiday party; a girlfriends’ Hallmark movie night in the upstairs theater room; and intimate family gatherings. In 2018, the Knights hosted the Villanova University volleyball team and their families while they were in town for the Big East Tournament. (Daughter Ashley Knight was a player on the VU team at the time. She’s now a volleyball coach.) 

Whatever the event, the Knights’ sea-inspired house sparkles and proves there’s no place like home for the holidays.  

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