May 20, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Erin and Steve Albers always envisioned building a lake house “someday,” and three years after making that dream a reality—they say their Valley home has proven to be everything they hoped for.  

“Living on a lake has been a blast. It’s like a vacation every day,” Erin says.

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The couple, who are originally from Harlan, Iowa (Erin), and Beaver Lake, Nebraska (Steve), say they enjoy the small town feel of their Mallard Landing neighborhood. It’s a manageable commute for Steve, who works downtown at Union Pacific, and an easy drive for Erin to her west Omaha workplace, Home Instead Senior Care. 

Their home boasts five bedrooms and four bathrooms in 3,078 finished square feet, but the family actually downsized when they moved. Erin Albers says with son Luke, now 10, and daughter Piper, now 8, getting older the toys they play with change. This means changes in the need for space.

“All their toys go away, and all they have are these little electronics. We don’t need all that space.”

Erin Albers says the house they have now is not very large, and the family is extremely minimalistic. The Albers use the space they have in the most effective way possible.

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We use every inch of it. So everywhere is very functional,” Erin Albers said. “We wanted to create a space where we could all be together. The four of us, and our dog Bella, are always together in the same space, and this house is perfect for that.”

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She says visitors describe the home as open and happy, adding that it reflects the family’s outgoing nature and fun vibe. The interior colors are neutral, but the furnishings and décor incorporate bright hues. This is intended to create a “coastal” feel enhanced by white car siding on the vaulted ceiling. “I wanted it to look a little cottage-ish,” Albers says. “It’s all grays and whites, but it has lots of orange and turquoise and lime. Lots of color.”

The home features unexpected accents throughout such as a lively piece of custom art by local artist Sam Vetter, vividly colored damask accent chairs, lime-green metal bar stools, a versatile Junkstock piece that serves as a sometimes-bar in the lower level, and even a one-of-a-kind reclaimed-wood table made by a retired shop teacher in Kearney who had to painstakingly remove hundreds of nails by hand. 

“It’s a 10-foot long, custom-made table from old barnwood. It is gorgeous,” Albers says. “It has two long benches, and you can fit like 12 people at the table.”

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Lake living hasn’t been without its challenges, however. Wood floors proved to be no match for the site’s environmental moisture and had to be replaced with tile. The family also had to consider how to keep sand at bay, and find storage for their recreational items.

“We did have to figure in what we call a ‘lake room’ under the house,” Albers says.

Complete with an outdoor shower and year-round storage space, the transition area helps keep the house up to acceptably tidy standards for the self-confessed “complete neat freak.”

“Our house is perfect for us,” Albers says. OmahaHome

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