November 5, 2019 by
Photography by Tom Kessler

If someone were to ask you to design a classic Nebraska landscape, what would you envision when you close your eyes and conjure the scene? Would you imagine delicate wisps of tall prairie grasses blowing in a Midwestern breeze? Do you see rustic barns, worn by weather and time? Each of us might describe a different scene, yet all would display common threads indicative of the life we love as Nebraskans.

Driven by the desire to create a lake home that would reflect the rustic beauty of our fair state, our client came to us with a vision. Working with our team, we created a final product that is nothing short of spectacular and now stands proudly on a lake in west Omaha.

The home was built by Ken Oster Homes and designed by Lisa Cooper, Allied Member ASID, professional interior designer with Interiors Joan and Associates. The homeowners were inspired by another project which conveyed the Nebraska life and a farmland feel that resonated with them. To emulate this barn look, great care was taken to accomplish a weathered, acquired farmland feel. The nuances that distinguish a true farm feel from a Coloradan rustic feel are slight, and we were careful to understand our clients’ distinct thoughts and tastes so that the overall design of the home never strayed off track and segued into a mountain look, when their true heart’s vision was a farmhouse.

The layout for the house was designed for a close-knit family who enjoys spending time together and entertaining, yet desires private spaces to retreat to. The home’s main lodge houses the kitchen, great room, dining space, powder bathroom, media loft, laundry facility, and pantry. The compound includes separate sleeping structures, one of which houses the master suite; the other, a series of bunk rooms and private sleeping suites, with a play space loft for grandchildren. The estate is ideal, positioned on a scenic lake in west Omaha with lush landscaping characteristic of the beloved prairies of Nebraska and outdoor living spaces outfitted for private lounging or entertaining.

The residence’s unique floor plan encompassing four structures on the lot—all with corrugated steel roofing reflective of farmhouse outbuildings—and its incredible landscaping set the tone for the meticulously planned design elements inside. While farmhouse finishes are traditionally pine and other softer wood species, we had to consider the environment in which the home was built and the anticipated use of the home. With the home’s lakefront locale, the client’s penchant for entertaining, and the family’s pets and high traffic all in mind, we recommended eastern white pine as an alternative because of its unique character and ability to show wear and tear well while still maintaining the authenticity of reclaimed materials.

Authentic Nebraska detailing is abundant within the walls of the structures. The staircase in the main lodge serves as an open feature in the living space, with floating treads and custom-designed stair railing made in part from modified chicken coop wire.

Almost all spaces are clad in reclaimed wood, a beautiful and dramatic design element that adds warmth and honest character to the rooms. The bunkhouse was designed to resemble a horse stable, with tile that replicates an old brick-cobbled floor and barn lights over each suite. A color palette of natural tones accented with crimson, cream, yellow, grays, and whites was created by the clients’ use of their personal accessory collection. The lighting and plumbing fixtures are indicative of the barn look, with corrugated metal details, copper plumbing fittings, metal handrails fashioned from plumbing piping and valves, and sconces constructed of replica water spigots with bulbs coming out of the faucets.

The challenge of taking a collection of ideas and visions from a group of like-minded people and funneling it all into a spectacular home that our clients feel embodies their original dream is the most rewarding part of this whole process. As professionals, we stretch and grow when we are given the opportunity to work on projects that fit outside the normal realm of our experiences, and this home was truly unique in its form, design, and look. The final product was a rewarding space that our clients will use to build memories and enjoy for years to come. 

Meet the Designer: Lisa Cooper, Allied Member ASID Interiors Joan and Associates

How was your interest in design sparked? I have always had an interest in architecture and design. The ability to create environments that bring people together and generate energy is key.

Experience/Qualifications: I earned my bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from UNL and established myself in 1993 as a designer in Omaha. I have received The Bala Award (Best in American Living, 2010) and several ASID awards, including Best in Show (2014).

What is your favorite spot in your own home? Our great room. Sun floods this space drawing me to it all year round. I also like the ambiance that a fireplace offers on a cold and snowy winter day.

Design Tip: Less is more! I like rooms to be serene and harmoniously balanced, as too many strong elements demand your attention.


This article was printed in the November/December 2019 edition of OmahaHome. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.