Tag Archives: Elkhorn South

Blue, Bluer, Bluest

June 23, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

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Originally published in July/August 2015 Omaha Home.

It’s bad form to upstage the guest of honor at any social gathering, but Natallia Intrieri had more than a little competition at her recent high school graduation party.

That’s because the Elkhorn South High School graduate, soon headed for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, was up against the oohs and aahs that accompanied a christening of the stunning outdoor living space at the home she shares with parents Mike and DeAnn Intrieri on the banks of West Shores Lake.

“We’ve always wanted a pool,” Mike says, “but when we moved out here we thought that the lake would act as the water we were seeking.”

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“But it’s just not the same,” DeAnn adds. “Our back yard was this huge blank slate that we just stared at for the longest time wondering what to do with. We considered building a pretty extensive deck out here, but that idea seemed the opposite of what we had in mind. A deck, we felt, would somehow separate us from the lake, not connect us to it.”

The result, especially on a clear day when the light is just so, finds the pool, lake, and sky welded seamlessly together in a blue, bluer, bluest canvas for the home occupying a jutting point that affords dramatic vistas with 180-degree views.

“It’s funny how so many outdoor projects begin indoors,” says Burton Kilgore of Nature’s Intent, who tag-teamed with KC Barth of Artisan Pools in executing the effort. “The inspiration came from the home’s Tuscan/Mediterranean theme and decor. We took those same motifs outdoors and incorporated them into the design. Then we added layers of depth and visual interest in landscaping and other elements to form a cohesive space that works with the land instead of fighting against it.”

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In order to conform to the landscape, the various surfaces are situated on different planes. Even though the elevations rise in increments of only a few inches at a time in a gentle progression, the overall effect delivers subtle, eye-tricking “wow” not found in flat, single-surface configurations.

“That’s the nature of custom work,” adds Barth. “Creating different topographical focal points is key in a project like this. Hillsides and sloping areas were once considered spaces waiting be leveled. We look at them as design opportunities that give us a way to create drama.”  providing contrast to a carefully curated color palate are chocolate-hued border pavers. Add to that mocha-tinged mulch and contemporary tiki torches rendered in black steel instead of the customarily blonde bamboo, and the scene is balanced by just the right amount of contrast in these and other elements that serve to define the space without hemming it in.

The Tuscan-inspired home and its warm, mustardy hues is a wholly intentional nod to Mike’s heritage as the son of an Italian-born father who once toiled in the sweltering cauldrons of Pittsburgh steel mills.

Harmony is the keyword in this outdoor living space. After all, how could this most serene of settings engender anything but a calming, loll-around-all-day vibe? The only hint of strife the day of Omaha Magazine’s visit was a minor disagreement on whose brainstorm it was to install the gracefully arcing pergola that anchors one end of the grounds.

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Mike claims that it was an idea he stumbled upon during a visit to an upscale hotel during one of his many business travels. DeAnn insists otherwise. Natallia, with a roll of the eyes reserved by young people exclusively for their parents, took the opportunity to move the interview to the mechanical panel that manipulates the many inset lighting nodes and gurgling water features that are best experienced long into a summer’s eve over s’mores prepared above the glowing embers of the fire pit.

Not to be outdone, Mike took the helm in manipulating an array of switches to demonstrate various functionalities, but, still relatively new at this high-tech game, his attempt to activate something over there more often than not brought to life something over here.

Insert second playful, “Oh-Dad-style” eye roll here, this time joined by a cheerful wink from DeAnn.

“Well, you get the idea,” Mike beams with a shrug in jocular resignation.

Natallia had been mildly concerned about gate crashers at her graduation party, but only those of the amphibian kind. Unwelcome guests so far have been limited to curious (and who can blame ‘em?) frogs coming up from the lake for a midnight splash in the pool.

“This place is having us rethinking the whole idea of taking vacations,” says DeAnn as Mike and Natallia nod in agreement.

“Why bother going away,” Natallia adds, “when we have the nicest resort imaginable right in our own back yard?”

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Life’s a Beach

May 13, 2015 by
Photography by John Gawley

This article was published in Omaha Magazine’s May/June 2015 issue.

A day at the beach has a different meaning for Lauren Sieckmann than it does for most folks. For the majority it conjures images of sun, sand, and fun; vibes of recreation and relaxation. But for 21-year-old Sieckmann—college student, sports and fitness model, and pro volleyball player-in-training—the beach means all work and all play.

“Everything I do with school, training, and modeling, is fun for me,” says Sieckmann. It doesn’t feel like a job. It’s just what I do. It’s a way of life.”

Sieckmann, a University of Southern California junior, grew up in Elkhorn and began playing volleyball around age 12, late for those who aspire to greatness in the sport. She quickly drew many accolades, including a national title with the Nebraska Elite 121s club team and being named Nebraska High School Gatorade Player of the Year after leading Marian High to a 2009 Class A state title. Sieckmann transferred to Elkhorn South to graduate a semester early and kickstart her career at UNL. But after a semester in Lincoln playing indoor volleyball, she decided that what had been her dream wasn’t the right fit.

“I really wanted to try beach volleyball and venture out, so I decided to come to California,” says Sieckmann, who’s embraced the transition.

“It’s more ‘me’ than indoor and I love it,” she says. “You do it all in sand volleyball. It’s 2-on-2; you’re covering the whole court. I like the competitive nature, the atmosphere and environment and to practice at the beach all day…I can’t complain about that!”

Sieckmann played for USC last semester but now trains professionally in lieu of the school squad.

“Now I practice at the beach and train with Misty May,” she says.

That would be Misty May-Treanor, the retired pro beach volleyball player, three-time Olympic gold medalist, one of the most successful female players of all time, former volunteer assistant coach at USC, idol of volleyball girls everywhere—and now mentor to Sieckmann.

During offseason Sieckmann trains about twice weekly each with May-Treanor and other pro players with whom she scrimmages—which means hitting the beach four times weekly, in addition to school and her budding modeling career. Sieckmann recently signed with Sports Lifestyle Unlimited and had her first booking and shoot in February. Most recently she signed with modeling giant Wilhelmina International.

“[SLU] does lots of sports and fitness, lifestyle, and some fashion. It’s a bit of everything, and seemed like a good fit for me,” says Sieckmann, whose mother, Deb, was a fashion model.

In addition to volleyball aspirations, Sieckmann dreams of following in her mother’s footsteps.

“I always thought I’d get into [modeling] eventually,” she says. “One of my biggest goals with it is to represent being strong, fit, healthy, and beautiful—not just excessively thin.”

Sieckmann says she’s witnessed negative effects of body image issues and hopes that her work promotes a healthier body image among young girls.

“I want to make an impact with my modeling,” she says. “That’s why I’m going in the direction of sports and lifestyle work—to show girls that being strong and healthy is beautiful.”

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