Tag Archives: Springfield Nebraska

Little Steps

October 24, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Blair Hagmann wanted to help redecorate the house. One chubby hand snatched the cream-colored privacy curtain near the front door. This blue-eyed and blonde-haired beauty missed the first few times, stumbled, but didn’t give up. She grasped the cloth in one tight fist—and pulled. It tumbled down.

Mission accomplished.

Blair, who just turned 1, has done this before. Her mother, Kristin, laughs and lifts her daughter into her arms. The Hagmann’s ranch-style house is ideal for little ones just learning to walk.

“We are lucky. We only needed one baby gate,” Kristin explains.

A house wasn’t really on the agenda after the former Kristin Stensland married Nick Hagmann, but a four-bedroom and three-bath residence in Elkhorn caught their attention.

“I fell in love when we walked through it,” Nick recalls.

The Hagmanns saw potential in the brick and light tan house, built in 2006. Yet Kristin felt the dark-green walls upstairs and the baby-blue basement just did not feel like home. The drab decorations didn’t embrace a comfortable and cozy feeling. Five months later, enter interior designer Lindsey Anderson.

The family is not into impulse shopping. 

“My husband is a perfectionist. We do things right the first time,” Kristin explains.

Nick knows he is in trouble when his wife finds an item because she waits until it is just the right fit. The couple saves money this way, but it also makes them appreciate each scrutinized purchase. 

Anderson was a compatible match as well. Nick originally opted for a travel theme, but his wife had other ideas. She wanted unique and individualized items. Anderson helped the couple find eye-catching lamps, end tables, and furniture.

Storage space is ample and necessary, especially with a child exploring every nook and cranny. A smooth wooden trunk at the base of the sofa is filled with fluffy blankets and baby books. A flat screen television sits on a black hutch, which hides electronics, more books, and remotes. A gas fireplace warms the space on chilly days. It is ideal for these two homebodies who like to relax after a long work week and watch Friday night movies with pizza or snuggle while watching The Real Housewives on Bravo.

“We make use of the space,” Kristin says.

Empty space in the glass-paneled cabinets in the kitchen were replaced with bright white decorative glassware. A snowy runner brings out the dark wood of the dining room table, along with a cotton bouquet and candles. The kitchen island countertop is a mixture of blacks, golds, and grays. Blair’s high chair is hooked on. She isn’t a fan…yet.

Kristin added weaved storage baskets with a pillow proclaiming “Home” in the front entryway. The walls in the living room, kitchen, and basement were painted a light beige. Each room is understated and utilized.

Kristin, 37, and Nick, 39, planned ahead for a possible family addition. The guest bedroom walls were coated a neutral light blue. Once Blair came into the picture, it was transformed into a nursery. Two small, lime green chairs are hand-painted with pink roses. A wide mirror provides needed depth. The chairs and mirror were created by Robin’s Nest in Springfield. Kristin’s great-great-grandmother’s rocker was reupholstered in Sioux City with a navy and white checkered cushion.

Originally, the big basement was meant to be a man-cave for Nick. The couple decided on a pool table and a floating bar, but it was never ordered. The couple is currently thinking of the space as a play area for Blair, with possibilities of a toy chest and cabinets in the room. 

“She will probably want to move down here as a teenager,” Kristin jokes.

Right now, it is the “mother-in-law suite.” The grandparents can relax in the guest bedroom. The bed is an antique from a relative, as is the distressed dresser. The bathroom and kitchen gives guests moments of privacy.

The basement still has hints of a man-cave, with a bar area that includes modern wooden stools. Nick saw the same stools at Blatt Beer and Table and searched the internet to find them.

They can also drink beers with friends while watching Husker football on the 75-inch television. The soft tan, L-shaped sofa sinks in luxurious comfort. A yellow throw and purple checkered pillows add just the right pop of color.

The three, though, still spend most of their time upstairs—cooking, hanging out, or grilling outside. The deck overlooks a small wooded area and a creek. A fence might be the next addition since Blair is getting older. Adding improvements a little at a time to the house helps the pocketbook and makes every choice meaningful.

“It just feels complete,” Nick says. “Like it’s our home.”

This article published in the 2017 September/October edition of OmahaHome.

Villa Springs

July 29, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Drive about three miles south of Springfield, Nebraska, and you’ll find Villa Springs on the north shore of the Platte River, a private neighborhood more or less enclosed by a ring of cottonwood trees. If you drive around the neighborhood, you’ll find all manner of houses in an eclectic mix of colors, styles, and designs.

Many of the houses do feature one thing in common: boats in the driveways.

That is because Villa Springs is a lake community, sitting on the banks of a sandpit lake.

“It’s about a 40-acre lake, good for skiing, swimming, fishing,” says Gary Partusch, 50, president of the Villa Springs Homeowners Association.


Partusch, who is married with four kids and works for a dairy company in Omaha, has lived in the neighborhood since 2001. The property lots, ranging in size from about a half acre to two acres in size, are spread out, making Villa Springs unique for a lake community.

“It makes it very nice to be spread out [and] have room,” he says. “More yard to mow, more stuff like that.”

The average house in the neighborhood costs about $300,000-$500,000. There are 90 homeowners on the lake, Partusch says, and they are a mixed group. Some are older people who are retired and spend their winters in warmer climates, while others are younger.

“People are very friendly, very nice,” he says. “[You] take walks and boat rides and see people on the lake and talk. It’s a good living community.”

The neighborhood has an annual picnic as well as a Christmas party. There’s also a spring cleanup in which all the neighbors pitch in to help keep the lake beautiful. Many people enjoy fishing, and last year, the community held a fishing tournament. The lake contains a great deal of fish, including large-mouth bass, bluegill, walleye, and catfish.

“We stock it with fish,” Partusch says, most of which are catch-and-release. “We take pride in having a good fishing lake.”

One can also find a great many birds in the neighborhood—turkeys, ducks, bald eagles, and migrating pelicans. A few families of geese with new babies are making their home there currently. There’s also some deer and a beaver in the lake. 

I got three walnut trees,” Partusch says. “I see lots of squirrels.”

In many ways, though, Partusch says, Villa Springs is a regular sort of neighborhood.

“People have difference of opinions,” he says. “It’s hard to have 85…people, different families, agree on everything.

“I think that’s with any community.”

Like any other community, it has its share of garden-variety neighborly disputes; though, true to character, some of the neighborhood’s disputes revolve around how to make the best use of the lake.

“There’s a group of people who…couldn’t care less about fishing,” Partusch says. “And there’s a group of people who love to fish. And then there’s also people [who]…want to waterski or swim or tube or whatever. And there’s some other people that don’t even own a boat.”

The lake adds value to the community, and at the same time, each homeowner feels some personal ownership in regard to it. However, he says, the neighborhood mostly manages to accommodate everyone’s wishes.

“I think we have a pretty good balance.”

The most surprising thing about living here, Partusch says, is how quiet and peaceful it is.

“The quietness of being out of the city,” he says. “You can sit there on a Sunday afternoon and just sit out on the lake.”


Indeed, that is the big impression one gets when driving down Cottonwood Lane, the blacktop road that circles the lake. There are people out and about on a Saturday afternoon, but generally the area is pretty quiet. More than anything, drivers want to appreciate just how nice everything looks. The neighborhood boasts a robust number of cottonwood, elm, and ash trees due to its proximity to the river, making the scene shine with green and gold, especially when the sun peaks out. There are several spots along the road where people can stop, look to one side, and catch a view of the Platte River through the tree line. On the other side is the lake, the wind rippling on its surface.

“I really think it’s a really great place to live,” Partusch says. “I really have no intentions of going anywhere.”

Visit villaspringslake.com for more information.


September 11, 2015 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

This article appears in the Sept./Oct. issue of Omaha Home.

On a small acreage nestled in the rolling sine-wave hills outside Springfield, Nebraska, Todd Middleton set the gold standard for the man cave. This husband and father of two built a manly oasis in his barn—decorated with old duck decoys, John Deere curios, barbed wire, a rusty raccoon trap, and cow-skull art made of washers—reflecting the family’s passions for antiques and the outdoor life. The taxidermied duck, forever flying off the wall, looks perfect.


Middleton, owner of Double T Lawn and Landscape, first conceived the idea for the project when he built an office in a different barn on his property. “I said if I ever build another barn, I’m gonna build me something that I can actually sit down in and kinda get away from the wifey.”

“It’s okay, the feeling’s mutual,” says Todd’s wife, Aimee, who directs the marketing and clerical side of the family business. “It gives me time in my kingdom. By myself!”

(“She sheds” are fast becoming the counterbalance to the man cave. If men have their private dens, it’s only logical that women should have a space of their own as well.)


Plenty of beer, wine, and Hawaiian Punch await Todd and his buddies; a Yoder barbecue smoker just outside the entrance gives off a faint whiff of pulled pork. Inside is a masterpiece of craft and masculine attention, including a bar, two Frigidaires, a  Shaquille-O’Neal-sized-couch, a 60-inch flat-screen, a bathroom with repurposed galvanized tubs for sink basins—even an old watering can for a showerhead. Cedar and knotty pine panel the walls, giving a fresh-from-the-forest look. Whereas most builders worry out every little knot and kink in the wood, Todd purposely let imperfections remain in order to give the place an outdoorsy feel.


You don’t want anything perfect,” he explains. “You don’t want anything straight, clean. When you do stuff like this, you want it a little rough.”

In keeping with the theme of roughness and wilderness, the bar, made of fieldstones, supports a syrup-colored, knotty pine countertop that is lacquered on the sides and topped with a self-leveling epoxy mix to give it a glassy, uncanny sheen. He wanted to go his own way on its design. “Everybody’s got granite, onyx, whatever. This is something different.”



Working alone, Todd built his cave a little bit at a time. Aimee says the antique collecting actually took the longest. The family enjoys hunting for rare finds at flea markets and auctions like Rural Route Rust in western Nebraska and Junkstock, and on websites like eBay. It’s an impressive collection, a mini-museum devoted to the rustic life.

In fact, their one-of-a-kind endeavor could serve as a valuable homegrown marketing tool, introducing the concept of manterior design to Nebraska.

“We’re putting this on our website,” Aimee admits. Todd has already been offered a few renovation jobs because of influence from social media sites like Pintrest.

“She put it on Facebook, a lot of people were kinda going nuts,” Todd adds. “There’s just so many cool things out there that people think of and that you can do.”