front of home at night

Island Living

There are a variety of nuances that go into building a lake-front home, and having an experienced builder is key to ensuring a truly functional design. John Shramek of Arjay Builders, along with his wife, Tammy of Classic Interiors, have been designing and building homes for more than 30 years. Their current home at Newport Landing on Bennington Lake showcases their knowledge for creating an upscale transitional style.

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The couple built the 7,500 sq. ft. four-bedroom ranch home in 2017, which is their third home in this subdivision. They originally purchased 32 lots on Bennington Lake and currently have seven lots left. Each home they build is completely custom with prices ranging from $600,000 to $6 million and is done so with the ultimate attention to quality and craftsmanship. John said it’s very different building in a lake subdivision than regular subdivisions. You want to take into account features such as floor to ceiling windows to maximize views and even the exterior materials you put on the house. “Every lake home we build is functional for lake living,” he said.

The current home’s floor plan was designed so that every space would be utilized, which the Shrameks said they absolutely do. They eliminated the unnecessary areas often found in other homes, such as multiple kitchens, a formal living room, and a formal dining room. The ranch works perfectly with their empty nest lifestyle and is comfortable, whether it’s just the two of them or if they are entertaining. “We love the usability and livability of this house,” Tammy said. “For just the two of us living here, there’s no wasted space.”

There are some truly unique features of the home that John said he originally included for his own needs, and now they’ve become a regular request with clients. One in particular is the climate-controlled grill room. He can access it either off the covered deck, which allows him to still interact with guests during the warmer months, or he can access it from the garage, so he doesn’t have to go outdoors during the colder months. The deck also has built-in heaters, a fireplace, and is off-set from the kitchen so that the lake views out the large kitchen windows aren’t blocked.

Another feature is the “reverse concept” home theater in the lower level. Unlike traditional home theaters, that are separate rooms, this one is situated in the main living space but uses a rear-screen projector that is housed in a smaller room behind the built-in screen. The room can still be darkened by lowering the window shades in the room, but serves as a more usable, transitional space. Off this room is the bar and hot tub room—the Shrameks’ favorite part of the house. Designed with a “glamorous pub” feel, this is the main gathering spot to entertain.  Guests can enjoy the built-in oversized hot tub, a wood-burning fireplace, and if needed, step out onto the heated floor to grab a drink from the bar or from the glass walk-in wine cellar.

The home has a feeling of warmth and quality.  Every room has large base/crown moldings and neutral colors with accents of gold and silver.  Wallpapers are also popular again, especially those with texture, as are large light fixtures. All of this is complimented by the stunning floor-to-ceiling windows throughout the home. In fact, when building the house John lowered the foundation to allow for larger windows and the enhanced lake views. Additionally, Bennington Lake is surrounded by a sea wall, so it eliminates the high maintenance of a lake with sand beaches.

Arjay Builders is a family owned business.  John and Tammy’s son, Collin, has been with the company since 2010 and is Vice President. Their daughter, Jordan, received her degree in Design in NYC and joined the business as Project Administrator in 2018.

The company is currently working on nine projects throughout Omaha, but John said he has a special affinity for Bennington Lake. “I’ve lived all over Omaha and have found that a lake community tends to be the friendliest. I think because it’s such a vacation environment, people stop and chat while out on the boat, and everyone just seems more relaxed.” For more information on Arjay Builders, visit This home will officially be coming on the market (fully furnished) spring/summer of 2020.  Michael Maley with Berkshire Hathaway currently has this private listing and can be reached at (402) 981-7400.

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