Minimalist Design, Maximum FunAug 29, 2022 03:43PM ● By Meghan Townley
Photo by Bill Sitzmann
The Kugler family’s move from the sunny West Coast to Nebraska in 2022 was for a single, simple reason: to be near family.
“Everywhere we went didn’t feel like home,” homeowner Stephanie Kugler said. “We made some friends and then made a few more friends. When COVID happened, we realized that with nothing to do and no family [nearby], we said, ‘let's just go back to where there is family.’”
The Kuglers—Stephanie, husband Casey, and their 4-year-old daughter, Adeline—lived primarily in California, but also spent time at properties in Texas and Tennessee. Stephanie and Casey met in the Bay Area, but Casey is originally from Omaha and has siblings, nieces, and nephews nearby. Relocation to the metro became the obvious choice.
Their new build, in the exclusive Privada neighborhood in Elkhorn, was designed and furnished with the priority of making relatives feel welcome and at home. A prime example: the couple chose a 14-foot quartz slab for the kitchen island so they would be able to cook and entertain their large extended family with ease.
“It is as big as this piece would come,” said interior designer Sallie Elliott, who consulted on the Kugler home design.
“We decided on Privada because it was a centralized location,” Casey said. “My sister is in Tiburon [180th and Highway 370 area], and my brother is on 176th and Maple. My mom is too far away…we are trying to get her to move out here,” he added with a laugh. “It was just the three of us for Christmas [before], and now we are with our whole family.”
The couple’s home is furnished almost exclusively with furniture and accessories from upscale home retailer Restoration Hardware. Walking into the home, guests are met with high ceilings and the furniture outlet’s famous Cloud Couch sectional. The great room is flooded with light from the floor-to-ceiling windows and opens into the kitchen, with inviting counter stools nestled up to the large kitchen island. The kitchen and dining area seats 12, with plenty of extra room to gather and mingle.
The design style throughout the house has clean lines and a very neutral, calming color palette. “We are minimalist, for sure. I don't like clutter or a lot of stuff,” Stephanie explained.
A modern curved staircase off the great room leads downstairs to another full kitchen and living space. The Kuglers spared no details when designing their ultimate family entertainment home. The basement has a movie theater, gym, bunk room, wine cellar, and a pool outside the back door.
“We’re all about family and want super fun things for everyone, and we have it all right here,” Casey said.
Their family can come over to swim, play games, work out, or watch a movie and then sleep over in the bunk room. The theater has three Restoration Hardware Cloud chaises for ideal movie viewing. The Kuglers’ plan is to personalize the theater with memorabilia and artifacts representing their favorite movies. The first collected item is a large wooden hook, carved by an artisan and found on a trip to Hawaii. The hook represents daughter Adeline’s favorite movie, Disney’s Moana.
The couple’s outdoor pool area also places a premium on entertainment and features a waterfall that cascades from a large tanning ledge—bookended by two fire bowls on either side—into a pool designed for water sports.
Most phases of the home design-build process were done from a distance. The couple actually chose their home’s lot via FaceTime. And while in town for a quick visit, Casey and Stephanie chose all the appliances, plumbing fixtures, and lighting in one meeting.
“We picked almost everything in a six-hour period,” Stephanie said.
Doing everything via text, FaceTime, phone call, etc. was a bit of a challenge, but Casey praised his wife for her patience and attention to detail. “Thank God for Stephanie, because she loves doing this. It would have driven me insane,” he said, recalling having to figure out if they should do stone on the exterior and where to put the grill station.
The Kuglers had an excellent relationship with their builder, Nathan Homes, and designer Sallie Elliott, who both made the process smooth and painless. “We decided on Nate [Bumgardner] because he listened to us,” Stephanie said. “Every time we had a question, Nate responded immediately. He was always on top of it.”
Reflecting on the process, Stephanie praised her team for making it easy. “I liked building from a distance, because with the minor hiccups…those got resolved without me knowing about it,” she said. “I am so glad that I didn't have to know about any of it. I would definitely do it again this way.”
And the end result? Pure bliss.
“We are so thankful,” Stephanie said. “When I walked into our house, I literally screamed I was so happy. There is nothing I would change. We are almost a month in and there isn’t a thing we would change. We love it.”
This article originally appeared in the September 2022 issue of Omaha Home magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.