August 26, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Montreal native Brigitte Mimran spent hours in front of students, teaching them about spatial arrangement, points, lines, and angles. As a busy math teacher, grading papers took precedence over interior decorating.

That all changed in 2007. She married Total Wellness owner Alan Kohll, changed her name to Mimran-Kohll, and time-warped into a house with 1970s flair.

Kohlls5Mimran-Kohll knew she wanted to leave a mark on the home, but didn’t quite know how. No longer teaching, she enrolled in online interior design classes. Following a year of thinking and learning, she discovered what she wanted to do with her home.

Mimran-Kohll took the 1950s house back to its roots, with a modern twist. She wanted light and color in the house that once featured lots of wood. To do this, she planned the main room without the wall separating it from the kitchen.

“It was nice, it was Prairie Style,” Mimran-Kohll says of the structure. “I just couldn’t stand being in a kitchen where I couldn’t see outside.”

The wall spoke of years past. The couple found within it a Zeta Beta Tau fraternity paddle and toys. They removed layers of plaster and orange wallpaper.

Once the wall came down to open up the space, Mimran-Kohll looked at the rest of the room and realized the built-in wood cabinets now looked too formal for her whimsical, retro redo. Out they came.
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Removing the wood cabinets made room for a brighter, airier kitchen with multiple stainless-steel appliances and large countertops. The space’s clever design provides a variety of stations. The main portion of the kitchen contains a prep station for dinners, with a two-drawer dishwasher, a fridge hidden behind cabinetry, and a cooktop built right into the white quartz countertops.

“Quartz is non-porous,” Mimran-Kohll says. “I would have loved marble, but I couldn’t keep up with it.”

Marble, a porous material, stains easily and requires lots of maintenance.

On the other end of the kitchen is a breakfast nook. A separate refrigerator contains juice, milk, and other dairy products. A freezer in that area holds several varieties of ice cream. Nearby is Mimran-Kohll’s baking station, with drawers for spices and flours.

The expansive dining room contains a curio cabinet and two cabinets that curiously resemble each other.

“They sent mismatched legs,” Mimran-Kohll says of the purchase from Design Within Reach. Because of the mix-up, the company sent a second, perfect cabinet, which now resides where it was meant to go, near the fireplace.

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The outdoors shine into the great room. The back wall was replaced with large glass panels, and beyond the glass is a patio and a large turquoise pool, used daily during nice weather.

Alan Kohll competes in triathlons and, in fact, is president of Race Omaha, which organized the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships. The pool measures 60 feet across so Kohll can train in his own backyard.

“When we put in a pool, I knew we weren’t going to sell,” Mimran-Kohll says.

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Grasses and flowers of all types bloom, and the inviting patio features a bar for guests who want a drink before swimming.

In the lower level is a bathroom with lots of room. “I specifically made it this size so when people come to swim they have somewhere to change,” Mimran-Kohll says.

Weight-training equipment can also be seen in the corner of the basement. In place of Kohll’s former “man-cave,” Mimran-Kohll wiggled in a kitchen and a living space, mostly used for entertaining, and the weight-training equipment was scooted towards the back corner.

The downstairs fireplace is one of Mimran-Kohll’s favorite features, especially the tile surrounding the hearth. The handmade, period-appropriate tile came from Heath Ceramics in California, and once Mimran-Kohll saw it, she fell in love with the product…but not the price.

“I wanted it for the upstairs, but it was too costly,” she says.

Back upstairs, stepdaughter Abby’s room features bright colors and lots of musical instruments.

“She is really talented,” Mimran-Kohll says. “She loves the Beatles.”

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A white midcentury-looking chair and ottoman hold special memories.  “This was my parents’,” Mimran-Kohll says. “They were upholstered in orange.”

Kohlls6Everywhere in the house, light and lighting fixtures prevail. Mimran-Kohll claims lighting is like jewelry to her, and she shops at Design Within Reach for her fixtures.

While still working with spatial relations and geometry, Mimran-Kohll has slowly gained an appreciation for the artistic side of her brain.

She could have finished the project in less time, but she didn’t want to.

“If you pick anything too quickly, it’s over!”  OmahaHome

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