The Good Life

Family, friends and food come together in a west-side home

The stunning exterior of Terry and Jean Prahl's house. SEE MORE PHOTOS OF THE HOME IN THE SLIDESHOW BELOW.

The stunning exterior of Terry and Jean Prahl's house. SEE MORE PHOTOS OF THE HOME IN THE SLIDESHOW BELOW.

When Terry and Jean Prahl moved into their new Hawks Landing home in mid-November 2005, they were under a bit of a deadline to unpack.

“A week later we had forty people over for Thanksgiving,” Terry says with a laugh.

But that’s not so surprising given the pair’s penchant for cooking, entertaining and spending time with loved ones. And the roughly 8,500-square-foot home they designed and built is ideal for all three.

The Prahls had lived in Madison for roughly thirty years, raising their kids—son Eric, who’s working at a winery in California, and daughter Lili, who’s in China teaching English. But they wanted to build their dream house and found the right spot on land just off the Hawks Landing golf course. Next, they compiled a team of designer Mark Solner of udvari solner, builder Tom Zimmer and interior designer Doug Zander.

It took a year to design the home, but the Prahls knew what they wanted, namely an open feel, rich woods and a style Terry calls “progressive Prairie.”

The couple got all these elements in their home, which begins with a grand entryway, library and great room and goes on to feature a wing with a master suite and pair of home offices, a custom-designed staircase that leads to the kids’ bedrooms, guest bedroom and bathrooms, and a screened porch that overlooks the Hawks Landing golf course.

The kitchen was an important element of the house, but the Prahls didn’t want it front and center in the layout. “I don’t like walking in and seeing a kitchen sink,” Jean says.

Instead, the kitchen truly is the heart of the home, and opens into a cozy living room. It’s an expansive space outfitted for a serious cook—or several cooks, when the need arises. Jean has ten siblings and they often find their way to the kitchen during visits. “We have a weekend in December called Cookie Weekend,” she adds.

Everyone can make themselves comfortable in the home’s lower level, too. Here, they can lounge on a sofa, relax by the two-sided fireplace and enjoy a bottle from the wine cellar.

While they built the house as a welcome spot for family and friends to gather, from top to bottom it’s proved to be just right for Terry and Jean.

“The house works very well for us,” he says. “It’s just how we envisioned it.”

Katie Vaughn is an associate editor of Madison Magazine.

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