Home-Cooked

Warmth, comfort and style are the key ingredients in a foodie’s remodeled home

Nancy and Dennis Lynch are always ready for guests. SEE MORE PHOTOS OF THE HOME IN THE SLIDESHOW BELOW.

Nancy and Dennis Lynch are always ready for guests. SEE MORE PHOTOS OF THE HOME IN THE SLIDESHOW BELOW.

No matter where Nancy and Dennis Lynch live, a few things are certain. Family, friends and guests will always feel warmly welcomed. They’ll be entertained. And they’ll leave well fed.

But it took some work to get the consummate hosts’ latest home up to their standards.

When the youngest of their three children went off to college, the Lynches decided to give lake living a try, settling into a modest two-thousand-square-foot home on the west side of Lake Waubesa in 2003. The couple made some early improvements, refreshing paint colors, updating bathrooms and adding built-in cabinetry to the living room. But bigger problems persisted.

“The kitchen was really tiny,” says Nancy, an accomplished home cook and author of Madison Magazine’s Dining In column.

“It could barely fit two people in it,” Dennis adds of the ten-by-ten-foot space.

Yet the main impetus for a major remodel was the awkwardly placed front door. “It didn’t have any of the warmth that’s who we are,” Nancy says.

They turned to Andrew Braman-Wanek at Ginkgo House Architecture and John Sveum from Yahara Builders—friends had recently worked with the former, and the latter helped build their four-thousand-plus-square-foot Seminole Hills home back in 1990—and set out to keep the relative size of the home intact but expand its sense of warmth and openness.

Now a thousand square feet larger, the home has a gracious entryway that curves into the kitchen, which opens in turn to a sophisticated dining room with seating for eight, comfortable living room and deck that overlooks the lake. The curve of the entry repeats in the kitchen island and deck.

Officially the heart of the home, the kitchen received major upgrades. Today, Nancy tests recipes and cooks multi-course meals with a six-top range, two ovens and new microwave. Within the island is a wine refrigerator for Dennis’s collection. A big window by the sink offers a view of the front yard, while skylights above are more noticeable now. “The functionality is great,” says Nancy. “It’s an easy kitchen to be in. It’s wonderful for me.”

Nearby, Dennis’s office has a built-in desk and a leather sleeper sofa to accommodate guests. Nancy’s office is downstairs, with a fireplace and sliding glass doors opening to a flagstone patio. Also on the lower level is the couple’s master suite, from which they can see the lake.

Enhancing those water views is new landscaping and hardscaping by Chuck Igl of Igl Landscaping and Judy Igl of McKay Nursery. Drainspouts take rainwater under flagstone walkways and into three rain gardens. And an herb garden is steps away from Nancy’s kitchen.

Since finishing the project in June 2009, the Lynches have thoroughly enjoyed their new home. Their kids have visited, friends have stopped by and their dogs have made themselves comfortable. Through changes big and small the house has become well suited to both them and their loved ones.

“It lives really well,” Nancy says.

Katie Vaughn is associate editor of Madison Magazine.

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