Coming Home

The Prughs lived in eight different houses around the valley in seven years. When they were ready to settle down, they took elements and details from each of these and added personal touches, the biggest of which are their three young boys.

By Dina Mishev | Photography by David Agnello

From left to right, Crosby, Rory, and Luke Prugh hanging out in Luke and Crosby’s shared bedroom.

The night before I met Eileen and Greg Prugh at their 4,500-square-foot home across the street from Jackson Elementary School, 15 kids were running around it and its yard, which is thick with aspen trees. Three of these kids were their boys, Rory, 10, Luke, 8, and Crosby (Croz), 6. “I love super neutral interiors,” says Eileen, “but we don’t live that life.”

The life the family does live is one of well-curated and well-designed simplicity informed in part by humor and the unusually high number of homes they lived in prior to this one—a hazard of Greg’s job as a Realtor/developer—but mostly by their boys. “We picked all imperfect finishes from floors to tile and even to the way the drywall was finished,” says Greg. Eileen says, “We didn’t want to be worrying that our kids and their friends were nicking stuff. It had to be livable.” 

Included in Greg and Eileen’s definition of livable is fun. “Our stuff is tongue-in-cheek,” Eileen says. “We’ve had so many challenges, and humor and fun have saved us. This home reminds us not to take things so seriously.” 

 

“We picked all imperfect finishes from floors to tile and even to the way the drywall was finished. We didn’t want to be worrying that our kids and their friends were nicking stuff. It had to be livable.”
[ Eileen Prugh ]

 

The fun: Propped on the kitchen counter against a tile backsplash is an oil painting of a stick of butter by local artist Mike Piggott. On a wall near the dining table is a photograph of two men in well-worn jeans and cowboy hats staring at Prada Marfa, a permanent architectural installation by artists Elmgreen and Gradset just off U.S. Highway 90 near Marfa, Texas. Custom metal work and sculptures by artist and friend Ben Roth decorate several rooms. Tucked among books and mementos from world travels on a shelf in the living room is a soccer-ball-size bust of their dog Wheatleigh, who died in 2017. You can’t visit the powder room, where the walls are covered in white tiles with dozens of butterflies painted in black on them, without smiling. In the game room, try not to fall in love with the vibrant wallpaper of birds resting in tree branches that covers an entire wall.

 

The Prughs installed storage cabinets all the way to the ceiling in every room in the house, including the kitchen. “We like everything to be put away and didn’t want to have any boxes,” Eileen Prugh says. The butter painting by Mike Piggott was a wedding gift from Greg to Eileen. Next to it is Atticus Finch by Shannon Troxler. “Birds and bugs are everywhere in this home,” Eileen says. “[Atticus Finch] is definitely a favorite and was a gift [from me] to Greg. We like art that is thoughtful and playful.”

A bronze sculpture of the family’s dog, Wheatleigh, who died in 2017, sits atop the piano in the living room, which also has a Charles sofa (in charcoal grey cashmere wool) from B&B Italia and a Noguchi table.

A challenge: While Eileen was pregnant with Croz, the couple learned he had Down Syndrome. It was this knowledge that helped convince them to finally commit to building a home for themselves. Their prior houses were almost all spec projects of Greg’s that they lived in until they sold. “Building this house was us taking control of the situation as much as we could,” Eileen says. “We wanted to know we’d have a home that would grow with us and give us the opportunity to address whatever needs Croz might have.” 

Because Croz’s biggest needs at the moment are Star Wars toys, music, superheroes, and playing outside with his brothers and friends, an extra master suite, included in the design in case he needed a live-in helper, has been transformed into a game room. 

The extra master suite might have been one of the biggest nods to practicality in the home’s design, but it is not the only one. Surrounding the fun and whimsical décor and style are an abundance of thought-through details. You could accuse the couple of having an excess of built-in storage … until they explain how it allows them to keep pretty much everything neatly hidden from view yet easily found. “We know exactly where everything is, but you don’t see it unless you need it,” Eileen says. The number of deep sinks, which are in every bathroom, could also be seen as excessive, but they’re utilitarian. “We lived in a place with shallow sinks and learned they didn’t work for us,” Eileen says. “Unless you were really careful, water splattered everywhere. We didn’t want to have to be really careful in this house.” Lights inside the toilets might seem silly, except “they’re great for the boys’ aim,” Greg says. 

 

The dresser in the master bedroom was found by the couple at an antique dealer in Granada; “We like its patina and history,” Eileen says. “We’re minimalists at heart and definitely not collectors, but this piece reminds us of the beautiful old city we called home for a year.”

After several years of carrying car seats and groceries up the stairs of houses that had reverse-living designs, they knew they wanted their kitchen and all of the home’s public spaces to be on the ground floor. Eileen also wanted the ground floor to open out to green space. Because of this, and because of the home’s location directly across the street from Jackson Elementary, the couple jokes that the house is school-in/school-out. Except none of their boys goes to Jackson Elementary, so the joke is really on them. (This school year, all three are students in Munger Mountain Elementary’s dual language education program.)

By intention, there are no fences around the yard. Before Greg sold the adjacent lot to the east to a friend who has three boys almost identical in age to Rory, Luke, and Croz, he asked the parents if they’d put up a fence between the two houses. They said, “no,” which was the right answer. “We want our house to be open and welcoming,” says Greg. “It’s more important to us who is in it than what is in it.” 

The wallpaper in the game room is by Icelandic-born artist Kristjana S. Williams, who Eileen’s sister-in-law, interior designer Jen Visosky, introduced her to the work of. “She sent me a link to her site and I fell in love with this piece,” Eileen says. Eileen thought the birds in “various states of whimsy were lively and fun” but it was the pomegranates hanging from the tree that caused her and Greg to fall in love with the design. The family had recently lived in Granada, Spain, for a year. “Granada translates to pomegranate,” Eileen says. The blue velvet chairs are from Room and Board.

 

After living in several different homes with upside-down living, the couple knew they wanted all of this home’s public spaces to be on the ground floor. One of the many reasons they wanted this was because, “it’s so nice to be able to spill out onto decks in the yard in the summer,” Eileen says. The Prughs worked with Jackson-based architecture firm kt814 to make their design ideas reality. “We came to them with a lot of what we knew we wanted and they did a fabulous job of listening and refining,” Eileen says.

| Posted in Features
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