Every artist I’ve ever met seems to be cut from a different cloth. They see the world differently. Casting light into shadows out of curiosity. So on this perfectly sunny autumn day when I showed up to this west Madison home I knew I was in for a surprise. The first thing you notice is that the home is nestled into a wooded lot and the house is painted black. Not every house painted black can make it work but this home would be out of place if it wasn’t black. This home has some pizazz and I haven’t even entered it yet. I like that.
Meeting the home owners you immediately notice the aura of a good mood. They’re all smiles, talkative, engaging, and they love the prospect of showing me their home. And, why shouldn’t they? It’s amazing as you will soon see. I’ve been photographing beautiful homes since 2006 and I feel I know a thing or two about how this works and what is supposed to be amazing.
Details. Beautiful things are rich with details but you have to pay attention to see them. I don’t want them pointed out to me, I enjoy looking for them all on my own. The details in this home are everywhere even though there is a feel of minimalism going on. The music of choice for the day is a Spotify playlist called Pink Martini playing throughout the home and it’s one of my favorites.
Books of personal interest are displayed perfectly, stunning architectural hand railings are silky smooth to the touch, plants are interesting and all the brass door and drawer pulls in the kitchen and baths show a patina caused by hand usage and oxidation. Most people would not use brass or at least polish these pulls, but not Rebecca. She wants the patina to show and I love it. Who does that? Answer: an artist, of course.
There are so many interesting elements to this home that I can only mention a few striking areas of interest because they deserve special mention. One detail in particular is the half round oak trim wood wall at the entry. These are little strips of ½ round trim pieces attached side by side vertically to the wall from the floor to the ceiling. I can’t help but notice it. It’s a striking accent wall and it’s an introductory welcome to an interesting home. I’ve never seen this done before. Striking! I also noticed that the walls, ceiling, doors, and trim are all painted the same white. Like a blank canvas kind of white. The white walls will pop the future artwork that will adorn the walls and the beautiful wood floors will give the visitor the feel that you entered an art gallery.
The second thing I noticed is the black enamel coated hand railing that follows the stairs up to the kitchen and living area. I used to be an ironworker (who made industrial hand railings) in my younger days so I noticed this immediately. Rebecca proudly tells me that she designed it and then had it made by an ironworker. It’s beautiful and smooth to the touch like butter and it flows from the landing to the upstairs and to the lower level bedrooms. This hand railing is in the center of the home so you will use it everyday.
“Are the rest of your things still in storage?”
Rebecca and her family moved to Madison from the Palo Alto area in California which would have required some adjustments in lifestyle, to say the least. Bringing in a residential piece of Palo Alto to Wisconsin posed a challenge when looking for a home to buy and when they saw this home with vaulted ceilings the wheels began to turn. It wasn’t long before a vision appeared. Enter – Dream House Dream Kitchens and the rest is a visual feast for the eyes.
The kitchen, dining, and living area is one large room which is divided by a wide floor to ceiling brick fireplace in the middle of the room that allows you to walk around it from both sides. The bricks are beautiful and some of those bricks appear to be restored from various unknown locations. The center beam and rafters run along the ceiling provide clean lines and striking contrast to the dominant white color. The paneled walls dated the room from viewing an old photograph so Rebecca painted the paneling white. Light furniture makes the room bigger and warm, too. I feel comfortable and relaxed in this inviting atmosphere.
Most people think white can be too antiseptic and cold but I believe white offers unlimited options to accessorize the room with color. Artwork and accent walls stand out more and white walls and ceilings are crisp and clean. White disappears and is unnoticeable. Except that I noticed it but for all the right reasons.
Rebecca recalled a humorous comment made by new “Midwestern” friends who were visiting the newly remodeled home. Not accustomed to a clean and sparse living style, one of her friends asked, “Are the rest of your things still in storage?” I had to chuckle as I think I know those people. Rebecca has impeccable taste and her home is clean, crisp, and warm. A French cafe song is now playing throughout the home. It’s perfect!
Moving to the lower level where the bedrooms are located is interesting as homes that are built today have the master bedroom and bath on the main level. I understand that from a builder’s perspective, but this home doesn’t need that. This home was built in the 70’s and had good bones, as people love to say, and changing that would have been a mistake. The lower level bedrooms are perfectly placed and spacious. The luxurious master bath has all the feature rich amenities one would want no matter where you lived and the brass fixtures made their way to this room as well. One can appreciate a great eye for design. Beautiful!