Hilltop Haven

Shorewood Hills is a wonderful place for a Realtor couple to create the home of their dreams

Nestled in Shorewood Hills atop a gently sloped, wooded property is Suzy Favor Hamilton and Mark Hamilton’s mid-century modern home. And the first clue the three-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath, 2,600 square-foot home perfectly captures the couple is to the right of the driveway—it’s a UW–Madison track and field hurdle. After all, both are Badger alums, and Suzy ran track in college and continued on to become a three-time Olympian.

But there are many other personal touches in this ’50s stunner that delight visitors upon entering the open, spacious kitchen and living area—replete with contemporary furnishings seemingly tailor-made for this gem. To customize the home and add much-needed updates, the couple started renovating it a year ago when they bought it. The first major task? Opening up the kitchen by removing a large, built-in dining table (“it took up the whole kitchen,” notes Suzy) and updating all of the appliances, countertops and flooring.

“It was Mark’s idea to have a ‘green’ kitchen to have a model to show clients,” says Suzy, who works as a Realtor team with Mark at First Weber. “I had taken a class to get certified as a green Realtor and it became about ‘practice what you preach.’ Going with recycled products … you feel good about it.”

Working with Andrea Jakubczak at Eco Fusion Design for the kitchen proved to be the ideal match for the green-minded family. Jakubczak determined the exact use of the smaller space to make it most efficient for the family of three, which includes six-year-old Kylie.

“In a smaller scale kitchen, everything needs a place. Utilizing the large lift-up cabinetry allowed for more visibility and less opening and closing of small doors. It also makes the space appear larger as you don’t have all the area broken up by separate cabinets,” says Jakubczak.
She also pointed the couple to recycled rubber Eco Surfaces flooring, Eco by Cosentino hard-surface countertops, a ecycled glass backsplash, Bazzeo cabinetry (made out of compressed wheat grass) and energy-efficient appliances.

And because the rest of the home boasts sleek lines and an airy, open layout thanks to the numerous windows that overlook the woods, the modern, eco-friendly kitchen merged perfectly. Touches of the ’50s still remain in the living area in the wooden shelving that covers about half of the room’s wall space, sprinkled with favorite artifacts, like a “Hamilton” street sign and vases.  Modern furniture from Century House fills out the rest of the room to lend a crisp, clean touch like the iconic Bertoia “Diamond” lounge chair, space-age light fixture and polished silver dining table and chairs.

The family, who had previously lived in the Nakoma and Vilas neighborhoods, is extremely happy with the change of scenery.

“This home has a modern element, but it has warmth because of the all of the wood. We didn’t want a sterile white home,” explains Suzy. “I want this house to be kid-friendly, and not a museum where you can’t touch anything. One of the things about a home is it brings the family together, and that’s what we wanted in our house, is keeping us together in the living spaces.”

Want to see more? Take a video tour of the entire Favor Hamilton home—Click here!

Shayna Miller is associate and style editor of Madison Magazine.

Read more House of the Month features here

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