Palace Perfect

After building other people's dream houses, one contractor finally crafts his own

Justin Temple has moved five times in six years, but he finally feels at home. His four-bedroom Mediterranean-style home debuted in Blackhawk at the Parade of Homes last year. He and his family settled in just days later.

From the striking eighteen-foot rotunda entry to the hand-hammered copper sinks in the kitchen to the ornately carved bed in the master suite, this is the home Temple always wanted. “I’ve had this house designed in my head for a while.”

Temple, vice president of Temple Construction, wanted the house to be timeless, so he utilized natural materials with weathered finishes. The floors are travertine, onyx and hand-scraped wood. The kitchen cabinets are maple stained a dark brown. The walls are antiqued plaster. Colors throughout are warm and rich.

But the house isn’t a total throwback to yesteryear. The large flat-screen television in the master bedroom and the state-of-the-art media room downstairs (where he and son Carter watch Cars and other animated favorites of the two-and-a-half-year-old) remind visitors that Temple lives in the here and now. “You’ve got to mix a little modern in with the old touches,” he says. “For me it’s vital.”

So far there is nothing he would change. The house has a formal feel that Temple and his wife Sally wanted, but there are toys in every room and signs that every inch is lived in. “Nothing is off-limits here,” he says. “The harder we use it, the better it feels.”

Temple adds that the house also works well for casual entertaining or just crashing after a busy day. “I literally feel like when I walk in the door, I can sit down anywhere,” he says. “Wherever I land, I land.”

The vice president of Temple Construction is working on another Parade house this year; it sits on the lot kitty-corner across the backyard. It’s already sold, which is a relief to Sally, who knows well her husband’s housing wanderlust.

It’s true that Temple loves his new digs, but this son of a builder who grew up in the business admits that his wife’s suspicions aren’t that far off the mark. He expects the itch to move to strike again someday. But not for a while.

“I think I’ve got a couple move cards left,” he says. “Pretty soon I’ll be cashed out.”

And if this is the hand he’s left with, twenty-nine-year-old Temple knows that it’s not a bad deal at all.

Jennifer Garrett is associate editor of Madison Magazine.

Madison Magazine - June 2007


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