A Happy Place
From art and architecture to furniture and flowers, a Middleton Hills home reflects its owners’ loves
This bungalow fits in nicely with the other Arts & Crafts homes in Middleton Hills. SEE MORE PHOTOS OF THE HOME IN THE SLIDESHOW BELOW.
At every turn of her home, Barbara McFarland encounters something that holds special meaning. Furniture handed down from generations and artwork made by family and friends fill her rooms, while her favorite flowers grow outside. And she even enjoys a pretty view while doing dishes.
Home is a special place for McFarland and her husband, Kent Carnell. The two met in seventh grade in Barrington, Illinois, and reconnected at their thirtieth high school reunion. Since he lived in Madison, she made the city her new home.
While living in a home near Bishops Bay, the couple watched Middleton Hills develop on the other side of the Pheasant Branch Conservancy. Pleased with what they saw in the mixed-use neighborhood, they built a large bungalow and moved there in November 2006.
The home was a great fit, not only with the other Arts & Crafts homes in the neighborhood, but also the pair’s aesthetic preferences. “We love Craftsman,” she says. “We knew we wanted that style.”
McFarland was also sure about opting against an open floor plan. “I wanted some walls to put up my artwork!” she says.
Inspired by her art-collecting parents and grandparents, she and her husband have amassed a collection ranging from contemporary paintings to historically significant Japanese and Audubon prints. An abundance of graphic works by renowned artist Marko Spalatin—McFarland’s brother-in-law—holds special placement, as do atmospheric landscapes by her friend Margaret Lockwood and a pair of cow paintings, a tongue-in-cheek reference to the breeding service her grandparents ran.
The couple’s furniture is similarly eclectic. A clean-lined, cream-colored sofa coexists with an eighteenth-century game table in the living room, and her grandmother’s wooden high chair sits next to a contemporary table and Arts & Crafts light pendants in the dining room. “I don’t like all one style—it hurts my eyes,” she says.
Outdoor spaces receive considerable attention, too. An avid gardener, McFarland has places for roses, azaleas and peonies—her favorite flower—as well as mandevilla vines and other perennials, and she has a dedicated area for wildflowers. She finds additional doses of nature in walking through Pheasant Branch daily. And when she’s inside working in the kitchen, she can still see Frederick’s Hill, a high point of the conservancy.
Inside and out, the home reflects what matters to the couple. “If you’re not happy in the one place you’re supposed to be happy …” McFarland says. She doesn’t finish the sentence. She doesn’t need to. She’s clearly made this a happy place.
See for Yourself
McFarland and Carnell's home is one of seven featured in the 2010 Attic Angel House & Garden Tour, held June 21, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., in Middleton Hills. Call 662-8900 or visit atticangel.org.
Katie Vaughn is associate editor of Madison Magazine.