Tucked inside a wooded lot, newlyweds create a home that reflects their love of nature, color and good times
Amy Gilliland soaks in the playful colors in her new home. See more photos of the home in the slideshow below.
After her three children grew up and moved out of her old house in the Vilas neighborhood, Amy Gilliland realized she had a problem: Her once-necessary family-sized home started to feel like a mausoleum.
So she took stock of the rooms and spaces she utilized the most and kept those priorities in mind when she renovated a new space—a 1960s home in a quiet west-side neighborhood surrounded by trees.
“Space should fit your lifestyle,” says Gilliland. “This is definitely an empty-nester home.”
According to Gilliland, designing the home was the perfect relationship test for her and then-boyfriend Al Benrud. A mental health therapist at the VA, Benrud lived in the home as it was being remodeled while Gilliland, a certified doula trainer and human sexuality instructor at Madison College, temporary lived in California to take care of her mother.
The process required lots of phone calls from the west coast and check-ins with designers including Bella Domicile, who helped design the home's kitchen and bathroom, as well as a few changes when Gilliland returned to Madison.
Still, the past challenges prove worth it daily as the couple rediscovers how each custom design aspect, from the breakfast nook (designed for “tall people”) to the extra-produce fridge built into the kitchen’s island, is a perfect fit.
As for that relationship test? Gilliland and Benrud were married this February.
“The house really brought us together,” says Gilliland.
Gilliland’s California roots had an influence on many aspects of the remodel. A grand total of twenty-eight paint shades, from brilliant orange to shimmering gold to funky purple, add a bright, fresh feel to each room. “I’m not scared of color anymore,” laughs Gilliland.
An assortment of antiques passed down from Gilliland’s family, such as a set of Asian stacking tables once beloved by her grandmother, blend with new pieces—like a geometry-inspired jeweled light fixture that hangs above the dining table.
“People that I loved loved this,” says Gilliland of one of the heirlooms. “I want to see it.”
Additional thrift store finds—including a collection of vintage matchbooks—make for a quirky, eclectic vibe that’s carried throughout the house.
Outdoor elements are also incorporated. The foyer’s floor is an extension of the front porch, while Gilliland’s expansive rock and mineral collection, as well as photos of Devil’s Lake taken by a Baraboo artist, are on display.
Upstairs, strategically placed windows maximize natural light while a copper-hued epoxy floor with gold bursts makes a bold statement. The floor, created by Chad Grote of HGS, is also suitable for the couple’s cats, Ethel, Diva and Mei Mei.
“Fun and functional is good for us,” says Gilliland.
Hannah Kiddoo is a Madison-based freelance writer.
Photos by Beth Skogen