Better Than Ever

A couple finds convenience, comfort and style in a smaller home

The Settlers Woods development is where the Browns have settled in. SEE MORE PHOTOS OF THE HOME IN THE SLIDESHOW BELOW.

The Settlers Woods development is where the Browns have settled in. SEE MORE PHOTOS OF THE HOME IN THE SLIDESHOW BELOW.

For sixteen years, Connie and Jeff Brown lived in a traditional two-story home off Old Sauk Road in Middleton. They loved it there, but when their son headed off to college, they decided it was time to downsize.

They moved into Madison—coincidentally, just a few miles east on Old Sauk—to a new subdivision called Settlers Woods.

The condo they chose made the Browns realize that downsizing didn’t have to feel like downgrading. It was light and bright, and they set their sights on customizing their new home.

“We could make it into what we both like,” Jeff says.

Working with Urban Solutions, Inc., and Encore Construction, the couple reorganized the floor plan to make it as open and spacious as possible, installed light-hued maple floors and added a sunroom. They moved into their new home in September 2008.

While the guest bedroom, full basement, garage and upstairs “bonus room” provide ample storage, the Browns embraced the concept of downsizing. The old, large-scale furniture that suited their former home didn’t feel right for their new space.

“Nothing was salvageable,” Jeff says. “We’re empty nesters now.”

“We sold everything and we got everything new,” Connie adds.

For decorating help, Connie turned to her friend Elizabeth Wright of The Montage in McFarland, who guided the couple in selecting furniture and a few key accessories in the classic-with-a-twist aesthetic they like, with the ultimate goal of creating a home that is welcoming and comfortable.

“We wanted a traditional style with a contemporary flair,” she says. “It had to be comfortable and easy to live in. I think, with Elizabeth’s help, we accomplished that!”

Since moving in, the Browns have discovered the conveniences of living in town. They’re closer to restaurants, stores and their jobs.

“I am a piano tuner and I’m always going back and forth across town,” Jeff says. “I didn’t realize how far four miles out of town was.”

They’ve enjoyed exploring their quiet, friendly neighborhood, and their son stops by for visits. Yet Jeff and Connie like their home best when they’re simply relaxing in it.

“This is our oasis,” she says.

Katie Vaughn is associate editor of Madison Magazine.

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