Double Take

hen builder Hart DeNoble approached Amy Sanderson and her family about building a brand-new house—and showing it in the 2007 Parade of Homes tour—the mother of three wasn’t intimidated. In fact, she thought it was a great idea.

That’s partly because the Sandersons had already built a house with DeNoble and showcased it in the 2003 Parade.

The new house, set in the Blackhawk development on the far west side of Madison, is just five blocks away from their last home. And it’s also the fourth that Amy and husband Brian have built in Wisconsin and Georgia in their twenty years of marriage.

Amy, a stay-at-home mother, volunteer and budding decorator, says they’ve never lived in the same house for more than five years. “We were coming up on that date,” she says with a laugh. “It was time to move.”

“She has that itch to do new homes,” Brian says of his wife.

At 7,400 square feet, the house is a two-thousand-square-foot upgrade from its predecessor. But there isn’t any wasted space or areas they don’t like in it, the Sandersons say.

“As you build homes, you get ideas of what you didn’t like in the last house,” says Brian, who is a partner at Home Casual, an outdoor furniture company.

Set at an angle on a corner lot, the house has a Mediterranean-influenced exterior. A bell-tower entryway featuring double doors with scroll detailing and a floor with inlaid tile sets a similarly elegant but comfortable tone that’s carried through the house.

A touch of Old World style permeates the large kitchen of wood floors, brown granite countertops and a wood-block island where the Sandersons’ three- and five-year-old girls like to help prepare meals. On the far edge of the kitchen, a round dining table overlooks the backyard and pool.

The Sandersons found inspiration for the adjacent great room in the Ritz-Carlton in Greensboro, Georgia. A brown sofa—with extra down stuffing for added softness—and chairs offer a play of complementary textures, patterns and colors. And the furniture’s natural hues are echoed in a stone fireplace and wood floors.

“We wanted the room to feel comfy but not stuffy,” Amy says. “And I think we’re there.”

One of the family’s favorite spaces is just off the great room. The loggia, or outdoor living room, is outfitted with a fireplace, refrigerator, grill and table for al fresco relaxing or entertaining. “It’s a wonderful backyard,” Brian says.

Another highlight is the project room, a large functionality-first space reserved for doing homework and laundry, making art projects, and working on the laptop. If things get messy here, no worries. Pocket doors close off any works-in-progress from the rest of the house. “It’s a working room—and we use it,” Amy says.

Upstairs, Amy and Brian’s bedroom is decorated in pale blue and chocolate brown, a color combination offset by white crown molding. The spa-like master bathroom boasts slate walls, an open glass shower and heated floors.

Meanwhile, the couple’s fifteen-year-old has her own stylish retreat. A pink bedspread, shag rug, pale yellow walls, window bench and floral chandelier make the room femininely chic.

The younger girls share a whimsically decorated bedroom and playroom. Two guest suites, a home gym and a spacious basement theater room are additional features of the house.

While Amy didn’t have a comprehensive vision for what she wanted the new house to look like—”It started with a blank piece of paper and a bunch of pictures,” she says—she had lots of ideas and took them straight to designers and furniture makers. She enjoyed the building process as much as she and her family now love the home.

“It was collaborative, completely—and fun,” she says.

Katie Vaughn is associate editor of Madison Magazine.