MADISON — About 20 years ago, Craig and Diane Brennan built their new home in the Edgewater neighborhood. Over the years, they have refined their outdoor living space to transform it into a comfortable, attractive retreat. 

“My husband designed the house and has also designed and completed several of the updates and additions, Diane said. “We have updated each room and added the back porch and outdoor kitchen.

“The home’s exterior is built in Cape Cod style of architecture. The exterior is mostly brick. My furnishings are a mixture of bargains and antiques — casual with a definite leaning toward my Italian heritage,” she said. Holding special significance, a pew was salvaged from a small country church in upstate New York, where Diane grew up.

“Several other pieces have memories attached to them,” she said. “I am the decorator.  It is what I love – to make a home for people to enjoy.”

“Our favorite features are, indeed, the outdoor living spaces my husband has created,” Diane added. “I like to think of it as a place where we invite people to gather and share the beauty.”

”In recent weeks, the Brennans have hosted a baby shower, a large birthday party for family and a luncheon for all of the people enrolled in Diane’s yoga class at the YMCA. They can use their large outdoor combo of living room kitchen about ten months out of year in comfort.

Solid, squared white columns with pediments support a raised ceiling of narrow planks with a muted, natural stain to contrast in color and add to the outdoorsy feel. A massive fireplace and hearth can warm the living space during chilly fall evenings and late winter mornings for coffee.

The fireplace and nearby galley kitchen are covered in stacked stone. The Brennans can prepare full-course meals with an oversized grill, stove and under-counter refrigerator, along with ample storage.  

A comfy rattan sofa and chairs allow guests to sit and view the ceiling-mounted television. Graceful fronds of Boston ferns add another natural element and soften the lines of stacked stone.

In the back yard, a fountain built into a slope cascades on three levels with a formation of stacked stone, pavers, river rock and boulders. The garden slope has in-ground steps, rock features, earthen pottery and perennial plants like hosta, nandina and liriope and other various ornamental grasses. 

Snowball bushes boast large white masses of blooms. Along with their summer activities flowering, crepe myrtles add textural interest in all seasons. Lantana, begonias, geranium and impatients add bursts of color in both sun and shade. Diane tends to the lawn and its flowers and shrubs.

“It’s another enjoyable part of my life. The mowing and gardening are great ways to get outside and enjoy where we live,” she said.

The Brennans both are originally from New York, but husband was raised here. When Craig was offered a transfer as an electrical engineer with General Electric, we knew it was right for us,” she said. Currently, Craig works for Dynetics. They have raised two sons and now enjoy their grandchildren.

“My career has been at Madison Drugs for the past several years, and I own and operate Madison Christian Life Coach LLC,” Diane said.