MADISON – When Nick and Elizabeth Carter initially considered buying a home, they wrote a list of must-have features.

The Carters wanted their home to have a custom builder, large lot with lots of open space and tall trees and a Madison address in an established neighborhood.

“When we first saw this lot in Mountain Brook that Rachel Brown Homes was selling, we knew it was exactly what we were looking for,” Elizabeth said. They moved in during June 2017.

The house’s traditional architecture includes a front porch. Some lap siding is used but the exterior primarily is “Old Chicago” brick with different color variations. They painted the siding antique white, used bronze gutters and added charcoal shutters for a cohesive look.

Covering 2,600 square feet, the eight-room house has four bedrooms. “The house is completely open. Even the upstairs is open to the downstairs with a railing,” Elizabeth said.

Still decorating, Elizabeth has discovered “a hidden talent for interior design in the homebuilding process. I’m loving every second. I know how I want each room to look so it’s just a matter of finding all the right pieces.”

The Carters’ goal is a coastal farmhouse look. Elizabeth has used lots of light blues, grays and whites. Dark hardwood floors are used everywhere except bedrooms, which has champagne-colored carpet.

The Carters were extremely pleased to select all interior finishes with this Rachel Brown home. “We made it our own … from big things, like taking out walls to open up the downstairs and expanding the kitchen, to small details like picking out unique hardware for cabinets,” she said.

In their kitchen and dining room, they chose a wooden design on the trey ceiling, farmhouse sink, barn door for pantry, backsplash and fun light fixtures.

Defining a favorite room is difficult right now. “The room we choose now may not be our favorite in a couple of weeks. The kitchen/keeping room will be a main gathering space once we find bar stools and finish everything,” Elizabeth said.

Their great room has a casual, coastal feel. They plan to convert the keeping room into a more formal sitting room/office space. Elizabeth will place her grandfather’s antiques, and they will refinish old furniture for their collection.

Because he enjoys outdoor work, Nick is in charge of the lawn. He asks people about their landscaping ideas, and he dreams of yard enhancements.

The Carters were convinced to build with Rachel Brown Homes “not because of location or custom builder but because of their team. When we first met with Rachel to discuss potential house plans, she immediately picked up our style,” Elizabeth said.

“After just a few meetings and before we signed anything, we already felt like family at Rachel Brown Homes. It felt like Rachel, Mark and Josie truly cared about us,” Elizabeth said.

Rachel Brown’s team handled the Carters’ questions and ideas. “Months of planning and building were such a fun experience. We got individual care and attention,” Elizabeth said.

People told the Carters, “Oh, you’re building your first home? Y’all must be stressed out and fighting all the time!” Not the case, Elizabeth said. “The RBH team took stress away and let us enjoy the process. We looked forward to texts from Rachel with pictures and new ideas.”

“We truly can’t say enough positive things with Rachel. We’re kind of sad now that the building process had to end,” Elizabeth said.

A nurse, Elizabeth works at Huntsville Hospital. Nick is a pharmacist for CVS. “We have a little one due in January,” she said.

Elizabeth is a Decatur native, while Nick hails from Fort Wayne, Indiana. “Our jobs brought us to the Huntsville area, but, while in our apartment, we fell in love with Madison and decided we didn’t want to live anywhere but here.”