Here comes the sun. We’re gaining daylight. I love putting the kids to bed in the twilight, and then heading out on the deck for a glass of wine and a catch-up from our day. I know my husband has not forgotten his promise to me: I want more light outside. That long winter was dark, icy, cold. I worried about family and guests arriving for one of our Sunday night family suppers, our driveway is too dark. And the sidewalk that circles the house from the driveway to the door isn’t lit for navigating slippery sidewalks. For that matter, how welcoming is our front door? We love standing on the porch and sharing one more hug with family and friends, and it frankly lacks the warm glow I would love.

My job as a Certified Lighting Specialist at Madison Lighting can actually work against me at times like this. So many choices when it comes to my own projects! We see inside some very cool homes, we hunt down fabulous fixtures for homeowners, interior designers and homebuilders. I get inspiration from everywhere: art, friends, travel, and colleagues here at Madison Lighting. My own Pinterest folders house ideas for this house, and several more after this if we ever move.

There is the incredible mid-century modern house that we did a lighting plan for with its softly lit terrace at the front door. It’s perfect for welcoming guests and then sending them off after an evening of our favorite rigatoni with pesto. The key here is low light from more than one source. Carriage lights on either side of the front door are simply not enough. Should we add moonlighting? Maybe!

And there is the warm and welcoming Waunakee home. The garage carriage fixtures light the driveway without looking like an airport runway- soft light that is just enough to be comforting. They emanate a taste of what you find inside that welcoming family home, a gracious European-style getaway at the end of the workday.

I love the effect of the path lights at the Middleton Hills home featured on our homepage right now. Nestled into the plants they lit the walk, but also sent little shadows of texture and nature into play. Light can do more than illuminate. Here it shares its owner’s welcoming heart by sharing her garden before you reach the front door.

Each home here has its distinct style, but they share an important trait: the right light outdoors. Living in Wisconsin we’re used to the cold winters, warm jackets and Uggs, we don’t leave home without our mittens and 4-wheel drive. We embrace it all with wonderful dinners and the laughter of family and friends. So my first task this spring is to make sure that every evening is a welcoming one at our house. And while we’re at it, as my husband just pointed out, we really need a light over the grill.