Decorating Our Farmhouse

#11. There’s a tightrope you walk when doing an old house. Ours has a history dating back to the mid 1800s and some indicators suggest even further back than that. So how do you work on an historical home in order to make it your own without destroying its character? That’s where the tightrope comes in. It really is a sensitive balance of updating things and letting other things go.

Our house had been empty for many years until in 1986 it was bought and moved three miles to its current location. At that time the master bedroom (above) was dark with small windows, a closet which connected to a porch, a working fireplace and a very low ceiling. The new owner didn’t do too much except remove the fireplace and paint. Later, though, she began making major changes. She bumped into the space above the ceiling to provide ample head room. The closet was relocated. Lastly, the porch was enclosed to create a master bath with large floor-to-ceiling windows.

The owner then decided to use it as a rental property and the house had many people pass through. Finally the place became too much to maintain and she sold it to us in 2015. We began work on the master bedroom last summer. We installed period-appropriate windows and trim work. We took out the old fan that was caked with dirt. And the whole bedroom and bath got a fresh coat of paint. But it was still lacking something. I decided to add two old beams (actually they were posts we removed during our kitchen renovation) into the ceiling. I’m now mulling over a few other ideas to implement.

(Photo by previous owner c. 1986.)


A Page From…

…’Miss Violet’s Doll’s House‘ By Sam McKechnie, 2017.


Vocabulary #64- Cabinet

cabineta piece of furniture with doors and shelves used for storage or display.

Designer Josef Frank’s wooden cabinet covered in his own floral chintz fabric c. 1937.


Garden Note- Small Floral Arrangement

A fun way to display tulips and queen anne’s lace is to put them in a collectible British toby jug.

(Photo- Martha Browne)


Interiors- Classic Pink

Pink or more appropriately ‘millennial pink’ is predicted to decline in 2018. But that doesn’t mean the color should be totally discarded. A room design using pink can become a classic and undated.

Miles Redd does large scale pink gingham for Ballard Design, 2017 (top). From the 1990s- Vincent Wolf’s solid pink slipcovers (middle right), a sun room in pink stripes & gingham (middle left) and Richard Gould’s urban living room with pink gingham (bottom).


Idea- Empty Frames

Not enough art to fill a wall? How about just a collection of frames? I love the single rose painting and another empty frame casually set on the floor.

(Photo- Stephen Kent Johnson for Domino Magazine)