The Country Mouse

In an effort to bring order out of chaos we added a mudrooom to our 1840s farmhouse. We provided space for coats and boots, but I also wanted to carve out a special spot for flower arranging and watering houseplants. So my husband built cabinet drawers to hold all my small garden supplies. Then we installed a zinc countertop that aged with use. I sewed a sink skirt out of two Crate & Barrel kitchen towels. An accessible basket underneath the sink held my collection of straw hats.

Comparable finds-

1. Fixture from Lighting New York. 2. Three antique dough boards from eBay are supported by narrow shelves. 3. Vintage birdcage from Cherish. 4. Mug tree from QVC. 5. Striped towels from Williams Sonoma. 6. & 7. Straw hat with ribbon, topiary and clay pot from Terrain.

Another view of the workspace for flowers and plants.

8. Classic broom from Amazon. 9. Antique blue stoneware bowl from eBay. 10. Pine knobs from Home Depot. 11. Paint on walls, cabinet and knobs is ‘Harwood Putty’ by Benjamin Moore.

(Interior photos- Martha Browne)

Saying Goodbye To Our Farmhouse

Life doesn’t always turn out the way you plan. Seven years ago I would never have imagined we’d sell our 19th century farmhouse and move away. But due to unforeseen circumstances my husband and I are leaving the southeast. What’s that old adage…when one door closes another one opens? So, we’re taking a deep breath and crossing the threshold of a new door.

(Instagram photos of our farmhouse- Martha Browne)

On My Reading List

#36- Nature- ‘On Animals’ by Susan Orlean, 2021.

“We went to the farm one last time to clear it out for the new owners. It was a hard goodbye. I’d always dreamed that someday I would have animals all around me, in the house, in the yard, watching me in the garden, dotting the landscape, crowing in the morning, lowing in the moonlight, barking at the wind, and I had had that there. I had reveled in the animals’ friendship and their strangeness; the way they are so obvious and still mysterious; their colors and textures, their fur and feathers; the sounds and smells of their presence. I liked the way their needs set the rhythm of every day, and how caring for them felt elemental and essential. Living among them, as I had on the farm, was just as satisfying as I imagined it would be.

When the house was emptied, I took one last walk around. As I made my way through the trees and across the fields and down to where the coop had been, I collected a few things that could remind me of the farm forever and perhaps betoken some place in my future that would feel the way it had: a piece of quartz, a pine cone, a knob of moss, and one perfect chicken feather.”

Note- My husband and I have recently sold our own farm and are in the midst of packing up our belongings. Our emotions are raw. The hardest thing for me was knowing my donkeys were not taking the journey with us and the new owners had no interest in them. I called every person I knew and didn’t know until I found some compassionate people to adopt them. The donkeys are still here until the trailer and its driver come. I picture it in my mind how painful that day will be. How frightened they will be in the confinements of the trailer. And how I will cry watching them depart.

(Photos- Martha Browne)

Decorating Our Farmhouse

Before working on our guest bathroom, we had to address some major issues. First the room’s basic layout was suitable enough. It had a vanity, toilet and walk-in shower. But the materials like the huge granite tiles encasing the entire shower and the Asian inspired chest with bowl sink felt completely out of keeping in our 1800s farmhouse. Secondly the lack of natural light was a problem. The bathroom and a closet were housed in a converted porch project done by the previous owner. This meant that the single bathroom exterior window now looked into the closet. To compensate for the loss of light the owner decided to squeeze a floor-to-ceiling sliver of window glass right by the toilet. Yikes! With all of these problems we had to rethink the whole bathroom and the closet in terms of a better floor plan. Plus underdesign both spaces to work with the age and character of the house.

Can you guess which is our finished bathroom- 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6?