Here she is folks!! Our new slice of heaven, apparently nicknamed "Stonewall Farms" by previous owners, due to the massive stone retaining walls that line the driveway. We're glad to report that the move went well and we're currently settling into the new space. WHEW! What a whirlwind!!
If you know me personally, you know my home is filled with consignment finds, fb marketplace scores, and lots and lots of items from what my mom and I like to call a good ole garage sale jackpot. While I'm regularly working with stunning custom high-end pieces for my clients, our own house has been pulled together on a shoe string budget—and I've always liked it that way! I love the thrill of the hunt, and I also feel much less sad when a dog puts a muddy paw on something I didn't spend too much mula on.
I'm also pretty choosey about what comes into our house because—while my aesthetic doesn't look it—I'm a minimalist at heart. As a result of that, I love just about everything we own, and almost all of our current furniture came with us to the new place. BUT. Since selling the house, we were able to set aside a decent little budget to spend on some new items and updates for the house, and I'm soooo excited to share those with you! I'm pumped for you to see our new abode!
The home we left behind (above) is a beautiful colonial style house built in 1915. I absolutely love old houses, and if you can believe it, the new house is almost double in age! This circa 1847 colonial farmhouse is a whopping 173 year olds and has quite a story:
In the 1980's, the house was located on local fairgrounds and had fallen into disrepair. The fire department had flagged it as one to be used for training firefighters, but some lover of historic homes heroically swooped in, bought the house, and moved it to a nearby plot of land—that's right, MOVED it! Since then, it's had multiple owners and undergone several renovations while still maintaining much of its original charm. The last owners left us a photo album full of awesome shots of the original house, so I'll definitely be sharing those here soon!
One of the reasons we liked this house is that there's potential to expand, if we want to. Our last house was on a jam-packed city block in a historic district, which means room to grow was limited, and even if you had it, you'd have to get everything through this historic preservation association, which is both expensive and difficult. In our new location, we get all the perks of owning a historic home—the charm, the quirks—but on a completely private two acre plot with zero historic regulations—woo hoo!
Kitchen Island Plans
We hope to do a kitchen reno/expansion at some point in the future, but we want to live in the house for a while first to figure out what exactly we need/want, or if we even need to expand. Additionally, the current kitchen, while not exactly my style, is pretty darn cute and has a lot of potential. Here are a few shots from the listing:
Initially, my plan is to swap light fixture, paint the walls, and add an island.
It's been interesting to observe how the style of this house and it's s surroundings has influenced my desired aesthetic for it. I've never been particularly drawn to the farmhouse style, but with this house, I find my style influences shifting. I've been pouring over stripped down primitive designs, searching for simple antique pieces, and regularly visiting the insta feeds of designers like Lauren Liess (newer to me) and Amber Interiors (who I've loved from the start, but am now seeing in new ways).
SO. The first piece I'm excited about is a custom island table I designed that my friends over at Katt Design & Carpentry are building for me. In my (pinterest) research (HA), I've discovered what are called draper's tables, and I. am. OBSESSED. Here are a couple I've been ogling:
I love the rustic, stripped down look paired with the perimeter of cabinetry. Now, a true antique draper table from Europe will cost you a good chunk of change, and while I LOVE the open storage and warmth they bring to a space, they don't have the exact functionality I'm looking for.
I stumbled upon the below piece of furniture designed by Lauren Liess for Woodbridge Furniture (if you're into it, I can get it for you, just message me for details!), but ALAS, it comes assembled in a solid piece and it is too wide for my teeny tiny 1847 doorways. DRAT!
It's all good, though, because it gave me a good starting place to figure out what I really wanted / needed. I liked that this one had a place for stools and the storage it provided, but I didn't like the vertical back panel that separates the shelves from where the stools sit—it's definitely functional, but I wanted those pretty open sight lines.
So, since I wasn't finding exactly what I was looking for, my next plan of action was to design my own and have my favorite carpenters build it for me! Here are a few of the tables/islands I used as inspiration:
This last one was my favorite, and you can see how I sketched my idea over the top to make it more what I was looking for. Mine will be much thinner to fit through those 30" door frames. The below shelf will be pretty thin, just 12" deep, but enough to set a few big baskets or pots for some extra storage while keeping the kitchen feeling open and airy.
The table will have three long, shallow drawers across what I'll call the front, which I'll likely use for kitchen utensils/knives etc. I also ordered some fun vintage-inspired cast iron hardware for the drawers, and will do the island in a stain similar to the last table above.
It's such a simple design, and since I couldn't find anything exactly like what I needed for the space, going custom made sense. The kitchen sort of a medium size, and while it's pretty open, there really isn't much counter space. The new island will give us an additional 6ft x 2.5ft of workspace, which is about as big as I could go in the space. My stools will be backless, and will slide almost all the way beneath the table.
Living Room Plans
Next up let's look at the living room! Again, not the biggest room room you've ever seen, but very cozy—that's sort of the MO of the house. Compact and cozy! This room has beautiful cove ceilings, massive baseboard trim (we're talking 10 inches!), and beautiful plantation shutters. I personally never use shutters in my designs because I feel like they block too much of the light and view, but they're here, they're beautiful, and they are expensive, so I'm going to live with them for a while and see if they grow on me! So far, I'm a fan.
The ONLY thing about the house that was a bit of a let down was the lack of fireplace, so that's the one big add-on we hope to do sometime in our first year here. I've indicated the wall where we hope to install it. Ideally, we'll have a fireplace with built-in floor to ceiling bookshelves on either side.
Here are a few inspiration images from Pinterest that I'm digging right now...my main challenge is the cove ceilings, which I feel this first inspo image does a good job of integrating:
For now, we'll be setting up one of our sideboards on this wall with our TV above and have purchased a beautiful reclaimed pine cabinet to store books, which we'll move elsewhere once the built-ins are complete.
SO, here are a few of the new pieces for the living room that we've purchased and I'm feeling excited about:
First up is our new sectional. I took Larry sofa shopping with me for the first time ever, and it was super eye-opening! He sat on every sofa in the store—HA! So fun. The sofa we landed on is a tight-back, meaning the cushions on the back don't come off and are more like an upholstered chair rather than a cushion.
The back is a mid-height (significantly higher than the Thayer Coggin Drop-in Sofa we bought last year), and is also fairly shallow depth wise—just 21.5" deep. We both felt extremely comfortable sitting it in. Great back support, so too deep your feet don't touch the ground, and as a plus, I felt I could work with the style!
Ours wont be this color—it's more of a taupey brown color—but it gives you the idea of the profile. The one we ordered will also be one cushion longer on the right side, making more of a backwards "L" rather than being completely symmetrical.
This next photo shows the regular sofa version, and gives a good view of the style when viewed straight on:
You can see sofa configurations here and message me for details if you're interested!
Storage Cabinet for our Books
Next up is the cabinet we purchased for books (again, message for details if interested). I realize it sounds a little frivolous to buy a piece like this for a temporary situation (since we'll eventually put built-ins in this room), but we have a LOT of books—like, a LOT a lot. Plus, we chose a piece that is in the style of the house and neutral enough to work in multiple spaces. This might eventually end up in the main floor office, or even in my studio space. We'll see! The main consideration, though, is that I LOVE it, and that's all it really takes to commit to making a piece work someplace in your space!
The Frame TV by Samsung
Last up in the living room is the TV I've been waiting for my whole life...but seriously, my whole life. The Frame TV by Samsung! Literally a work of art—so, so gorgeous! I've been eyeing this baby since I first saw it in a boat-house-turned-living-room revamp by Emily Henderson...I use them in client's spaces whenever I can (see below shot of our Ada House on the Hill project), and now it's finally our turn!!
Piano Studio Space
The last room I'll give you a peek at is what will be Larry's piano studio space. When the house was moved in the 1980s, it was put on top of a new foundation, which included a two stall garage, along with what used to be unfinished basement. The studio space was finished by the last owners (who, I might add, are simply wonderful people!), and let's just say we're excited not to have a creepy basement this time around!!
Here's a look at the studio from the listing:
The house is quirky in that you have to go upstairs to get to the main level. The two stall garage is just beside this room, so you enter from the garage into the studio space, then head upstairs into what is essentially a hall/butler's pantry.
We loved the french doors out to the driveway in this room and thought it would be perfect for when Larry's piano students come over for lessons. There's a door at the top of the stairs, so we're able to completely shut this room off from the house when needed (GREAT for dogs), and we also liked that students and their parents wouldn't have to climb stairs.
In this space, we have plans for two upright pianos, some seating, office storage, and a MASSIVE desk (in the form of a custom dining table). We're still toying with the location of the table...just today Larry was worrying that he wouldn't end up studying down their because he'd get lonely (how adorable is that!?). But to be fair, we're all (us + dogs) together most of the day, so it's a fair point! So it may be that the new table ends up on the main level, but here's my initial plan for the space so far:
In my research for the kitchen island, I discovered an awesome company based in Corona, California (the irony is not lost on me) called Vintage Mill Werks. I was initially interested in several of their kitchen island designs, but then I began exploring their tables for Larry's workspace. When I found this one, I immediately knew he would love it. Many of the farmhouse tables I showed him had the traditional turned leg style, which he wasn't a fan of. This one was simpler and more grand:
Unlike the one pictured, which is two-toned, ours will be done fully in their Dark Walnut stain. It's seriously a beautiful work of craftsmanship. The legs are each 5" in diameter...massive!...and the table itself is 86" long x 39" wide—the perfect size to spread out books and papers and projects.
The Wrap Up
WHEW! That felt a little long winded, but what can I say? I'M EXCITED! It's not everyday that I design for myself, and I'm feeling really energized to create a space that meets the needs of our family and lends itself to making the kinds of memories we hope to make. Stay tuned for more updates as the house comes together!
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LFID is a full-service interior design firm serving West and Southeast Michigan. We work with clients from Traverse City, to Holland to Detroit, and anywhere in between, and pride ourselves on creating bespoke, people-centered spaces—because after all, people are what this life is all about!