Monday, 31 August 2015

A Modern Farmhouse Built with the Character it Deserves

Reading over this post I realise I might have come over a little strong when it comes to my comment on some of the new homes built in New Zealand. I refer not to private, architecturally designed homes but those built by speculators to make a quick dollar. I also realise that not everyone can afford to have an architecturally designed home, however, I am sure that even with a modest budget, some re-cycled materials could be included to add charm and character to the lower end market. In saying this, the home I am sharing today is definitely the high end of the market but if you are thinking of building a new home that feels like it has stood the test of time, I hope you can draw some inspiration from it.

Exposed rafters, stone walls and the patina of ancient wooden floors, makes one think they are standing in a renovated farmhouse when in fact this American farmhouse is a new, architecturally designed home. New builds in New Zealand seem to come in three categories, expensive, architecturally designed homes, middle of the road ones with touches of design or lower end speculator builds that have no personality whatsoever, much like my ex-state cottage which without my furniture, would be just a box. I would love to see the lower end market using more re-cycled materials and injecting some personality on some of the soulless show homes I have visited. A few beams or sarking can add interest to a bland space, and what is it with those low, flat ceilings we see so often. With the prospect of less land and smaller homes, I feel it is important to create a feeling of as much space as possible and to do this we need to see higher ceilings or vaulted ceilings.

I have said my bit now so will move on to share the beauty of this farmhouse designed and built in the USA by Donald Lococo Architects. This home is brimming with character, traditional features in a timeless style. The stunning dark wood floor boards were re-claimed from an old barn, their patina is something that can't be replicated with modern materials. This home has so much beauty in its bones that should you strip away every piece of furniture, you would still be surrounded by the beauty of its architecture.

As far as the interior design style of this home, Donald Lococo Architects gave their input to the owners and this led to some bespoke pieces such as the dresser in the dining room, custom made to the architect's specs. A mix of antique furniture works wonderfully with the style and charm of the farmhouse, there is even the odd contemporary piece (chair beside the desk). 'Farmhouse minimalist' is how I would describe this interior, much loved farmhouse appeal without excessive furniture and unnecessary clutter, keeping things simple is all the interior of this wonderful home needs.

Above: I think that stone helps to ground a building and makes if feel like it has been there forever
Above: :Look carefully and you will see a narrow dresser is cleverly built into the hallway so as not to obstruct anything
Above: Re-purposing old pieces of furniture can create a bespoke piece that is original to your home and a real talking point
Above: Simple and traditional is all this bay window needs
Above: I spy a contemporary chair which compliments this antique desk. The light is from Visual Comfort & Co, the design is: SP5004AI. The curves of the handrails on the staircase are lovely touch, small design changes like this can have a big impact
Above: Gramont wallpaper by Osborne and Little. Dresser custom designed for this home
Above: The bespoke kitchen is a restful shade of green which is more calming than white
Photography Paul Warchol

I have a dream that one day I will build a house, nothing grand, slightly more spacious than my cottage which you can see in a recent interview with Houzz. I want the modern conveniences of today like insulation in every nook and cranny and solar heating and, oh to have bathrooms and a kitchen that is not inherited from a previous owner. In my dream I envision exposed beams or rafters and ancient timber floors just as in this home but on a smaller scale. I want my new build to have character and not be one of the soulless new boxes some builders in New Zealand are opting for. I do believe that you can build a house with personality even at the lower end of the market and one day I hope to do this and share my walk with you.

Hop over to Donald Lococo Architects for more information on this company or to view more of their projects.

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