Originally owned by two artists, this farmhouse was built in 1934, but parts of it date back to the 1800s when the large barn was built. “While in the barn one day, we found old playbooks, Christmas cards, and other sweet memorabilia,” says interior designer Megan Oldenburger of Dichotomy Interiors.
“After some digging, I found the granddaughter of the original owners and reached out to her, as I found one hand-drawn Christmas card depicting her as a girl. She filled us in on some fun details and [shared] some lovely old black-and-white photos of the home and the owners.”
The new homeowners use the house as a retreat, but it’s also a full-time residence for her brother, who is an environmental engineer and steward of the farm and the attached 150 acres. “This is the second project [the homeowner and I] worked on together,” says Oldenburger of the owner Melissa Meyers. “In addition to the farm, we have begun a new business venture, where we can continue to design together, building new homes with our warm, modern vision, each unique and custom.”
Oldenburger gutted the house and gave it all-new systems and insulation. The designer made slight changes to the layout to create a third bathroom and laundry room. “We tried to keep as many of the original features as we could,” says Oldenburger. “We kept some of the original glazed windows, the staircase, as much hardwood flooring as possible, the doors and their original hardware and hinges; and [we] repurposed things, including some of the old 1930s newspaper headlines, which had been used for insulation in the attic and now are featured [in frames] on the wall upstairs and in the upstairs guest bathroom.”
The light fixtures are a mix of bold contemporary and midcentury pieces, as well as some classic glass sconces in the dining room and kitchen. The home had a mix of hardware finishes, but Oldenburger chose brass as the main finish with touches of black. “Brass has made a comeback, but it is also completely classic for the age of this home, so I wasn’t worried about it skewing trendy here or not outlasting the fad,” the designer says.
Oldenburger worked with the homeowners on their primary home, and the designer chose the same light fixture for the main floor of this remodel as she did for the other house. “We wanted to bring a little bit of that house and feel to the farm,” says Oldenburger. “It worked so well with the round table and the mirror, and is a real statement alongside the Serge Mouille fixture in the living room.”
The old kitchen held an electric range, sink, and fridge in a row. There was a small table, two stand-alone cabinets, and a narrow, awkward hall of closets. The space was reconfigured and opened up to create a gracious walk-through pantry with tons of storage. Two windows were added to the range wall and a full cook’s kitchen was created with a Viking gas range, a small seating area, and bespoke cabinetry and marble backsplash.
The designer chose Sherwin-Williams’ Pristine Wilderness for the cabinets to keep the room from being too classic white farmhouse. “When it comes to colors, there are few that I feel stand the test of time, and green is one of them,” says Oldenburger. “We love how neutral it is, and it changes beautifully in the light. It has a cheery vibe and offered a great backdrop to our pops of brass in the hardware and fixtures with the soft white Calacatta marble.”
The house had four bedrooms — one quite small — and two tiny bathrooms. Oldenburger turned the smaller of the bedrooms into an en suite bath for the master bedroom on the second floor so the home now boasts three bedrooms and three baths.
Oldenburger had the bedroom painted Benjamin Moore’s Gray, balancing the darkness with soft bedding, sheepskins, curtains, and touches of pink in velvet chairs and pillows.
The upstairs guest room was painted Benjamin Moore’s Pink Beach. “I wanted a color that kept the room feeling warm and cozy, and when the sun comes in the windows and hits the walls, it gives you that feeling of a hug,” says Oldenburger. “It felt feminine, but not like a little girl’s room. It had a sophistication to it and a neutrality that I was really drawn to.”
In a downstairs bedroom, where the door is kept open most of the time, Oldenburger added wallpaper to create a special moment when people walk past. “Because it is on the main level, we wanted to continue our green theme, which really worked with the large-scale lily pattern by Cole & Son and also has a vintage but modern feel,” she says.
The palette was chosen from nature, so the designer also added accents of blush pink and earthy browns and tans. “I was inspired by the color of free-range farm eggs that come in different shades of pinks, rust, tans, mints, and blue,” says Oldenburger.
Two dormers in the new master bath were a bit of a design challenge. “I wanted to make sure there was room for a separate tub and shower, plus a double vanity,” says Oldenburger. “The dormers ended up creating a beautiful alcove for the vintage-inspired (but new) tub. The farthest dormer gave us an ideal place for a walk-in shower and kept the room feeling very open and spacious.”
For the finishing touches, Oldenburger strikes a balance between rustic and modern and pattern and texture. “I always like layering the elements of nature,” she says. “There will always be wood, leather, stone, wool, and steel, and if I can add a fireplace, I will!”
Here she layered soft carpets, fun wallpaper patterns, vintage furniture, and a waxy leather sofa. She repurposed a midcentury dresser into the master bath vanity. “The home had such a history of family to it; we wanted there to be elements from each of the inhabitants,” Oldenburger says. “Their stories also created the layers for us. The space had to be cozy and cheerful, and I wanted to make sure it always had the feeling of ‘welcome home’ when you walked in the door. The ‘over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go’ was quite literal in this case for so many years; we hoped to continue that for the family. It needed to feel like a warm hug when you walked in each room.”