New Home, Old Soul
A timeless design strategy and layers of authentic finishes make a newly constructed farmhouse appear mature beyond its years
On acres of rolling green pastures, at the end of a winding gravel drive and nestled into an old stand of trees, sits a serene and stately farmhouse with a gracious front porch and a barn sporting a fresh coat of crimson paint. This home recalls a bygone era, but it’s actually new construction with an old soul in the middle of Greenwood Village, a Denver suburb.
The house wasn’t intended to be a period piece, but the design team wanted to give it a sense of permanence, so they took a historian’s approach to its design and construction, explains architect Todd Remington. “All along, we had this hierarchy of values that we were working from, which translated into everything from the buildings we built and where we put them, down to the little details and finishing touches,” he says.
Remington worked with interior designer Lane Oliver, of Denver-based LEO Interior Design, to carry that hierarchical approach indoors, layering decorative moldings, wainscoting, wood paneling and handcrafted details into the living room and dining room, while keeping the bedrooms and even the kitchen a bit quieter. The kitchen features Shaker cabinets and interior walls finished with lap siding, while the nearby dining room has more ornate carved custom built-ins and decorative wood paneling.
Historically appropriate details abound, but the true mark of success is that the home is united with its open, pastoral surroundings. The designers’ goal was to give the home a sense of place, Remington says, “and toward the end of the project, I started getting to the point where I’d wear my cowboy boots to the site. It just felt like I was going to a whole different world, and to me, that was the most exciting part, because it felt like we had actually done it.”
To keep the house from looking too large, the design team created a charming series of buildings—the main house, a cottage and a barn—all connected by one-story hallways.
The dining room’s custom built-in cabinets are the clean backdrop to a collection of blue-and-white china. To balance the cabinets’ weight, Oliver positioned a banquette by the windows and added slipcovers to the daintier dining chairs.
The gracious front porch boasts traditional touches such as a beadboard ceiling and a vintage green washtub, blended with contemporary ceramic floor tiles that mimic wide wooden planks.
With ceiling heights under nine feet throughout the house, and the homeowner’s aversion to can lights, Oliver was challenged to find lighting, like the living room’s custom chandelier, that didn’t hang too low.
The kitchen has less ornamentation than the dining and living rooms, in the tradition of old-fashioned farmhouse utilitarian work spaces. Oliver incorporated the homeowners’ bar stools and added a collection of vintage enamelware.
In the butler’s pantry, Oliver laid mosaic marble tile flooring and hung antique breadboards as functional art.
The home’s nooks and crannies offer quiet reading corners and display space for the homeowners’ many collections. “This window seat is in the hallway right next to the library, and those drawers below it actually are extra filing cabinets,” Oliver says. To make the home’s traditional design look more authentic, Oliver asked the woodworkers to make the paneling’s joints intentionally askew, as if the home had settled a bit over time.
A sloped ceiling in the master bedroom adds coziness. Oliver chose muted fabrics, but livened up the traditional patterns with a painterly polka-dot.
The marble tub surround and an abundance of mirrors in the master bath serve as counterpoints to the rusticity of the reclaimed wood floors and curtain tiebacks that resemble jute rope.
Lane Oliver, LEO Interior Design, Inc. leointeriordesign.com