Stonelake Farm Idea Home 2007
(Originally Published: September/October 2007)
Can style drawn from the rural Midwest improve a new, big-city house? See for yourself in our Indianapolis-area Idea Home, which features a careful, heartfelt melding of distinctive details, both past and present. Its modern take on country style creates a comfortable, contemporary, welcoming home.
In honor of Midwest Living's 20th anniversary, we looked to our agricultural heritage and a farmhouse aesthetic for our architectural and design inspiration. We returned to the Indianapolis area, site of our first Idea Home in 1989. In suburban Westfield, we partnered with award-winning builder Mark Gradison and innovative architectural designer Gary Nance. Mark and Gary shared our vision to craft a spacious refuge where rustic beams coexist with flat-screen TVs, and primitive accessories take the new edge off. We filled the home with ideas, details and new products that we think will inspire you, whether you're building a new home, remodeling an old one or just decorating a room or two.
We built Stonelake Farm in the new Viking Meadows development, amid a former horse farm's rolling hills, woods and ponds. We designed our home's exterior with plenty of historic architectural detailing for a feeling of age and permanence in this beautiful setting. We wanted to build a new dwelling with a soulful personality that, at a glance, gives the feeling of greeting an old friend. To that end, the outside of this home is as important as the inside.
The overall charm of this farmhouse facade (above) comes from the sum of its carefully chosen design parts.
SIDING SYNCHRONICITY James Hardie's fiber-cement board siding (with wood battens), mixed with Hardi-shingles and off-white trim pieces, is a low-maintenance alternative to real wood and makes a classic design statement. Color-coordinated fieldstone on the house, landscaping walls and a postlight base accent the siding and bring natural, rustic texture to the overall design of our Stonelake Farm home.
WELCOMING WINDOWS We chose simply designed four-over-one Jeld-Wen divided-light wood windows with exterior cladding to reinforce the farmhouse aesthetic, especially when we framed them with wood, barn-style shutters.
PRETTY PARTICULARS Galvanized metal appears on the bracketed awning over the dining room window, on the utilitarian garage lights and on a cupola roof. No farmhouse would be complete without window boxes. Our sizable stone and wood versions, overflowing with hardy flowers from Proven Winners, are a homey touch. A split-rail fence section with an old-style lantern lights up the driveway, which itself keeps with history, thanks to brick paving. A covered flagstone front porch with an oversize, custom wood front door welcomes guests. A second entrance near the garage has a new reproduction Dutch door, offering casual coming and going for friends and family. A bell cupola on the garage roof and a matching cupola on the main house top off the exterior's classic farmhouse look.
While our Idea Home is grandly scaled, you can improve any home's exterior by adding or replacing details such as landscape walls, shutters, window boxes, period-authentic lighting, weather vanes, fencing and mailboxes.
Family Room and Sitting Room
Lofty 11- and 13-foot ceilings, respectively, in the entry and the 20x20-foot living room create a spaciousness that demands larger details, furniture and even pattern. The living room connects to a sitting area via flagstone steps on either side of the impressive, see-through stone fireplace. Tall French doors at the end of the room lead to a terrace with an outdoor fireplace and pro-caliber grill.
We pumped up the color, pattern and accents for a contemporary country look.
IMPOSING PROPORTION Hefty wood beams visually lower the tall living room ceiling, connecting it to reclaimed wood floors. Painted paneling above the mantel mitigates the fireplace's massive size.
BIG COLOR Neutral walls are a good backdrop for bold splashes of red and brown on the contemporary Harden furniture and on area rugs, curtains and pillows. To help decor stand up to spacious rooms like these, the key is keeping pattern minimal but scaling it quite large, such as the striped and houndstooth pillows and the powder room wallpaper. Choosing fewer but larger accessories helps them hold their own, as well.
We knew the sitting room, (the one with the TV!), would be used a lot, so smart function is a necessity.
SHREWD SEATING(Above) The two-way fireplace in the sitting room has a flat-screen TV above it. Two leather swivel chairs on either side of the TV-facing sofa offer comfortable places to watch TV and talk. Leather ottomans contribute to the room's relaxing tone.
INTERIOR LIGHT An interior window allows natural light into the sitting room from the window in the back hallway. But to improve TV viewing, Hunter Douglas' new Skyline panels can quickly darken the room.
Create a patchwork area rug with new red, brown and ivory carpet squares designed to connect. They're an easy way to add personalized style, and if one tile gets stained, you can easily replace it with another one.
The heart of our home, the kitchen, features several distinct areas with specific functions. A U-shape cooking area in the main kitchen is fronted by an expansive eat-at island with a sink and two dishwashers. It separates the work space from the family room. Major appliances are set into the flanking walls. Our kitchen also has a pantry and a two-sided butler's bar.
This roomy kitchen offers plenty of function organized into compact, efficient work areas.
COMMAND CENTER Placing the six-burner cooktop in a "U" of cabinetry keeps kitchen traffic out of the cook's way. Corner base cabinets from KraftMaid come equipped with rotating, slide-out trays so utensils or pots are easy for the cook to access.
INVINCIBLE ISLAND A sizable, apron-front, natural granite sink from Stone Forest, with a bronze Delta faucet, holds the center of our 10x4-foot island's work side. On each side of the sink is a Sears Kenmore Pro stainless-steel dishwasher. The island's generous size makes it a workhorse for a number of tasks, including preparation, clean-up and serving, as well as offering comfortable seating for quick breakfasts or snacks. At gatherings, family or guests can pull up a seat to chat with the cook (or help prepare the meals!).
COUNTER INTELLIGENCE We chose a new, chocolate brown, pure natural quartz countertop from Cambria for the island. We then designed a deep, rounded edge, scaling it to fit the heft of our island. Even with heavy daily use, this countertop material won't stain or require sealing or maintenance. We used three countertop colors in various areas to complement and contrast with a sophisticated mix of cafe- and ivory-finish wood cabinetry.
SMART POSITIONING For everyday convenience, we placed major appliances on walls on each side of the cooking area. Separate pro-grade refrigerator and freezer units are built into cabinets on one wall, and they are conveniently located opposite the built-in wall ovens, microwave and warming drawer.
SATELLITE STATIONS A walk-in pantry positioned between the kitchen and formal dining room has its own apron-front granite sink, open and closed dish storage and a wide, multi- ledge plate rack. Its sliding barn door pulls shut to hide inevitable meal clean-up clutter. A two-sided butler's bar positioned near the living room keeps beverage service separate from the kitchen work areas.
DISPLAY TECHNIQUES Mixed cabinet and counter finishes aren't the only way to beautify a farmhouse kitchen. We finished the look of ours with plenty of display spaces: open shelving, glass-front cabinets and ledges above and below the windows. There, we used the space to show off collections of old pottery, farm tools, baskets and the like.
The Dining Room, Laundry Room, and Back Entry
Uniting different areas in a home for a smooth look is challenging. Color provides one solution; we used a combination of the neutral shades of brown and ivory. The contrast between their dark and light hues is quite striking, no matter which color we made dominant in a particular room. Whether the room was casual or formal, the use of these two hues created visual flow between them.
When a color scheme is confined, texture and pattern offer interesting simplicity.
FABRIC INFLUENCES The dining room sports an assortment of subdued patterns and textures in a striped cotton rug; leather seat cushions; houndstooth pillows; diamond-embroidered, tone-on-tone drapes; and floral upholstery. Simple ivory pottery pieces provide the only accents needed. Deep wood tones flatter a serving sideboard and round table, which encourages group conversation.
BACK ENTRY STYLE This hardworking area needed to be super functional because it's the most-used entrance in the house (connecting to the garage and the casual Dutch-door entrance). But we wanted it to hold up to lots of traffic and look good. A chocolate-and-ivory checkerboard tile floor leads to creamy cabinetry and paneling with brown walls. We love the copious storage and easy-to-clean surfaces, including the tile floor and enamel-paint paneling.
WORKING CLASS The home's "command central" is in this back entry. It includes a small but important office where Mom can keep recipes, pay bills and generally run the household. An adjacent back half bath with oversize, nature-pattern wallpaper and a vessel sink is a well-located convenience. The roomy laundry room includes lots of storage, expansive counters, a double-bowl work sink and a front-load washer/dryer pair on raised storage stands that reduces bending when loading or unloading laundry. Generous natural light here makes this household task more pleasant.
This master bedroom is a refuge from the rest of the house, and we chose to push the limits of our farmhouse decor here. In this very personal space, our basic color scheme becomes warmer. A mix of exotic accents, including a faux zebra rug, leopard-print pillows and crocodile-look leather ottomans, reveal the big-city influence in this area of our modern, suburban farmhouse.
BREAKING THE RULES
.Unexpected fabrics and accessories wake up a room the way a new spice changes a favorite recipe.
UNEXPECTED COMPATIBILITY Too much of one theme can get static. Sometimes the easiest way to energize a room is to break from it and mix in a few surprises. In the master bedroom, we complemented brown walls with orange accents, then blended country details (including primitive horse and cow prints, a crazy quilt on the bed, antique brown pharmacy bottles and a black horse weather vane) with more exotic influences. Tied together by color, the mixed result works surprisingly well. An upholstered king-size bed and chaise lounge give the room stylish comfort, while bookcases displaying contemporary art, antiques and bits of nature make a personal statement.
BATHING BEAUTY Tall, stained wood doors with bronze Schlage hardware lead into the master bathroom. We used a limited color scheme composed of rich wood stains on doors, cabinets and floors against stark white paneling, sinks and tile, to create a visually relaxing, Zen-like space.
PAMPERING FUNCTION A whirlpool tub is ready for rejuvenating soaks, while a walk-in, two-person shower equipped with two rain showerheads, a hand-held spray, body jets and two benches offers a practical place for daily pampering. A tall cabinet has room for a coffeemaker and a small refrigerator, to help get the day started. Use unexpected accessories, such as lanterns, a wood wheel and a pitchfork, to liven up a space.
Upstairs, children have the floor to themselves. Downstairs, a guest bedroom welcomes friends and family.
COUNTRY GIRL STYLE A vintage star quilt inspired this bedroom's color scheme. It also influenced the custom quilted star design on the door. Any design can be carved in an interior door with this unique option from Jeld-Wen Doors.
BABY BEAUTYA baby is sure to nap peacefully in this soothing aqua-and-pink nursery. A charming Laura Ashley stitched comforter looks great on the wall, rather than in the crib. Contemporary Netto Collection nursery furniture, including a crib (with decorative storage boxes), a chest and a polar bear rocker, makes this space playfully fresh.
GUEST SERVICES In the spacious guest bedroom with its own bath, two queen-size beds with Serta pillow top mattresses offer plenty of comfort. A handy desk sits between the two beds. Earthy accessories hint at a slightly more rustic country-modern aesthetic.
AGELESS DETAIL The staircase feels as if it's in a much older home because of its custom divided-light window, paneled wainscot and uniquely carved spindles. Use a contrasting paint color to highlight areas in a room, such as our window alcove.
The Media Room and Outdoor Amenities
THE ALL-AMERICAN PLAYROOM
Equipped and ready for fun, our media room has it all.
PARTY CENTRAL The lower level is outfitted for family entertainment. A slate-front fireplace wall contains a 60-inch, flat-screen TV/DVD player for the home theater and unique floor-to-ceiling firewood storage towers. Not seen, but just steps away, are a large, comfy sectional, wet bar, wine room, poker and billiard tables and fitness area. Let a treasured possession set a room's color scheme. In the media room, an 8x10-foot World War II battleship flag inspired the red, white and blue decor.
Our home's wooded setting encouraged the use of natural and natural-looking materials outdoors as well as in.
LEISURE SUITS By the property's pond, a roomy, freestanding deck is a great place to get away to read or sunbathe. Two colors of TimberTech no-maintenance composite decking create a border and square pattern on the deck floor and pergola overhead. Stone supports visually connect it to the house. Outdoor furniture from Room and Board on the terrace and screen porch, as well as the contemporary chaise lounges here, ensure this spot is just for relaxing.
GARAGE GREATNESS Three-car garages can be eyesores, but we worked hard to make ours a seamless part of the house. A varied roofline keeps the profile interesting. One dormer over the center garage stall replicates a barn's hayloft doors. Brackets support deep overhangs over carriage house garage doors from Clopay. Inside, we gave the garage floor a showroom finish with a Rustoleum floor epoxy and built a workroom tailored for a guy's hobbies.
UNSEEN COMFORT With a home this size, we used two efficient Lennox home heating/cooling systems to ensure clean air and comfortable temperatures.