House Tour: Dream Acres Farmhouse in Michigan
After fire destroys their 100-year-old farmhouse, a Michigan couple rebuilt by blending classic charm with modern design.
Outside the kitchen window of the Michigan farmhouse, 50 shaggy Scottish Highland cattle roam 80 acres dotted with ponds and trees blazing with autumn color.
Some years ago, the outlook wasn't so idyllic. After a fire reduced their beloved century-old farmhouse to smoldering ash, empty nesters Erik and Tami Lepley moved to a nearby apartment. Slowly, they formed a plan for their new abode on the same property, building the best of a classic farmhouse while eliminating the shortcomings.
A breezeway links the garage to the house, designed with simple, durable materials, such as white-painted board-and-batten siding and metal roofing. "We wanted the farmhouse to look like it was on a working farm instead of built for show," says architect Robert Sears.
The heated garage accommodates an office, a dog/boot wash station and hooks for coveralls.
Living room contrasts
A knotty alder fireplace mantel contrasts crisp architecture in the living room. A coffered ceiling dresses up the space and adds dimension.
Warm and welcoming display
Empty vintage-look frames create a sophisticated display above a painted buffet, where the homeowner stores vases and serving pieces.
Guests can pour rinks at the beverage bar situated out of the cook's way in the dining area. The built-in unit resembles a cottage-style hutch.The dining area, kitchen and living area form one big great-room on the 1,126-square-foot main floor. "Old farmhouses were typically cut up into a bunch of small rooms: a kitchen, a dining room, a parlor," the homeowner says. "We wanted a modern farmhouse that's open and airy."
Refined rural kitchen
Schoolhouse light fixtures and beaded-board detailing on the vent hood recall old farmhouse kitchens. A black-painted island and black soapstone perimeter countertops create an elegant contrast to the cream cabinetry throughout the room. A tin ceiling delineates the kitchen from the living room. The kitchen, bolstered with a marble-top 5x8-foot island, provides plenty of prep and party space. Two square tables pushed together seat six in the connected dining area; two more stored in the barn expand seating to 16-. French doors in the adjacent living room open to a large terrace with outdoor seating.
A farm kitchen isn't complete without an apron-front sink.
Twin rocking chairs bring classic farmhouse comfort to the front porch.
Lattice-style cabinet doors dress up built-in storage in the mudroom.
The hallway pantry door is a replica of the screen door on their original house.
Relaxing master suite
The 700-square-foot upstairs master suite fosters relaxation. Robin's-egg blue on the ceiling and floral and plaid patterns create a soothing scheme; white-painted wood paneling brings country character.
Honeycomb tile and a claw-foot tub set the tone in the master bath.