Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Southern Living's 2012 Idea House: Farmhouse Restoration

Southern Living, August 2012

This month, Southern Living magazine features a Georgia farmhouse restoration which has some amazing ideas, well thought out spaces.... and a few unfortunate missteps.  Sorry, it's the truth! 

As the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding.  So, here goes.

Front entrance

Ok, we are off to a great start!  According to the article, the house was actually moved.... bringing it closer to the street to improve the curb appeal.  Two thumbs up!  Wonder who got the bill for that one?  Anyway, great landscaping, wonderful brick work, oversized planters near the door, and fantastic porch lights all completely work.  Job well done.  


What a great space.  The burlap draperies add much needed texture.  This entry is best described as a "dog-trot" -- a hallway or breezeway that runs the entire length of the house.  And, those long hallways are notoriously difficult to decorate.  Here, they did a lovely job... it is warm, inviting, and cozy.  (Not to worry..... those aforementioned decorating disasters are looming in the near future.) 

Living room

The living room is a sophisticated study of neutrals.  If you look carefully, there is ALOT going on in this room..... the old flat filing cabinet coffee table, the white resin side table, the silver nailhead on the side chair, the rattan or sisal rug, the plank walls, the simple lighting, and the tufted chesterfield sofa.  They rocked this space.  LOVE it!!!

the Stair Hall

Ok, let's consider the positives.  Using the space underneath the stairs in the hall is a smart idea!  But, the execution of this little vignette is wretched.  It looks staged and kitch.  The upholstery fabric is OK (not my favorite, but ok).  However, the chest needs to be a darker color... distressed white beside white walls only works if you are doing shabby chic... not farmhouse fabulous.  But, the vintage trophies on the chest ARE amazing!  And, as far as the art goes... fugly.  An abstract in a black and white with a gold frame would be spectacular... that deer looks like he needs to find another home!

the Keeping Room

Well done small space.  The oversized gingham pattern on the walls was created with paint.  The furniture, the lamps, the color palate.... all look wonderful.  No complaints. 

Dining Room

I give them credit for use of lots of different seating surfaces in this space.  And the tone-on-tone colors are beautiful.  But, not certain that I would want to sit at a dinner party on an ottoman.   A couple of hours in a backless chair doesn't seem comfortable or practical.  Just sayin'!  But, the light fixture was a great find.  

The Kitchen

This is one big missed opportunity!  Hard to see in this photo, but in the far upper left, a freestanding prep sink was added.  If you see the actual photos from the magazine, it looks like a glorified afterthought because someone screwed up space planning in the room.  The white cabinets and black granite are simple and classic.  But, the stove is surprisingly small.  This is the time for a 6-8 burner, double oven beast....not that little shrimp of a cooking device.  And, the black gout around those white subway tiles is awful.  Grey would have been nice, but the black makes the tiles look cheap.  And the bar stools... they are simply dreadful.  This would have been the time to add some texture or color... antique metal stools with wooden seats or upholstered stools would have been much prettier and more inviting.  As for the flooring and the lighting... spot on!   Overall... the space is a big bore.  

Master bedroom

In the master, they did a couple of great things.  The ikat on the ottoman is current and trendy.  That tufted headboard and footboard are beautiful.  Don't think that the same ikat fabric should have been used on the side table... looks predictable.  And, as for the faux taxidermy "display" above the bed, this would have looked soooooo much better if they had chosen some of the funkier white plaster or resin horns that are readily available from Ballard Designs, Naked Decor, and ABC Carpet and Home.  It would have been spectacular.  

Master bathroom

Though I'm not particulary crazy about the small area rug in the first photo, this is a delightful room.  My only concern is the size of the sink.  They may have been limited due to the window, but double sinks in the master bath are a must during a rehab.  But, the grey cabinetry and the marble against the plank walls is... wonderful. 

Guest bathroom

Hate, hate, hate, hate, hate that vintage painted table in THIS space.  The concept of using old furniture in bathrooms is fine.  But, this piece, in an old farmhouse, just looks old and dated.  Remember, opposites attract.  That master bathroom was wonderful.... it looks like an updated space in an old house.  This bathroom just looks like crap... with the exception of the lovely tile work.  There is a basic rule to understand:  When using antique furniture for sinks, the top needs to be heavily sanded and sealed or stone should be added... especially if the surface is painted.  Why?  Paint continues to chip, especially in the moist environment of a bathroom.  So, despite a hardy coat of varnish, I have visions of getting light green paint flakes on my toothbrush or on my towel when using that bathroom.   A stained antique table or console as the wash station would have been such a better choice. 


Not crazy about their artwork, but I do like the idea of painting the handrail in high gloss black.  Hmmmmm... might need to steal that one. 


I want to love this space, but I don't.  It looks a bit disjointed.  All of the pieces are lovely.... they just don't work together.    If the porch swing was painted to compliment those great vintage chairs and if some different throw pillows were used, then... maybe!  And, I love the coffee table and the rug... I don't like them together.  They are both competing for attention.  There can only be one superstar in a space... otherwise, the divas tend to fight each other.  

Back porch

Absolutely perfect.  Great lounge chairs, great plantings, great grey color on the floor.... spectacular!!!  Kudos.  

Back elevation

Again, this is lovely.  The landscapers did a fantastic job and it looks purposeful.  Additionally, that picket fence is charming.  Two enthusiastic thumbs up.

Overall, lots of good ideas.  Fortunately, a few decorating disasters never hurt the ratings, magazine sales, or blogger opinions!  Happy Olympics.....goooooooo Team USA.

1 comment:

  1. AGREE with everything you said!!! I have seen tons of pictures of porches with coffee tables in front of swings. Although it looks lovely for pics...I LOVE my swing, I use it daily...I'm not moving a table every time I want to perch and swing for a bit. So it's a nice thought, but totally impractical if you actually use your swing. BTW...painted a rocking chair today...the color choice of black was spot on!! xoxoxo