When Amanda Moore and her husband Luke set out to find their dream home in the country, it turned out to be an abandoned farmhouse.
They could see good bones beyond its sad shape and promptly fell in love. “I love the Craftsman bungalow style, and it’s hard to find in the country because houses tended more towards traditional or Prairie farmhouse styles,” says Amanda, an interior designer with Benton Building Center in Cedar Falls.
Built in 1925, the home was in a great location — just country enough to be outside the city limits, but still on hard-surface roads. So, they signed on the dotted line and set to work gutting the house, moving interior walls and transforming the old house into a fresh, modern farmhouse.
The exterior was redone with LP siding in “Terra Bronze” and coffee-colored shakes with almond trim, accented by cultured stone that wraps around the porch pillars. Marvin windows in bronze trim carry through the color scheme.
Literally every interior wall was moved — even the staircase in the kitchen was shifted over a little and the pantry nook was removed and a wall opened to house the refrigerator and a cabinet pantry. Plato cabinetry in diamond white was installed and the countertop is Silestone “Calypso” quartz.
“The quartz has the look of soapstone, which is a classic farmhouse element, but not the expense,” Amanda says. The subway tile backsplash is accented by a medallion behind the cooking range. A built-in hutch serves as storage for dishware, as well as a coffee bar.
Reclaimed barn wood elements are used throughout, including room divider brackets, a shiplap wall and island end cap. The island has a stained alder wood top for a more rustic appearance, and throughout the kitchen, there’s a mix of gunmetal hardware, bin pulls and crystal knobs.
“Hearts of Palm,” soft earthy green paint from Sherwin Williams dresses the walls. Moore chose Marmoleum, a natural linoleum flooring, instead of hardwood or tile underfoot, laid in checkerboard fashion for a vintage look.
Quirky placement of an original window let Amanda be a little creative in how she dealt with it, and she came up with a cabinet reminiscent of an old-fashioned pie safe tucked beneath it. That touch pays homage to the home’s history.
The family downsized their belongings for the farmhouse’s smaller footprint, but Amanda didn’t deviate from her passion for white furnishings and the things they loved. “It felt really good letting go of a lot of stuff and keep only the things that mattered or would fit with this style,” she says.
She willingly sacrificed a walk-in closet to fit a claw-foot tub in the master bath, and kids have play space in their upstairs bedrooms instead of a separate play area. Opening up the attic allowed about five more feet of space for the second floor.
The renovation took about a year of working nights and weekends. Her husband Luke and Tim Messenbrink did the framing and carpentry, while electrical and plumbing work was outsourced.
“I had vision, and Luke just let me roll with it. As an interior designer, I’m drawn to new trends and looks, but in my case, I was able to find the balance between modern and rustic farmhouse. I also had to think about what would be practical for a young family with two children and two dogs,” Amanda explains.