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3 Design Choices We ALMOST Made At The Farmhouse (And Why We Didn’t)

There is a “fantasy” period while planning a remodel – this happens at the beginning when you haven’t fully comprehended what the ultimate cost is going to be (or maybe as you renovate inflation hits and ruins your “budget” anyway). It’s so easy to think/hope/wish anything is possible, which becomes even more challenging because of the “idea inundation” of the internet (i.e. so many good ideas out there, which ones do I want to do?? What if we did that? Could we do that?). So today I’m showing you some of our more fantasy ideas for our home that we did with ARCIFORM and then eventually nixed, mostly due to budget or major changes that made it impossible to execute. Let’s just say a glass ceiling was involved…

The Kitchen With The Walk Through Apothocary Pantry

What you are seeing here is the kitchen moved into the now living room with a walk-through apothecary cabinet wall into the pantry/mudroom (the glass cabinets with shelving in that light wood). We were SET on this plan until many of you readers pointed out the obvious: “If you want more natural light in the living room (with the best coming from behind the range wall) then open it UP!” There were definitely layout issues with this version, too. The kitchen would be dividing the LR in 1/2 with the fireplace not in the middle of the room so trying to layout our furniture was a massive challenge to me. But I LOVED the idea of that walk-through apothecary.

Anne designed the walk-through from the pantry (with that library ladder) which was the old kitchen (at the time we tried to keep it). Anne had such creative ideas!!! But ultimately we nixed it all and we love how it turned out.

Anne from ARCIFORM was so invested in making this work. This would have made the pantry/mudroom really big (on the left) with these gorgeous walk-through doors with glass (likely a $10-12k unit on its own). I loved the interior windows so much and that symmetry is so perfect. Ultimately, when sitting in this room I truly can’t imagine it being cut in half by the island. We really do use our living room – both sofas, so much. Maybe not all day every day but we have people over enough that having it shoved to one side to accommodate for the kitchen might have been a regret.

How It Actually Turned Out

design by emily henderson and arciform | photo by kaitlin green | from: farmhouse living room
design by emily henderson and arciform | photo by kaitlin green | from: farmhouse living room

While the living room is indeed large, now that we have it laid out with two facing sofas and a big chair it feels GREAT. We love the size and 10 grownups can hang out easily in here (and we do). And yes, it is so light in here because of the kitchen (and sunroom) but it wouldn’t have been without moving the kitchen back and letting that sun flood in.

The Cabinet Filled Entry

At one point I wanted to put in a wall of cabinetry here for front entry storage. Boy, am I glad I got talked out of that. Little did we know that we would NEVER come through that door and if we had it would be for guests and we’d likely want them to look at something like beautiful art – not a wall of cabinets. This was me reacting to the mountain house (where we were living at the time) not having a front door coat or shoe storage situation. This also would have been more expensive than drywall, obviously (like $3-5k). We are still looking for a nice standing coat rack for the rare occasion that guests come over through this door (our kitchen door is the closest to the cars, soooo…)

What We Actually Did: The Entry

design by emily henderson and arciform | photo by kaitlin green | from: farmhouse entry

Instead, we wallpapered, hung art, and kept it easy. It’s such a pretty entry and I’m so glad that I didn’t insist on those cabinets. And while we do have room for a hook, or four, I know that it would just collect coats that otherwise should be put in the coat closet in the big mudroom.

The Built-In Laundry Hamper Wall

For a while, we were going to create this awesome shaker cabinet unit in the kid’s bath with a shoot into the upstairs laundry room. You would essentially put your laundry into the bathroom on this side and then BOOM it’s on the other side in the laundry room (in a hamper or a built-in cabinet. I think this was a genius idea.

Now the reason we didn’t do this was two-fold:

  1. We turned that future laundry room into a guest bath (this one), so this laundry room doesn’t even really exist (we put in a laundry closet instead with just a washer/dryer).
  2. We needed to cut budget and any type of custom built-ins are CRAZY expensive so we had a big old slashing day where we slashed and slashed and slashed. While I loved these for their shaker reference, it just wasn’t necessary.

The Upstairs Guest Balcony

This one really cracks me up. Again, we were in the “dreaming up” phase and not wanting to miss opportunities that we would later regret. Since we were adding this sunroom, someone (I think Brian this time) threw out the idea of a patio on top. And THEN someone (Brian again) said to add natural light we could do a glass ceiling? And for some reason, all of us were so enthusiastic about this! Like we went as far as to reach out to see how a glass ceiling works. Then the following questions arose:

Who is going out on this patio? Our kids? Well, that doesn’t seem too safe. Our guests? Why are we giving our guests their own balcony? We have an abundance of outdoor places to sit. If it’s glass, then if we put furniture or rug on it that would be super weird when you are sitting downstairs in the sunroom. Also what if someone wears a dress?

It just became one of those ideas that stopped making sense in ONE SECOND, but not before Anne was nice enough to do the renders for it. Also please note that the primary bathroom was at one point where our mudroom is and I don’t remember why we moved it. And aren’t you so glad that we did a covered porch along the whole back? In case you need a reminder, here is how it looks now (and I can’t wait to shoot it again after the plants explode, summer #2 is going to be so pretty!!). Back porch decor coming sooooonnnn…

design by emily henderson and arciform | from: our farmhouse back porch reveal – the “1st summer” edition!

Renovating is wild, y’all. So grateful to get to do it and so glad the main house is done. xx

Opening Image Credits: Design by Emily Henderson and ARCIFORM | Photo by Kaitlin Green | From: The Farmhouse Kitchen Reveal

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1 month ago

My Dad has a very similar balcony off of his guest room and no one ever, I mean ever, goes out there. So good call! And I remember this phase of the kitchen. You definitely made the right choice – all those windows! The lovely sitting area in the living room! Now I am wondering – are there any ideas you may follow through on in the future?

1 month ago

I loved being reminded of the different ideas that were in play! Thinking through all the options is important!

1 month ago

Also excited to see the “afters” of what someone called the Tweak of the Week. The brick fireplace, repainting your bedroom, changing the sconce shades and the kitchen cafe curtains.

1 month ago

Really enjoyed this post!! I can’t imagine your kitchen without the beautiful salvaged island too.

1 month ago

I grew up with a laundry shoot on the second story of our two story house. The laundry went down and landed on a platform in the laundry room on the main level. It was so easy to get rid of dirty clothes and my mom wasn’t the best at staying on top of sorting it so our laundry room filled up floor to ceiling with clothes everywhere. As an adult, we all have laundry baskets and I can be much more organized.

1 month ago

This is one of the most interesting farmhouse posts ever, even if it isn’t a room reveal. I find it wildly fascinating to see what could have been.
PS laundry shoot or laundry chute? I was like, huh??

1 month ago
Reply to  Sally

It’s absolutely definitely a chute! (this is going to be confusing name-wise! 😆)

1 month ago

I remember when we were all so concerned about giving the great light to anything but the kitchen in that design phase! So glad you landed where you did. And yes, it’s a massive relief that the porch ended up connected to the sunroom—makes it all look so much more harmonious and period-appropriate!

1 month ago

I know that some people said that the upstairs guest bathroom is their favorite of all the rooms that you’ve designed. When reading those comments, I realized that for me it is the farmhouse living room. I was surprised because I love the TV room so much but still the living room (and kitchen) are so wonderful. Your final decisions were good ones!

1 month ago

Great such beautiful ideas