I’m deep in the farmhouse design phase – you know where you whiplash around with every new idea and what started out to be so “simple” is now me just quietly chanting “too many ways to skin a cat” over and over. But I keep leaning back into what I really want – quiet + high quality, simple + special, with the foundation of it being shaker and not too much fuss. But it is SO easy to make that boring and too safe and even easier to copy deVOL or Plain English, which are INCREDIBLE but definitely too of the moment. How to be unique and yet universal/timeless? Well, as I was scrolling on our California road trip this week I re-stumbled upon this farmhouse in Canada on Instagram called Building Walnut Farm and fell in LOVE – AGAIN. Angela executed so many stunning details, with such quiet perfection and I can’t imagine this ever feeling dated. She hasn’t done a full reveal yet (I’m sure some print magazine will scoop her up now) but we got her permission and snagged my favorite shots from her Instagram to call out what I love so much. Here you go.
1. Simple/Stunning Wood Cabinetry
As you know I still want a hefty amount of wood cabinetry but how to make it not look basic or too “of the moment” requires the right species, finish, and details. I LOVE the wood she used – the mixed thickness of the railes and styles (the horizontal and vertical shaker paneling), the chicken wire (would be great in the mudroom to put anything that needs to breathe. Just stunning. I won’t copy, but I sure wish I could just show it to our cabinet maker and say, “this, just do this”. P.S. I know so many people (readers and friends and family) who have taken the mountain house kitchen or powder bath and done just that – replicated it and I am honestly SO EXCITED to see it every single time. Normally it’s not exact because custom materials are hard to replicate, but it’s so close and so fun. Of course, I can’t do that (plus I want to do something new) but I think it’s perfectly fine for homeowners/non-designers to do that, by the way.
I love the variety of the drawer heights and that deep warm wood. I’m assuming it’s oak or a light walnut? Dunno I will reach out because our floors are light wood so I want to mix up the tones of wood this time for a more vintage/eclectic (not like the mountain house where I wanted it more seamless – which I LOVE).
2. Sweet Kitchen Curtains
Now I was already going to do this so now I’ll have to reinvent it a new way – Thanks A lot Angela :), but how sweet are those curtains on that tiny brass rod?? I plan on something like this in front of the tub in the main bath (but not full window, just cafe so I can see above it) and in the kitchen as well. But the cafe curtain is back and I am loving it.
Also cheers to her for painting the window frames different colors in the SAME ROOM. I would never have had the boldness to take that risk. And I love that hood so much. This is also making me more open to having one or two open bottom shelves for my pots and pans (and of course I’m going to hang some behind the range). While I am intentionally designing this house for NO CLUTTER, a moment or two like this is great.
3. Paneling + Pegrails (And I Love The Mixed Width Paneling and The Double Peg Rail)
I 100% want to copy that mudroom. Yes to the paneling (different widths), YES to the double peg rails (with the sweet little trim beads), and YES to that wood AGAIN. I know that ARCIFORM has a great sister company, Versatile Wood Products (or more like husband company since it’s Anne’s husband Richard who owns it) that does exceptional custom cabinetry. And so much of the reason why this is so stunning is the quality of the wood and the quality of the craftsmanship.
Folks, if you are single and looking around, I STRONGLY suggest you start pursuing a carpenter/cabinet maker if you aren’t one.
That found sink. LOVE. SO GOOD. She put a slab backsplash on it, it’s big enough for flowers/plants AND DOGS (don’t get me started on the dog washing station fiasco – I think we’ve found a solution that won’t cost like $10k and take up so much space, but it’s been hard). Why not just a super large utility sink like this???
STOP!!!! So good. I’m loving this color too and so is Elliot. Just excellent (and what’s behind that little arched door???)
4. Fun Floral Fabric
Angela, like me, is still into some patterns, and while I’m likely not going to go curtains (for some reason a sofa feels like a safer choice, but Brian TOTALLY disagrees). I’m obsessed with House of Hackney (I keep seeing all over the place – NO!!!) and am fantasizing about finding a vintage piece to recover. I actually want a huge custom sectional for the media room in a floral but Brian is scared. I’m not. I think when you really only have one huge piece of furniture in a big room, it can be a pattern if it’s PERFECT – plus pattern is super forgiving.
But I love her curtains, she kept the rest of the room calm so this is her dose of whimsy and play.
5. The Sink “Mantel”
YES. she broke up the wood with a “Sink Mantel” which I don’t know if that’s a thing (calls publisher, adds sink mantel – “sinkel” (?) into book) or if she just named it that, but it’s great. The plaster is such a nice texture, it’s a bit playful – adding a curve and a focal point. Then she custom-made these black iron doors for underneath. Genius.
6. Abunane Of Wood, That Hood And Those Micro Pendants
Brian is still iffy on this micro pendant trend which I still LOVE in the right application (i.e. when there is enough going on that the lighting becomes more minimal and not the star). Anne (ARCIFORM) is from Germany and Europe has always scaled down the lighting more than Americans (per usual, Americans LOVE BIG THINGS) so to her it’s not a trend, it’s just lighting. Of course in a kitchen, you want ample lighting so this means recessed, track, or spot in addition but that’s ok. Also note the kitchen table is the island, all wood and just so inviting.
From this shot I’m realizing she did inset drawers (not overlay) with flush lines horizontally between the drawers but exposing the face frame of the vertical stile. And I love those minimal round knobs – I can’t tell if they are wood or a bronze, but they are GOOD. No lip or bullnose on the thin stone and whimsy on the hood.
Thank you Angela Wheeler for being such an inspiration, for giving me so many good simple design ideas that I won’t steal, but have inspired so many other new ideas and helped me not miss some opportunities. If you guys are into this idea let me know – I have about 4-5 houses that I keep coming back to for this house that help remind me where I want to go, what the possibilities are, and setting a pretty darn high bar for what this “Shaker Modern Farmhouse” can be.