Kate from FARMHOUSE39
1. How do you begin your design process? Do you start with accent pieces? Pick paint colors? Draw up plans? Look for inspiration?
The house, itself, has really been the driving force behind most of my design choices. Though beyond dilapidated when we acquired it, I knew immediately that it would be a farmhouse when we were finished—it just needed a little coaxing. So every room in the house has been spun obsessively off of that theme. Sometimes I start with a paint color. Sometimes I start with the wrong paint color and end up painting over it three times. Sometimes I start with a piece of furniture, and by the end of the process that piece of furniture has found its way into another room. There is no rhyme or reason beyond the fact that everything must be ‘farmy’, or at least play nicely with that aesthetic.
2. Do all of your projects turn out the way you initially envision them? Or do you feel that process of working on a project always brings out new ideas and challenges?
Oh, my design process is chock full of suspenseful twists and turns. You know the saying: the best laid schemes of mice and men….well, we are full of best laid schemes. There are always unexpected bumps in the process, especially with a 100-year-old house, and you kind of just have to either incorporate the bumps (literally, sometimes; this house has very uneven subfloors that we decided not to replace), or regroup and head in a completely different direction. Secretly, I kind of, sort of love that. Some of our best décor features have evolved out of unforeseen creative necessity.
3. Do you feel that it is important for each room in a house to be complimentary to one another?
I believe in a very casual interpretation of this rule. In the entire scheme of things, I don’t think that different rooms should feel like different planets—they should all reference each other in some capacity, whether it’s through color, materials, or furniture style, etc. But I also believe in running with whatever makes you happy; I get real twitchy when people start talking about decorating rules. Time and time again I am blown away by the creative minds in the décor industry, the brains who think outside the box and prove that every rule can be creatively broken.
4. When shopping for a room, where do you begin? Do you search online for used furniture? Visit local thrift stores?
I always begin my shopping at the bottom of the price food chain. I like to get what I want for as little money as I can. Free furniture is great; hand-me-downs, curbside castoffs, family heirlooms—I get real excited about these. If they aren’t an option, the next rung up is building something myself (and super extra bonus points go to anything I can build from scrap material that I didn’t pay for). If I still haven’t found (or can’t build) what I’m looking for, I hit the thrift stores and flea markets. When all these fail me, I head to Ikea, Homegoods, and other large chain stores where the gettin’s good; I’ll take what I buy and totally make it over before it gets put to use. It is a very rare circumstance, indeed, when I go beyond these stores in price range….it’s got to be a really significant piece that is worth the wallet dent, and I probably have to lust after it for months (and then sometimes it’ll go on sale!) before I pull the trigger. When you’re dumping money by the bucket load into a home renovation, you learn really quickly how your furniture budget can magically turn into a new sewer system in the blink of an eye. You have to get a little crafty when you have no money left to decorate!
5. How would you describe the overall style?
Modern farmhouse, through and through! A happy medium between country and industrial, with a little quirk thrown in for good measure. ↔