Farmhouse style has been a mainstay of interior design forever—or at least it seems that way! It’s easy to see why: It’s homey, relaxed, and authentic. Every region has its own take on it—from ranch (think Texas) and plantation (Georgia) to homestead (New England). There are style subsets, too, from traditional to Tuscan. With so many ways to crush on farmhouse style, it’s no surprise it’s branched out far beyond the countryside. Julie Goss, a designer in our Vienna, Virginia, Design Center, recently helped a downsizing couple furnish a new home in farmhouse style—in a penthouse in the heart of Washington, D.C.
We caught up with Julie, one of our Design Stars, recently and asked her to share her story.
EA: A farmhouse and a penthouse are as different as any two homes can be! How did you make the space into something it’s not?
JG: The architecture was on our side: wood floors, French doors, nice ceiling height. It was neutral enough to let us move it in the direction we wanted.
EA: What was the look your clients were going for?
JG: Traditional farmhouse with a black-and-white color palette. The wife is an avid photographer, so we needed to “hide” a home office in plain sight, which we did with two Sayville double-door cabinets that flank the fireplace, and the petite Turner desk in another corner. It’s the perfect blend of style and function, in a space where every inch mattered.
EA: What existing pieces did they want to incorporate?
JG: There was a long list: a sofa, trunk/coffee table, a drop leaf table, ladderback chairs, an art collection, and lots of antiques.
EA: What do antiques bring to the design table?
JG: I love working with antiques. They deliver an extra layer of character, texture and history. Things that are handmade bring soul and make a space special. Antiques can be integrated into any type of project. I especially love to juxtapose them with very modern or tribal pieces. Antiques wake it all up.
EA: How did you embrace farmhouse style with the new pieces?
JG: We chose styles that are relaxed and eclectic. Twin Devonshire swivel gliders in a bold check add style without overwhelming the space. The neutral rug gives the room a cozy, cohesive feel. Many of the accents feel vintage, so they blend right in. The weathered iron armillary, which was designed to impart a feeling of age, is a perfect example.
EA: The space is lovely; was there one secret to its success?
JG: The black and white color palette was the “special sauce” here. It’s timeless; it works with every style: traditional and modern, casual and formal. By keeping to a disciplined palette, we could make the space feel modern. Sometimes it’s daunting to bring in so much black, but it was needed to make the white pop. It turned out to be a very airy, open, and happy space. They love it!