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A Look Inside Our Farmhouse

by Joanna Gaines
Published on October 8, 2019

A lot of life has unfolded under our roof in the six years we’ve called the farmhouse home. Recently, I caught myself looking around and realizing just how much the spaces we inhabit have evolved over the years, right alongside our family. So, I thought I’d take a trip down memory lane, and pulled out some old photos of the farmhouse from when we first moved in. Each photo is like a snapshot in time. But aside from making me feel nostalgic, looking back at that chapter of our lives was a good reminder to me that, just like all of us, our homes have a journey of their own.

When we first moved into the farmhouse, a lot of our furniture and decor were display pieces that I pulled from our Little Shop on Bosque, or items that Chip and I had collected early in our marriage—and because time and money were all scarce, we filled the farmhouse with what we already had. But gradually, once we settled in and gave ourselves time to learn how each space could best support the way our family functions, I started to reconsider what I wanted our home to communicate to and about our family—and made decisions based on that notion. When it comes to designing spaces in my home, it’s always a balancing act of function and style. Because we live in a farmhouse, our home will always have that foundational aesthetic—so whenever I feel like a space could use a change, I’m intentional about making choices that not only support the needs and interests of our family in that season, but that also reflect my evolving design style. That’s why you’ll see that a sweeping shift in our house has been incorporating styles other than farmhouse that I tend to gravitate towards, like modern, rustic, and industrial, with the goal of creating a more refined overall look.

Because of the farmhouse’s unique footprint, it really forced me to take my time furnishing it. You’ll notice that a few original pieces have remained on our walls or displayed on shelves—that’s because they mean a great deal to our family and will therefore always have a place in our home. When I look around, it’s those pieces that tell the story of our family, and I’ll never tire of seeing them. It is this blending of the old and new that makes interior design such gratifying and creative work. First up, our entryway.


The entryway is our home’s first impression, and should set the tone. Since the space I have to work with isn’t a traditional open-concept area, over the years I’ve learned that the right scale of furniture makes all the difference in a space like this, and helps create an entrance that feels defined. I swapped out the bulkier vintage furniture for slimmer pieces, including the bench and console table, which helped free up valuable real estate. I was also conscious about bringing in furniture with warm wood hues to help tone down the shabby look in the entry and give it a more refined, primitive aesthetic. The new antique armoire is as pretty as it is functional—allowing for plenty of storage space. In each iteration of this space, I’ve kept our antique Bible on the entryway table. It's one of my favorite things in our home, so I've always made sure there's a place for it.


Technically, the shape of our living room more closely resembles an extra wide hallway, connecting the entryway to the kitchen. When we first moved in, I set up this space with furniture we’d already lived with for years, but because the footprint of our living room is so narrow, the two facing chairs blocked natural walkways, and weren't functional at all for our family to comfortably move around. So eventually, I swapped in one accent chair that was easily movable to make the space even more open and multi-functional. (Not to mention, we brought in a rugOpens in new tab that actually fits! There's a story behind my smaller rug choices back in the day, but that needed a whole blog post of its own, so I'll spare you the details for now.) As for the focal point in this space, when we moved in I knew the vintage galvanized vents were temporary, and it took me a good, long while to find our large, antique clock that now sits above the sofa. When I found it at a vintage market, I realized it was missing the hour and minute hands. It was quirky, but I loved it. To me, it symbolizes that time at home is never wasted, a welcomed reminder to see every day. The living room's black and white color palette has given me the freedom to gradually add in color with textiles and visually interesting pieces—and the green piano does just that.


Because our dining room shares a space with the living room and kitchen, I’ve kept the style relatively simple. The farmhouse table that our family has gathered around for so many years stayed, and I swapped out the industrial dining chairs for more comfortable seating that also contributes a more refined style. The leather chairs bring some warmth to this space, while the black steel legs add a modern edge. The baker’s rack has been repurposed in the kitchen so that the items stored on it could be more accessible when needed. The green, vintage jewelry dresser is a great example of a piece that may not belong in a typical dining room, but helps to finish out this space and give it its own personality.


What I love about the adjustments made in the kitchen is that they’re minor, yet make a big impact. For instance, I swapped out the wooden floating shelves for clean-lined metal open shelving, which work to balance the distressed textures in the room. They also help tie the space together by emphasizing the other black elements incorporated throughout. The addition of the “Pharmacie” sign, which I found at the Round Top Antiques Fair, brings in that distinct green color that matches the piano, as well as any leafy plants I'm sure to bring home. The island once sat in an old church and was restored for this space. The addition of these unique bar stools provide additional seating and color contrast, which adds a playful element to this space.


Chip and I built the master bedroom as an addition to the original farmhouse, and while the room served its purpose in helping us rest and unwind, I was wanting to add some more color and depth to the space. The color palette of the original room felt a bit bland and I wanted to create a clear focal point, so we turned our attention to the fireplace. For a bold contrast, I went with a traditional black trim and antiqued glass over the mantel. Since this is the only functioning fireplace in the house, it’s come to serve as a backdrop for many spontaneous family gatherings, especially in the colder months when we can actually use it. I still wanted to keep the space relatively neutral and calm, but I love how the fireplace, leather chair, vintage dresser, and soft blue bedding gives the room the visual interest and depth that it needed.


Attics are common in older houses, and at the time they were being built, they really weren’t meant to be seen. But in the spirit of utilizing every inch of house available to us, I converted our attic into livable square footage by making it a space that would offer something to everyone in our family. Our shared craft room is where we can all go to create. It’s a fun spot for all of us because it feels like a hideaway from the rest of the house. The narrow footprint worked perfectly for a long craft table with plenty of surface space. Because this room plays host to big projects and inevitable messes, I made sure it could be easily organized by utilizing storage space in the form of closed cabinetry and functional wall decor.


Before this room became Crew’s nursery, it served as our family den, and before that, an office space that Chip and I shared. When we learned that Crew was on the way, I wanted this to be the room that we brought him home to. Because this space sits right off our main living area, I wanted the design to feel cohesive, so I kept the look pretty minimal and incorporated similar clean lines and warm textural details to create a natural transition. I also wanted to make sure the room not only felt like a nursery, but was also tailored to Crew. So, I chose a spot for a few meaningful pieces and simple toys—playful additions that wouldn’t detract from the peaceful tone of the space. Repurposing this room had its challenges. Since it’s not technically a bedroom, (because there’s no closet) and it’s actually pretty small, I had to be selective about choosing furniture that could be highly functional. I decided to repurpose an existing hutch that once stored all of my china and entertaining pieces. It’s now outfitted with labeled storage baskets—each one filled with everyday necessities. This piece, along with the large vintage dresser, are my solutions for storing the majority of Crew’s stuff.

This space also houses one of my favorite architectural details in our home—the non-functioning brick fireplace that we uncovered during initial renovations. We removed the original mantel, but kept the exposed brick to honor the original bones of our home. It’s so special that Crew can grow up in a space that has served so many purposes for our family throughout the years.

All photography of this space (excluding the first row before images) were photographed by Cody Ulrich for Magnolia Journal Fall 2018.

Before photos (second row of before images) of the family den were photographed by Cody Ulrich for Homebody Design Book.


For any kid’s room, it’s important to consider their personality while also keeping in mind that you don't want them to outgrow the design in a few years. For Ella and Emmie Kay’s room, the changes we made were to reflect their growing personalities. I upgraded their bed, and brought in bolder, more refined furniture. One of my favorite details we added are the vintage arched doors. I didn’t want to completely lose the whimsical element that are so fun in a girl’s bedroom, so I kept the vintage chandelier, added a canopy bed and hanging nightstands—while also incorporating soft colors they both love, like the blush bedding. I kept the walls a neutral gray so that no matter how the room continues to change over the years, the color can serve as a foundation that’s easy to build on.

Of all the rooms in our home, the kids' bedrooms have probably seen the most change, and that's because I'm always wanting their spaces to evolve along with their personalities and interests. As they get older, I'm realizing how important it is when their rooms are supporting the season they're in. Recently, I had some fun dreaming up how I could do that for both the girls' room and the boys' room, and soon I’ll be sharing an updated reveal of how they came together!

Every room of a home really does have a journey of its own, and the memories that accompany each chapter are so special after all these years have passed. I hope you enjoyed this walk-through of the farmhouse, and be sure to stay tuned for the updated reveals of the kids' rooms coming soon to the blog!

All images were photographed by Cody Ulrich for Homebody design book. All before images (excluding before images of our family den) were photographed by Molly Winn.

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