Well, friends, it’s finally time. Today, I’m sharing more about the plans and design direction for my new home, Bayberry House.
I moved into Bayberry House a couple months ago. Since then I have been super BUSY with home improvement projects. I got the upstairs floors refinished and had a radon mitigation system and a water softener/water filter installed. I’ve also drawn up plans for a major kitchen remodel (details soon), created a landscape plan (details soon), and made arrangements for a new roof (details soon). And the list goes on….
When it comes to decorating, however, things have been a bit slower. I did make progress on my side porch (which you can see here) and back deck (details soon). Because I wanted to spend time relaxing outside this summer, creating these cozy and functional outdoor areas was a high priority for me.
In case you’re new here (or just need a super quick recap), for about 9 years I lived in a large home in St. Marys, PA. I then rented an apartment in Pittsburgh, PA for a year, sold the St. Marys’ house, and bought a five-bedroom home that I named Bayberry House. The folks who purchased my previous home wanted it fully furnished, so I was left with only the furnishings from my one-bedroom apartment. As you can imagine, this was both cleansing and concerning. Thankfully, the apartment furnishings seem to work well enough in my new house so that it’s stylish and totally functional.
So where do I go from here? (Grab a cup of coffee or your favorite beverage because this post is a long one.)
If you’re a long-time follower, you’ll know that my style has always been eclectic. For me, this is a blessing and a challenge. While I see beauty in many different eras and designs, this can sometimes be overwhelming. I will probably always embrace a variety of styles, but in planning the decor for this new home, I wanted to refine my look a bit.
I decided to do this to help narrow my search when sourcing for my designs and to give the entire house a cohesive feel. I’m calling my refined eclectic style: Modern Country Colonial.
While that may seem fairly straightforward, I should tell you that I struggled with using the word “country.” In today’s design world, “country” is often viewed as dated, non-trendy, and definitely not stylish.
As I pondered using that descriptor, I wondered how my work would be perceived if I incorporated a style that wasn’t in line with what the “top people” in the industry are doing.
I also realize that in the blogging world, we see a lot of farmhouse and country these days. I’m one of those people who shy away from things that have become super popular. So please know, if you’re bored with “farmhouse” style, that is not what I’m after.
Side note: Speaking of “farmhouse,” the term is widely misused. If your house isn’t on a farm, it’s probably not a farmhouse. (Erin Napier of Home Town wrote an excellent article about this.)
Back to decorating my new home: I’m inspired to decorate it as I please. It’s my place after all. Realizing that I may fail along the way and sometimes question if I’m “good enough,” I’m excited about designing this new-to-me space.
With that being said, I thought I’d show you some images that I’m using to help inspire my space planning. Although I typically don’t like to use others’ images on my blog, I feel it’s necessary for visually clarifying the direction I want to take my home.
I’ve linked up the original source below each photo. If you like something in the photos, I encourage you to click on those links and learn more about the person who created them. I’ve also made a Pinterest board in case you want to see even more of my inspiration. You can follow along with that here.
Below are a few examples and explanations of what Modern Country Colonial means to me. While the photos below may include ideas that pertain to all of the words, I decided to organize things in three sections to better explain my thinking.
For me, modern means bright, clean, and orderly. Modern design uses the color white to create a crisp, light-filled, open space.
Modern design also embraces using color in unique and unexpected ways. Yes, I can totally appreciate a neutral space, but a colorful space is a must for me.
Image: @redesignhomellc on Instagram
Image: Humprey Munson
Another big and less obvious thing I love about modern design is that it is very intentional. I have hoarder tendencies because I like so many things, so my goal will be to limit my selections to what is functional and/or makes my heart sing.
Modern also means creating a smarter home and taking advantage of new technologies and features to make the space work for me. This includes things like a home security system, modern appliances, and connectivity.
Images: @haysbartonhomes on Instagram
Just look at the brick fireplace in my den/family room. This is country. This is what I love. I thought long and hard about moments in life that brought me the most joy and the spaces where I felt most inspired. This always leads me back to the country.
Image: Manhattan Nest
Let me paint a couple pictures for you:
1. Imagine being around an outdoor fire pit made of brick or stone. The fire is crackling, and lights are strung above. A few close friends have joined you, and they’ve shown up exactly as they are. Songs by The Lumineers or Mumford and Sons are playing in the background. You’re wearing jeans and a button-down shirt and sitting on a plaid flannel blanket. Snacks are served on rustic wood cutting boards and in cast-iron dishes. The food is seasonal, simple, and fresh.
Image: Jersey Ice Cream Co. (Old Chatham Farmhouse)
2. There’s a strawberry rhubarb pie baking in the oven. The pie dish is chipped from years of use. The rhubarb is from a plant your grandparents had growing in their garden for years. Your cup of coffee, now cold, sits on the kitchen counter. The handle is dusty with flour from the pie crust you just made. Bedsheets are hanging on the clothesline in the backyard because there’s honestly nothing better than sheets dried outdoors.
Do you feel it? That’s country to me. While it’s a definitely a look, it’s also a feeling. It’s a flavor that’s rich and bright and fresh.
Image: @burtsbrisplease on Instagram
There’s also nothing fake about it. The wood is weathered from age, not paint. Real flowers are tucked into mason jars, and a few of the flowers are wilting and dropping petals on the table. It’s shopping at antique shops and finding vintage treasures no one else will have. Everything has a story.
It’s gingham. It’s plaid. It’s cozy. It’s welcoming. It’s home.
Image: @house_1924 on Instagram
My house is a colonial so this was a no-brainer. When designing a space, I think it’s important (and in many cases easier) to work with the bones and style of the space. Obviously, there are exceptions, but this just makes sense to me.
Image: @lauralmercantile on Instagram
Image: @maxhumphrey on Instagram
I searched for definitions to help explain what colonial style is, and Better Homes & Gardens explained it best:
“Admired for its simple lines and rich, subdued colors, it emphasizes woods and other natural materials. Whether formal or rustic, Colonial-style interiors have one unifying thread: the look of handcrafting in every element.”
I love that. And how perfectly does that combine my goals for a modern and country space?
Image: @theletteredcottage on Instagram
Image: @cuttingedgehomes on Instagram
In my design, this plays out in adding more molding throughout the house. It means incorporating custom cabinetry in my kitchen and other areas of my home. It also points me in a certain direction when choosing colors for my spaces. I think it also gives me permission to blend traditional and rustic.
I also hope this inspires me to get back to crafting and creating and making. At its core, I want this home to be a reflection of me and always feel welcoming to others.
Image: DeRosa Builders, Greenwich CT
And that’s it, my friends. My Modern Country Colonial vision for Bayberry House. I am looking forward to bringing my designs to life and honored to invite you along on this styling journey.
I hope that sharing my thought process has helped you see my goals and inspired you to create a home you love no matter what your style may be.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks as I start to talk about more specific plans for each room and begin the process of my kitchen remodel. It’s going to be so exciting!