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.

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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.

Modern

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.

Modern Country Colonial #bayberryhouse

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.

Modern Country Colonial #bayberryhouse

Images: @haysbartonhomes on Instagram

Country

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.

Modern Country Colonial #bayberryhouse

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.

Modern Country Colonial #bayberryhouse

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.

Modern Country Colonial #bayberryhouse

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.

Modern Country Colonial #bayberryhouse

Image: @house_1924 on Instagram

Colonial

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.

Modern Country Colonial #bayberryhouse

Image: @lauralmercantile on Instagram

Modern Country Colonial #bayberryhouse

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?

Modern Country Colonial #bayberryhouse

Image: @theletteredcottage on Instagram

Modern Country Colonial #bayberryhouse

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.

Modern Country Colonial #bayberryhouse

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!

 

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Comments

  • Cindi at

    It’s going to be amazing! I’m looking forward to the process of Home

  • Renata at

    Love love love your ideas! I too love the modern country cottage look! Can’t wait to see. If you haven’t followed her blog yet, look at for the love of a house blog. Not so much modern, but definitely country clean farmhouse look.

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Thank you so much! I’ll check it out!

      xo Michael

  • Pam at

    You would be the greatest neighbor! We’d be fast friends, as all you’ve described is ditto for me. I can’t wait to go along on your journey. I love that you are doing you and not what everyone else is doing. I hope you brought all your Christmas decor/trees with you! (not to rush it, but it is almost Labor Day, which means pumpkins are right around the corner, which means Thanksgiving and Xmas trees definitely come before that!). Whoa!

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Awww! I would love that, Pam! And I know, the new seasons are coming too quickly.

      xo Michael

  • teresa at

    Your new home is going to be stunning! From the pictures you have shown so far, the home has great bones and watching you put your touch on it will be exciting. I like the fact you don’t follow design trends. I learned the hard way about following trends and finally realized you have to follow your heart and what you love instead.

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Yes!! So true. Thank you!!

      xo Michael

  • loly at

    What an exciting time for you!!! I look forward to watching your home evolve and showcase what you love. Based on your definitions I’d call our home Modern Country Victorian Cottage. When we stopped decorating to fit the realtors style of our house (Victorian) and started creating from the heart is when we really felt like we were in our HOME. I’ve a mix of antiques and IKEA, handmade and mass produced and it really all does work because its what we like. May this home bring you many many years of happiness and joy!

  • Alison at

    Michael! You have put a name to the style that I’ve been dreaming of for my home. This post has clarified exactly all of the jumbled thoughts in my head. Thank you!!!

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      I love reading that! And love that someone else shares my vision! #ModernCountryColonialClub!!

      xo Michael

  • Colleen at

    I love this so much. I can’t wait to see how it comes together. You are wonderful and have such a gift!

  • Megan at

    I love this! I’m glad you’re trusting your instincts and doing something different. Love he inspiration photos and can’t wait to see it!

  • Cathy Miller at

    Yes. Just yes. I am so glad to read your “farmhouse” comments. Couldn’t agree more!!

  • Lou Ann Clifton at

    I am so excited when I see you have a post, I stop whatever I am doing and sit down to enjoy what you have written. I look forward to watching and reading about this journey. I think you have picked the perfect house to make your home. I enjoy your recipes and have enjoyed everyone I have tried. I have the ingredients on the counter to try the squash pickles.

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      This literally made my whole day. Thank you so much!! <3

      xo Michael

  • Jeanne Larson at

    I was so excited to see today’s post! Everything you said today explains exactly why you are my favorite designer ever….I think we are all beyond lucky to have you sharing your vision. Amazing, amazing, amazing! This is going to be good…..

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Yay!! So excited you’re on board!! Thank you!!

      xo Michael

  • Mindy at

    I am obsessed with the direction you’re going! It feels so authentic and I think it captures the feeling so many of us are looking for. Don’t try to be all of those other designers, BE YOU! Can’t wait to see it happen – and if it meanders along the way, great!

  • Janet at

    Thank you for helping to define these different styles. This also helps me and my guess is, a few other readers, to define my different design styles. Your ability to put into words what you are thinking and sharing your thoughts process really helps and is fascinating! I wonder if, down the road, you might consider having an open house to your home. A modest fee might help a charity or scholarship for a local design student possibly? I don’t know, just a thought and hope I’m not being too pushy in sharing it! I’m sure I’m not the only reader who would love to see your finished project. Thank you for being you!

  • Maria at

    Michael, I cannot wait to see all this come to life! You truly have a gift. You can design in any style so well! Bayberry house is already making me swoon!

  • laura at

    It’s official! You are my favorite blog to visit! Thank you for the farmhouse article link~
    laura in colorado

  • PJ at

    I live in a genuine farmhouse (yep, there are three barns outside my windows). My style, like yours, tends to be eclectic so I will be watching carefully as you make your decisions about your already beautiful home that is sure to benefit from your sense of style.

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      I’m sure your farmhouse is fabulous!!

      xo Michael

  • jae at

    Thanks for a well thought out article! I think Erin Napier is so right about farmhouse being overused and diluted into nothing, and also about listening to your house. I enjoy your blog because your house is not the same look as so many others. I know it can be a challenge when one moves to make old things fit, even though you dont have that issue 🙂 but I have found if one buys fairly clean lined major items such as sofas, etc, you can really change the mood to reflect/honor a house style with your accessories, ie a basic sofa looks different with throw pillows made of burlap and gingham, versus velvet and silk.
    Looking forward to seeing your journey continue with Bayberry House!

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      This is so true! I’ve already been looking into furnishing and have been keeping the same thought in mind. Thank you!!

      xo Michael

  • Sue at

    Michael, I never met a room you have decorated that I didn’t love. I can’t wait, I’m so excited,I just can’t hide it.

  • Deborah at

    Michael, I’m inspired already! Can’t wait to follow along!

  • Pam at

    As a long time reader of the now defunct magazines Colonial Homes and Early American Life, I am excited to see what you do in your new home. I, too, love color, and couldn’t live in so many of the blizzard white houses I see on blogs today. I love the patina of old wood, and the simplicity of old pine pieces. This should be an interesting process to watch.

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      Yes! I remember those!! How I wish they were still around now.

      xo Michael

  • Patricia at

    Michael, Thank you for imaging modern and colonial. I feel there are way more colonial style homes than farmhouses and I look forward to your take on updating these hoes with your modern flair.

  • Victoria at

    Michael, not only are you creative in your home making but also in your writing. This post was beautifully written very poetic! Thanks for taking us along on your adventure friend,

    • Michael Wurm, Jr. at

      You are the sweetest! Thank you!!

      xo Michael

  • Lisa at

    Love reading your posts. The description of what country means to you is wonderful! I could feel and smell it all. Your space will be amazing

  • yasmara at

    Really articulate and clear description of your style direction! Thank you so much for sharing, I really enjoyed it.

  • Nancy at

    I live in a 1940s farmer-built cottage in Maryland and am doing an empty-nest refresh. It’s a tiny house and now that we have one small room empty I can begin to see the possibilities to make this house really my own style. Ive always been drawn towards clean Scandinavian looks (Scan, IKEA, I admit) but the clutter of inherited furniture, etc, has diluted that look. We painted the new empty room pure white and I love it. IT makes the things I love pop and quickly shows which things I don’t love. Looking forward to seeing how your home comes together!

  • Deb at

    I normally do not read too many blogs, let alone follow them. But there is something that strikes a chord within me when it comes to IBC. Somehow you speak to my heart in your words, in your designs, and in your photos. For example, open shelving in the kitchen: I would LOVE to do this, but I love dishes and gadgets and small appliances, so I have lots of everything. I’m afraid open shelving might look “messy” or “pack-rat-ish.” Right? Or your back door exterior: It just looks so simple, clean, and very inviting. And the mud room: oh, what I wouldn’t give to have one just like that! Congrats on living the dream and a successful blog that even got me to follow and read. lol. Enjoy!

  • Kim at

    Michael,
    You say Modern Country Colonial but all I see is hygge (cozy, warm, and inviting). I love what you’re doing with your new home and I’m definitely sensing more confidence and self-awareness in your writing. I spy personal growth =)

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