“I don’t want anything to feel like Dallas.” This was the main direction that interior designer Marci Barnes’ client gave her regarding her family’s new country home in Athens, about an hour outside of the city. Using soft shades of blue and green, casual textures like burlap and seagrass, a dash of shabby chic style, and antiques and collections found along the way, the designer helped the pastoral home provide ease and comfort from the moment one views it from the driveway.
“Not feeling like Dallas” to this homeowner meant no fussiness. The family wanted to have a casual, comfortable country feeling at their pastoral getaway. The inspiration for the home was traditional American farm style, and it combines elements of farmhouses and barns. It has a metal roof and a cupola, which is accessible and provides views of the bucolic landscape.
One of the homeowners is a collector and had many pieces she wanted to try to use in the country house. Barnes and her clients also “found things along the way,” Barnes says, at antiques stores and at Round Top, one of the best flea markets in the country.
Barnes used key elements that harken back to old farmhouse style throughout the house. One big one is the floors, which are 10-inch-wide, hand-scraped reclaimed pine. Another shows on many of the walls, which are whitewashed planks with spaces of a quarter inch between them.
The family room, dining room, and kitchen all occupy one large, open space, with French doors and windows that overlook the rolling hills down to a pond. “This room has a spot for everyone,” Barnes says.
“The house is very unpretentious and casual,” she says. “The soft blues and greens, plus a healthy dose of white, give it that easygoing feel. There’s not a lot of color, and warmth comes from the floors.”
Eclectic touches like antique windmill blades over the fireplace and a large ottoman fashioned from an antique child’s bed also help to keep things casual. “It’s a clean, simple style. There’s nothing ornate,” the designer says.
The dining room is slightly more formal but maintains a casual ease. A long antique farm table scored at Round Top keeps meals more casual. Barnes mixed in a few shabby chic style moves, like slipcovers, that add to the comfortable feeling. A crystal chandelier dresses things up overhead.
Another way Barnes nodded to old farmhouses was to stain the doors a different color than the trim. The stained pine contrasts with the crisp white trim. Throughout the house she chose hardware from Acorn, a company that specializes in pieces that have an Early American look.
The master bedroom has several soothing blues. A large box-check pattern on the bedding is a modern take on farmhouse style; an oversize paisley print is dynamic. The white coverlet keeps the pattern pairing calm. She picked up the bed linen fabrics in the window treatment’s banding fabric.
Adjacent to the house and pool is a charming pool house. The main room is a favorite with the kids and includes a large sectional, a TV, and a pool table.
“I swear, you can’t be unhappy in this room,” Barnes says of the cheerful guest room in the pool house. A few of the brighter colors seen on the pillows and accents take their cues from the colors found in the brick fireplace surround. Lots of extended family and friends enjoy invitations to the farmhouse and stay here.
The homestead is a true getaway where the homeowners enjoy casual family time.