Shiplap, shiplap, shiplap! With a twist.

I feel like all we’ve heard about the last 2 years on design TV is shiplap, shiplap, shiplap!  Thanks to Chip and Jo on HGTV’s Fixer Upper the 6-inch-wide horizontal wood planking has become a popular design feature for a light, yet rustic farmhouse look.  But what about a twist on this traditional shiplap look?  I was flipping through the LL Bean Home Summer 2017 Catalog and while I’m not a huge fan of their very country looking furniture, I was taken by a few shots with a natural ashy wood colored shiplap.  Even styled with their basic furniture this version of shiplap lended a modern styling to the overall look.  So, I went on a search for some other versions of shiplap than the basic white and found a few great looks that I wanted to share.  Turns out shiplap looks great in natural wood, a rainbow of colors, and even in black!

natural shiplap


natural shiplap


blue shiplap


aqua shiplap


green shiplap


deep hued shiplap


Colonial Gems at Olde Bulltown Village

Over the holidays, we took a quick trip to Pennsylvania to visit my family, who live in suburban-rural Chester County.  It’s a gorgeous area that mixes areas that are clearly Philadelphia suburbia with shopping centers and typical communities of tract homes with regions of farmland and colonial homes that are several hundred years old.  I had mentioned the DIY Network show, Stone House Revival to my parents since it is often filmed in Chester County and neighboring Bucks County.  I love some of the old stone homes featured on this show that have large fireplaces, chunky wood beams, wide plank floors and weird little outbuildings like springhouses and icehouses.  Of course, most of these 200 year old relics need special workarounds for modern conveniences like large fridges, air conditioning, and dishwashers.  Turns out there is a place in Chester County where history-lovers can have the best of both worlds with old historic stone house looks with the convenience of modern amenities; it’s a community called Olde Bulltown Village.  The small community of homesites, several of which have already been built on is situated among the rolling hills of Chester County’s farms, woods and a manicured golf course.   The custom-built brand new homes are 18th Century Americana architecture with all the modern conveniences of this century.  We drove through the community and imagined what kind of “shop” we’d set up in Olde Bulltown.  My husband wants to build one that looks like the town pub on the outside but that serves as a home on the inside.  I’ll let the beauty of this community, built by Chester County’s Stoltzfus Enterprises Ltd. speak for itself in the pictures (more available at Olde Bulltown’s website, here).

This barn style home is hands down my favorite! I wish I could see the inside.  I’d love to know what the light situation is in there.


Just look at the view from this rustic beauty.  Not sure who the builder’s photog is but they do excellent work.  This could be a Christmas card.


Humongous fireplaces, chandeliers and ceilings… three of my favorite things.


Think stone, brick and siding can’t all go together on one house, guess again.  This is how to mix materials right.


Elegant, long chains draw your eye up right from the simple fixtures to the open ceiling.  Perhaps we could add a few huge turnbuckles in our pub ceiling 😉


This could be straight out of Willaimsburg.  I can picture a cute little Scottish Terrier hopping around inside the adorable picket fence.


Again more mixed materials just as they might have done hundreds of years ago, weathered wood,  brick and stone and traditionally painted trim, is perfect!

Eco-Friendly Farm House

In this month’s edition of This Old House Magazine, they’ve featured a home that I think is almost absolute perfection (for me, it would be absolutely perfect if it were on a larger piece of land).  This Old House’s 2016 Idea House is a newly built farmhouse that’s a modern version of classic farmhouse style, with lots of green features and a smaller footprint…. not the McMansion size of yester-decade, nor the tiny mouse-house size, but a Goldilocks just right size of 1900 square feet.  Here’s some of what I really love about this place.

First, the outside look is just so appealing and charming, with the copper roof over the porch, the black vinyl windows and that salmon door is just so inviting! Sometimes it’s also what’s NOT present that can improve curb appeal, in this case, garage doors, which are located in a detached garage at the back of the property.



This house uses less than half the energy of what the average house of a similar size would consume, thanks in part to the solar array on the roof of the garage.  Sure, it requires an investment up front, but if you plan on living in the home for a while, live in a state that offers tax advantages for eco-friendly home improvements, and idealistically want a better planet for your kids, then solar is the way to go.  Plus, who could resist an adorable cupola?



I’ve always thought rain chains were a charming feature of older homes, but I never considered their eco-friendliness before.  The rain chain channels the water to a bell cup and releases it in a controlled fashion down the chain to the awaiting garden, or terminates in a cistern where water can be used for watering plants later.













The inside of the home has some wonderfully modern yet charming features as well.  This baluster and railing system is amazing.  And can we talk about that board and batten on the interior for a minute?  It adds so much visual interest, and the white keeps the room bright and airy.  From a practical standpoint, the board and batten can be painted in a semi-gloss, since it’s technically a “trim” and will be so much easier to wipe down when dirty or scuffed which is perfect for a smaller space that is inhabited by kids and pets.  I’ve been seriously considering a board and batten for this very purpose up and down the stairs and halls of my rental beach property, I may be thoroughly convinced now.













I’ve always wanted a reason to use penny tile and I just haven’t found the right place for it yet.  I like that the designer of this space not only went with the penny tile but went bold and selected a red shade with bright white grout.  It’s a classic look that shouts “farmhouse!”













It’s a small kitchen, but taking the tile all the way to the ceiling adds visual height and space and the oversized contrasting island adds all the usable storage, counter and seating space a growing family could need.













Even though most of us don’t live down on the farm, everyone these days still wants a mudroom.  And if it looks like this, well, who wouldn’t?  The bold citron cubbies paired with the dark wood floors and the white shiplap walls welcomes the entering  family with a vibe that says, “organize your crap”, but “still have fun”.













I might actually LIKE doing laundry if it were in a laundry room like this.  Ok, admittedly, I’d probably still not like it, but at least I wouldn’t cringe every time I walked past my laundry room. Now on my to-do list, revamp laundry room and include a barn door.













Navy blue and crisp white is a tried and true design trick that looks fresh and clean every.single.time.  I don’t think you can ever go wrong with navy and white.  This reading nook capitalizes on the navy and white perfection and takes it one step further by adding additional visual interest on the ceiling with a blue and white patterned wallpaper.













All the related articles and photos, all by William Geddes can be found at This Old House’s website, here. What’s your favorite part of the This Old House Idea House 2016?