From the Archive

7 Traditional Farmhouse Interiors From the AD Archive That Will Have You Craving Country Living

These rural retreats seen in the pages of AD prove that the farmhouse interior remains a classic for very good reason
traditional farmhouse interior with large square wood table fireplace chandelier and exposed ceiling beams
Natural materials like stone and wood dominate in this perfectly rustic traditional farmhouse interior designed by Peter Kurt Woerner. It appeared in Architectural Digest’s February 2006 issue.Bärbel Miebach

Modern farmhouse style may be all the rage, but traditional farmhouse interiors still rank at the top of our coziness charts. Comfortable furnishings, approachable decor, and a celebration of wildlife tend to be prioritized in traditional farmhouses, but what’s perhaps most central is an appreciation of natural materials. Stone and wood age and patinate gracefully, so it follows that the traditional farmhouse look is one that celebrates older structures and furniture with a past. From classic American farmhouses to ranches and even a couple Tuscan homes, these spaces pulled from the AD archive showcase the charm of the true farmhouse look.

AD, October 1996

Mary E. Nichols

Tuscan Flair

When homeowners Paul Junger Witt and Susan Harris commissioned decorator Craig Wright and architect Mickey Muennig to create a home for them on an empty plot of land in Big Sur, California, they knew exactly what they wanted: a Tuscan farmhouse. The property, featured on the cover of AD’s October 1996 issue, fits that bill, though perhaps with more than the typical amount windows to showcase the surrounding natural beauty. Wright was hired specifically for his understanding of Tuscan farmhouse decorating—and the confidence that he wouldn’t create a “grotesque fake Mediterranean house,” as Junger Witt put it. The dining room showcases Wright’s high-low approach, with an 18th-century Genoese chandelier looming above the Italian farm table. The adjacent hearth showcases the structure’s stone walls, which were created with authentic European stone walls in mind.

AD, June 2006

Durston Saylor

Fit for a Thoroughbred

Traditional farmhouse interiors don’t have to be rustic. Take this one, belonging to Calvin Klein cofounder Barry K. Schwartz, which is defined by a sophisticated simplicity. The Stonewall Farm, which houses Schwartz’s many thoroughbred horses, is undeniably grand: The parcel of land it sits on measures 750 acres and the main house is spread across 26,000 square feet. Designed by architect Rebecca Rasmussen with interiors by Kelly Hoppen, the home encourages calm even in its most ostentatious sections. Captured for the June 2006 issue, the dining room’s neutral colors, soft lighting and rich textures ensure comfort.

AD, February 2006

Bärbel Miebach

A True Labor of Love

Architect Peter Kurt Woerner spent nearly two decades reviving an old farmhouse near Siena, Italy. The 18th-century structure had been abandoned for 30 years by the time Woerner found it, but its life as an active farm was still visible in ways both charming and not: Bunches of herbs were found hanging, dried in a storeroom, as he inspected the property, but so were layers of manure and hay on the home’s first floor where the farm animals once dwelled. Nevertheless, there was plenty to salvage. The stone walls were still plenty solid, and the chestnut ceiling beams had an irreplaceable charm. His 17 years of meticulous work resulted in a subtle design wherein even brand-new rooms, carved from rooms previously only occupied by animals, have the grace and warmth of rooms that stand mostly unchanged. The kitchen is a fitting example of this, with an exhaust hood framed by chestnut beams that recall the wood troughs that were once kept in that same room.

AD, July 1993

John Vaughan

Clint Eastwood’s Carmel Ranch

Back in 1986, when Clint Eastwood bought an old ranch in Carmel, California, his goal wasn’t to create something shiny and new but rather to prevent exactly that from happening. He caught word that a developer was hoping to level the property, which includes a building that dates back to the 1850s, to create condominiums. Eastwood had first visited the property in the early ’50s, back when he was in the army and it was a humble hotel and restaurant. Despite the fact that it was in serious disrepair by the ’80s, he knew he couldn’t let a teardown happen. So he purchased it—and learned the reality of restoration the hard way.

“There’s a big difference between doing preservation and advocating preservation. It’s different to put your money where your mouth is,” he told AD upon the property’s publication in the July 1993 issue of the magazine. Despite the long winding road, he managed to restore it into working order as a hotel and restaurant, with comfortable, laidback furnishings and decor that reflect its nearly 100 years as an active farm.

AD, October 1989

Bruce Van Inwegen

Equestrian Quarters

The home at this Kentucky horse farm is a joyful foil to its barns, not a perfect match. Designed by architect Quinlan Terry with interior design by Anthony P. Browne, the home’s rooms have a graceful layered quality. “I tried to create what takes generations to achieve—the appearance of comfort and that ‘inherited look,’” Browne told AD in the October 1989 issue. The dining room faces the property’s five horse barns, but even without that view, the copious amounts of horse artwork inside makes the property’s focal point abundantly clear.

AD, June 2009

Jeff Herr Photography Inc

A Smoky Mountain Spot

Homeowners Kreiss and Sandy Beall designed Toad Hall, their Smoky Mountain compound, to be “a combination of rugged and refined.” Working with architect Jack Davis and interior designer Suzanne Kasler, the property is adjacent to their property Blackberry Farm. The acclaimed boutique hotel sits on 4,200 acres, enjoying an array of crops, orchards, and animals, including pigs, chicken, and sheep. While working on their private property, Kasler worked to match that bucolic splendor, and the structure’s log construction, but “introduce the fabulous.” Published in the June 2009 issue, the resulting interiors are plenty wonderful—most of all the great room, which flaunts a well-appointed kitchen on one end.

AD, September 2016

Oberto Gili

A Family Farm in the Cotswolds

Fashion insider Amanda Brooks, painter Christopher Brooks, and their two children left behind their hectic New York City lives for the more pleasing pace of life in the Cotswolds. Christopher was born and raised on Fairgreen Farm, so when they returned, the 1820 build’s decor scheme bore the marks of old family members (and even his ex-wife). Nevertheless, Amanda found comfort in its authenticity once they’d relocated. The property is spacious enough for horseback riding, a sprawling garden, several dogs, and even a pet sheep. With its abundance of storage and splendidly aged beams, the “Boot Room” amply showcases the difference between life on the farm and the life of fashion shows and hobnobbing in New York City—we’d say the Cotswolds definitely wins out.

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