before and after

Before & After: The Drooz Studio Farmhouse

by Annie Werbler

Once passed down through four generations of women, a storied 1896 farmhouse in Skaneateles (the Finger Lakes area of central NY) had operated as a bed and breakfast before Shelly Kennedy and Mark Strang came to its rescue three years ago. The home’s floor plan had been chopped up to accommodate overnight guests (and even a full bathroom and Jacuzzi in the upstairs hallway). Part of the Military Plot 50, the property was a Revolutionary War land grant, of which 600 acres total had been arranged in the town for returning soldiers.

At first, Shelly and Mark made minor improvements. They tore down the wallpaper and heavy draperies in every room, and painted almost everything but the original woodwork white. Shelly didn’t have the heart to change it, but didn’t necessarily love the color of the wood, either. The white walls allow the wood to act as a “second color” in each room instead of fighting with it. The white also provides a crisp, clean background for colorful decor, art, and photos. More substantial renovations included finishing the attic, removing all the radiators and installing forced heat and AC with three zones, a new roof, paint, porches, and driveway. They also added a two-story 12×16′ section to the back of the house, making a proper entrance, mudroom, pantry, and master suite, and a 6×12′ bump-out in the kitchen area. Many interior walls were reworked throughout the entire house to improve its flow.

At the same time, the family (including a teenage daughter and son) completely rebuilt an even older 1848 barn on the grounds, and turned it into a gathering and party loft. They felt strongly enough about saving it to undertake the very costly and detailed renovation. Part of the original 30×60′ barn was rotten beyond repair, so its footprint was trimmed down to 30×40′. They took the barn boards off one by one (just leaving the hand-hewn frame), raised it, blocked it, removed the old and crumbling foundation, and rebuilt a new foundation, floors, and drainage — then pieced the building back together like a puzzle.

Shelly, who now operates drooz studio from her attic workspace, designs colorful, decorative accessories inspired by her own house and style. She is glad to have invested in this historic property — reviving it, and giving it a shot at standing for another 125 years. She caught it just in time. —Annie

Photography by Shelly Kennedy

Before & After: The Drooz Studio Farmhouse, on Design*Sponge
1/19
In the living room sitting area, paintings of roses by homeowner Shelly Kennedy.
Before & After: The Drooz Studio Farmhouse, on Design*Sponge
2/19
The "whiskey room" is overloaded with treasures from travels, vintage toys, scientific specimens, trinket boxes, and magic tricks.
Before & After: The Drooz Studio Farmhouse, on Design*Sponge
3/19
The bright walls in the parlor are done in a metallic pearl finished paint.
Before & After: The Drooz Studio Farmhouse, on Design*Sponge
4/19
The dining room without its old radiator and wallpaper.
Before & After: The Drooz Studio Farmhouse, on Design*Sponge
5/19
The floor-to-ceiling kitchen hutch is original to the house, and is one of the main features that attracted Shelly to the residence.
Before & After: The Drooz Studio Farmhouse, on Design*Sponge
6/19
The mudroom's Brewster (Estate Black Moroccan Grate) wall covering allows colorful shirts to pop as decor.
Before & After: The Drooz Studio Farmhouse, on Design*Sponge
7/19
Julia Rothman for Hygge & West (Day Dream in Orange) wall covering in a small powder room tucked beneath the stairs.
Before & After: The Drooz Studio Farmhouse, on Design*Sponge
8/19
In the hallway, Brewster (Estate White Moroccan Grate) wallpaper is the reverse colorway of the mudroom pattern.
Before & After: The Drooz Studio Farmhouse, on Design*Sponge
9/19
In this upstairs main hallway, a bathroom and full Jacuzzi tub were removed from the home's time as a bed and breakfast for 15 years prior.
Before & After: The Drooz Studio Farmhouse, on Design*Sponge
10/19
A makeshift additional guest room space in the attic, with two air mattresses stacked atop futons to achieve bed height.
Before & After: The Drooz Studio Farmhouse, on Design*Sponge
11/19
The kids' bathroom was painted white and received new fabric inserts for its wooden shutters.
Before & After: The Drooz Studio Farmhouse, on Design*Sponge
12/19
Insulation, drywall, and lighting were added to the attic which now houses Shelly's studio, office, and storage.
Before & After: The Drooz Studio Farmhouse, on Design*Sponge
13/19
Before, the house was yellow and green with added gingerbread trim not original to the structure.
Before & After: The Drooz Studio Farmhouse, on Design*Sponge
14/19
Now, the exterior is painted a pale grey with white trim, and is without its plumbing pipe railings.
Before & After: The Drooz Studio Farmhouse, on Design*Sponge
15/19
The family took apart and completely rebuilt the 30x40' 1848 barn, with a new foundation, drainage, roof, and cupola.
Before & After: The Drooz Studio Farmhouse, on Design*Sponge
16/19
Shelly and Mark made the lighting by constructing wire cages with hand-sewn muslin shades. Mark also built the 10-foot-long farm tables from leftover barn wood.
Before & After: The Drooz Studio Farmhouse, on Design*Sponge
17/19
The renovated barn is a great place for parties.
Before & After: The Drooz Studio Farmhouse, on Design*Sponge
18/19
Frequent entertaining in the barn calls for a full-time bar set-up. Barnwood bar and "BARn" sign made by Mark.
Before & After: The Drooz Studio Farmhouse, on Design*Sponge
19/19
Layout of the two-story main residence.

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