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A Family Farmhouse Bridges the Gap Between Historic & Modern

by Sofia Tuovinen

A Family Farmhouse that Bridges the Gap between Historic and Modern | Design*Sponge
Ever since Kate Pearce was a very little girl, she always knew she wanted to live in a very old house. One with wide and squeaky floorboards, high ceilings, ornate moldings and antique locks that take their sweet time to open. When Kate and her husband Billy found a 1910 farmhouse in their budget in Huntington, NY, Kate immediately knew it was the one — a perfect fixer-upper for her to transform into something beautiful, and the perfect home for raising the couple’s daughters, Eva and Josie.

Kate, a vintage dealer, and Billy, who works in private equity, are a perfect example of opposites attracting. Kate explains it as the left side of his brain making a power team with the right side of hers and continues, “He’s been an incredible caretaker to me as I’ve battled chronic illness, resulting in many surgeries and hospitalizations. There aren’t too many men that would sign up for that from the start — I was sick when he met me, and I will likely never be illness-free.” Kate’s journey, which has led her to thrifting and reselling gorgeous home decor on Etsy, has included plenty of self-exploration. With a master’s degree in art history, she worked in the art world before taking a break to work on Wall Street for three years. She later re-enrolled in school to study pre-medical sciences, only to realize that neither finance nor medicine was the path for her. “At heart, I am truly a creative. In a nutshell, that is how Kate Pearce Vintage was born,” she explains. 

Thanks to her excellent eye for decor and her ability to find pieces that make you go “where and how did you find that!?,” it’s no wonder that Kate and her family’s entire farmhouse is filled with cool and uncommon pieces that bridge the gap between Victorian and modern. To achieve a cohesive feel throughout the house and as a jumping-off point for her personal style, Kate chose to paint all walls in the house bright white. After that, she could fully embrace whatever eclectic highlights that came her way, from feature walls of wallpaper and shiplap to patterned rugs and layers of colorful textiles that make up her family’s beloved haven. “When it comes to my decor, or hairstyle, or really anything that doesn’t hold the burden of permanence, I don’t take it too seriously,” Kate says. “I have decorated with lots of color and texture to be sure that we, and any guests, are immediately greeted by some really happy vibes.” Scroll down for a peek of a truly colorful, truly happy home. —Sofia

Photography by Kate Pearce / @katepearcevintage

Image above: The piano is one of the only heirlooms from Kate’s childhood and is the first piece of decor that greets visitors at the door. Kate shares, “I love that it conveys our love of music and says a little bit about our family’s history. It was the piano that I learned to play on as a child, and that my daughter now takes lessons on.”

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“We haven’t touched the exterior of our home yet, other than to paint this front door coral,” Kate says. Guests who enter the family’s early 20th-century farmhouse also get a glimpse of the staircase with various silhouettes hanging on the wall. 

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The living room largely consists of pieces that Kate can’t bring herself to list on her Etsy shop. Rugs are one of her guilty pleasures — she buys them on a whim and rarely sells them in her shop. “I love to layer them on top of one another and I just can never have enough!” she reveals. 

 

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Stacks of books create a colorful highlight in the living room corner, seen through a clear glass torso — one of Kate’s many unique vintage pieces.

A Family Farmhouse that Bridges the Gap between Historic and Modern | Design*Sponge
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The Seth Casteel Underwater Dog print is one of Kate’s favorites pieces of art. “I found this beautiful antique frame at an estate sale in Greenwich Village and just knew it would work perfectly with this piece,” Kate remembers. “The framer thought [it was an unusual pairing], but I couldn’t be happier with how the ornate frame complements the dual-toned work.”

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The mid-century cantilever shell lamp in brass is one of Kate’s absolute treasures and a perfect example of how she loves to mix eclectic finds with modern pieces of furniture.

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Ripley, 5, and Fia, 12, on the living room sofa. Both pups are rescues who mean the world to Kate and her family. “Fia came into my life before I knew even Billy, and she took me from a very dark place to one filled with lots of love through her never-ending need to cuddle and her heartwarming loyalty,” Kate shares. “Ripley likes to eat our couches and the girls’ toys, but we love her nonetheless.”

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The dining room used to be a closed-off space until recently. The family has broken ground on a major kitchen renovation and began with opening up the dining room to the kitchen. This section of the home will soon receive new wallpaper that will flow through the open-plan space.

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The sunroom was added to the 1910 farmhouse in the 50s. Kate and Billy have plans to renovate it to make it more cohesive in style with the rest of the house. “For now, we just had fun by ripping up old carpet and painting the floors blue,” Kate says. 

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Kate with her daughters Eva, 6, and Josie, 18 months. “Eva has a brilliant little creative mind, and her art is some of my favorite on my walls,” Kate proudly shares. “Josie is our little miracle baby — she was born via surrogacy halfway across the country in Paducah, KY and she lights up our lives with her contagious smile and her (mostly indiscernible) babbling.”

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Kate has collected vintage portraits for over 10 years. She refuses to pay top dollar and holds out until she finds them at estate sales. “These are all real people and their profiles have so much character. Some are from the 1800s and some are from the 1980s. I think silhouettes have maintained their popularity for good reason — the graphic compositions make great eye candy, and the stories behind them a perfect conversation starter!”

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The main bedroom was done on a dime. For example, Kate made the headboard out of antique printer’s drawers that she picked up at a garage sale. The paint was leftover from Josie’s room. 

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The most challenging part of our home is that we are currently living with just one bathroom and it happens to be upstairs. It is a challenge for older guests, especially, who may not be able to climb the stairs,” Kate explains. She has still made most of the space visually, for example by adding black shiplap to the bottom half of the walls. 

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The bathroom was designed by Kate while Billy did all the construction. “My husband was traveling this year for my birthday and sent these flowers to me with a sweet note,” Kate adds. 

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The house bed in Eva’s room is one of the only pieces of furniture that came from the family’s previous home. “I’m pretty sure my daughter will hang onto it for a long time to come. It’s an absolute favorite of any guest that comes to our home (especially the miniature variety),” Kate says. The cacti wallpaper transforms the room into a desert botanical garden. 

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Six-year-old Eva is obsessed with books, so Kate came up with a creative storage solution for the large collection — an old art deco fireplace!

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We moved in just a couple of months before [Josie’s] birth, so I didn’t have much time to put a well-thought-out nursery together, as most of the time was spent moving into the home,” Kate shares. “Then when she came along I think I was too sleep deprived to make it cohesive, so in came a bunch of different stuff I already owned from around the house. It wasn’t until she was over a year old that I took the proper time to put the space together and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. When I saw this wallpaper I just knew it was the one.”

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When Kate sat down to design Josie’s nursery, she knew she wanted the space to have a boho-eclectic vibe. She also decided to embrace the small size of the room by using mostly dark colors for a cozy and intimate feel.

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“The thing I love most about my home is all of the color.” — Kate

SOURCE LIST

All white paint in home: “Decorator’s White” by Benjamin Moore
All black paint: “Off Black” by Farrow and Ball

Living Room
Green couch – Lulu and Georgia
Green rug – Bloomingdales
Frida Kahlo print – Modern Multiples
Velvet pillows – Boho Luxe Home
Family photos – Fracture
Red runner – kazimah.com
Underwater Dog print – Seth Casteel
Poufs – Royal Rug Vintage
Frida Kahlo pillow – Wild Rice Designs
All else thrifted by Kate Pearce Vintage

Dining room
Wallpaper – Anthropologie
Art – Photo taken by Kate
Print – Tauba Auerbach
Light Fixture – West Elm
Planter – Target
Shades – same as living room, Overstock
Sideboard – IKEA
Rug – One Kings Lane
Table, all else – thrifted by Kate Pearce Vintage

Sunroom
Stendig Calendar – MOMA design store
Bottom left artwork – Jerelyn Hanrahan
All else thrifted by Kate Pearce Vintage

Bathroom
Runner – June + Blue
Semi-recessed sinks – build.com
Faucets – Restoration Hardware
Bust – Vintage Bohemain @etsy
Pink flushmount – sazeracstitches.com
Quartz countertop – E+S Marble and Granite
Hardware – Anthropologie
Round Shelves – Target
All else thrifted by Kate Pearce Vintage

Main Bedroom
Two prints – Antonio Guanse
Bedding – Anthropologie
Kilim Pillow – Pepe and Carols
Chandelier – Lulu and Georgia
Neon – Amped + Co.

Eva’s room
House Bed – Restoration Hardware Baby + Child
Wallpaper – Coloray Decor
Boucherouite Rug – The Iman Project
Shades – Restoration Hardware Baby + Child
Lucite Bookcase – Crate + Barrel Kids
Chandelier – West Elm
All else thrifted by Kate Pearce Vintage

Josie’s room
Chandelier – IKEA
Wallpaper – Anthropologie
Jute Rug – Overstock
Talsint rug – June + Blue
Hanging Rod – Kekonigram
Curtains – Opalhouse, Target
Macrame Dreamcatcher – Haus Matter Vintage
All else thrifted by Kate Pearce Vintage

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