After many years of spending their weekends as freeloaders at their friend’s country home in Accord, NY, Juliet Feehan, who works in furniture and interiors, and her husband Jon, a Creative Director, concluded that it might be time to find a weekend home of their own. The switch from guests to homeowners in the somewhat rural area of the Hudson Valley took several years of searching until they were unexpectedly introduced to an old farmhouse just down the road from their friend’s house. After a quick walk-through, Juliet and Jon were convinced — the house was calling out to them.
Making updates to the house was initially supposed to be an eight-week project, which felt feasible to the couple who called themselves novices when it came to the renovation process. “Nearly two years later we finally found ourselves with functional plumbing and a basic heating system. It was interesting that we stuck with it and didn’t end up committing any murders along the way,” Juliet jokes. Updating the floor plan and reconfiguring spaces in the nearly 200-year-old house included more than a few unexpected hurdles. Juliet and Jon discovered that the main part of the house was most likely not originally intended for residential living and had served as a farm outbuilding until a kitchen and second floor were added in the early 20th century. “Consequently, our design intention was to create a home that made more sense intuitively and functioned in a sensible way,” Juliet explains. This meant moving the living room downstairs and reworking the existing floor plan, which included an enormous bathroom in the center of the house, blocking the pathway to what should have been the living area. In addition to creating a layout that made more sense, Juliet and Jon’s main goal was to ensure that the overall design of the house reflect its history and natural surroundings. “The outdoors are such an important element to everyone living in this beautiful area, and we wanted to be reminded of it whenever we found ourselves indoors,” Juliet tells us.
Since the completion of their weekend home, Juliet, Jon and their son Liam have focused on creating fond memories there together with friends and family, who they are now able to comfortably welcome. As it turns out, they are not the only ones who feel connected to the old farmhouse. “After working with many craftspeople, contractors, electricians, and plumbers in the area during the renovation, it became clear that nearly everyone had some experience or connection to our house. We met a couple who were married on the front lawn, and the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of a man who had built a motocross in the woods behind the house.” During construction, some strange objects were also found inside the walls, including a child’s boot. “We were later informed that shoes were frequently placed in the walls of homes for good luck during the 18th and 19th [centuries]. Juliet continues, “We put the boot back inside once the sheetrock went up to keep the good luck flowing.” —Sofia
Image above: Juliet and Jon reconfigured the floor plan of their historic farmhouse by moving the living room from the top floor downstairs. Juliet, who works with furniture and interiors, has filled the new living space with classic furniture and carefully curated decor that bows to the history of the home.