Return to Farmhouse Style

Text by Ann Zimmerman / Photography by Scot Zimmerman

Discover tranquility in the plain comforts of a simpler time.

A bushel of freshly picked corn waiting to be shucked next to the wood stove, crisply ironed white curtains, a tablecloth printed with cheerful tiny flowers. As you pass through the wood-framed screen door of the farmhouse, such timeworn details evoke sweet memories of a bygone era—a time when communication was personal and accompanied by a baked-from-scratch cake, open arms, and big smiles. This country cottage in Idaho, celebrates the simple pleasures of times past.

Little has changed in this turn-of-the-century house. Scrubbed-fir plank floors, braided oval area rugs, and the original wallpaper—white flowers in one room and mauve leaves in another—all remain. The Erkelens family honors the age of the home by stocking it with vintage kitchenwares, collectibles, and furniture from the same place and time as when the home was first loved.

Much of the loving care in its restoration can be found in the kitchen garden. The enormous vegetable section is sprinkled with flowers, its bounty spilling over a new picket fence. The Erkelens have tended to the broad shade trees that canopy the picnic table, and the fruit trees blossom with produce. While it is only a short drive to this tiny town north of Bear Lake, for the family it is a restorative trip to a gentler place and time.

The big, open country kitchen is the heart of any farmhouse and the place where, in days of old, a busy family would gather for chores like canning the garden’s bounty or shelling peas and shucking corn in preparation for the noon meal.