Text by Elizabeth Czapski
Situated amongst the rolling hills of bucolic Brenham, Texas, a beautiful farm found its way back to a Houston couple whose family had owned it from 1968 to 1999. The current homeowners were high school sweethearts when the husband’s parents purchased it, and they helped restore a 1920s farmhouse on the property that they continued to use after discovering the land on the market and buying it in 2015. The country escape quickly became a place where longhorn cattle, horses, donkeys, deer, and more kept company with a revolving rotation of visitors. After a few years, it was clear they needed more space, so the couple built a new farmhouse centered around entertaining with French-country character that elevates the interiors but keeps them big family- and farm living-friendly.
“They’re empty nesters with three children and grandchildren, and when everybody gets up there and piles in, [the original home] was just getting too tight,” says interior designer Lindsey Herod, who was brought onto the project at the beginning architectural stage. “They love to host large gatherings, and this home is designed for just that. They wanted it to feel like a country house but have a lot of personality and interesting textiles and colors. We really had to think about each space from top to bottom.”
This top-to-bottom approach took shape in a variety of structural features that help instill a rustic French-inspired aesthetic at the foundational level with elements that span lofty vaulted ceilings with exposed beams and shiplap to artfully painted and papered walls, as well as an accent wall and ceiling made of weathered wood panels salvaged from a barn that was torn down to build the house.
“We wanted each room to be unique, so we just had fun with it and really let our creative juices flow,” Lindsey says of the sprawling great room area, eight bedrooms, and more. “We wanted a bit of country charm, so we pulled in some shiplap, but there are places where you get a break from that. We tried to be unique in the wall and ceiling treatments and not sweep the same thing through the whole house.”
When it came to furnishings and décor, the team drew vision from both the stunning setting and guest-centric goals. “The homeowners love wildflowers and the Texas landscape, so a lot of those colors were a big inspiration—really, our inspiration was the outside,” Lindsey says of the motif that started with a pair of floral chairs in the living room and continued in accents like the hand-painted wildflower mural in the primary bathroom and a more subtle grisaille illustration of the farm on the powder room walls.
Beyond the vibrant bloom-inspired pops, the majority of the main living space bears subdued neutral and blue hues across several conversation areas and a custom 14-foot reclaimed wood dining table.
The bedrooms, however, took on their own color stories in an effort to make a stay in each of the five rooms with en suite bathrooms, as well as the bunk rooms, a distinctive experience—especially when incorporated with diverse architectural features. “They wanted each bedroom to really feel like its own special suite,” Lindsey says. “We tried to mix up each space and not repeat any ideas. Each room welcomes you in a different way.”
Lindsey was able to bring an authentic touch to the French-country look with a treasure trove of antique finds, such as a French light fixture in the entryway that gives a nod to the farm with its wheat-like appearance and a 19th-century French chaise longue in the primary bedroom. “With it being a newer farmhouse, we still wanted it to have some charm and age, so antiques were an important component in the design,” she says.
Throughout the abode, there is a practiced blend of classic pieces along with contemporary inclusions that ensure the comfort and convenience desired in a vacation home. Durability was also a key factor in decisions that ranged from performance fabrics to quartzite countertops in the kitchen. “Everything can withstand dirt and hold up to lots of kiddos and big groups,” Lindsey says. “You don’t have to stress—it’s easy country living.”
And that is ultimately what is at the heart of this design—a tranquil respite where family can gather and forget their day-to-day troubles. “Even though it’s a large house, it feels cozy,” Lindsey says. “You want to kick your feet up and stay for a long time. That’s what you want in a country house—in a getaway. You want to walk in and feel immediately at home.”