Urban Farmhouse


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Written by Rosalind Fournier  // Photography by Edward Badham

Attracted to the feel of the neighborhood and wanting their child to attend Homewood schools, Katie and Eric Craig began looking for a house in Homewood almost as soon as they found out they were pregnant with their son, Ritter. Then they ran into a classic Homewood dilemma: most of the older homes, while charming, would require extensive remodeling for the Craigs to get all the features they wanted, pushing the combined purchase and renovation costs over their budget. Homes that already fit their needs sold so fast, “We would make offers, and by then they had sold—the turnover is just so fast,” Katie remembers. “We got to a point where I felt like we were never going to find anything.”

_ebv6897Instead, the Craigs found their answer in an empty lot right in the middle of of Edgewood. They could build exactly what they wanted, giving them the best of both worlds. “We had a blank slate,” Katie says.

Given the opportunity that presented, they mulled over the possibilities. Katie spent much of her childhood in the countryside in Clanton and had a passion for old farmhouses, so she knew she wanted a house with a farmhouse vibe and a big, wraparound porch. It was also important to both of them that the house look original to the area—not like a new house stuck in the middle of a classic neighborhood. “We didn’t want people to look at it and assume it was new construction,” Katie says. “We wanted it to have elements to make it feel like it could be a house original to the area.”

_ebv7016Working with Willow Homes, the Craigs made a long list of what they did—and didn’t—want. The footprint includes four bedrooms, three-and-a-half baths, a living room, an upstairs den, a playroom/office downstairs, and a small office upstairs. The downstairs features an open floor plan, which is great for entertaining, and a spacious back porch—a favorite spot for gathering or relaxing.

Then there were countless details to be decided. All things trendy were on the “no” list, but the “yes” list was a specific compilation of traits they felt would make their new home livable and welcoming, with clean lines and details that reflect their lives and personalities. For starters, Katie wanted a subtle but inviting palette, settling on Repose Gray for the walls and White Dove for all the trim and cabinets—neutral alternatives to a basic beige. For the flooring, the Craigs had considered using reclaimed wood but discovered a less cost-prohibitive alternative in number 2 common white oak. “It uses short boards and contains more imperfections and color variations,” she says, “creating more movement and contrast in the look. We did no stain—just a clear coating—and we love the way it turned out.”

_ebv6959In the kitchen, they chose marble for the countertops, but for the island Katie was even more specific. “I really wanted a butcher’s block counter,” she explains. “I’m a huge cook, and I hate cutting boards. I wanted a huge area where I could slice and dice, and then I have a built-in trash chute in the counter, so I just slide my scraps right into the hole and they go down in the garbage.”

Furnishing the house, the Craigs emphasized comfort and simplicity and found much of what they wanted looking no farther than IKEA. That allowed them to focus a lot of attention on a handful of truly special pieces, including an authentic farmhouse table handcrafted by a high school friend of Katie’s—Jody Griffin of Griffin Custom Woodworks—who built it using 150-year-old heart pine reclaimed from a house in Clanton. “It’s a one-of-a-kind piece, and it has a lot of sentimental value,” Katie says. “He also built the matching bench, and he built our master-bed headboard from reclaimed barn wood from a barn in Clanton.”

_ebv7207-2That’s partly how Katie became so interested in wood itself—all the different types, their unique properties, subtle qualities and history. So when the conversation turned to the family’s signature front porch, she knew concrete was not going to cut it. “I was adamant that you cannot have a farmhouse without a wood porch,” she says. “That really sets the tone, and it turned out absolutely beautifully. You walk up on it, and your shoes or boots echo off of it. … Growing up in the country and sitting on a lot of wood porches, it just felt like what I had to have. I love everything about it.

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One Response to “Urban Farmhouse”

  1. Scott Vines says:

    Beautiful home, warm and open yet looks very comfortable and elegant at the same time.

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