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Big News! We’re Buying An 1850s Dairy Barn Turned Farmhouse!

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Big News! We’re Buying An 1850s Dairy Barn Turned Farmhouse!

We've had a lot going on over the past few months and I've been waiting to share some big news for fear of jinxing things...but the time has come: We're buying an 1850s dairy barn turned farmhouse!

Wait, What??

This all happened in a bit of a whirlwind and I’m still sort of pinching myself. Here’s a quick overview of how this all came to be (and you can also find out a little about our home journey here)… 

We thought we would be New Yorkers forever and raise our kids in the city. When the pandemic hit, our kids were two-and-a-half (Lincoln) and four months (Bellamy). Like many New Yorkers with kids, we were facing the prospect of lockdowns in a tiny apartment with no childcare while attempting to work. And like many New Yorkers with family to turn to, turn we did. We spent six months in Atlanta, GA near my mom and eight months in Cary, NC with my dad. 

When we returned to Brooklyn after more than a year away, we decided to buy a little home in the country to have space of our own should we ever need it again. Enter, our Connecticut lake house. We love this house. In fact, we love it so much that after spending time here, we made the (emotional) decision to to sell our Brooklyn apartment and move here full time. Sounds great, right? It is! So, why are we moving??

When we bought our lake house house, we were most certainly not envisioning living here full time. We both work from home and we have two growing kids and two dogs. Despite how much we love this house, we often joke that we didn’t move out of Brooklyn to not know where to put coats and shoes (no mudroom or coat closet), food (no pantry), seasonal clothes (limited closet space), etc. Our kids share a room, and as much as I personally think they can share a room for much longer, my son really wants a space of his own. Additionally, when my dad retires he wants to spend solid portions of time with us, and our lake house starts to feel really full when guests are here for more than a few days.

All that said, we felt like we could do a couple more years in the lake house but we decided to start looking just to get a sense for the market and what we like, don’t like, must haves vs. nice to haves, etc. 

I’m Sure You Can Guess What Happened Next…

We stumbled upon an INCREDIBLE property. It’s an 1850s dairy barn (from a dairy farm that was run by women!) that was turned into a home in the mid-90s. It is warm and homey, quirky and fun, and has lots and lots of projects and potential.

Things escalated quickly from there. After vetting with family and friends, touring it with our contractor and architect, and doing some serious soul searching on what felt important for our family right now, we decided to jump on it. And that’s where we find ourselves today. Here’s a quick visual tour of some of the elements we love! 

The Farmhouse Exterior

The barn is deceptively large. From the front it doesn’t look like much space, but from the side it almost looks hulking! My daughter calls it the “red stretchy barn.” My son is really amused because he says our lake house looks bigger than it is from the outside whereas the barn looks smaller than it is from the outside. Size aside, it is really a super warm and inviting space, starting with the exterior. The current owner is a florist and the entire property exudes a happy energy that I think must be related to a love of plants.

Instillerie Barn turned Farmhouse
Instillerie Barn: Front of the farmhouse
Instillerie Barn turned Farmhouse
Instillerie Barn: Side of the farmhouse

The Farm (All 11 Acres!)

Honestly, most of our friends are just warning us how much work the property is going to be (womp, womp). We are admittedly out of our depths in terms of managing this much land, but we are so excited. There are apple trees, a small pond, what feels like an old Christmas tree farm, an above ground pool (because who doesn’t want one of those, lol), a weird old foundation from a previous barn, and more!

Instillerie Barn: Aerial view from above
Instillerie Barn: Aerial view from above
Instillerie Farm
Instillerie Farm

The Farmhouse Interior

The barn interior is so warm and inviting. It felt homey from the second we walked in. Now, of course there are many projects I want to tackle, some bathrooms and a kitchen to be updated eventually, but the overall bones and vibe of the home just feel RIGHT. 

Instillerie Barn turned Farmhouse: Entry
Instillerie Barn turned Farmhouse: Entry
Instillerie Barn turned Farmhouse: Kitchen

The Farmhouse Guest Cottage

The guest cottage is absolutely adorable and each of my parents (they’re divorced) is super excited to have a space of their own when they come visit.

Instillerie Barn Turned Farmhouse: Guest Cottage
Instillerie Barn: Guest Cottage

The Farmhouse Cabin

As soon as my dad retires I’ve dubbed this his project. This cabin is absolutely freaking adorable, but it’s also umm…sort of in disrepair. It’s deceptive from the front. The back side is gaping and the foundation is sinking. But I have a vision of this as an art studio or yoga space or some other fun, creative space.

Instillerie Barn: The Cabin
Instillerie Barn: The Cabin

The Sunlight

The orientation of the house is literally perfect. The front of the house faces east, the side of the house with all the windows faces south, and the back of the house faced west. The house gets gorgeous light all day long, and the sunsets behind the house are stunning. 

Instillerie Barn: Sunset View From The Future Great Room
Sunset View From The Future Great Room

The Projects

Somehow I don’t have a good picture of Project #1, but here is a screenshot from a video. This is the back third of the barn. It’s unfinished. Yep, we’re buying a house that has a gaping unfinished room. And the potential is HUGE. We’re going to turn it into a big great room with a fireplace and massive window looking out onto the aforementioned sunset. We are so excited. And just a little bit nervous. 

Instillerie Barn: Unfinished Great Room
Project #1: AKA The Unfinished Great Room

What Can You Expect?

I’ll be detailing our journey here on Instillerie. From managing the chaos of moving, to flipping our lake house into an Airbnb, to tackling projects at the barn, it’ll all be documented here. I’d love for you to follow along!

What Do You Think?

Any ideas or suggestions for us? Let me know in the comments.

xoxox, A

Images: William Pitt Sotheby’s Realty – Litchfield Brokerage

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Ashley Patterson