My Houzz: Jennifer and Dick Lanne
Upon moving in, the Lanne’s had to do quite an extensive amount of work to the home including adding a new foundation, roofing, septic, furnace, appliances and electrical. Being very handy and talented, Jen and Dick were able to complete most of these tasks on their own. The end result of their labor of love is a space filled with color, layers of collections, decorative pillows and a mix of old and new pieces, all dabbled with Jen’s unique and beautiful artwork.
A favorite feature of the living room for the Lanne’s is the abundance of warmth and light it receives from facing South. Upon moving in, the rooms were painted a sunny yellow color that didn’t suit their tastes. Jen painted this living room a muted sage green, however that suddenly made the room feel too cold. “I decided I needed a warmer tone back”, says Jen, “I ended up hand mixing my own paint until I got just the right color. It’s somewhere between yellow, green and gold.”The pieces in this room were acquired in dribs and drabs from various places such as local antique shows and flea markets. For example, the chair to the right was a project somebody had started and never finished, Jen loves the stripped down, deconstructed quality. Other pieces, such as the wooden vice on the coffee table, were found in the barn. “I cleaned it up, oiled it and set it on its side”, says Jen, “I love it for its lines. Old tools have such sculptural quality.” Some pieces in this room are also new, like the chandelier. “I’m not a purist in period decor”, says Jen, “Some new pieces pair nicely with old pieces. There’s something about hoity-toity Victorian and beat up pieces that I love together.”...
At the main entrance of the house, Jen and Dick line their boots up right inside the door. Their home was built in 1782 by a Scottish man named Angus McDearmid who had been given 3 days to leave Scotland for pulling an earl off his horse who trampled through his wheat. The home itself was slightly smaller at the time and quite possibly had just a ladder to a loft. “It’s hard to say, but we believe the modern day kitchen may have been an attached barn where animals were kept. It had, at some point, been used as a Cobbler’s workshop as we have an old ledger with dates from as early as 1817”, explains Jen.The Cobbler’s Ledger is preserved in a shadowbox hung above the cabinet at the main entrance.
In the family room, the fireplace is central and a favorite feature of the Lanne’s. They use their fireplace all winter long, making the space extra cozy. Jen acquired the Ironstone pitchers on the mantle, piece by piece, from barn sales, flea markets and antique shops. “I love things in mass”, Jen explains, “It makes so much more of an impact, plus the form of the pitchers in white is so lovely!”The bovine painting above the fireplace is one of Jen’s pieces and is one of the first paintings she created when her and Dick moved in. The shadow boxes on the walls were collected from artist, Kitty Babendreier. She places found objects in a framed box, giving them importance.
The bench in the family room was an old railroad bench that Jen and Dick had purchased from an ad in the newspaper. It is dressed in a collection of Jen’s pillows that she purchased at various places, some newer and some vintage. “I love to mass things in similar color tones for more impact”, says Jen, “The tins behind the bench help keep the room from being too ‘girly’ with all the pillows.”
The laundry room is in the center of the home, making it very convenient. The Lanne’s added modern, gray, front load appliances as they are quite visible and wanted a nice look. Originally there were open shelves for storage when the couple moved in. They liked the look, however Jen wanted a cupboard to ‘stash stuff’ so her and Dick cut out a section of the shelves and added this green antique cabinet with doors. It was already the perfect color that matches well with the space.
In the kitchen, guests are seated in vintage stools around the dining table. “Much like pillows”, says Jen, “I love old stools. They’re so easy to move about and I love the form.” Jen also loves the tongue in cheek of random old signs as they immediately take away from any seriousness in a room and make it more playful. She has incorporated them into her kitchen and dining area. The shadowbox hanging on the wall with antique silverware inside is another Kitty Babendreier piece. The old blue milk glass on the table is a favorite of Jens, “I never use the set as I’m afraid of breaking it, but it’s the perfect shade of robins egg blue.”
“The kitchen is a bit of a hodge-podge”, explains Jen, “It’s not the most efficient kitchen, but I love all the nooks and crannies.” A previous owner in the last few decades added an abundance of built-ins, cubbies and shelving. The Lanne’s suggest that they were possibly trying to hide wires and plumbing. Despite the quirkiness of their kitchen, they feel it added much character to the space and couldn’t be happier with it. The open shelving allows Jen to house and showcase her collections.
The flooring in the kitchen has the look of real barn wood but is actually tile that Jen stumbled upon in Lowe’s. “It’s incredible how it looks like real wood”, she explains, “It could pass in a rustic farm house and even has a modern appeal.”Above the sink, more vintage signs are displayed, making a statement with their bold graphics. Jen painted the sink base a faded black, then brushed it with silver paint to add a more industrial feel to the area.
The Lanne’s also made some additional changes to the kitchen when they moved in. There was an old wood cook stove that had to be removed as it was no longer in working order. They added textured wallpaper to the ceiling, giving it a ‘tin’ effect and Jen wallpapered the walls with a floral pattern to add an even more vintage feel to the space. The Lanne’s are also in the process of replacing the white tile that is underneath the dining table.
Ellie, the Lanne’s rescue cat, sits atop their bed. They love this room for its view of the barn and beautiful morning light. The bedding is a mix of vintage pieces as well as a few Pottery Barn pieces. Jen made the headboard by wrapping a canvas she painted around their existing wooden headboard. She has several different canvases that she can switch out when she needs a new look. The pillow to the left is also hand painted by Jen. She paints, distresses and waxes the surface, making a decorative yet durable pillow for display.
An abundance of green, blue and purple items fill up the room that the Lanne’s refer to as their ‘spare room’. Pieces in this space come from various antique stores and flea markets, including the Brimfield Antique Show, that Jen attends 3 times a year. She is also a fan of handmade items, “I love anything handmade. I am fortunate to have many friends that are artists and I own alot of their work. It makes me happy to know someone made something.”
Next to the barn is Dick’s blacksmith workshop (exterior pictured here, interior pictured in next two photographs). He learned blacksmithing many years ago and has acquired his old tools of the trade over time; Some were collected and some were gifted. Dick is a practical blacksmith, meaning he mends items and fabricates pieces they need for around the house and barn. On occasion he will make something decorative.
The Lanne’s pygmy goat, Pumpkin, has been their pet for a long time. Jen describes her as “A sweet yet naughty creature, that loves to get into everything!”
Dick is a present boyscout and saves each of their Betsy Ross flags that last for about a year on their flagpole before getting wind-whipped and replaced. He displays each one in this section of their barn. The Lanne’s had to go through a lot of gutting and trashing in the barn to get it where it is today. “I love that it’s so old”, says Jen, “the hand-hewn beams are a marvel, as well as the whole construction they completed in a time where they didn’t have our modern machines. It’s mind blowing!”
The barn needed a lot of TLC, physically and aesthetically. Jen and Dick added all of the stonework, walls and floors. “The trick was making it look old, which being amateurs at stonework made it easy!”, says Jen. Jen’s studio is also located in a section of the barn. “I love that it’s in the barn”, explains Jen. “It’s separate from the house and I pretty much paint daily. I have the best view from my windows. I can see the animals and back yard…it’s so peaceful and quiet.” Pictured here at the entrance of the barn is one of Jen’s large canvas tarp paintings.
In Jen’s studio (pictured in this photo and next two), she filled the space with usable yet decorative pieces. Her and Dick newly constructed this room with sheetrock and in order to take the ‘new’ edge off she brought in old cupboards and other vintage furniture pieces. Jen also painted and distressed the floor in this black and white tiled pattern. Fun old farm signs and tools tie in nicely with her bright floral paintings.
Groupings of Jen’s work are found throughout the space (pictured in this photo and next).
In this second studio space (pictured in this photo and next) is a display of Jen’s large canvas tarp paintings. “They have endless decorating possibilities…headboards, over a sofa, room dividers…definitely a statement piece that’s less formal with a painterly feel”, explains Jen. She is currently working on a large order of them for a furniture store.
“I paint almost every day. It’s my passion. I am inspired by vintage art, naive and accomplished painters. Inspired by color, design and my surroundings”, says Jen,“I am currently working on a product line of tableware and soft goods for a major furniture company. They will carry my origainl tarp paintings as well for Spring 2015.”To view more of Jen’s work visit her website.
The Lanne’s have 15 chickens that live in the coop pictured above. Originally the buildings were dressed in a bright red color. Upon moving in, the Lanne’s painted the home and barn Olive Branch to lessen the Colonial feel and incorporate more of a farmhouse look. They also built pergolas, uprooted grapevines and replanted them to grow on the arbors.
Pictured here is one of the barn entrances. A lot of the bottom boards in the barn and sills were rotting so the Lanne’s had to cut out the bottom 4-5 feet of each wall, add exposed beams from reclaimed wood and used waist high stone work in place of siding. This was a permanent fix that kept it from any further decomposing. “Dick and I are proud to say we have done just about all the work here ourselves, just the two of us (except for the septic/electric)”, explains Jen, “I can say I pressed every stone together that you see on the barn as Dick mixed the mortar, I’ve hung and dangled off every ladder and roof top here. We have done our best to preserve the history, as well as sustain it. We feel that like all the previous owners, we have left our mark here. It has been a labor of love”