Chris & Erin’s Farmhouse Add-On

published Dec 15, 2011
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Name: Chris and Erin
Location: Carlisle, Massachusetts
Size: 680 square feet
Years lived in: only 4 months — rented

I’m used to getting crushes on the homes I photograph for Apartment Therapy. But this one? This home I WANT. It fits in so perfectly with my recent obsession with the idea of living in a smaller space.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Chris, a woodworker with his own shop, and Erin, a yoga instructor, massage therapist and writer with her own studio, scored this amazing rental on Craigslist. Their space was a long ago addition to one of the original farm houses in Carlisle, Massachusetts. And it doesn’t stop there. Beyond their space is yet another addition of a more barn-like structure. So their apartment is sandwiched between the original farmhouse and the barn, sharing interior walls with both.

This rustic, cozy two-floor home feels so much bigger than 680 square feet. But I covet more than just the scale and charm of the space: the bare wood ceiling in the living room; the sloped ceilings in the upstairs bedroom and office; that amazing spiral staircase; the wide plank hardwood living room floor, and the skinnier orange toned floors throughout the rest of the space which balance so beautifully with the nautical blue-themed artwork; the open floor plan on the first floor with a clearly loved step-up kitchen; all of the incredible custom furniture made by Chris; and the pared down aesthetic – it makes each object in the space really matter.

So, if you two ever decide to vacate, you know where to find me. But I might ask you to leave behind the credenza, the daybed, those amazing architectural drawings, and….

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Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Mid Century and Danish Modern with some surprises.

Inspiration: Pierre Chareau, Charles and Ray Eames, Poul Kjaerholm.

Favorite Element: The cast iron spiral staircase is the most interesting element inside, but the yard with its vegetable garden and miles of trails out the backdoor was the true selling point. We also really like the soap stone kitchen sink and the tiny antique cast iron tub.

Biggest Challenge: Downsizing our two apartments, 1200 and 550 sq/ft respectively into 680sq/ft. The one solitary closet has posed some clothes storage challenges.

What Friends Say: Guests are always surprised at how spacious the apartment feels given its square footage.

Biggest Embarrassment: We haven’t worked out our coat storage yet. At the moment our coats and jackets are hung on a rolling garment rack.

Proudest DIY: The daybed. We realized that neither of our couches were going to fit in the living space. We also needed a place for a guest to sleep. Chris designed and built a daybed with storage for linens under the mattress.

Biggest Indulgence: Yet to be made…we are waiting to find the perfect Selig lounge chair.

Best Advice: Combining our two apartments and possessions into a small space required us to only keep what we deemed useful or beautiful. We’ve tried to continue that philosophy.

Dream Sources: Reside in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Ralph Pucci in New York City.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Resources of Note:


    • daybed: made by Chris (homeowner)
    • museum cabinet: made by Chris
    • credenza: made by Chris
    • photos: taken by Erin and Chris
    • pillows: from Erin’s grandmother and Ikea


    • tabletop: made by Chris
    • table legs: Placewares (since closed)
    • chairs: Belini


    • coffee table: made by Chris
    • armoire: on loan from landlord
    • dresser: handed down from a friend


    • table: made by Chris
    • chart: NOAA

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Thanks, Chris and Erin!

Images: Kyle Freeman

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