Kate & Nick's Back-to-the-Land Vermont Home (and Yurt!)

Kate & Nick's Back-to-the-Land Vermont Home (and Yurt!)

Emily Billings
Oct 19, 2016

Name: Kate Maclean, Nick Zigelbaum, and their son, Leland
Location: Longest Acres Farm; Chelsea, Vermont
Size: 120 Acres with a 1-bedroom home and yurt
Years lived in: 2 years; Owned

There is something magical about Longest Acres Farm. You can sense it long before you set foot in Kate and Nick's home, as you climb along windy country roads to an address even a GPS can't place. Eventually, you reach an incredible clearing in the woods, nestled within 120 acres of Vermont hillsides. This is where Kate and Nick landed after leaving behind their corporate lives in San Francisco to take on a new life of farming and parenting. (And Airbnb hosting which they've just begun doing in their guesthouse.) Between working on the farm and raising their darling son, Leland, Kate also blogs, reflecting on the hardship and richness of their back-to-the-land life.

I first "met" Kate MacLean through Instagram and finally had the opportunity to travel to Longest Acres Farm with a mutual friend. Relaxed and airy, their earthy farmhouse revolves around comfort and family. Heirlooms and keepsakes take center stage, making for a house full of tales of adventures, sentimental hand-me-downs, and rustic salvaged finds. Kate and Nick's hands can be seen throughout, as collectors, makers, up-cyclers, and storytellers. Together, they've created a home that is cozy, and lovingly cultivated. Kate and Nick are truly some of the most kind-hearted people I have had the pleasure of meeting, and their home is a spitting image of their nature. Natural materials and fibers all in neutral colors keep the space warm and inviting to both humans and animals alike. Outside, little Leland is free to run barefoot amongst the dramatic 200-year-old maple grove, ancient apple trees, pond, grazing Icelandic sheep, and the beautiful architecture of their timber frame barn.

Kate and Nick are currently building an addition onto their home, in the same style as their timber frame barn, that will expand their living and sleeping areas. The building process is methodical and masterful, with hopes for it to be enclosed before the first snowfall. While their current space can adapt to social situations, a dedicated space for their many dinner parties spent feasting on food grown from their land sounds perfect. And now knowing Kate and Nick, it will be just that: perfect.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Comfortable.

Inspiration: Back-to-the-lander homes in Vermont.

Favorite Element: The fireplace, even though we never use it. So elegant and yet so inefficient. The workhorse that is the wood stove next to it carries us through the winters, but I love the rare rainy-day lunch when we sit by the fireplace and warm up.

Biggest Challenge: Making one room fit four roles: kitchen, dining room, living room, and guest room.

What Friends Say: Why would a farmer buy a white couch?

Biggest Embarrassment: The dankness and clutter of the basement.

Proudest DIY: The coat closet turned pantry.

Biggest Indulgence: The six burner stove, though we found it on deep discount as a floor model in a kitchen store.

Best Advice: Declutter...... or at the very least, hide everything you don't use in the basement.

Dream Sources: New, unused furniture that I don't have to fix up or paint..... but what would be the fun in that?



  • Rug: thrifted
  • Coat rack: thrifted
  • Raven painting: Fiona Lee MacLean
  • Bench: salvaged
  • Couch: thrifted, cushions replaced
  • Throws: Coyuchi


  • Table: salvaged and rebuilt by our neighbor
  • Chairs: from Kate's childhood kitchen table



  • Pillow cases/duvet: Restoration Hardware
  • Blanket: family heirloom
  • Bed: handmade by Nick
  • Dresser: Vermont Wood Furniture


  • Boat bassinet: made by Kate's father
  • Pie chest turned toddler armoire: thrifted
  • Bookcase: thrifted
  • Boxes: thrifted

Thanks, Kate, Nick, Leland, and all of the other 2- and 4-legged residents of Longest Acres Farm!

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