Stephen & Todd's Fantastic Mr. Farmhouse

Stephen & Todd's Fantastic Mr. Farmhouse

Geoff Bentz
Feb 10, 2010

Name: Stephen Ellwood and Todd Carr
Location: Cornwallville, New York
Size: 1,600 square feet
Years lived in:

To Stephen and Todd this 1900 fieldstone farmhouse is not a labor of love — it's just pure love. Sure they have doors that lead to nowhere, but they also have a wood burning stove, an outdoor tub and a barn for a pottery studio. Not to mention an incredibly cute Brussels Griffon named Vernon.

STEPHEN: Todd and I found the house about 2 years ago (after looking for about 5 years) and have been living there part-time for a year and a half. Luckily, the previous resident of 36 years removed any of the bad updates from the life of the house — dropped ceiling in the library, asphalt shingles on the exterior walls. All we needed to do is white wash the entire inside, remove wallpaper, re-skim the plaster walls, and strip off the layers on top of the pine and oak floorboards. We spend the summers expanding the perennial gardens around the property, and Todd sets up his ceramic studio/shop in the barn. Plans for this spring: building the long awaited vegetable garden and setting up the beehives.

For more information about the Cornwallville area check out Stephen's blog The Cornwallville Observatory.
And if you're interested in some of the pottery thrown in the barn visit Todd's blog, Cornwallville Pottery.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our style: Rustic and warm minimalism. Botanical. Natural / authentic (there are things in the house that we do not need to improve upon: the stone, the simplicity of the plaster work, the dark oak floors).

Inspiration: Abandoned buildings, gentleman farmers, moss laden woodlands, the Catskills, 19th century photography, our apartment in Greenpoint (a cottage in the city), Casa Vogue, meadows, the industrial revolution, the Outer Hebrides, Edmund De Waal, Howard's End (the book and the film), Noel Kingsbury (British gardener), John Burroughs (19th C. naturalist), the Shakers.

Favorite Element: The natural light that streams into the south facing rooms, the stone, the deep-set window sills, the homemade folk art stair railing, the copper-lined bathtub, the previous owner's wonderful stories about the house and property, our antique apple tree, the screened-in veranda, the wood burning stove during winter, our hideaway dormer bedroom with its own little staircase.

Biggest Challenge: Learning how to maintain a hundred year old stone farmhouse. Keeping the house warm in winter. Negotiating the lack of storage throughout.

What Friends Say: Magical, amazing, comforting…dreamlike…no one wants to leave!

Biggest Embarrassment: The storage mess that is inside the attached turkey coop (soon to be finished off this spring).

Proudest DIY: Removing the layers of linoleum, carpet, tar paper, and sub flooring to get to the original pine plank floors. The endless project of creating and tending to the perennial gardens.

Dream source: Wyeth (NYC); Les Touilleurs (Kitchen goods, Montreal); Rural Residence (Hudson, NY); Brimfield Market.

I.U. Tripp & Co. (Oak Hill, New York); Schoharie, New York Antique Show; Bouckville, New York Antique Market; Brimfield Market (Brimfield, Massachusetts); Henry (Hudson, New York)

Thanks, Stephen and Todd!

Images: Stephen Ellwood

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