2 Cats, 2 Dogs, and 200,000 Bees Call This Farmhouse Home
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Name: Sarah B. Gilliam, husband, kids, pets
Location: Santa Fe, Tennessee
Size: 2,100 square feet (Includes basement)
Years lived in: 2 years, owned
We found our bit of land in 2015 after looking for almost our entire marriage. We knew we wanted to simplify our lives as well as downsize our lives. We built a small home on about 12 acres in rural, middle Tennessee, and moved in the spring of 2016.
Our goal as a family is to one day live a subsistence lifestyle. We heat with wood, are working to bring spring water into our home, and garden and want to eventually establish solar. We also offer workshops to the public to help keep us on our farm and at home with our children as much as possible when we aren’t away enjoying a good hike or a view of the ocean.
We have a few chickens, keep bees, and have about two acres of wildflowers I have started selling at a little stand on our town square. My husband hand splits firewood and sells it for people who heat or cook with wood. We love hearing good music, eating great food, and the company of friends and family. We enjoy opening our home and farm to let others experience what we love most about this place.
Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: IKEA meets the shire.
What is your favorite room and why? Kitchen/living. It is bright and vaulted with sweet vignettes of all my favorite things about the farm—grove of trees, the view of the bird feeders, the kids’ playhouse, and our long driveway from the kitchen sink. It is the center of our home for sure. We entertain a lot, and my husband does all the cooking, so it was pretty neat for him to be able to create a space for that.
What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? We found some old choir loft chairs (some hymnal/communion cup side cubbies included) for around the kitchen table—they are velour and my favorite shade of mustard/gold, and they help bring our color palette together—yellows, reds, black, and whites.
Any advice for creating a home you love? Don’t rush it. We have been super slow to add things to our walls. Our entire home is still white because well, a) I like it and b) we are still in the honeymoon phase. My husband found a sweet quote by William Morris: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” This idea really complemented our desire to minimize and downsize, and became sort of a mantra.
On that note, John Prine’s “Spanish Pipedream” has always been playing in our heads. I recommend a listen if you are unfamiliar so that you have a little more insight into how we got to this place in our lives.
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