Along a country road in rural Woodstock, two former city-dwellers have put their own personal touch on a rustic property, living a dream they are creating as they go.
Nearly eighteen months ago, Josh and Carla Summers lived in the middle of suburbia in North Barrington. Their home was located in a gated community with a small yard and plenty of neighbors. But life soon changed for the Summers when Carla received an email from her husband, featuring a real estate listing for a farm in Woodstock, Illinois.
Just thirty minutes outside of Lake Geneva, the property was a little more rural than Carla, who did not grow up in the country, would have liked. Still, she agreed to take a visit with her husband.
The self-proclaimed city girl fell in love with the property once she saw the barn that was full of potential and located just steps from the main house. “I’m a lawyer, and I work from home. If I was able to use this amazing barn space as my office, I thought I could compromise. Josh got the country life he wanted, and I could have this beautiful home office and a modern farmhouse,” Carla says.
When they purchased the property, the home had a more traditional feel with a touch of contemporary edge, but Carla used her decorating flair and brought a different feel to the entire estate, creating a modern farmhouse. The couple, their daughter Sarah, and their French Bulldog Figaro call this farmhouse home. “We took the space and made it our own,” Carla explains.
The office that had won Carla’s heart is free of clutter, spacious, and filled with a palette of grey, white and brown. Burlap, white flowers, chalkboard accents, and rustic décor create a diversion from the essential work computers.
Across the gravel drive, Carla has seamlessly woven the same neutral palette and calm ambiance from one end of the sprawling home to the other, creating an airy yet welcoming atmosphere.
“I want people to feel comfortable and at home when they’re here and to feel like the outdoor flow into the home itself, like one continuous space”
The entryway of the home boasts high ceilings with white board and batten walls accented with a white and black staircase leading to the second floor. Decorative pieces line the walls, with white frames sketched with chalkboard writing, crisp streamlined vases, rustic wrought iron baskets, touches of greenery, burlap, and rustic metal signs.
The bright kitchen is filled with a large collection of all-white Rae Dunn Pottery, wooden kitchen utensils and, again, a neutral color palette. Aprons hanging on the display cabinet, window embellishments, and a few decorative items placed in selective locations, create a homey, seasonal effect. The refrigerator and freezer remain hidden behind white wooden doors that replicate the rest of the kitchen cabinets. The gorgeous farmhouse table seats ten in the dining room, and features a centerpiece created with a bed of greenery and white accents, bringing in the colors of the season from beyond the French doors that open to the patio.
“I’m eclectic, but I’m selective. If I find something, I know exactly where it will go. Like this,” she says, pointing to the metal trough upcycled with white flowers and pale green leaves.[metaslider id=”2455″]
The library, with its floor-to-ceiling, white, built-in bookshelves shares a double-sided fireplace with a multipurpose room that currently houses a project area and telescope. Josh hopes to one day have an observatory on the property.
Upstairs, the bedrooms are small but charming, in typical farmhouse fashion. With help from IKEA and Hobby Lobby, Carla has created an air of effortless luxury with a bed-and-breakfast flair, while still remaining within her budget.
The two-story home was built in segments, as Carla explains, and there were some features that seemed haphazard, but that didn’t stop the Summers from using those features to their advantage and crafting the home in a stunning and simple way.
“This long hallway with windows lining one wall and glass doors that lead to nowhere is a little different, but I knew exactly what I would do with it,” Carla says. The hallway connects the main living area to the mudroom and garage. Carla has lined the solid wall with images of their daughter Sarah.
Above the garage, Carla stores her off-season décor. “I love the seasons, and this house has been so fun to decorate,” she says. “I try to keep the same neutral palette, but, for example, in the fall, I bring in white pumpkins, or I change out the accent pieces.”[metaslider id=”2459″]
The Summers farmhouse as well as the surrounding area has won them over. “We love being in the country and having the privacy and quiet, while still being a short drive from the beautiful city,” Carla says of Woodstock. “And, while we do sometimes travel back to the places that were familiar to us, we love to explore. We are thirty minutes from Lake Geneva. The very idea that we are that close to Wisconsin is exciting and we can’t wait to explore more in the future,” she explained as she peered out one of the plentiful large glass French doors and looked out onto the wooded property.
With five acres, a barn, and farmhouse, the property has become home and the Summers have taken the old and made it new with a fresh, vibrant, serene, and livable space suited to their lifestyle.
“I wake up every day and I feel like we belong here. This was my husband’s dream, and I made it mine as well, and we’ve never been happier,” Carla concludes.
Get a glimpse of the Summers’ home on their Instagram page, which features their charming farmhouse and décor.
By: Tricia Carzoli
Photography by: Matt Haas