tale of the un­ex­pected

Col­lab­o­rat­ing with her daugh­ter on the ren­o­va­tion of this 19th-cen­tury farm­house took Can­dace Karu out of her com­fort zone – and she is de­lighted with the re­sult

25 Beautiful Homes - - NEWS - Fea­ture RACHEL LEEDHAM | Photography JAMES SALOMON

A pared-back decor, ex­posed beams and a state­ment fire­place are per­fectly in keep­ing with this invit­ing farm­house in Maine

When Can­dace Karu asked her in­te­rior de­signer daugh­ter, Tyler, for help ren­o­vat­ing a farm­house near the ocean in Cape El­iz­a­beth, Maine, she ad­mits to be­ing a lit­tle ner­vous about a mother-daugh­ter col­lab­o­ra­tion. ‘Through­out Tyler’s child­hood, her fa­ther and I de­vel­oped res­i­den­tial prop­er­ties, so she grew up on our sites, but this was our first project to­gether,’ she ex­plains. ‘My style is ec­cen­tric and quirky whereas hers is spare and clean. I did won­der if we might clash!’

Can­dace need not have wor­ried. The quirky touches still abound but Tyler also coaxed her mother out of her com­fort zone – and Can­dace is de­lighted with the re­sult. ‘There are things in this house that I never would have cho­sen, and yet they are now some of my favourite features,’ she says.

The de­ci­sion to move to the farm­house was prompted by a need to down­scale: the

large home in which Tyler and her brother grew up had be­come too big for Can­dace and she wanted a prop­erty that re­quired less main­te­nance. What sold her on the farm­house was its lo­ca­tion: ‘It is in a beau­ti­ful spot, across the road from a large work­ing farm,’ she says.

The house had en­dured what Can­dace de­scribes as ‘gen­er­a­tions of bad restora­tions and ad­di­tions’, and so it re­quired a brave ap­proach. ‘I worked with ar­chi­tect Caleb John­son and he took the build­ing back to the

FAVOURITE ROOM ‘My kitchen is the heart and soul of this house. The is­land serves as my of­fice, prep space and din­ing area’

stud walls to re­turn to the orig­i­nal lay­out, al­beit with some mod­ern up­dates.’ One of th­ese changes is the kitchen, for­merly three small rooms that have been knocked to­gether. As a food writer, Can­dace of­ten cre­ates cook­ery videos, and so the vast is­land is an es­sen­tial fea­ture. ‘ We used quartz and tim­ber work­tops to des­ig­nate the prepa­ra­tion and eat­ing ar­eas,’ she says.

The much grander pro­por­tions of Can­dace’s for­mer house meant that most of her fur­ni­ture wouldn’t suit the farm­house, and she hosted a barn sale in or­der to pare back her pos­ses­sions. ‘I kept a lot of decorative pieces,’ she says. Some of her most trea­sured art­works are in the din­ing room, many of which are by her mother, Jean Pilk, a renowned por­trait artist.

There are sev­eral new items of fur­ni­ture that have been in­spired by the ori­gins of the house, such as the dis­tressed cup­board doors of the is­land unit and the steel-topped ta­ble, a mod­ern take on a farm-style tres­tle de­sign. There are also many nods to the nearby ocean: plates dec­o­rated with fish and pen­dant lights made from glass and rope.

This is a home that weaves to­gether trea­sured pieces, con­tem­po­rary de­signs and tra­di­tional ideas with a twist, and Can­dace has only praise for her daugh­ter’s in­put. ‘I credit Tyler with know­ing me well enough to recog­nise what would work for me – I think that’s the mark of a good de­signer.’

DIN­ING ROOM The walls are dec­o­rated with a col­lec­tion of ma­rine-themed plates, which ref­er­ence the nearby ocean, and a dis­play of portraits, most of which are by Can­dace’s mother, Jean Pilk. Richard Bram­ble sells a se­lec­tion of fish and shell­fish plates, from £9.95 each. Try globe rope pen­dant lights, £85 each, Unique’s Co at No­ton­the­high­street.com

KITCHEN An­tique beams sal­vaged from a re­mote barn jux­ta­pose strik­ingly with an in­dus­trial steel support. For a sim­i­lar kitchen, try the Clas­sic English Kitchen, price on re­quest, devol. Ch­erner stools in wal­nut, £865 each, The Con­ran Shop DI S T INCT IVE home truths

THE PROP­ERTY Farm­house, built in 1850 LO­CA­TION Cape El­iz­a­beth, Maine ROOMS Kitchen-diner, sit­ting room, din­ing room, of­fice, util­ity room, dog room, boot room, cloak­room, three bed­rooms (one en suite), bath­room PUR­CHASED 2014 PRE­VI­OUS PROP­ERTY ‘Be­fore I bought this farm­house, I lived in a six-bed­room prop­erty by the ocean,’ says Can­dace.

SIT­TING ROOM A fire­place sur­round made with stones col­lected from the beach in front of Can­dace’s for­mer home forms an ar­rest­ing fea­ture. Wal­log­ra­phy sells vin­tage wall charts, from £65 each. For a sim­i­lar chair, try the Flump, from £745, Loaf

MAS­TER BED­ROOM A strik­ing metal bed flanked by a pair of brass pen­dants sets the tone in this eclec­tic space. Sama lights, from £90 each, Moroc­can bazaar, have the look of th­ese

CLOAK­ROOM Warm me­tals and pat­terned wall­pa­per add a lux­u­ri­ous touch. Double-walled cop­per basin, £ 450, Cop­per­field baths, is com­pa­ra­ble

BATH­ROOM An old Vic­to­rian dresser proves a quirky van­ity unit. For sim­i­lar hexag­o­nal tiles, try glass Source in grappa, £90sq m, So­lus Ceram­ics

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