When we contemplate the sweetness and beauty of a farmhouse, we often forget the realities of life on the farm a hundred years ago. It’s easy to forget that the restroom was an outhouse and the gas stove was burning wood and creating smoke. Today we attempt to preserve or create the beauty of old, patinated wood beams, real rock fireplaces, wide plank wood floors and detailed woodwork, and incorporate the ease of living we have become accustomed to. We want the delightful but not the decrepit. We yearn for the simple beauty but not the inconvenient.

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Several hundred years ago, the beautiful Dutch door was created to allow the breezes to come in during the summer because there was no air conditioning and the pigs, chickens and cows had to be kept out of the living room. Today a Dutch door just feels charming because it allows a little of the outside in. It’s a point of beauty and connection to the natural world and a craftsman’s handiwork.

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When we create our home, we set the distance we will travel back to that simpler, more natural time. Do we want to live in a real farmhouse built in 1850 and allow the history, the authenticity and the craftsmanship to completely surround us? Maybe there aren’t double sinks in the master bathroom because there is only one bathroom used by everyone. Maybe there is no central air conditioning or sewer system or water meter, only a septic tank, a well and a fan. Do we build a farmhouse from scratch or renovate an authentic one? Do we incorporate a few farmhouse pieces to add a bit of charm to a more modern home?

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However far we decide to go, we seem to yearn for that simpler time, that more connected place and that sweetness of pure water, garden vegetables and the handmade quilt that graces the bed. That sweetness is so precious.

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