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Design Ideas
A Reinvented Farmhouse
An outdated farmhouse gets revitalized for hosting, with a fresh makeover using reclaimed finds and plenty of cottage whites.
Nestled on 40 acres of a working fruit farm in California’s Temecula wine country, Owl Creek Farm and its reinvented farmhouse has a lot to offer visiting guests. Groves of pomegranate trees, blackberry bushes and lavender thrive, creating an aromatic countryside. The fruits get harvested regularly and turned into essential oils, juices and jams. The farm... Keep Scrolling
Written by JICKIE TORRES
Photography by BRET GUM
Styling by SYLVIA ASMUSSEN


Nestled on 40 acres of a working fruit farm in California’s Temecula wine country, Owl Creek Farm and its reinvented farmhouse has a lot to offer visiting guests. Groves of pomegranate trees, blackberry bushes and lavender thrive, creating an aromatic countryside. The fruits get harvested regularly and turned into essential oils, juices and jams. The farm also hosts weddings on the idyllic grounds. Often the best spot is under the old oak tree with massive limbs that drape down onto the ground.

A custom designed farmhouse painted a shade of eggshell blue surrounded by a lovely garden and a white picket fence.
HOME IN THE COUNTRY. A white picket fence pops perfectly against the blue house for a façade that’s full of bucolic charm.

While the landscape is everything you’d want it to be, the home on the property hasn’t always been. The Casler family owns the farm and wanted to be able to use the home as a place for large family gatherings and for hosting out-of-town visitors. But they also wanted it to be used by couples for their wedding as a place to get ready, stay the night and enjoy celebrating their big day.

Beautiful French doors leading into the house from the porch. Ornate wooden chairs for a small seating area surrounded by basket and metallic planters.
COMFY CORNERS. The large wraparound porch offers ample areas for seating. Sylvia mixes eclectic flea-market finds with farmhouse crates and buckets, for a look that’s layered and cozy.

Cue Sylvia Asmussen, the proprietress of Madam Palooza, a wedding rentals and event styling company. She’s an expert at knowing how to create stunning spaces for celebration and imbuing a design with vintage vavoom.

PICTURE PERFECT

“It was a total blank canvas,” Sylvia says of her starting point for the redesign. The home was both a rental space for weddings and a family home during the off-season. So the design needed to be special and one-of a-kind, yet also a flexible backdrop for many styles.

Vaulted exposed wood ceilings in an all white room with covered sofas. Large windmill pieces mounted on the wall and a bold, black farmhouse coffee table.
FARM FINDS. Sylvia blended classic cottage furnishings with a few vintage treasures to create the modern farmhouse vibe.

“The inspiration for the main room was the natural light and making sure the light came in. And I did not want to have a color that would interfere with bridesmaid dresses or anything else. I wanted it to be a neutral palette, so that when the photographer takes pictures, the colors would be with the girls.”

White wall serves as a canvas for a large rustic piece of art with 2 baskets sitting below. The fireplace is bordered with reclaimed wood and topped with candles and fresh flowers.
COLOR CODED. Sylvia’s color choices were made with photography in mind. “I kept it white and gray with different tonal grays in the living room because so much photography takes place there,” she says. “It’s the bride with her dress on, so makeup lighting has to be good.”

MODERN REINVENTED FARMHOUSE

The vision for the décor was an organic mix of Sylvia’s special talents for finding statement-making vintage pieces and for building toward a fresh, modern feel that would appeal to young couples.

The antique bus station signs from London flank a massive windmill segment that Sylvia hung on the large focal wall and create a rustic yet modern vibe

Antique London bus station signs frame the aluminum windmill segment that is the focal point on a large wall.
Windmill Flare Antique London bus station signs frame one of the room’s big showstoppers: the aluminum windmill segment.

The antique bus station signs from London flank a massive windmill segment that Sylvia hung on the large focal wall and create a rustic yet modern vibe, thanks to a combination of weathered black textures and industrial steel. White slipcovered sofas are a smart choice because they offer a chic, serene look and are easy to wash and maintain.

Modern hair-pinned leg barstools sitting at a rustic indoor bar. The bar is covered in white reclaimed shiplap and the accent wall behind it is also made of darker reclaimed wood pieces.
GRAB A DRINK. Sylvia and her team updated this bar area with reclaimed wood giving it a more fun, modern feel. Cowhide barstools with midcentury legs add modern country charm.

The rest of the look comes together with a collection of art and accessories that draws on natural materials mixed with sleek and shiny metals for a luxe look.

An all white, rustic style bedroom complete with exposed, vaulted ceilings and warm wooden accents like the dresser and chandelier.
REST & RECHARGE. Upstairs is a master bedroom turned bridal suite that not only offers room for everyone to get ready, but also is elegant and photo friendly. “The suite is used for the couple to spend the night after the wedding, so with the neutral color palette I wanted it to be serene, peaceful,” Sylvia says.

“The owners were excited and surprised; it brought a tear to their eyes,” Sylvia says. “They never thought their house could look that good or could be turned into something that feels like the best parts of Pottery Barn and Anthropologie.”

THINKING LIKE A PRO

What can any homeowner take away from this multitasking project? For one, thinking about how to make your rooms more photogenic will help you edit and arrange your décor with impact in mind. “Create a space with your furniture where people can gather together,” Sylvia advises. “So that when you do take a picture, you have room for everyone to gather—sit, stand and be in a picture. Create a backdrop—a focal point. It could be a wall of watercolor art. Create elements in the space where there is interest. Think about it in terms of color and texture.”

A rustic farmhouse table set for wedding guests in the midst of a rose garden with a red barn in the background.
OUTDOOR ELEGANCE. Sylvia created this lush outdoor dining setting in the rose garden using a mix of formal accents contrasted with simple farmhouse basics.

Create a space with your furniture where people can gather together.

A simple table setting with silver flatware, white and crystal elements, and garnished with lavender and magnolia branches.
NATURAL BEAUTIES. Lush magnolia branches create a beautiful natural runner for the table. At each place setting, guests are greeted by fresh-picked lavender.

And don’t get intimidated about getting to the end result. “People get overwhelmed because they want it to look perfect, yet they don’t give themselves time to curate the space,” Sylvia says. “Why throw a piece of artwork on the wall if it doesn’t speak to you or say anything about you? Stay away from that. Pick something that reminds you of something—vacation, childhood. Select things like that for your home that make you feel good.”

Want more simply beautiful ideas? Check out this post on a Portland Cottage with Farmhouse History. 

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