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