Every year, when Andraya Frith and Graham Kechnie turn into the long driveway leading to their old fieldstone farmhouse near Stirling, Ontario, it brings them right back to 2012 — the year they got what they really wanted for Christmas. “As soon as we even think about coming here, we’re relaxed,” says Andraya. The home’s interiors have a charming, haphazard quality that seem casually assembled rather than curated.
Andraya and Graham also love to scour local antique shops. But much of the farmhouse’s comfortable, homey vibe comes from the couple’s hand-me-down family furniture, treasured heirlooms and found objects on display, such as antlers and wasp’s nests. “The look we like is simple modern farmhouse,” says Andraya. “It’s a high-low mix infused with nature and history.” Click through for a look inside.
Nothing says holiday like a giant outdoor evergreen wreath. Homeowner Graham, a sometime model and stay-at-home dad, and the family’s blue picardy spaniels, Ramsey and Bailey, head out for a snowy walk.
Graham and his wife Andraya, a lawyer, at the family homestead in Hastings County.
Fortunately for Andraya and Graham, the former owner meticulously restored the four-bedroom stone house and built a 3,000-square-foot, three-bedroom addition in 2006, creating 6,000 square feet of total living space.
Framed in an evergreen garland and flanked by firewood, an old wooden doorway welcomes holiday visitors into the living area. The anteroom, as Graham and Andraya call it, marks the transition from the old stone house to the board-and-batten addition.
Comfortable furniture (the wing chairs came with the farmhouse), textured fieldstone and hand-hewn beams contribute to the cozy, feet-up vibe of the living room. One of the few pieces of new furniture, a large iron and reclaimed wood coffee table fits the room’s hibernation vibe perfectly. “It’s really hard to pry yourself out of this room in the winter,” says Andraya.
Every year, Andraya and her daughters decorate a fresh Douglas fir with Christmas ornaments, family heirlooms and dried orange slices that Andraya makes herself. An old ladder-back chair that came with the house adds a sense of history to the stone home’s open-concept living area.
Learn how to make Andraya’s
DIY: Dried Orange Holiday Garland & Ornaments.
Simple homemade wreaths decorate deliberately bare wood windows in the living area. “I like a natural look, and nothing I could add is better than the view,” says Andraya. The hand-painted decoration on the sill, a family heirloom, depicts a North Pole scene.
Learn how to make Andraya’s
DIY: Natural Christmas Wreaths.
In the dining area, the family enjoys meals at a long harvest table made out of old white cedar baseboards that were removed from the home’s attic during a renovation. An antique baker’s rack displays Andraya’s collection of Wedgwood and ironstone dishes. Mismatched chairs not only accommodate the crowd of family and friends who gather, but they also address a decorating dilemma: “If one of the chairs breaks, it’s not a big deal,” says Andraya. “We just add another old one to the mix!”
Simple pinecones and vintage oil lamps are all that’s needed for a holiday windowsill vignette.
In the addition’s principal bedroom, refined meets homespun. A highly polished, century-old harvest table happily coexists with a bed Andraya and Graham built together using old barn boards they found in the property’s workshop.
Displayed in the principal bedroom, Graham’s eclectic collection of pottery and taxidermy (not to mention snake skins, antlers and bird’s nests) reflect the home’s hunter-gatherer aesthetic.
The couple renovated the old stone house’s spacious attic, adding insulation, re-drywalling, replacing skylights and refinishing the floors. A row of twin beds creates an inviting place for young family members to hang out. “I wanted it to feel like a summer camp dormitory,” says Andraya. Metal baskets hold towels and the gift-wrapped pajamas every child gets to open and wear on Christmas Eve — a family tradition.
To create a focal point in a guest bedroom, Andraya painted the fireplace surround and mantelpiece and made a built-in firewood nook, removing the shelves of a bookcase in what would have originally been a small study. “It’s my favorite room in the house,” says Andraya. She loves the juxtaposition of rustic and contemporary details like the wall-mounted wasp’s nest with the spare, mid-century modern chair. “I wanted a Scandinavian feel with a farmhouse spin.”
Andraya and daughters Julia (left) and Paige warm up in the courtyard area where the old stone farmhouse and addition meet. The family enjoys outdoor barbecues at the picnic table during the summer months.
Author: Barbara Sgroi
House & Home November 2017