Picture the perfect holiday host: a happy winter wonderland where children’s laughter, the swish-swish of skates on ice and snowballs whizzing by your earmuffs are the soundtrack of daily life. That’s where designer
Angela Wheeler, a former engineer, and Josh Malcolm, a fireplace retailer, live year-round with their four lucky kids, Aiden, 12, Jessie, 10, Stella Jane, 8, and Will, 3, and their dog, Griffin.
They designed and built the 4,000- square-foot, six-bedroom farmhouse on a 30-hectare property near Port Perry, Ontario, surrounded by nothing but rolling hills, forest and sky. Once the snow flies, the firewood is stacked and the pond freezes over, every day feels like Christmas here. “My holiday decorating happens slowly, over many weeks as inspiration strikes,” says Angela.
Scroll down and escape to this festive farmhouse!
The home’s architecture is a throwback to old world country houses. The couple was inspired by “Belgian farmhouses, English country houses and the shape of old barns,” says Angela.
Josh and Angela at the front door of their home on Walnut Farm.
At the front entrance, a large mirror and simple hall table made with 120-year-old reclaimed wood sets the mood. The steel and glass front door is a perfect balance of modern and traditional.
Jessie (left) and Stella Jane warm up after a bracing toboggan run. One of Angela’s multiple Christmas trees greets visitors outside the front door.
The kitchen, which is adjacent to the living room, is defined by generous windows, white oak cabinets, and a steel and Venetian plaster vent hood. The reclaimed table (made from old cedar telephone poles) is a prime spot for making
Christmas cookies and holiday ornaments.
Inspired by Belgian kitchens and English sculleries, Angela framed the farm sink with a plaster front and rustic iron doors. For an unfussy look, she removed the frames around vintage portraits and pastoral scenes and grouped them on the wall. A blackboard in the adjacent pantry is perfect for shopping lists.
Handy to the adjacent kitchen, an antique cabinet in the living room is used to store overflow dishes and platters.
A stone mantelpiece is the focal point in the sunlit living room. Slipcovered seating and a reclaimed wood coffee table amp up the
Christmas-in-the-country vibe. Vintage floral-patterned drapery brings in some color and balances the more rustic elements of the space.
Angela created a cozy “away room” off the more formal living area, and furnished it with a deep sofa, TV and rugs that are soft underfoot. The reclaimed wood ceiling makes it feel even more like a retreat.
A marble-topped vanity in the principal bathroom echoes the warm wood tones and informal furniture used throughout the house.
Tree stump side tables are a rustic and contemporary complement to the principal bedroom’s relaxed elegance. The old trunk, a family heirloom, stores extra blankets and bed linens.
In the mudroom, hooks were installed at two levels: higher up for big people and lower for little ones. Matte black frames give a quartet of inexpensive illustrations a modern twist.
The mudroom’s deep vintage sink is the perfect spot to fill vases and clean up after harvesting. Wire-brushed white oak cabinets store cleaning supplies and Griffin’s built-in dog bed.
Angela designed and Josh built the home’s side porch using reclaimed timber from their original farmhouse and a local barn. The structure blends beautifully with the color and texture of the limestone exterior. The Christmas trees are strategically placed to be seen from inside, too.
The pond that Josh and Angela dug out of a fallow field provides year-round joy as a swimming hole in the summer and skating rink in the winter. “It’s only 100 steps from the house, but it’s a completely magical getaway,” says Angela.
Josh and Will stay warm in the canvas-covered “prospector’s tent” by the pond. Furnished with a queen-size bed, books and blankets, the tent is perfect for taking a break without having to trek back inside.
Author: Barbara Sgroi
House & Home November 2019