Shannon Vosters and her husband, Sander, start their day at 5:30 a.m. — they’ve got 303 kids to feed. OK, three are human: that’s Henry, 8, Toby, 7, and Daniek, 5. The rest are good-natured young goats that bed down with 500 other Saanen and Alpine milking goats in a weathered barn not far from the main house. The couple raises the goats on their farm, just outside of Stratford, Ontario, in New Hamburg, where more than 40 hectares of flat hayfields are ideal for growing feed. Sander emigrated from Holland in 2000, and comes from a long line of Dutch farmers. “It’s in his blood,” says Shannon, who is the principal of Shannon Vosters Design. Most days, she helps in the barn with morning and evening chores and, in between, she makes time for her design clients and personal projects.
When they bought the property in 2015, it was for its location and the quality of the land. But then there was the matter of the 150-year-old farmhouse, which had last been renovated in the 1970s. Shannon loved the farmhouse’s simple, unadorned exterior, and wasn’t fazed by the laminate floors, DIY faux finishes and miles of honey oak. “I loved that nothing in the house had been updated,” she says. “There was no guilt when we ripped out the nonfunctional elements.”
And for the design aesthetic, it was Shannon’s travels in the Netherlands that inspired her. “I love European farmhouses,” she says. “They’re timeless and more pared back, but they still have that warmth.” Oak floors, concrete counters and vertical shiplap walls evoke a pastoral quietude not unlike a Dutch Old Master painting. Shannon made sure to layer in cognac, gray-green and burgundy accents as an effective counterpoint to all the pale walls and blond woods. “I’ve always gravitated to natural materials and colors found in nature,” she says. “I like a home’s interiors to have a connection to the surroundings.”
Scroll down to tour this idyllic hideaway dressed for the holidays!