House hunters Judy and Michael McPhee remember it like it was yesterday, when they came across their circa-1878 Victorian farmhouse in Caledonia, Ontario, for the first time. It was this home’s postcard location and authentic details that held particular sway, and led the couple to sign on the dotted line. “We loved that all the wood floors were in great condition and that the trim was still intact — beautiful but not too ornate, just the way we like it.” That last point was key, because Judy wanted an updated farmhouse look that retained the home’s historical sensibility but avoided any cloying country clichés.
The couple enlisted designer Susan Burns to help achieve a modern-vintage look that seems to have evolved over time. The redesign didn’t just revive a beloved country home, it ended up drawing Judy and Michael closer. “We always ate at the kitchen table, and now we spend more time chatting or having a glass of wine after dinner at the island,” says Judy. “It’s changed how we live, because I love that time together.”