This secluded vacation home had nearly everything the homeowners wanted—except it wasn't environmentally friendly. Check out the steps they took to achieve an energy-efficient space with farmhouse flair.
exterior, home, lawn, garden

Built in the late 1980s, this Vermont house was burdened by drafts and energy-guzzling appliances. The only "green" was growing on the surrounding 180 acres of countryside. To reach the green expectations of its homeowners, the farmhouse underwent a three-phase renovation while keeping its original footprint. This created a subtle exterior transformation. New galvanized metal roofing in two colors and a cool color palette freshen the look.

Airtight insulation, efficient geothermal heating and cooling, and the new metal roofing altered the structure. Additions of efficient metal-clad windows and insulated doors had equal influence on the home's style.

Mudroom Makeover

entry, mud room, storage

Just inside the front door, the mudroom's mix of open shelving and pullouts manages the gear and mess that accompany country living. Family and guests have a bench to sit on while lacing up their shoes. Throw pillows keep the sunny seat a welcoming scene. Hooks opposite of the bench hold coats, hats, and bags for grab-and-go storage. Along with the patterned tile on the floor, a fresh blue on the walls complements pine accents and white woodwork.

Before: Burning Energy

before, room before

The home's cozy fireplace was operational but inefficient. With a busy brick surround, the large dark fireplace looked out of place among traditional built-ins and a sea of white. The original white pine floors also posed a problem to the homeowners, who wished for concrete flooring in their modern home.

After: Statement Piece

fireplace, white couch, area rug

The living room's wood-burning firebox is now surrounded by concrete and raw steel, making it a visually stunning and energy-efficient unit. Open shelving on both sides provides functional firewood storage and sleek decor display.

In lieu of the homeowners' initial desire for concrete floors, a decorative painter gave the original floors a faux-concrete finish that appears distressed with age. The silvery floors flow throughout the main level, establishing continuity in the open plan. 

Before: Off Limits

kitchen before

A cumbersome peninsula once cut off the kitchen from the rest of the living space. Wood cabinets blended with flooring of a similar shade, making the room fall flat. Traditional molding and trimwork didn't align with the homeowners' vision of a modern home design.

After: Clean Eating

kitchen, dining, white kitchen cabinets

The peninsula was knocked out, leaving room for an industrial island/table with wheels for mobility. Open shelving replaced glass-front upper cabinets for a sleek, modern look, and new white base cabinetry reflects natural light throughout the room. 

In addition, new steel beams were added to widened doorways for industrial presence. A silver paint finish gives the beams dimension.

Dressed to Dine

dining room table, table, kitchen

New efficient metal-clad windows in the dining room show off some of the home's best views. To define the space in the open floor plan, the ceiling's drywall was left intact. When lit, the geometric light fixture casts artistic patterns on the walls and ceiling. Mixed seating in the same hue comes together for a coordinating look. 

Open Storage

kitchen, storage, sink

The pantry houses both the oven and the refrigerator, as well as a deep sink, so easy access is a must. Once separated from the kitchen by a door, the room felt like just that—another room—rather than a part of the kitchen. Now the spaces flow together. Sliding wire-front doors on open shelving are no-fuss.

Before: Tight Quarters

room before

An ill-placed door left only one possible spot for the bed. Cramped and looking for a solution, the homeowners had to get creative.

After: Open Plan

wooden bed frame, bed, bedroom

Opening the room to the bathroom created welcome flow. An architectural wall, reminiscent of the layering of the living room fireplace wall, provides a dramatic backdrop for the bed and hides essential plumbing. White walls and neutral hues allow the spaces to merge. 

Behind the wall sits a contemporary floating vanity with raw-edge cherry countertops that pay homage to the home's country roots. 

Fetching Finishes

bathroom sink, white sink, cabinets

Behind the master bedroom wall sits a contemporary floating vanity. An egg-shape sink and pendant lights in a similar shape leave no doubt of the room's modern aesthetic, while the raw-edge cherry countertops pay homage to the home's country roots

Lush Life

open shower, windows, tile

A grand walk-in shower makes a distant memory of the former claw-foot tub and cramped shower stall. The tiled walk-in has clean lines uncluttered by a traditional drain or a door. Instead, a linear drain draws water to the base of the shower wall. A heated bench adds ultimate luxury. 

Before: Dated Guest Bath


A former attic storage room offered the promise of new life as a guest bath. The surrounding space at the top of the stairs, previously unused, would become a loft play area.

After: Spa Day

double sink, bathroom, sink,

Vertical wood panels add interest and definition to otherwise bland walls. New lighting flanking the upgraded vanity looks like it was pulled straight from an old farmhouse. Adjustable cords for pendant lights handle the angled ceiling with grace. A wood beam shelf handles accent pieces with style.

Red-Hot Tub

red tub, bathtub, bath, bathroom

New dormers in the upstairs bathroom expanded headroom so the space could accommodate a shower and a tub. A coat of red paint and custom wood feet repurposed the former master bathroom claw-foot tub. The window ledge doubles as storage for shampoo and soap bottles. Salvaged pine unifies the design, adds warmth, and suggests farmhouse style.

    Comments (8)

    Better Homes & Gardens Member
    January 9, 2019
    I think the place looks fantastic, I only wish I had the imagination of the interior designer.
    Better Homes & Gardens Member
    June 27, 2018
    It is pretty much impossible to compare before and after photos when they are taken from completely different angles/positions in a room. Why is this done so often? As a reader, I feel like someone is trying to pull one over on me. Very frustrating.
    Better Homes & Gardens Member
    June 27, 2018
    farm house what farm house?its totally gone.Not my liking at all.
    Better Homes & Gardens Member
    June 27, 2018
    It's a beautiful home. Happy wishes for the family lucky enough to live there.
    Better Homes & Gardens Member
    June 27, 2018
    Cement floors are terrible for your joints and back. As people age, I doubt that anyone would wish these surfaces in their homes. Anyone who slips and falls can have a more severe injury.
    Better Homes & Gardens Member
    June 27, 2018
    Sorry, but I don't think they can call this a farmhouse any longer (although it's obviously in the middle of a large tract of land). I would have used subtler ways to make it work.
    Better Homes & Gardens Member
    June 27, 2018
    Love the creativity to maximize and refresh the space! Definitely not a stuffy old farmhouse!
    Better Homes & Gardens Member
    June 27, 2018
    Yuk. If they wanted a modern, upscale home, why not just build it instead of destroying a farm house.