Designing Spaces


“Recognizing the need is the primary condition for design.”

Charles Eames

I have always liked to create things from scratch. In business, I have always been entrepreneurial and enjoyed the challenge of creating something that didn’t previously exist.  If I could envision the end result then I knew I could create the pathway to getting there. Leaving that behind and moving to the Farm required a different skill set. When I decided to create a venue space at the farm, I was venturing into areas that drew on my past experience but also challenged me in so many new ways.

As we breathe new life into old buildings and design new spaces, I am constantly imagining how the space will be used. I think about how I want our guests, family, and friends to experience these places and that process helps guide my design decisions. Creating a balance between the historical nature of our farm with more modern and timeless style is my compass.  I love antiques and the richness they can contribute to a space, but don’t want to feel overwhelmed by them. I try to strike a balance that feels current and appealing but most of all the space must be a place that makes my heart sing.

I find one focal piece that helps me create the mood and feeling.  That singular piece dictates the rest of the style and my subsequent purchases.  Thanks to this beautiful little antique brass bar sink I picked up at Caravati’s Architectural Salvage I found the inspiration for the wet bar, located off the dining room.  I also focus a lot on lighting because it sets the mood and tone in a room, so layers of light becomes really crucial.  The wet bar gets as much use in the morning as a coffee station as it does in the evenings as a self-service bar, so having a variety of lighting options that compliment the natural light is key.

Here are some tips that have been guiding my decision-making process at the Farm:

  • Put your money into the classics and foundation pieces (this is also my strategy for designing a wardrobe) and be trendy with your accessories.  Example: I can be trendy with my light fixtures because I haven’t sunk a small fortune into them. Replacing them when styles change won’t be difficult.

  • Extensive remodeling costs a lot of money so channel your inner Marie Kondo and  make sure you are investing in items that really “spark joy” because they will be with you for a long time. (This is important when picking out tile which can look dated if you get too trendy)

  • Buy from reputable sources that will stand behind their warranty and/or offer replacement parts when necessary.

  • Never buy based on price alone - gauge the value of an item and how it will be used as well.

  • Ask the experts - when it comes to items like plumbing fixtures consult the experts and don’t let design drive the entire decision.

  • Paint is the cheapest way to creating a new environment- so if your budget is tight a can of paint can go a long until you can afford a major renovation.

I hope you find some of these tips helpful if you are tackling a remodeling project as well.  I would love to hear what’s working for you and what’s not because sometimes those are the best lessons of all.  Keep an eye on the blog as we share some of our new spaces in the coming months!

Have a great week!

Camilla Strongin