Green Acres is the place to be

Afarmhouse?” Luckily, your ideas for Serial Spaces candidates have been steadily coming in via e-mail over the past couple of months (and please, keep them coming). But when a friend of mine recommended a farmhouse for this column, I had my doubts.
But the motto for Serial Spaces is “any uniquely designed space,” and he was certain this farmhouse just outside Fayette County fit the bill.
OK, so off to a farmhouse we go.
Susan and Gary Bratton, owners of the Jessamine County farmhouse, did not look anything like the American Gothic couple.
As the owner of a silver jewelry company, Susan has a good eye for style, so I had to imagine that the inside of this rustic farmhouse wasn’t a replica of its cover. Fortunately, I was right.
Consider a straight-out-of-the-oven apple pie. It looks presentable on the outside. Nice flaky crust, but nothing recognizably extravagant. But cut into one and you realize why it’s America’s favorite. Same goes for the Bratton’s home.
Inside, for example, you would’ve never expected an immaculate chandelier hanging above the foyer. And Susan will be the first to admit it. “It looked like a bus station when we first moved in,” she said of the home’s kitchen/family room area. “There was brick everywhere.” They’ve obviously done a lot to the place since then.
Guiding a tour of the house, Susan’s running commentary is “we redid it.” Pointing to various nooks and crannies, there’s always a “we ripped out this” or “we pulled up that” somewhere in her sentence. To say they remodeled the place is like saying Monet used to draw pretty pictures. An understatement of the greatest magnitude.
If their house says anything to its guests, it’s “relax.”
“I want it to say ‘let’s take a nap,’” said Susan. The rich earth tones in the family room area, which is conveniently connected to the kitchen, making this common gathering spot even more roomy, blankets the area with a subtle warmth.
The entire house echoes a traditional English decor, what Dwayne Anderson, her interior designer, refers to as “classic English clutter,” a nice way of saying Susan has a lot of stuff in her house.
But it’s all good stuff, and it all complements the character of this late 19th-century farmhouse. Dark woods, all original hardwood floors, classic toile, and tapestry-covered chairs. The furnishings inspire a European look, and it flows from one room to the next.
Sound rich—in price as well as appearance? You’d think so. But Susan admits she is “cheap.” Her words, not mine.
“I like a lot of stuff, so I don’t pay full price for anything.” Her silver fixtures in the guest bathroom? Target. Buffet in the entryway? Hand-me-down from her in-laws. Mind you, nothing has that second-hand feel, which is what makes her house so unique. That’s where her sense of style is put to good use.
With that in mind, it’s not easily understood how Susan would end up in such an abode. But as she explains, her husband wanted land and she wanted strong architectural detail, “so we settled on this house.”
So how did she go about making it her own? She went for a “retro farmhouse” feel. You’ll see no butter churns or “country chic” touches in this house. The only country inspiration at the Brattons is an English countryside feel.
Nor is the house a frilly, Merchant & Ivory-style English home. True, there used to be a fireplace in every room (there are a total of five now), but the home’s style has been modernized. It’s the perfect balance between masculine and feminine, a comfortable setting for all of her guests.
And that’s just the inside. Her five-acre lot includes rolling pastures with a neighbor’s horse and pony frolicking about.
OK, so that does sound like something out of a Kate Winslet-powered movie from the early ‘90s. But in reality, it’s a 21st-century book with a 19th-century cover.
And the saying about not judging a “you know what” by its “you know what” was made for this house.