Get a head start on winter HOLIDAY shopping. Click here! Get a head start on winter HOLIDAY shopping. Click here!

Magazine

The Farmhouse Project: Eco-Friendly Restoration And Country Living

The Farmhouse Project: Eco-Friendly Restoration And Country Living

In 2012, Shawn Lang and Kris Prepelica, the (home)makers behind The Farmhouse Project, fell in love with and purchased a 217-year-old farmhouse in Hortonville, New York, along the western Catskill Mountains. Ever since, they have been working room by room as a DIY restoration project, and documenting their progress online. From sharing their story with a dedicated community of readers and followers, a “farmhouse family” was born.

In Hortonville, The Farmhouse Project is a picturesque white Dutch colonial with eye-catching green shutters and the kind of wrap-around porch that dreams are made of. To their “farmhouse family” all around the world, it is an ongoing conversation about restoration and preservation, DIY home improvement, classic American country aesthetics, the history of life in the Catskills, and tips for entertaining loved ones at home. The Farmhouse Project is “green,” in more ways than one, including the color of their old Ford truck. Overall it encourages a way of living that values slowing down and focusing on just what is important — family, friends, fresh country air, and building something cherished with the environment in mind.

Photo Credit: The Farmhouse Project

Q: What inspired you to begin The Farmhouse Project?

A: We started the blog after we purchased the house four years ago as a weekend retreat from the hustle and bustle of NYC. We wanted to document the restoration process room by room for friends and family to enjoy.

Q: How do you motivate and inspire your community of fans and followers?

A: As followers became more engaged, it became more about our little “farmhouse family” rather than the number of followers we have or needed to gain. Besides renovating rooms and decorating ideas, we share our journey of simple living, or living authentically. Gardening, entertaining and decorating shouldn’t be fussy and right out of a magazine. If we can do it, anyone can! A lot of our inspiration comes from our fans. We interact with them daily. They ask questions, and for advice, and we ask them.

Kris, pictured left, and Shawn, pictured right. Photo Credit: The Farmhouse Project

Q: How did you two meet, and what led you to The Farmhouse Project together?

A: We met in the classical music section of the Virgin Megastore in Union Square. Living in the city for so many years we loved the idea of the exact opposite, county living, not the suburbs. We came across the area though some friends who have had weekend houses upstate for several years. With Manhattan real estate out of the budget, buying an old farmhouse with land only two hours away was exactly what we needed.

After looking at a dozen houses over a weekend trip upstate we fell in love with and purchased “The Woodman House” built in 1800 by the Woodman family, owners at the time of the local mill. While it is the oldest home in town, both the house and barn have been well preserved, with original details left untouched. Today the charming Dutch colonial farmhouse is surrounded by seemingly ancient black walnut trees, other beautiful homes, and wonderful neighbors. Its interior boasts rare American chestnut trim throughout, including a great room graced with a majestic coffered ceiling and wainscoting. After closing on the house in the middle of winter we decided to start the blog to document our restoration process room by room to friends and family.

Photo Credit: The Farmhouse Project

Q: What types of locally made goods are you most excited to offer as the project continues?

A: We’re big advocates of supporting our small businesses in the area and love scouring around for true local antiques. You’ll always find us around town at the Farmer’s market, antique shop or gallery opening. With my background in home furnishing and product design, we’re starting to think about branding the blog and designing a small home collection, all handmade, by us, right from the farmhouse. We’ve been describing the collection as “A few of our favorite things.”

Photo Credit: The Farmhouse Project

Q: In what ways is The Farmhouse Project a "green" or environmentally conscious endeavor?

A: It is “green” by the way we think. We’re restoring, not renovating, so materials we use are repurposed. We love bringing things back to their original state.

Photo Credit: The Farmhouse Project

Q: We love the green shutters and trim on the outside of the home, which promote a “green” theme are also just gorgeous. What aesthetic inspiration are you following while renovating the house?

A: Our goal was to think as if we were living in the house when the Woodman family built it. The original details had little nods to different styles, so it was perfect to continue that throughout the interior of the house. We love anything authentic, that has history and a story to tell. You’ll see a very collected and masculine look that’s comforting.

Photo Credit: The Farmhouse Project

Q: What is your New York State of Mind?

A: We would say, our New York State of Mind is authentic. After settling upstate, we quickly embraced a simpler life, focusing on the things that truly bring the heart joy.

Follow The Farmhouse Project: Shawn and Kris' eco-friendly restoration (and country living) journey!