Romancing the Stone: Go Inside This Restored, Preserved Farmhouse in Pennsylvania
The moment a Philadelphia fashion designer and her builder husband laid eyes on a charming but tiny farmhouse about 40 miles outside the city, they saw a place where their kids could grow up outdoors and untethered. In expanding it to fit their family, they've forged a seamless union of old and new, and brought out the best of both worlds
Kristal Hill is one of those people who flicks through real-estate websites for fun. One fall evening back in 2012, just as she and her husband, Dan Daughenbaugh, were finishing a gut renovation of an old farmhouse in the leafy Mount Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia, she stopped cold on a listing for a turn-of-the-century stone cottage in the nearby Brandywine Valley. "I said to my husband, 'This can't be real—it looks like a Wyeth painting,'" Hill says, referring to the Pennsylvania-born artist Andrew Wyeth, who iconically captured the state's farms and rolling hills.
On a lark, they took a scenic drive with their two daughters, Adele, now 13; and Olympia, now 11, to see the place. "We just fell in love with it," says Hill, who is the creative head of design and lifestyle for FP Movement, the bohemian fashion brand Free People's activewear line. "The girls jumped out of the car and went running into the fields. We realized they would enjoy growing up immersed in nature." They also liked that the seven-acre property included two antique outbuildings: a carriage house that Hill has since turned into a meditation space, and a barn that Daughenbaugh uses as his workshop.
When they moved in, the 1,100-square-foot house had only two bedrooms and one bath, but Hill felt confident they could transform it into a comfortable family home over time. Daughenbaugh co-owns a Philadelphia construction company and the city's Kestrel Hotel, and they already had a few renovations under their belt: their Mount Airy abode, and a row house in South Philadelphia before that. "I happened to marry my perfect partner, who can make all my dreams come true," she says lightheartedly. Their solution was to keep the original house intact (except for the kitchen, which became a cozy library) and put the girls' bedrooms, shared bath, and a guest room there, and build on a second structure with a family room, kitchen, and master suite. They broke ground in 2015 and finished last year. Now the new and old sections are connected by a sleek glass corridor that serves as a foyer and sunroom, and an elegant flagstone courtyard that looks like a piece of Provence transplanted to Pennsylvania.
The couple took care to make the addition authentic. For its exterior, Daughenbaugh sourced stones from nearby quarries to match the original house. Indoors, they mixed vintage finds with furniture from Free People's sister brands Terrain and Anthropologie, and optimized the farmland view: The kitchen opens onto a double-height living room with a floor-to-ceiling window framing hayfields. "We wanted this side of the house to feel at one with nature," Hill says. "It faces west, and you can see storms rolling in. When it snows and even the sky is white, it’s incredible." As they sheltered in place this spring and summer, the family felt a renewed appreciation for the home they call Two Foxes Farmette, a name that nods to a bedtime story the parents used to tell their kids, as well as the region's history as a fox-hunting destination. "We've been soaking up the simplicity and ease of life away from the city, cooking together, and taking long, meandering walks," says Hill. "It has been our sanctuary."
Art Direction by James Maikowski; Styling by Lili Abir Regen.
Kristal Hill and Dan Daughenbaugh and their daughters, Olympia (left) and Adele, outside the original stone house, which is covered in climbing hydrangeas.
In the original part of the house, the library (formerly the kitchen) has a 19th-century fireplace and wide-board floors. A handblown globe pendant by the British company Original BTC hangs over a chair from Anthropologie, and the mantel décor includes an Astier de Villatte ceramic heart and a white diamond-shaped Hitoshi Kato vase from Roman and Williams Guild.
The guest room's walls are finished with burnished natural plaster, and the beams and closet door are painted in Sherwin-Williams Taupe Tone. The Restoration Hardware bed is made with a Terrain coverlet and an embroidered pillow Hill found at a market in India, while the striped Injiri cushions and Jan Barboglio carafe are both from Roman and Williams Guild. The lamp is from Anthropologie.
Hill worked with the local firm Waterbury Kitchen and Bath to design the kitchen, which features a Lacanche range and Shaker-style cabinets painted in Benjamin Moore Midnight; the unlacquered-brass hardware is from House of Antique Hardware. The farmhouse sink, made of the same heavily veined Carrara marble used for the counters and backsplash, has a Waterworks faucet and Rejuvenation light fixtures above. A Pampa Monte runner from Roman and Williams Guild pads the white-oak floors. Iron-and-teak stools from Anthropologie and an Original BTC globe light accent the island; the vases on it are from Terrain.
The kitchen flows into a double-height family room, where a staircase made of iron and live-edge sycamore from nearby Lancaster, Pennsylvania, leads up to the master suite. The Belgian linen-upholstered sectional and marble-and-brass-topped coffee table are from Anthropologie; the latter is topped with a Terrain vase, and the linen sofa pillows are from Roman and Williams Guild. Hill bought the leather ottoman at a souk in Marrakech.
The home's foyer, where the new and old sections of the house meet, has radiant-heated Porcelanosa limestone floors and lots of light, allowing Hill to grow lemons and kumquats year-round. A West Elm rattan chair is draped with blankets from India and Mexico; the planters are from Terrain; and the pendant is an IKEA shade that Hill elevated with a vintage ceiling plate, a cloth-covered wire, and an Edison bulb.
The windowsills in the girls' bathroom, made of wood from the family's previous home in Mount Airy, are an earthy contrast to the refined marble tile. A claw-foot tub from Signature Hardware is painted in Sherwin-Williams Tricorn Black; the pendant is Original BTC, and the sink and unlacquered-brass fittings are from Catchpole & Rye.
The family room's 21-foot-tall custom Comfort Line window echoes the roofline and offers a storybook view all year. A wooden ceiling fan from YLighting cools the space in summer; during cold months, the refurbished 1970s Jøtul 4 Combifire woodstove and radiant-heat floors keep it warm. A vintage fur blanket Hill found on Etsy softens a Hans Wegner Flag Halyard chair, and the antique vase is from Vestige, in Philadelphia.