Go Inside a New-Build Farmhouse in Connecticut with Lots of Charm and a Chicken Coop

floor-to-ceiling glass-front cabinets
Dana Gallagher

The allure of new-build construction wasn't lost on Brooklynites Kathy and Jon Grover. The couple and their two school-age daughters were living the hectic city life in a 1930s town home and owned a 200-year-old country getaway cottage when they started house-hunting in the Connecticut suburbs four years ago. They craved more space, but were also eager to leave behind "the constant up-keep—and sometimes critters!—of historic homes," says Kathy, a former advertising creative director. Touring dozens of freshly finished residences, they swooned over the soaring ceilings and pristine floors, but too many options were "cookie-cutter and soulless. They felt sterile," says Kathy.

Then the family stepped into this inviting modern farmhouse in Westport, built by locals Bret and Barbara Stern of Favorite Homes CT. Open-plan and welcoming, it features swaths of white-oak woodwork, from the paneling and built-in cabinet in the kitchen to the fireplace surround in the primary bedroom. The warm, Scandinavian-style feel sealed the deal for the Grovers, who took advantage of the beautiful blank canvas and completed the interiors before moving in. For that they turned to Brooklyn-based designer Holly Waterfield, a longtime friend of Kathy's whose pared-down, elegantly informal aesthetic they had long admired. Almost from her first walk-through, Waterfield knew what to do: "The woodwork gave us the starting point. It set the cozy, rustic tone, and guided the color and furniture choices."

To highlight the oak's organic appeal, Waterfield had almost all of the walls repainted from gray to Benjamin Moore Simply White, a shade that also showcases the overhead fixtures the developers installed, which the Grovers kept for their visual oomph. Because the scale of the rooms was so different from those in the family's former city residence—their clapboard town house was only 15 feet across at its widest—she chose generously proportioned pieces to fill them. Sprawling, stretch-out sofas in white linen had always appealed to Kathy but seemed totally impractical. Waterfield convinced her to take the plunge: "I always tell clients with kids and pets that white upholstery isn't out of bounds. Order an extra set of slipcovers, and machine-wash and bleach when necessary," she says. Now all the Grovers including dog Ziggy, happily kick up their feet (and paws) to relax on the pair in the family room. Also inviting: vintage rugs in the kitchen and dining room, which feel plush underfoot and lend one-of-a-kind character that contrasts with the home's sleek furnishings.

Once they'd moved in and gotten settled, the family constructed a second residence on their property: an unapologetically well-appointed chicken coop in the backyard. Jon, who owns a film-editing company, proudly points out the shed's heating system and extra indoor perches, which allow Henneth Paltrow, Elizabeth Warhen, Victoria Peckham, and the rest of the flock to roost in temperature-controlled bliss. "It's pretty comfy," he says. Clearly, around here, everyone gets their dream house.

Here, a floor-to-ceiling glass-front cabinet in the kitchen helped sell the Grovers on the home. Stretching 10 feet high, it showcases African woven-grass baskets, walnut- and pear-wood vases, and unglazed ceramic pots from China, all from Bloomist. The rug is from ABC Home, the dining table is from Shoppe Amber Interiors, and the dining chairs are from Design Within Reach.

01 of 06

Clean Cuisine

quartz kitchen island with wooden and leather barstools
Dana Gallagher

The 12-foot paneled island is topped with honed quartz and lit by Rejuvenation pendants. Low-backed stools in leather and maple from Lostine tuck completely under the counter for a seamless view from the house's great room.

02 of 06

Meet the Family

Grover family of four with dog
Dana Gallagher

Kathy and Jon Grover hang with their daughters, Thea and Lucy, and rescue dog, Ziggy, on a backyard daybed swing.

03 of 06

Full Circle

white linen-upholstered sofa in living room
Dana Gallagher

Relaxed linen-upholstered sofas from Cisco Home create a super-casual vibe in the family room. A mesh sculpture by artist Maureen Hoon is displayed on a 60-inch-diameter ebonized-oak coffee table from Shoppe Amber Interiors; the striped and tasseled square Injiri pillows were handmade in India. A sheepskin throw softens a solid-teak side chair from France & Son. The three-armed brass light fixture is from Apparatus, and the hazy striations on the ABC Home rug add subtle pattern and camouflage stains.

04 of 06

Chicken Coop

Grover girls at chicken coop
Dana Gallagher

Lucy, 14, and Thea, 12, gather eggs from the backyard chicken coop.

05 of 06

Soothing Palette

main bedroom white-oak wood fireplace
Dana Gallagher

White-oak woodwork frames the fireplace in the primary bedroom, which is furnished with Cisco Home Beaumont chairs, a Moroccan rug from RH, and a hand-blocked bedcover from Les Indiennes that all share the same soothing blue-and-white palette.

06 of 06

Gray Stays

modern dining room with black chairs
Dana Gallagher

The Grovers originally planned to paint the dining room's existing smoke-gray wall white, but changed their minds when the vintage ABC Home rug was delivered and laid under their McGee & Co. black-stained oak chairs and pedestal-base oak table. "It all worked so well together, we just left the color as is," says Kathy.

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