It’s Friday! We’ve made it through another week of Summer vacation and we’ve filled it with playtime, water fights, indoor soccer games, dog walking, blueberry picking, reading and more. (Speaking of reading… I really owe you all some book reports. I have been reading but slacking in writing about the books!). Earlier this week I mentioned that I had a lot to share this week, including one moment when I did not achieve my goal. So today I want to tell you about that, because I think it’s important to share those moments as well… It’s much more relatable when you know about all of the things I do wrong, or how messy my house can be, or the times I didn’t come out on top. And the truth is that those moments cause me to grow and define me so much more than the wins. And the best part about this story is that in the end I get to share with you an amazing tour of Harmony Hill Farmhouse so stay tuned and you will be rewarded with much eye candy.
A couple months ago Design Sponge put out a call for new Sneak Peek writers. I saw it on their website as I am an avid reader, but glossed over it, thinking I just don’t even have time for this… why am I reading it? I closed out the tab and moved on. That evening a local friend sent the link to me, telling me she thought I would be perfect for the job. To be honest, I don’t make money on this blog… it truly is something I do for the love of it. So I contemplated the DS job, and thought, well, I could write less here and write for them as well, make more money, still do what I love, and everyone wins! I hit the apply button and went for it. We were told that we’d here on Monday, May 30th, Memorial Day. I didn’t expect to hear anything and enjoyed the holiday with my family, working on our chicken coop and roasting marshmallows at the fire pit.
That evening, to my surprise, I received an email that I was a finalist! Our of over 650 applicants, I was a finalist! Shocked and elated, I continued to read the email. We were given an assignment to complete a home tour that had never before been published and would be representative of the work we would provide. We had one week to photograph, edit, write and finally submit our tour.
I approached one of my very best friends whose farmhouse I have always admired, even before she resided there. She was more than happy to allow me into her home and answer some questions for me.
In the end, I heard back last week that I did not get the job. While disappointing to some degree, I know that things always work out as they are meant to be. And I am truly proud of myself for applying and putting myself out there, getting as far as I did. I’ll never have to wonder, “What if I had just tried…” because I did try.
I also have even more respect for Design Sponge after my experience. I admire Grace who always handles herself professionally, with dignity and, fittingly, grace. I look forward to even more fantastic and inspiring Sneak Peeks from their new contributor.
Now, because I didn’t get the job, I can share with you the tour that I wrote with the photos I took! I will be sprinkling in a few additional photos as well since we were limited to 10 in our submissions. I hope you enjoy it!
A New Generation of Family Farmers in a Historic Maryland Farmstead
A couple of years ago, I received a phone call from my neighbor asking me if I’d like to join her at a luncheon to welcome a new church member of theirs at the farmhouse the new family had just purchased. I responded with, “Harmony Hill Farm? The one with the willows and the pond? Yes! I would love to join you.” Since moving to this area of Maryland, that home had captivated me and I was eager to meet the family who would make it theirs, and of course sneak a peek of the inside I had only imagined.
Two years and one strong friendship later, Chris and Carrie Ramsey have revitalized the home and land around them filling it with Belted Galloway cows, Katadhin hair sheep, American Guinea hogs, Flemish giant rabbits, Japanese quail, chickens, and their 5 children ranging from age 1 to 11. They weren’t necessarily looking for a farmhouse, but as soon as they drove up the driveway they knew that Harmony Hill Farm (circa 1849) would become their forever home. After moving in, they wasted no time and began to work their land. Carrie says, “We wanted to give our kids a good life that would teach them how to work hard, and how to be responsible and productive people.” In addition to animals, the Ramseys inherited a small apple orchard which they’ve added to and several bountiful berry bushes. With the kids help, they’ve planted a large vegetable garden as well, with the ultimate goal of becoming a self-sustaining farmstead.
Inside the home, Chris and Carrie have used their skills and artistry to create a warm and welcoming haven that honors the history of the 1849 farmhouse, which was originally the largest dairy farm in the area. They have filled the home with sentimental family pieces, repurposed items they’ve found on the property, and thoughtful and intentional furnishings. The previous owners enjoyed dark and earthy colors, but the Ramseys have been refreshing the home to bring in a bright and cheerful vibe that suits their youth and personalities. Chris and Carrie plan to happily live the rest of their days at Harmony Hill Farm, creating a legacy of their own that they can pass on to future generations of family farmers. -Cassie
In the kitchen the artwork represents Carrie’s sentiments towards their own harvest. “We have been able to preserve blackberries, blueberries, apples, peaches, and and a few other varieties of berries. We appreciate each jar because of the work that went into harvesting and preserving them.” Each Summer the kids look forward to harvesting and snacking on fresh organic produce straight from their yard.
Carrie grows herbs as well as succulents her children gave her for Mother’s Day in her kitchen windows. The couple plans to renovate the kitchen to better suit a family of seven, but they hope to keep much of the original charm such as the large window sills that allow a year-round kitchen garden.Original doors between rooms have been stripped of paint, leaving them in a rustic and naturally beautiful state. The Ramseys plan to keep them as is and embrace their authentic charm. Carrie’s also thrilled that she hasn’t had to use baby gates in this house and relies on the doors instead.”We have the most beautiful peony trees in our front yard. I am not sure how old they are, but they are very well established.” Carrie hung a few of its flowers from the dining room light fixture to dry. She plans to utilize the preserved blooms in creative endeavors with her daughters.The dining room had an existing built-in corner cabinet which is Carrie’s favorite element of the dining room. She filled it with a few sentimental pieces, but added a collection of glassware and dishes in blues, greens, and whites to create a bright and fresh dose of color that’s aesthetically pleasing.
An old panel of fencing was uncovered from their barn, and repurposed as a blanket ladder in the living room. Before she was a gleam in their eye, Carrie’s parents lived in Egypt. The blanket displayed on the fencing is a relic from that time in their lives. The cast iron stove offers a warm center for family gatherings.
The headboard is one of Carrie’s most prized possessions; Chris created it for his wife out of wood from the original 1849 barn on the property. The barn remains in tact today, but had several unneeded stalls from which he was able to salvage pieces. The unused fireplace is maroon which Carrie cleverly hid with artwork that suits the eclectic style and colors of their space.
The boys bedroom was decorated with their love of animals in mind. They love to fish with Chris in the pond on their property. It’s catch and release, but the hours of pure enjoyment are reward enough. The antique brass bed in the boys room originally belonged to Carrie’s grandmother who was born in that bed, although not on that mattress as Carrie reported!
Chris used the same salvaged barnwood from his headboard to lay down flooring in the girls’ room which was a recent addition. The repurposed flooring adds rustic charm and helps this new space blend with the original structure. Two beds were found via craigslist, and the other from a good friend. Each girl’s personality is displayed through unique accessories, but the gray ruffled bedding unifies the space.One month old piglets graze around the barn. The Ramsey children love playing with and learning about the animals they are raising. Carrie says, “I couldn’t imagine a better life for (my kids.) It’s very hard work taking care of a family, a farm, and a big yard, but it’s the kind of work that when you go to bed exhausted each day, you can be proud of what you accomplished.”
Isn’t Carrie’s home the stuff of dreams? I just love going over there and seeing the animals roam around. Emmy’s best friend lives there and of course Emmy is over there all the time, playing with kittens, bunnies, piglets…. all the cuddly animals she can get her hands on. I am so happy that I had the opportunity to photograph this creative home full of love and share it with you.
On that note, I am off to spend a 3 day holiday weekend at home with the people and animals I love most. Happy 4th of July, my friends!