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On the grassy bank of an oxbow lake in the Mississippi River Delta, crisp breezes ripple through the water’s surface and rustle through leaves of great, aged trees in an old pecan grove. Across the lake, gorgeous cypress trees stand proud, as if in a painting, their vibrant red fall leaves reach their peak beauty as winter’s arrival begins to pluck them into its snowy embrace. This gorgeous lakeside vignette, nestled in the Delta region of Eastern Arkansas, captured the hearts of an outdoorsy family, who decided to make it the site of their new home.

Their Dream Home

To design their dream home, the homeowners turned to architect John Harrison Jones of Memphis-based John Harrison Jones Architect. They wanted a home tailor-made to suit family gatherings and specifically outdoor activities such as water recreation, hunting, fishing, outdoor cooking, bonfires and leisure time on breezy porches.

Sleek lines define this modern farmhouse. Image: Chad Mellon

modern farmhouse

Blue, a signature color in the home, greets visitors in the garage and front door. Classic farm fences encircle the home’s charming gravel motor court. Image: Chad Mellon

modern farmhouse

Three screened-in porches and an open-air porch with swinging beds face the lakeside backyard, where a fire pit is flanked by chairs. Image: Chad Mellon

Modern Farmhouse

So, John Harrison Jones designed a modern farmhouse that hearkened back to the land’s former life as a working pecan grove, while maintaining a modern, family-friendly aesthetic. Hemmed in by classic farm fences, the home’s elegant white exterior, sloping metal roofs, and multiple porches exude a simplicity reminiscent of old-time Southern farmhouses. This design is made modern by a large kitchen, outdoor cooking area, mud room, outdoor fireplace and porches galore — all features that support the family’s desire for outdoor living.

This classic style is complemented by thoroughly contemporary interiors. An open floor plan with great fireplaces, airy gathering spaces and a wealth of windows anchor the interior. Says architect John, “All fenestration is intentionally positioned for optimal view destinations, panoramic views and to reinforce the communication of the living spaces with the nature of the surrounding environment.”

Interior Design

For the interiors, the family turned to talented interior designer Elizabeth Malmo of Memphis-based Elizabeth Malmo Interior Design. “There is an eclectic and layered feel to the interiors of the home that helps create a warm and inviting space,” says Elizabeth. “We incorporated antiques with modern lighting, classic prints with fresh fabrics, a variety of art and layers of texture from the shiplap walls, wallpapers and elements of cypress to the mohair, jute, cowhide, and leather found in the furniture.”

modern farmhouse

“This house was designed to entertain,” says interior designer Elizabeth Malmo. “That being said, we tried to use materials that were both stylish yet functional.”

modern farmhouse

“The Hickory Chair mohair sofa, hemp club chairs and leather swivel chairs all are family-friendly,” says Elizabeth. Image: Chad Mellon

modern farmhouse

Says Elizabeth, “The Julie Neill chandelier and antique French end chairs covered in electric blue cowhide set the stage for a perfect place to entertain!”

modern farmhouse

The handsome wet bar is completely paneled in cypress, a nod to the lake’s signature tree.

modern farmhouse

“At one end of the dining room, there is a Wolf Kahn farmhouse painting. This is one of the first things you see when you walk into the house and adds a happy and unexpected pop of color,” says Elizabeth.

Fabrics that connect with the environment

John admits his favorite space is the great room with its fireplace and large windows, specifically because of its connection to nature, citing “the view of the cypress forest across the lake and the ability to feel part of it” as his favorite thing about the home. Similarly, Elizabeth used the Delta’s natural elements as her muse. “We also loved the idea of selecting fabrics that felt connected to the surrounding environment,” she says, describing details of the living room. “We selected a Hodsoll McKenzie sheer for the window treatments that have a ‘watery’ element to it, the pillow fabric reminded us of lily pads, and the Schumacher cut velvet on the game table chairs reminded us of the river. The large Maysey Craddock painting of a pair of cypress trees ties in all the blue tones throughout the space while referencing the surrounding environment.”

modern farmhouse

“The butcher block island, quartzite countertops and farm sinks provide a perfect backdrop for a kitchen that was designed to be cooked in,” says Elizabeth. “We incorporated a sliding window from the kitchen to the grilling porch to make it easier to pass food back and forth.”

modern farmhouse

Gilded brass light fixtures from Visual Comfort add a subtle touch of glamour to the space.

modern farmhouse

The dreamy back porch is topped with a sky-blue painted ceiling. “We also incorporated remote control shades to help with the bugs,” says Elizabeth.

modern farmhouse

Large swings on the back porch provide the perfect view of the lake.

modern farmhouse

A striking turquoise wallpaper by Kelly Wearstler turns this hallway into a jewel box. Clever sconces provide lighting for the hallways and the bookcases below.

modern farmhouse

“We used a variety of blues and greens to create a peaceful and serene master bedroom,” says Elizabeth.

modern farmhouse

A beautiful powder blue provides dainty accents in this utterly serene master bathroom.

modern farmhouse

The homeowners requested smart functionality, and a medicine cabinet beside the sink is hidden in the shiplap wall.

modern farmhouse

“The most simple request was for real functionality in the mudroom, laundry area, and storage,” says architect John Harrison Jones. “Special attention to functionality and details for the ease of use made for some interesting features such as a pocket pet door, laundry chute from the guest bathrooms, ample counter space, and organized shelving and storage.”

modern farmhouse

This vibrant “Twin” painting from David Lusk Gallery turns this airy stairway into a modern statement wall.

modern farmhouse

A game and TV room feature a shuffleboard game at left and built-in bunks. Image: Chad Mellon

modern farmhouse

“Bed nooks with trundle bed drawers add more sleeping options,” says Elizabeth.

The end result is a modern family farmhouse with comfortable yet elegant living spaces that spill out into the lakeside pecan grove, allowing the family to enjoy time together in the shaded porches, alfresco entertaining in the outdoor kitchen and conversations over bonfires at dusk after a long day spent playing on the water.

All photos courtesy of Sarah Rossi of Sélavie Photography unless otherwise noted. 

Thank you to John Harrison Jones of John Harrison Jones Architect and Elizabeth Malmo of Elizabeth Malmo Interior Design for sharing their gorgeous work with us!

RESOURCES

Architecture: John Harrison Jones of John Harrison Jones Architect
Interior Design: Elizabeth Malmo of Elizabeth Malmo Interior Design
Construction: Archer Custom Builders