Completed in August 2020 by Knight Builders in historic Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, HartLand sits on lush rolling acres just outside of town. A simple and classic farmhouse, HartLand combines American farmhouse with fresh cottage and Scandinavian styles.
Monica’s House on HartLand is a modified Four Gables farmhouse, designed by Mitchell Ginn of Southern Living House Plans (plan SL-1832). We worked side-by-side with a fabulous team led by designer Tracey Rapisardi, of Tracey Rapisardi Design in Sarasota, Florida.
To read about what modifications we made to the Four Gables house plan, read on!
A Word About Styles...
What is Farmhouse Style?
Farmhouse is a classic style that originated on the farm. It is known for its simplicity, clean lines, and welcoming, expansive porches. Homes are relaxed and warm, with character and charm.
What is Cottage Style?
Cottages are typically smaller structures that have a collected-over-time feeling of nostalgia. Often incorporating dormers, cozy porches, and nooks and crannies, cottage style is breezy, light, and fresh.
What is Scandinavian Style?
Scandinavian style is known for its light and airy interiors that are needed to brighten long, dark winters. Scandinavian style typically incorporates a soft color palette with shades of light gray, lots of soft blues, and large doses of white.
Our Style: American Cottage Farmhouse/Scandinavian Farmhouse
How did we settle on a style? Well, we didn’t, at least not on just one. Like most of you, we love so many different things that we felt a little overwhelmed. That feeling quickly passed as we made “yes/no” lists, and settled on three styles rolled into one.
|white/light colors||dark colors|
|slipcovers||difficult to clean fabrics|
|painted wood||too much natural wood|
|light, white-washed floors||dark wood|
|silver tones||too much black|
|large porches||no porches|
|white-washed brick||heavy, dark brick|
|high ceilings||low ceilings|
|American and European influences||“cutesy” country (chickens, pigs, cows, “themes”)|
Once we knew what we wanted, it was time to eliminate: no to colonial. No to mediterranean. No to traditional. No to contemporary. We knew that we wanted a style that suited the land, the town, and the history. While we’re not knocking modern farmhouse style (or any other style for that matter), we decided to steer clear of certain elements like black windows, sleek lines, and minimalism. The goal was to build a brand-new home that looked as if it could have been built 5 years ago or 50 years ago. We got our wish. Soon after we moved in, we had a meeting with a gentleman from an asphalt company to discuss our plans for the driveway (more on that later). He rumbled down the long gravel drive, got out of his truck, and looked puzzled. He couldn’t figure out if the house was old or new. They say good seed makes a good crop.
What Modifications Did We Make to our Four Gables?
We modified our Four Gables house plan to fit our needs. We were able to maintain the overall look on the exterior, while radically changing the interior footprint.
We purchased the CAD version of our Four Gables plan from Southern Living House Plans, which was considerably more expensive, but allowed us to change anything we wanted. We hired a local architect to help us create the ideal interior that perfectly suits our needs. The architect also helped us to design a custom barn-style garage that harmonizes beautifully with our modified Four Gables house plan.
The very first thing we did was to reverse the plan so the house and garage could be situated appropriately on our lot.
Added a Detached Barn-Style Garage
While we have seen some lovely Four Gables house plans with garages, we felt that our 4G looks best with a detached garage, by maintaining the look of an original farmhouse. We were careful to place the garage close enough to the house for convenience, but far enough away that the house can stand alone. We were also careful to ensure that both structures looked balanced on the property because of the large size of the garage (30’x60’).
Added a Covered Side Porch
We added a large covered porch to the side of the house facing the garage. This makes unloading groceries convenient and easy, especially in the rain. We are able to walk out of the mudroom, onto the porch, and go straight into the garage. We keep a handy garage door opener in the mudroom, so the doors open at the push of a button from the house.
Added a Mudroom to the Side Entry
We added a cute little mudroom just inside the side entry. We have a utility closet with shelves for our central vacuum equipment and other odds and ends. We also added a little window seat under the window, right by the door, that lifts for extra storage. The bench has a pretty and comfortable cushion where I sit to put on my shoes.
Added Brick to the Porch Floors
Screened in the Back Porch
Because we live on acreage and have fields around our house, a screened-in porch was an absolute must. The bugs are many and some are quite large! To ensure that our views are unobstructed, our screens are installed horizontally instead of vertically. Best idea ever!
Added an Extra Foot to the Second Floor Ceilings
We wanted 10-foot ceilings on the second floor, which increased the height of the house. We love the look! This also gave us more headspace upstairs, where knee walls can make certain areas of the house a little awkward. The whole house feels quite a bit larger with such tall ceilings. This did require taller than average doors on both levels.
Added a Full Basement
Having a finished basement was an absolute must. Paul, my husband, wanted a recreation area and home gym and lots of closet storage. We have plenty of room for his pool table, a ping-pong table, recliners, and all of his gym equipment. We also have a small powder room, two sizable storage closets next to the stairs for paper goods and extra food, and for small kitchen appliances. We have two large storage closets for odds and ends, including a full-sized refrigerator and freezer. Our basement has a set of bilco doors with steps leading to the outside (faces garage).
Combined the Pantry and Laundry Room
We combined our pantry and laundry room, and boy do we love them. The pantry is functional and beautiful with built-in shelves and butcher block countertops. The pantry leads into our lovely laundry room, that has a farm sink and plenty of cabinet storage. We had a gorgeous vintage-style screen door made for our pantry/laundry room entrance. It is distressed and painted Benjamin Moore’s Spring Rain.
Moved the Staircase from the Front of the Foyer to the Side
We moved our staircase to the right side of the foyer, rather than keeping it directly in front of the front doors. Not only is this aesthetically pleasing, the two landings in the staircase make the stairs much less steep. We have a front porch window in the landing, letting in natural light and enhancing the view.
Created a Two-Story Foyer
Our foyer is open all the way up to the second floor. We found a gorgeous distressed ivory large hanging lantern to light the way. A substantial custom railing is beautiful as well as safe.
Added a Coat Closet
A custom-made coat closet door with a patterned film conceals our coats, jackets, and accessories from view. The closet is sizable and useful, and the door looks distressed and vintage.
Added French Doors from Foyer to Kitchen
To create separation from the foyer, and to buffer noise from the second floor, we added a set of paned french doors. As with our other custom doors, these are distressed and painted and have an authentic vintage look.
Added a Reading Nook in the Stairwell
Love to read? We have an adorable little nook with cushion and pillows right off the staircase at the top of the stairs. The ceiling is high enough for a person to stand up!
Relocated the Powder Room
We moved the powder room from the front of the house to the middle of the house. The powder room is just off the living room, and rather than look at the toilet, we moved that behind the door and installed a gorgeous double hanging wall sink. We painted the underside of the sink to coordinate with our wallpaper.
Created a Master Closet at the Front of the House
We knew we would convert an upstairs bedroom into a dressing room for me, so that left the whole master closet for Paul. The closet is at the front of the house, off of the master bathroom. It’s big!
Enlarged and Rearranged the Master Bath
We added some square footage to the bathroom so we could create the perfect master bath. We have split vanities (my side has a linen cabinet with glass doors), a separate water closet for the toilet and bidet, a large shower with glass surround, and a clawfoot soaking tub. The double doors leading to the bedroom is a nice touch.
Added a Door to the Master Bedroom
Because our master bedroom leads out to the screened-in back porch, we added two doors on either side of our fireplace for symmetry.
Added a Fireplace to the Master Bedroom
I just love warming up before bed by the fireplace, so this was high on my “wants” list. Fortunately, we were able to make this happen. The fireplace looks like a real wood burning fireplace, but we have gas logs inside that ignite at the flip of a switch.
Rearranged the Kitchen
Our kitchen is dreamy! We rearranged everything to make it functional, comfortable, and beautiful. We have a 7-foot island with a farm sink. Our cooktop is directly behind the sink. We have plenty of storage around and below the cooktop. We chose a cooktop rather than a range for cleanliness and convenience. Our double ovens are to the right of the cooktop, and the refrigerator is to the left, creating the perfect kitchen triangle. We eliminated most of our upper cabinetry in favor of lots of windows. We added a bank of windows over the countertop that looks over the side of the property facing the garage. We do not lack cabinet storage at all, since we have a built-in hutch with cabinet-depth rollout drawers for all of our dining plates, coffee cups, trays, and more. We also have a ton of hidden storage on the side of the island that faces the living room. We have cabinet storage above the refrigerator and above and below the double ovens. We have open shelving on either side of the rangehood.
We added a window in place of one of the doors in the living room that leads to the back porch. As just mentioned, we added a bank of windows that look out over the side yard and porch, and we added a bank of windows around the banquette. We also added small windows over our bed in the master, which we especially love, because they eliminate that awkward space over the bed.
Added a Banquette
In lieu of a formal dining room, we opted for a large built-in banquette with cushioned seating. Yes, we need to scoot around to get in and out, but no one seems to mind. The table is enormous and seats around 12 comfortably.
Added a Built-in Coffee Station
We had a custom-built coffee station installed by the back door with a useful trolley door, which reveals our coffee maker. So convenient!
Removed a Door from the Family Room
We felt that two doors leading to the back porch were unnecessary, and interfered with furniture placement. We eliminated the door closest to the fireplace and kept the one closest to the coffee station.
Shortened the Living Room Wall
We shortened the living room wall across from the powder room to maintain that open, airy feeling. It worked well for our furniture placement, allowing our chairs to be out in the open.
Removed Posts in Living Room
Those posts! While we have seen posts that look just fine in some of the Four Gables we have seen, they were totally inconvenient and did not work in our plan. The solution? We beefed up the beams overhead to eliminate the posts altogether. What a difference! If there is one major recommendation we can make to future Four Gables homeowners, it is to get rid of those posts!
Removed Hallway and Bedroom Upstairs and Created Rec Room
Rather than having a long hallway with bedrooms, we eliminated one bedroom and the hallway, and opened up the whole upstairs, creating a huge rec room for movie watching and playing board games. We have built-in shelving beside the sectional to store our games and other items. We get plenty of natural light from the two windows behind the sectional, as well as from the two windows in the two-story foyer.
Converted a Bedroom to Dressing Room
We kept two of the three bedrooms, converting one into a dressing room for me so I can contain all of my clothes, shoes, vanity, and bags in one place. I was also fortunate to have enough room for a bathroom with a full-sized shower.
Created a Jack and Jill Bathroom to the Guest Bedroom from the Rec Room
The guest bedroom has its own pretty bathroom. We thought it would be convenient to locate the toilet at the end closest to the rec room, and added a door so guests can access it without entering the bedroom.
Vaulted the Ceiling with Stringers in Guest Bedroom
Wow does this room look bigger! We have a queen-sized bed with two end tables placed in front of the triple window. This room also has two closets in addition to its own bathroom. We planked the vaulted ceiling and painted the boards Benjamin Moore’s Winter Ice, which is a soothing shade of soft blue. Stringers, which are beams that sit below the ceiling, add lovely cottage detail.
Added a Small Home Office
Paul really needed a quiet place to work, so we squeezed in a very functional small office next to the railing that overlooks the open foyer. The office has a built-in desk with cabinets above, providing ample storage space for all of his work essentials.
Have Questions About our Four Gables House? Contact us!
We hope you found this post helpful! If you are interested in modifying the Four Gables Farmhouse, feel free to ask us any questions you may have, and we’ll do our best to answer and assist. This is an important process, so please think everything through carefully, and do your homework!
Until next time…