Chalk It Up

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In This Modern Farmhouse, The Writing's On The Wall

A search engine started it all. 

After seven years in Athens, Ga., Stephanie Walsh and Brandon Blanchard wanted to move further south and closer to an airport. "I found Serenbe when I Googled 'eco-friendly neighborhoods near Atlanta,'" Stephanie said. "Once I saw it online, I knew I needed to see it in person." 

And once she saw it in person, she fell in love. "The place is just so beautiful and ethereal," she said. "I absolutely loved the walkability, the organic farm, access to trails and the sustainability aspect. It was everything we were looking for in a community and a home." 

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In February 2012, Stephanie and Brandon moved into a rental in Serenbe to be onsite while their home was being built. They moved into their three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath dream house that November. 

Featured in the Atlanta-Journal Constitution,Stephanie calls the home a "modern farmhouse with very neutral tones and a lot of texture." Using vision boards on Pinterest, she pulled together textures and ideas that suited their style. 

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"I love a home that feels like a cocoon and is almost womb-like," she said. "Our lives are so busy these days. I want my home to be a peaceful place that rises to give my family and me a hug when we enter. The neutrals are an important part of helping contain the 'noise' of our daily lives." 

In addition to a five-foot barn door in the living room and screened-in porch with weathered woods, Stephanie and Brandon were intentional about adding personal touches, both seen and unseen. 

In the laundry room, one wall is covered in chalkboard paint for love notes. And in the master bedroom, they wrote their wedding vows on the wall before it was painted. 

"I saw a movie once about a family that was remodeling a home. When they knocked down walls, they found love letters from the previous owners," Stephanie said. "That always stuck with me. I thought it was the sweetest thing— a way to immortalize your love for eternity." 

In the future, Stephanie and Brandon want to extend their entertaining area into the backyard and create a cozier space with creative fencing and décor. "There are always plans for the house," Stephanie said. "We love our home very much and could not want for more. However, if we lost everything tomorrow, it wouldn't matter because we would still have each other and a home is only as good as the love in it."