Southern Living

This cozy country abode has modern sensibilities.

It lives big on the inside, but it’s only one story. “Sunny open planning” is how John Tee describes his approach to designing free-flowing homes filled with natural light. Though his floor plans may appear open—there are few hallways (a waste of square footage)—Tee has mastered the art of “private separation.” He ran the main rooms in the center of the home to serve as a buffer between the master suite and the two other bedrooms. (Each bedroom includes its own bath, and the master has two closets.) “This house has widespread appeal,” says Tee. “Empty nesters prefer the ease of one level, and young families like the space between the bedrooms.”

Subtle farmhouse detailing provides major impact. Tee included just enough country touches for the house to be classic but not cliché. The plain slab shutters, simple board-and-batten siding, and a low wall and wooden gate could be pulled straight from an old farm. To turn up the urban elegance and counter the rustic vibes, the architect designed a curved railing for the porch steps, flanked the front door with two pairs of French doors (flooding the interior with light), and added a round window on the right side of the house. Few details sharpen the appearance of a home’s exterior like a small, well-placed round window.

You can see more about this house plan, Orange Grove, at houseplans.southernliving.com. The 2,440-square-foot plan (#1848) is designed by John Tee.

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For the holiday season, this charming farmhouse adds some festive flair with bright red accents, such as nostalgic Noel lanterns, and natural touches like magnolia wreathes. Finishing lush greenery with merry velvet bows makes sure to keep it simple and cozy.