This Family Found Home in a 1907 Farmhouse in Brenham, Texas
Jamie and Russell Braden never expected to find the happiness they now share. Jamie had gone through a difficult first marriage and was busy solo parenting three kids. Russell thought his days of romance and parenting were behind him. And then they fell in love. The pair got married, and Russell adopted Jamie's children, Abby, now 16; Gracie, 15; and Carson, 11. They had a home in a nice area of Houston, but their neighborhood wasn't a cozy one. People tended to keep to themselves. "It never felt like where we were supposed to be," recalls Jamie. A glimpse of a different path came to them during Thanksgiving of 2016, which they spent in a 19th-century farmhouse in rural Fredericksburg. There, Jamie felt a contentment she hadn't known in years. She was flooded with blissful childhood memories of time spent in small-town Michigan: riding her bike down quiet lanes, lying in the grass watching the clouds pass through the sky. Russell, who was raised in a farming family in nearby Columbus, Texas, felt the same. "All my life, I'd been wanting to get back to that kind of community," he says. Their search ended at a 1907 farmhouse in Brenham.
Room to Roam
Handsome and in need of TLC, the home, set on a hill overlooking 90 acres and three lakes, embodies a sense of peace that Jamie didn't foresee in her life. "This property is like the final piece of that contentment," she says. Living in Brenham has allowed the kids to discover the joy of putting down their phones and creating their own fun, including fishing, target shooting, and tire swinging. "Being away from the hustle and bustle of the city, time slows down. I'm more in the moment," says Jamie. Here's how the Bradens, alongside designer Marie Flanigan, created their dream farmhouse that celebrates a slower way of living with contemporary refinement.
Find Charm in the Details
Though the house features a lot of modern furniture, the bones of the structure were kept largely traditional to maintain a subtle sense of history. Much of the original beaded board and shiplap stayed in place (with any damaged parts redone), and contemporary hardware was replaced with antique brass versions.
Reversible cotton/linen throw by Iosi (Lagon) from Kuhl-Linscomb
Redefine The Farmhouse
Strong, statement-making materials that nod to the earthier aspects of rural life and farming—including unfinished woods, slabs of natural stone, and steel—give the house a country feel that's authentic but
unexpected in a modern farmhouse. To keep things interesting in the mostly white house, Flanigan used bold colors and materials like dark beams, shiny metallics, and pops of rich navy.
Antique fluted ironstone bowls, French yellow ware pitcher and crocks, Large mason jar,Antique wood cutting boards, Spalted found-wood low bowl by Peterman from MAI Memorial Antiques and Interiors; Galvanized vase from Kuhl-Linscomb
Embrace Modern Style with Ease
Jamie is more traditional than Russell, but she didn't want a house that looked like her grandmother's. To balance old and new, Flanigan used casual upholstery fabrics—simple cottons and natural linens in quiet, mostly solid colors plus the occasional stripe—to soften the strong lines of contemporary pieces and help them blend into the historic home.
While the Bradens wanted the home to be 100% modern in terms of functionality, they also strove to keep its authenticity. "I want people to walk
in the house and think, 'This place has history,' " says Jamie. "When the builder asked if he should straighten the beaded board, I said 'No!' "
Let There Be Light
Natural wood adds warmth to country homes, but for the Bradens, the paneling that previously covered most of the house's walls and ceilings felt dark and dated. To brighten things up and add a new level of sophistication, they kept the ceilings as they were in many rooms but painted most of the walls a contrasting soft off-white for a subtly vintage look.
Listen to the Landscape
A mostly neutral palette of soft beiges, taupes, blacks, grays, and browns echoes the calm of the countryside and softens the boundary between inside and out in a house blessed with beautiful views. Repeated bursts of colors that are found in nature—blues, greens, and jewel tones—add interest and create a sense of continuity from room to room.
Terra Firma ceramic "rattan" square dish, "Colin" glass carafe, linen throw by Jaipur Living (lisabet) from Kuhl-Linscomb; Blue glass vintage jar from MAI Memorial Antiques and Interiors; Cape Stripe white/navy Indoor/Outdoor Dec Pillow (on chair), Hobnail Herringbone Indoor/Outdoor Dec Pillow, Highland Indoor/Outdoor Dec Pillow, Blue Ridge Indoor/Outdoor Dec Pillow, Samson Navy Indoor/Outdoor rug by Dash and Albert from Annie Selke