This updated Kansas farmhouse has a unique history

Photos by Nate Sheets

For one family, space was everything in choosing a forever home. When Matt and Jessica saw this home, just thirty minutes southwest of the city, they knew it was the place for them. The house not only sits on a sprawling eighty acres of land but also has some history behind it: The limestone portion of the home once belonged to a mid-1800s farmhouse built in Barnard, Kansas. The building, which operated as a hotel known as the Dowlin home, was purchased in 1993 by a couple who removed the limestone bones, one stone at a time, and carefully restructured it into this home.

Since then, more space has been added and the interior has gotten a facelift, most recently thanks to interior designer Annie Kern, builder Andy Fritzel and architect Tim Homburg. The team turned this historic home into a cozy yet classic farmhouse filled with character for Matt and Jessica’s family.


When styling the space above the bench, Kern decided that it would be fun and functional to hang the homeowners’ hats by the entryway.

“They often wear these on their property when working in the garden or riding horses,” she says. “We love how little, lived-in touches like this can add an element of practical style.”


Jessica and Matt love to cook, so a large range was a must. The stainless steel hood with stainless strapping is a showstopping centerpiece.

The kitchen cabinets are painted in a gray flat paint with a custom glaze over it. “This helps to achieve a slightly weathered look that adds dimension,” Kern says.

Multifunctional Family Room

The room off the kitchen is a multifunctional area that includes the living room, hearth and dining room. Kern says that both sides of the room were purposely wired to ac-commodate the dining room lanterns and media—that way the family has the flexibility to shuffle the room around if they ever decide to transform the layout.

“I like to start with the overall feel of the room,” Kern says on decorating the space. “For example, pay attention to the style that you are trying to achieve. With this house, we knew we wanted it to have the cozy, relaxed elements of a farmhouse while still feeling polished. Choosing a few dominant colors to incorporate is a great first step.”

For this home, Kern used various shades of blues and reds, as well as lots of browns and creams. She says that mixing up the pattern scales and shapes is a good way to help it flow without looking too busy. Adding in natural elements, such as the wood beams on the ceiling or the stone on the fireplace, helps to ground the space, giving a solid foundation to play with pattern and color.


“This was added on right off the kitchen,” Kern says. “Matt and Jessica frequently entertain small groups, and a screened-in porch was a top priority for them.” This large seating area comfortably seats eight to ten people and directly overlooks the pool.


When the homeowners bought the home, the limestone structure was basically one large one-story box. The add-ons were originally stucco from the previous owners, which was replaced with cedar shingles.


Kern and her team added reclaimed beams to give the ceiling some definition and also warm up the space. The delicate chandelier makes the space feel less heavy.

Kern always likes to add some sort of sitting area in a bedroom, if possible. “I’ve noticed that as a mom, kids often end up spending time in the parents’ bedroom, so it’s nice to have a space where they are welcome,” she says. “It’s also important to have an area in the master that can become an oasis to recharge that’s more private from the rest of the home.”


This is Jessica’s bathroom, so Kern wanted to play up the feminine details. The freestanding tub, light pink curtains and white tile add that romantic vibe to the space.

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