Forgotten Farmhouse to Home Sweet Home

Forgotten Farmhouse to Home Sweet Home

27 October 2023

Photography by Chris Mottalini

Tucked away in a corner of Connecticut sits an old dairy farm. Once left falling into disrepair, it now stands renovated and revitalised thanks to a labour of love by Heide Hendricks and Rafe Churchill of Hendricks Churchill.

Partners at work and home, this design duo are long-time Farrow & Ball friends. We first spoke to them in 2020 about their plans to turn the Ellsworth farmhouse into a family home. Now, we’re catching up with them again to take a tour of the finished result — a space so beautifully curated it’s the subject of their latest book, Our Way Home: Reimagining an American Farmhouse.

Entrance Hall

With a subtle, sophisticated but still thoroughly colourful palette, this entrance hall feels open, welcoming and harmonious — a feeling the pair were intent on creating. 

“I always consider what other rooms will be in the same sight line”, says Heide, “and make sure there’s continuity between them. I want to avoid transitions that are too jarring and break the spell of setting a mood.”


Panelling, Doors and Trim: De Nimes No.299; Ceiling: Cabbage White No.269; Island: Dead Salmon No.28

This renovated kitchen is the perfect melting pot of old and new. The traditional, farmhouse features sit beautifully against the more modern details, all held together against a strong, timeless colour palette of De Nimes, Cabbage White and Dead Salmon.

“Far before we had closed on the home, we already had ideas about how we were going to preserve and redesign elements of the spaces and property. We have always loved living with colour, and Ellsworth provided a new canvas and laboratory for us. Paint, particularly Farrow & Ball, was a way to make the home ours, establish our legacy, and push the home into its next chapter.” 


Walls: De Nimes No.299, Woodwork: Skylight No.205; Ceiling: Skylight No.205

In this beautiful, cosy pantry, the design duo have showcased their signature “quiet sense of play”, as they explain:

“In the pantry at Ellsworth, we painted a waterline two thirds of the way up the wall, so it feels as if De Nimes has spilled in from the kitchen and up the Skylight Blue. Subverting convention like that — using paint instead of trim to delineate a space — immediately makes any room feel more playful.”


This inviting den is the perfect example of how to create a family space that ticks all the boxes. It looks elegant and curated, while also being a cosy space to snuggle down for film nights and lazy mornings. This beautiful balance is just one way Rafe and Heide have created a home that encompasses the individuality of their family.

“Each room represents a piece of us, as not only individuals, but as a couple and as a family. And the sum of the rooms — the parts — is what makes the home — the whole — so special. Paint was a main driver in helping us achieve that.” 


House exterior and porch: Dove Tale No.267, Barn: Preference Red No.297

Not only have Rafe and Heide created a beautiful interior, they’ve also paid plenty of attention to the outside of their home too. Using a combination of Dove Tale on the walls and a striking Brinjal front door, Down Pipe on the shed and Preference Red on the barn, the pair were inspired by one of their favourite styles of design.

“So much of our work is inspired by New England vernacular from the 1700s and 1800s, specifically Shaker architecture. Shakers often pared down exterior trim details in favour of vibrant colours, which is a misnomer for the New England clapboard-sided house. So many of the shades from Farrow & Ball modernise time-honoured colours. While the exterior colours on the main house, barn, and shed are a bit more muted in their respective colour families, they still speak to the home’s history and our love and respect for the Shaker style.”

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Browse more images of real homes transformed by our pigment-rich paint in our inspiration gallery. You might just find the spark for your next project…

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