Peaceful Valley Farm: Functional Beauty

If you’re someone who likes to keep up with interior design, watch all the shows and devour the glossy photos in magazines, then you’re likely to be familiar with the term “show home”. Perhaps you’ve even gone on some tours, walking through stunning rooms that take your breath away – and wonder how anyone could live in those rooms without being constantly worried about rumpling a pillow, leaving a footprint on a pristine white floor or God forbid you forget to use a coaster.

There’s nothing wrong with homes or even just rooms, that were made for presentation, if that’s your vision for your space; we love them for a reason. For Tom Peters and Brenda Bot, however, that just wasn’t what they wanted for their gorgeous property, Peaceful Valley Farm, in Mono. Although every single room in their home, that they’ve described as part country-part chalet in structure, stands out in these glossy photos here, they are rooms that were designed to be lived in and decorated with pieces that spoke to Brenda or Tom.

When they bought the property thirteen years ago, they knew that they were going to make changes. Forgive me the use of the cliché but they knew it had good bones. Although already eight years old, it had great lasting features and potential – unfortunately, where it was lacking was in the finishes. Something Brenda is familiar with, having some previous experience with home builds. If you’re not careful with your budget, it’s far too easy to spend it all just on the framing of the house, not leaving room for those final touches after.

This was part of the reason that they took their time with their own renovations, completing their top to bottom remodel in about five years. They took their time with each space to ensure that it not only suited their needs, but that they could complete it without blowing the budget they had for themselves, before they had done everything they needed.

One of the first things that they changed is one of the house’s most striking features: the fireplace. They had always known that they wanted stone, and the existing fireplace had been giving them problems, so it was a natural place to start. Although they hired a stone mason to do the actual laying of the stones, Tom and Brenda set them out in the pattern they wanted themselves, and they drove all over until they found the right mantel for their home. The end result, of course, is a focal point for the room that embodies what they tried to do with the whole house: create a functional, modern look that still respects the traditional country style of the original house structure.

People often say “Start as you mean to go on”, and this is a value that Brenda and Tom carried on from this moment. They chose neutral, high-quality fixtures (faucets, counter tops, etc.) that would always be ‘in vogue’ and then dedicated their time to finding unique, interesting pieces that they could add to the rooms to give them character – make them their own.

Some of these pieces came from their travels and life already lived, but many of them were hunted out by Brenda. In the master bathroom, one of these finds is an antique barber’s chair that Brenda remodeled; over 100 years old, this piece is now the focal point of an elegant, bright room, with that right touch of character. In the master bedroom, they “rescued” a chandelier from a hotel that was going to be torn down. Pairing it with the matching sconces, they transformed the room into something subtle but unique.

Upcycling in this way is very important to both Brenda and Tom. They tried to reuse as many things as they could. If they’re going to spend the money, they’d rather use it on reupholstering quality sofas they already have than on something new that might not last. Anything they couldn’t reuse in their home in some way, they sold or found a new home for somewhere else.

While many people would find the task of remodeling their home on their own (with the help of contractors where needed) daunting, Brenda and Tom loved it. They loved hunting out the pieces that spoke to them, and digging into the challenge of transforming their home into something that worked for them. Their favourite rooms now (the kitchen, the master bath, etc.) own that title because they work for their lives so much better now, becoming beautiful and functional.

Brenda told me that she’s good at making decisions because she knows what she likes, and so she gets it. Having seen their home, I think we can all say she made the right decisions.


Author: LivingSpaces

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