A note from our editors: 

It’s time for one of our favorite traditions! Each year, we spend the holidays reflecting on the stories and articles you loved most. It’s the “Best of Rue” and this is one of 2020’s top stories. Enjoy!

Previously published on January 23, 2020:

When Sara Barney of BANDD DESIGN first met her clients (a young couple with three young children), they’d been working with an architect and builder on a home remodel. Their house was in a transition period, and they hoped Sara and her team would help turn it into the “neighborhood hangout” they envisioned – a home that evoked comfort and encouraged guests to stay awhile.

“Our clients emphasized how important it was to them that their home felt comfortable and inviting, while also being unique to them as a family,” Sara shares. “The homeowners also enjoy entertaining others and having guests over, so the built-in bar was a must for them. They wanted it to be traditional with a touch of modern, but they were concerned about their home looking too modern and having crazy, overwhelming features.”

Ultimately, “modern farmhouse” was the style they agreed on. To achieve this aesthetic in a fresh way, Sara included a lot of texture, layers, and reclaimed elements to make their space feel as homey as possible. “I knew since the beginning of the project that we wanted to incorporate natural elements into their home to give it a more down-to-earth feel, which is why we installed the wood beams and shelving,” she explains. “I wanted their space to feel authentic and personal to them, so in order to achieve that one-of-a-kind look it was essential that we got some custom furniture made for them. By the end of the project, we realized that almost all of their furniture was custom!”

Since most of the decor had a masculine feel, Sara wanted to bring a feminine touch to add balance to the space. Ellie Cashman floral wallpaper in dark hues was a risk, but once it had been installed, the room felt complete. It’s a lovely contrast with the rustic beams overhead.

The project took nearly a year to complete, but the final reveal was worth it. The designer smiles, “The homeowners were blown away when they saw their completed home and couldn’t wait to host their next get together with their neighbors.”