Stefanie Copeland and her big sister, Tonya Rutledge grew up on a dairy farm where a wrought-iron chandelier hung over the family’s dining room table. Blue flowers painted on the light fixture’s white, porcelain domes left such an impression on Stefanie that it now hangs over the dining table in her own 100-year-old farmhouse. The chandelier served as inspiration for the kitchen renovation designed by Tonya, an independent interior designer, and constructed by her husband, Cooper Rutledge, CR at Renovations Unlimited, Inc.
While most siblings would have reservations about working together on such a big project, Stefanie and Tonya had no concerns. “My sister and I get along so well and we have very similar tastes,” Stefanie says. “It was a big financial step for my husband and me – and we shopped around with other companies – but I felt more comfortable working with family.”
Country mouse, city mouse
“My husband was traveling a lot one summer and I was looking for a project,” Stefanie explains of Keith, her high school sweetheart and husband of ten years. “I knew I wanted to have some land and open a farm for retired horses…so I started Googling. Keith had visions of moving to a condo downtown, but he’s really easy-going and got on board when I found this farm.”
The barn was what Stefanie initially cared about, but she was drawn to the house as soon as she walked inside.
“The moment we walked into the kitchen, my eyes lit up and I saw the potential,” Tonya says. “Stefanie and I came up with the design, tearing down the walls and opening up the kitchen, from there.”
“My favorite part was that old porch,” Tonya adds. “I just knew that was going to be a walk-in pantry.”
The pantry, located in the former screened-in porch, features a vaulted ceiling and subway tiled back wall with floating shelves. The door was purposely kept off the pantry because, as Stefanie explains, “There are enough doors in this house as it is.”
“Yes, it’s for display, but it’s very functional,” Cooper adds. “Their microwave and toaster are hidden in the cabinets on the back wall, and there’s a tall cabinet off to the right where they keep their vacuum and broom. There’s not a lot of closet space in old farmhouses, so every square foot has a purpose.”
Another functional design element is the partial wall connected to the hallend of the island. An existing wall between the kitchen and dining room was modified to open the space, but removal of the entire wall would’ve required structural steel support that was not cost-effective.
“It creates a nice divide between the kitchen and the hall leading in to the master suite,” Stefanie says. “It defines the area while still opening the space.”
This past November, Stefanie brought her retired show horse Cambridge “Colby” home to Yellow Hill Farm. “He’s a 13-year old Holsteiner gelding with tons of personality,” she says.
“It broke my heart I can no longer ride or show him but I feel so lucky to be able to bring him home and see him out my kitchen windows.”
Day in the life
Stefanie is out the door every morning before 6:00 a.m. to feed and care for the five retired horses that live at Yellow Hill Farm, her equine retirement farm. After the horses are fed, Stefanie leaves for her fulltime job in the commercial construction industry.
“This is a working farm, so Stefanie and Keith had concerns about using actual hardwood,” Cooper explains of the vinyl plank flooring. “It needed to be durable with a warm look.”
The same thought was used when selecting the quartz countertops, chosen because of their marble look that coordinates perfectly with the subway tile backsplash and cabinetry. “Sometimes in photos the cabinets look more blue,” Stefanie explains of her peppercorn-color cabinets. “They are actually grey with a blue undertone.”
The cabinet color was selected to coordinate with the antique light fixture from that farmhouse where Stefanie and Tonya grew up. “All the siblings have a little bit of the family antiques sprinkled throughout our homes,” Tonya says.
Stefanie and Keith both love to cook using their LG appliances, but their schedules are both so busy that they don’t get the time to cook that they would like.
“My favorite meal to prepare is prime rib with sautéed green beans with a side salad,” Stefanie describes. “I broil the prime rib for ten to fifteen minutes. Then I turn the heat down and our oven
does the rest. It has a thermometer that detects when the meat is at the perfect temperature, and then it turns off.”
Tonya and Cooper are still invited over for family dinners after the project.
“We’re all still talking,” Cooper says with a laugh. “So I guess we did okay.”
RESOURCES Contractor Renovations Unlimited; Designer Tonya Rutledge; Cabinetry Custom Wood Products; Flooring COREtec® vinyl plank in Fresco Driftwood, Levi’s 4 Floors; Countertops Rhapsody quartz; Countertop fabricator Impact Flooring and Countertops; Backsplash White 5×7 Cento Per Cento, Hamilton Parker; Sink Blanco Performa™ Silgranit in Cinder, Ferguson; Faucets Brizo Artesso, Carr Supply; Appliances LG, Big Sandy Superstore; Lighting Antique fixtures rewired by Bernard Electric; Windows Marvin Integrity, Apco