A farmhouse renovation with Liz Marie Galvan
The born-and-raised farmgirl has returned to her Michigan roots where she’s restoring an 1840s farmhouse to its former glory one project at a time. Combining her love of French and English country style with an appreciation for functional American design, she’s bringing to life a look that’s cozy, cottagey, and uniquely her own.
Read on to discover more details about her design decisions, how windows and doors are helping to create her aesthetic, and her tips for bringing the farmhouse look to your own home.
Why windows & doors were a key component
Windows were one of the first things that came to mind when Galvan considered what design elements could reflect the look and feel of the original home. And with the home surrounded by an abundant garden, the designer knew she’d want a strong connection to the outdoors.
"When I think of early architecture, I instantly think of divided-light windows,” Galvan said. “Every window and door we’ve added to the house has simulated divided light grilles, bringing a sense of history to the space both inside and out.” But even though Galvan knew the window style she was after, she was stumped about where to start.
Luckily, she turned to an expert she knew would have her back — her dad. He spent his career selling all-things-home, from lumber to interior trim and cabinetry to windows. “My dad knows my style and dreams for the home. Andersen was the only option he would give us,” she said.
Making her vision come to life
Galvan chose white 400 Series double-hung windows with a colonial grille pattern. White matches the interior color palette (all the walls and floors are a soft white), and the square grille pattern mimics the divided light windows from the 1800s. “The grilles really bring the farmhouse to life, both inside and out. It’s just so classic American farmhouse to me,” Galvan said.
She also chose this grille pattern for a series of A-Series hinged inswing patio doors, which are repeated throughout the first floor. This includes a set of patio doors providing easy access to the rear patio and pool area. And when Galvan’s planned pool house is built, it too will include a hinged patio door to mirror the look of the main house. The repetition of form, color, and pattern is all part of creating a look. “Cohesion is important in my designs,” Galvan said.
How window & door choices improved her family’s lifestyle
When Galvan and her family first moved in, nearly every window was either non-functional or “screeched so loudly you didn’t want to open them.” The windows were drafty and not well-insulated, making for not only chilly interiors but noisy ones. Since the renovation, Galvan said their house is noticeably quieter, and they can more easily maintain the temperature.
Upstairs, the designer chose double-hung windows from Renewal by Andersen. “I love double-hung windows for their ventilation capabilities,” Galvan said. She feels confident opening the upper sash (glass panel) in her three-year-old’s room knowing the airflow is healthy, and he can’t reach the opening. But the biggest selling point for the designer: double-hung windows are easier to clean from all stories (an important factor for someone who washes their windows once a month). “With the release of two clips, I just tip the windows inward and easily clean them from inside the comfort of my home.”
Tips for bringing home the farmhouse look
Windows can often be overlooked in a renovation, but Galvan says it’s a decision not to be downplayed. In general, she notes that it’s important to invest in the structural and functional aspects of a house (“especially if it’s older like ours”) before diving into personal design touches. She also recommends working in stages. Living in a constant remodel can feel frustrating, so the designer recommends prioritizing family needs and functions.
Lastly, if you’re looking for some simple ways to give your home a farmhouse or cozy cottage feel, put your most-utilized items on display — let pots and pans dangle from a rack, give your market bags and aprons an artful moment by hanging them on the door, and don’t be afraid to prop up a cute broom and dustpan against the wall. Now that’s a first step to a renovation we can totally tackle.
Another easy step? Simply cleaning your windows!