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This Victorian Home Gets a Farmhouse Refresh

This Victorian Home Gets a Farmhouse Refresh

The mostly all white kitchen iis set off by bright red raise bar chairs and wood accents in the surrounding bar countertops framing the kitchen's cooking space in replacement of a traditional kitchen island

Discover how this historical Lake Tahoe, Nevada home got warmed up with beautiful rustic wood for a farmhouse refresh.

Located in Glenbrook, Nevada on Lake Tahoe, a Victorian-era home originally built in 1863 got a farmhouse refresh. Principal Architect, Dennis E. Zirbel, and Natalie Zirbel, Interior Designer, of Zirbel Design oversaw the significant design choices. This included recreating the home’s original carved wood detailing, adding wood paneling to the walls, and refreshing the furniture and other design elements.

The home's great room offers a modern open floor plan turning what had been three smaller rooms into one large space for a farmhouse refresh
In the home's new Great Room, several smaller spaces have become one with the removal of walls separating the rooms. But tradition still remains. “Historic style lighting, plumbing fixtures, and the owner’s collection of antique furniture are additional elements that make the essentially new home feel more historic," says Natalie.
The Great Room's breakfast nook has a farmhouse style wood table and blue bench cushions
The Great Room even offers a breakfast nook to utilize every inch of the space.

Living History

This vintage farmhouse home, dubbed by its owners as The Lake Shore House, is important for its connection to history. “One exciting fact about the Lake Shore House is that Mark Twain stayed there on several occasions. He makes note of it in his writings, including in his book ‘Roughing It,’” Natalie says.

The homeowners consider themselves the current custodians of this historical home. Hence, their main priorities were to restore and remodel the Lake Shore House with a farmhouse refresh while keeping it historically accurate.

A bedroom with white shiplap working as a blank background uses wood furniture and artwork of provincial themes to set the tone of this farmhouse refresh
The furniture in the home is a mix of family heirlooms and antiques, along with some new custom pieces.

Light and Bright

But the beauty of the home is of course deserving of attention. “The simple detailing of this Victorian home is what gives [the house] such a fresh farmhouse feel,” says Natalie. While Victorian homes are known for their grandiose accents, this home offers modest wood carvings and open spaces.

Their main goal with the farmhouse refresh was to restore the historical features. But they also wanted to provide a fresh feel that meets modern function. “The homeowners asked that we make the home feel ‘bright and happy.’ It was a wonderfully refreshing design goal,” Natalie says.

The mostly all white bathroom has pops of black in its choice of hardware and scones. Small black pieces of tile mix with white to offer more pops of dark color on the floor.
For a classic look that fits a farmhouse refresh, the bathrooms use a color scheme of mostly black and white.

Inside the home, Dennis and Natalie opened up the existing living, kitchen and dining areas. This became "The Great Room," combining several spaces into one. This new room extended a modern function of opening the floor plan, breathing new life into what was dark Victorian interiors. Victorians tended to prefer many separate, smaller spaces individualized for each room’s purpose. Thus, a farmhouse refresh needed some wide-open spaces.

A pine dresser with carved accents was retrofitted into a vanity for the powder room for this farmhouse refresh
An early twentieth-century pine dresser was retrofitted into a vanity for the home's powder room to give a classic but farmhouse touch.

Farmhouse Refresh

Surprisingly, the dramatic use of wood befits the home’s original owner, the region's first sawmill owner in the 1800s. Enhancing the historic qualities of the home, Dennis and Natalie wanted the farmhouse refresh to incorporate wood detailing. “We added reclaimed joists in the ceiling of the new Great Room to recognize the history of the lumber industry,” says Natalie.

The mostly white master bathroom is dotted with dark hardware to offer pops of black against the white
"In the bathrooms, we used ceramic mosaic tiles for the floors to enhance the historic look of the spaces, and ceramic subway tile and trim for the wall tile," says Natalie.

History aside, this remodel gives a stunning new take on farmhouse style. “The Lake Shore House, once a rundown, albeit prized piece, of history, is once again a site to behold. We are so honored to have been a part of the restoration and transformation that has made the Lake Shore House the beautiful, celebrated place it is today.”

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