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A Georgia Dream Home

A Georgia Dream Home

Georgia farm house living room
Written by Emily Irby 
Photography by Jaki Hawthorne
Styled by Laura Janning 

A couple builds their home on acres of beautiful Georgian farmland. 

Building your dream home from scratch is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. When blogger Laura Janning of Duke Manor Farm and her husband Fred happened upon 25 acres of lush land next to a glassy lake in Pendergrass, Georgia, they knew they had found the ideal place to put down roots and raise a family. “We felt connected to the land the minute we walked on it,” Laura says. They bought the land, sold their home and lived on their boat and then in the guest house until their Georgia dream home was finished in 2003. 

new buidl Georgia dream home exterior
Although they originally referred to their home as their ‘barn,’ homeowners Fred and Laura Janning now call it Duke Manor Farm, originating from an old family nickname and the elegance of the home.
living room decorative display
While Laura keeps the knickknacks to a minimum, her curated pieces prevent the home from looking modern or sparse. A portrait of a cow, fresh flowers and a “Stay Awhile” sign give her keeping room an inviting vibe.

Strong Foundation 

Laura was always a city girl, but she wanted her future kids to have a country childhood. They’ve put the land to good use, and now have two horses, five dogs, plenty of chickens and a goat who adopted himself into their family. “Every day is different,” Laura says. She takes all the challenges and triumphs of living on a working farm in stride. Laura also took advantage of her home’s location, using cedar wood from the surrounding trees on their property to build the structure. 

Georgia dream home living room
The vaulted ceilings, open floor plan and plenty of natural light in the keeping room make the home feel large and open. The flow from room to room makes entertaining guests and keeping an eye on the kids a breeze. 

Starting from scratch isn’t always the easiest option, but it does ensure that the home you build will be perfectly suited for your family. Laura had a clear vision of her dream home and went to an architect and then a builder to bring her plans to life. When they parted ways with their builder before their home was finished, it was up to Laura and Fred to complete the project. They put in the hardwood floors, painted the exterior, installed the trim and completed all the landscaping themselves. “We wanted this labor of love to be apparent in our home,” Laura says. The house effortlessly pulls off a balance of Southern comfort, rural beauty and an elegant interior. 

dining room with chandelier and upholstered seating
Laura’s beautifully textured dining table has a special meaning to her and her husband. The first time her husband Fred ever told her he loved her, he carved the words into the table, and they’ve kept it ever since. 
white kitchen cabinets in Georgia dream home
Laura painted over the original cherry red cabinets and walls with a fresh coat of white paint in 2015 to give her kitchen a farm-fresh look. “Whatever is in my kitchen is what I use,” she says. “I don’t really like clutter.”

Southern Charm 

“The most significant part of our home is our front porch,” Laura says. “It’s very open.” She and Fred spend hours sitting on the porch sipping sweet tea, and with a view of the animals grazing in the pasture (which she says cuts down on landscape maintenance), it’s not hard to imagine why this is her favorite part of the property.

breakfast nook
The breakfast nook is simplicity at its finest. The clear glasses, single vase in the middle of the table and stacked plates prevent the small table from looking cluttered. Large windows surround the space with views of their cedar trees, making dining indoors feel like an outdoor experience. 

But the openness doesn’t stop there. She designed her entire home to feel large and inviting. Her kitchen is connected to a “keeping room,” which is a staple in Southern homes. It serves as a sitting room and is a more relaxed and informal room than the family room. It’s perfect for visiting and lounging with guests while dinner is in the oven. 

kitchen with windows
Who needs art when the views from the windows are this beautiful? Laura tore out the butler’s pantry three years ago in favor of further opening up the space and adding a window. 

A House with a View 

There are over 90 windows and pieces of glass in the home, and being a city girl, Laura had to resist her initial urge to install curtains over all of them. With one side of their home facing a 50-mile-long lake, and the other side facing a forest of cedar trees, there’s no worry that neighbors will peek in, so windows that welcome the Georgia sunlight and frame the idyllic landscape were a must. Laura opted out of a traditional butler’s pantry and installed a window and a cheery blue counter next to her breakfast nook. 

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Farmhouse living room with spring decorations

Georgia dream home master bedroom
Laura’s four-poster bed steals the show in the master bedroom. The piece is so well-loved that Laura plans on passing it down to her daughter someday. The wood nightstands and antique-style rug pay homage to classic farmhouse style.
Georgia farmhouse guest bed room
Laura and Fred have lived in their home for 15 years, so it’s no surprise they’ve changed things up since moving in. This guest bedroom used to be an office, but all it took was switching out a desk for a bed, and adding a bedside table, to turn it into a guest room. 

Georgia Dream Home, Room by Room 

screened-in porch
The screened-in porch is the perfect in between room. The couch is durable, there’s no fussy carpet and the walls are made from pasture boards from the property. “Functionality is the most important thing, especially with kids,” Laura says.

Laura describes her home’s style as elegant with a dash of whimsy. Clean lines and glimmering chandeliers are offset with pops of colors and quirky patterns. However, each room has its own identity, even with the effortless flow of the design. The kitchen is simple and functional with minimal clutter and a mix of open shelving and cabinets, while Laura’s office is chic and feminine, decorated with a magenta rug and gold accents. “I think it’s refreshing to walk into a different aesthetic,” she says. With animals outside and fresh interiors inside, the Janning family has lived up to the American farmhouse dream.

Georgia dream house sits on farmland
Laura and her family enjoy their home not only for the beautiful interiors, but the horses and other animals they care for.

Want to see another new build farmhouse home in Georgie ? Read “A Custom Modern Farmhouse in Georgia?” Of course, don’t forget to follow us on InstagramFacebook and Pinterest to get your daily dose of farmhouse inspiration!

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