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A Victorian Farmhouse in Pasadena

A Victorian Farmhouse in Pasadena

Victorian farmhouse in Pasadena exterior
Written by Stephanie Agnes-Crockett
Photography by Bret Gum
Styling by Victoria Van Vlear and Kristin Dowding

This historic home in Pasadena, California, brings farmhouse design to Victorian architecture.

How do you bring farmhouse style to a historic Victorian structure? Blogger Kelly Wilkniss of My Soulful Home and author of the book My Soulful Home: A Year in Flowers, has completed several home projects, including a build-from-scratch home. As soon as she saw the Victorian house in Los Angeles county, Kelly knew it had to be hers, and she wasn’t intimidated by the work that would need to be done. Upon acquiring the home, she began the renovation and restoration project that would turn the 1886 antique into a chic farmhouse treasure.

Victorian farmhouse in Pasadena exterior
This 1886 Victorian home, renovated and refurbished as an American farmhouse treasure, seamlessly combines the two styles. The exterior is an example of late 19th-century architecture, from columns to eaves. Behind the main structure is a historic barn that adds to the overall farmhouse charm.

Live-in Renovation

The renovation process was just that—a process. Kelly and her family moved in during the fall of 2015, after ten months in escrow. “With all those months to plan the renovation, we hit the ground running,” Kelly says. “We lived in the home during the entire process, which was, I must admit now, a monumental undertaking.” In addition to moving in, Kelly also decided to serve as the contractor, hiring out sub-contractors to complete various tasks. “Self-contracting saves a lot of money, but can be a full-time job in and of itself,” she says. “The sub-contractors would arrive at seven and leave when it got dark.” Throughout the process, Kelly strived to “respect the architecture and bones of the house,” maintaining its traditional Victorian structure.

Victorian home outdoor porch
Homeowner Kelly Wilkniss furnished the front porch with yard sale finds.

Kelly and her husband slept in the living room, while their daughters had mattresses in their own bedrooms. “We had a makeshift kitchen in the dining room, with a dorm-sized fridge and microwave,” Kelly says. “The living conditions were the biggest challenge, but a blessing too. We were making the right choices and moving the process along as quickly as possible because of our presence.” Eight months after moving in, the Wilkniss family had a working kitchen. “After that, things got easier,” Kelly says. “Running water, not from a bathroom tub, is truly a blessing!”

Victorian home with farmhouse feel stained glass
The elegant white staircase is original to the house, but Kelly repainted it. “It was forest green, then stripped to the mismatched wood by the previous owner,” Kelly says. On the landing post, the Lady of the Stair light is also original to the home. “I understand that having such a light/statute or plaque on your newel post was an indication that your house was paid off in the early 1900s,” she says.

Paint and Planks, Victorian and Farmhouse

When it came to creating a farmhouse-styled home, Kelly had a clear vision. She intended to mingle Victorian sophistication with farmhouse flair. “We wanted to make it light, bright and infused with casual elegance,” she says. She decided to paint most of the home white to introduce a farmhouse classic, while cleaning up the space. “It was dirty, crowded with 50 years of stuff and in need of major freshening,” Kelly says. “Like the decorator, Elise de Wolfe, I believe in ‘optimism and lots of white paint.’”

Victorian home living area
Kelly’s living room illustrates the effectiveness of understated contrast. “The formal drapes paired with the textured natural woven blinds is that juxtaposition I love,” she says. “It’s casual elegance, like a girl in a satin dress with bare feet.” 

To appeal to both farmhouse and Victorian traditions, Kelly included old-fashioned woods throughout the home. The interior ushers in “dark-stained, reclaimed wide-plank hardwood flooring throughout and planked ceilings.” She aimed to combine “rustic and refined styles in a way that each element is better for having the other in place.” For instance, she chose to position her Maria Teresa chandelier over a worn pine table. “I think they are even better with the juxtaposition,” she says.

See Also
Tennessee farmhouse exterior

Victorian farmhouse bay windows
Add an extra touch of comfort to your dining room with a loveseat by the window. Diners can breakfast while enjoying the view of the sunrise or retire to the classy seat after the evening meal. On either side, small stands offer chic homes for the essential lamp, teapot and flower arrangement. 
bedroom in Victorian home with farmhouse flair

A Victorian with Farmhouse Flair

Kelly sought farmhouse style décor to furnish the home. “I judiciously incorporated authentic and iconic farmhouse elements such as grain sack fabrics, chippy wooden pieces, time-worn galvanized watering cans, my collection of small ironstone pitchers and one-of-a-kind vintage pieces,” Kelly says.  “Take these farmhouse aspects with the more formal pieces that harken to the Victorian period, toss in a sprinkling of bling and you get my farmhouse glam décor.”

Victorian dining room
“My vision for this room was to be elegant, but accessible in feel,” Kelly says. “It is a pass-through from the foyer to the kitchen, so it needs to look neat all the time and not too fussy.” She always keeps fresh flowers on the table for a timeless feel.
chandelier coffered ceiling Victorian dining room
Kelly’s 28 light Maria Teresa chandelier was a yard sale find from a Pasadena tea house. “The owner delivered it wearing a set of tails with the chandy dangling from a wooden pole over his shoulder and that of his helper,” Kelly says. After cleaning and rewiring the fixture, Kelly displayed it over the dining table, which features chairs from the same sale.
kitchen in Victorian home with farmhouse style
This glorious stove, an antique from 1929, came with the home. The previous owner acquired it in the 1970s. “He had a fire extinguisher next to it,” Kelly says. “It’s safe now and really easy to use.” The gorgeous silver of the appliance perfectly accents the surrounding white walls and cabinetry. 
Victorian home renovation exterior
The home is 2,800 square feet, and the property also features an old barn. Kelly planned to renovate from the first time she saw the house. “When hearing about our undertaking, a friend of mine remarked, ‘You are bringing back an American beauty,’” Kelly says. “That became my mantra.”
Victorian stained glass windows
Built in 1886, the home is now more than 130 years old, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Homes. In 2015, Kelly purchased the home from its previous owner, who “had loved the house for 50 years.”
Victorian home kitchen
This master bathroom exudes classy style with its sliding white door and ornamented track. Within, the simple space boasts a beautiful beaded chandelier, rustic metal basket and even a gold-hosed shower head.
claw-foot tub with gold shower rod
“The entire bathroom was in shambles for 35 years,” Kelly says. She refurbished the original bathtub in this guest bathroom, which was installed into the home during its 1886 construction. Now the fixture, with its shiny feet and hose, exudes a chic vibe. A little gold adds a lot of glam.

Interested in more Victorian homes with a farmhouse vibe? Read on about a Historic Folk Victorian Home Revival. Of course, don’t forget to follow us on InstagramFacebook and Pinterest to get your daily dose of farmhouse inspiration!

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