By: Jacqueline Gonzalez Photos by: Jason Page
As pastors of Rock City Church and owners of Coffee Waves in Flour Bluff, Amber and David Bendett have a true love for the Flour Bluff community. So it was no surprise that, when they found the perfect home in the area, they jumped at the opportunity, regardless of the large project that awaited them.
Amber always wanted a house with three or four acres of land – without having to travel an hour or so out of town to reach it – so when a friend of hers informed her that a small farmhouse in town on 3.6 acres of land was on the market, she and David set out to see if their prayers for their ideal home had been answered. Amber immediately fell in love with the secluded area, and knew it was just the right place to have the farm she’s always wanted, and also a safe and quiet place to raise a family. She mentions that “only a few other people live in the area, and each person has a lot of land, so the houses aren’t close together.” The property also backs up onto land that is a flight zone for the Naval Air Station, so it can never be built on, which maximizes the privacy.
The Bendetts knew renovations for the house were in order, but it was a challenge they were willing to take on in order to tailor it to their liking. Since it was built in 1940, everything was smaller than most modern homes, meaning they had their work cut out for them.
Amber says, “The previous homeowners did all the major demos and discovered the hardwood floors and original shiplap after tearing down walls, but there was still more work to be done.” Amber still had to work on the plumbing, electrical, septic, flooring, and painting.
She felt that any excess was not suitable for her taste, so she added some contrast to the all-white exterior with black shutters, and used cedar wood columns to replace the multiple white columns that originally surrounded the wraparound porch. The result was a drastic change that modernized the original style of the farmhouse, and perfectly suited the design she had in mind. One of the bigger changes inside the home involved turning their two-car garage into the master bedroom, complete with a master bath and walk-in closet to maximize their space. They also extended the laundry room into the garage space, which provided more wiggle room in the home.
With two small children and indoor pets, minimalism is key to keeping things clean. After reading the Cozy Minimalist books, Amber quotes the idea that “everything has a function – a dual purpose, and it should be aesthetically pleasing” as her inspiration for adopting functionality as the key ingredient in decorating her home. Although she lives in a farmhouse, she prefers a more modern style indoors over the traditional farmhouse décor. Using a neutral palette as a starting point and incorporating natural elements like plants, wood, leather, and baskets helps Amber keep a simplistic style, but also gives her a clean backdrop on which to sprinkle color.
Although she is not very big on bright hues, she recognizes the importance of splashing personality onto a neutral palette, so she uses wallpaper, throw pillows, and florals. These additions, although minimal, lend a unique charm to the home that also allows versatility for altering decor as the seasons change.
When it was time to tackle the kids’ bedrooms, the Bendetts decided to have some fun and bring the kids into the decision-making. The soft mauve walls are a perfect princess-like shade, but the floral wallpaper in black, yellow, and white adds a fun contrast to the softer tones in their daughter’s room. On the other hand, their son wanted a camouflage theme, so they found the ideal combination of dark green on the top half of the wall and white board and batten design on the bottom half.
An aesthetically pleasing outdoor area is a must for a home that sits on more than three acres of land. The Bendetts’ guests love to relax outside and enjoy the pretty trees, chicken coop, duck pond, and farm with goats, sheep, and pigs, but they also love the gathering space.
The kitchen opens up onto a deck with a pergola and string lights above it, which sets the tone for the outdoor dining. In addition to the dining table on the deck, she also has a long white farm table, and a firepit surrounded by black Adirondack chairs. The family loves to host outside gatherings with family and friends, and the large outdoor space provides ample space for children to run around without the dangers of the street nearby.
Even though the Bendetts have put a lot of work into their beautiful home, Amber said there is a lot more to come. They enjoy changing things up in their home, and they have many new ideas for upcoming projects … in their own distinctive style.