Debbie Farrand relaxes in the great room of the home she created… (Baltimore Sun photo by Kenneth…)
The two-lane, off-road entrance to the Farrand home is easy to miss. A gravel drive almost a quarter-mile long traverses wooded acres up to a high clearing where a large, farmhouse-style dwelling sits like a fortress on a hill in Harford County.
"We've got a long road home," said Debbie Farrand, of the trip up the drive on 7 acres they purchased from a colleague who works with her husband, Tim Farrand, a part-time surveyor.
A wrap-around porch clings to three sides of the custom-built home in Forest Hill. Wooden rockers, benches and wicker chairs covered with bright quilts are reminiscent of the covered porches attached to old seaside hotels. The welcome is clear at the Farrand home, established — as the brass marker in the foyer states — in 1997.
The home's interior is open, large yet comfortable, bright and most especially cozy. Two large Labrador retrievers — one a chocolate male named Moose and the other a yellow female called Reese — relax on the carpet in front of a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace in the great room. A shelving unit, hung high and traveling the room's periphery, is filled with 80 or so wooden decoys, gives new meaning to the expression "having your ducks in a row."
Tim Farrand, a 50-year-old Army engineer and Debbie Farrand, a 58-year-old antiques dealer and co-owner of Royal Rose Antiques in Churchville, bought the land for $75,000 in 1997. In that same year, the couple married and contracted Cornerstone Builders, a company on the Eastern Shore, to build their home for $250,000. The overall square footage, minus the wrap-around porch and finished basement, comes to about 2,700 square feet.
Bay windows and French doors in the rear of the home look out to a section of screened-in porch, with a wooden table and benches. The lawn beyond the deck reaches to a line of cherry and poplar trees, and a variety of evergreens.
The home's first level boasts reclaimed wood flooring of cross-cut pine in a variety of widths of the most rustic grade. It is found throughout the main floor, which includes the master bedroom and bathroom, kitchen, great room, dining room and laundry. Ceramic tile flooring is in the kitchen and foyer.
"I love retro, vintage and nostalgia," said Debbie Farrand about her decor. "Most of the furnishings come from family heirlooms and collecting.
A seat at the oak kitchen table offers a good way to take in the trappings of the kitchen and great room, while validating her statement. A circa-1930 Maytag wringer washing machine sits adjacent to the kitchen's island, and across from that, an old gas stove from the same period. Shelves along the brightly painted yellow walls contain a number of ceramic, fabric, tin and wooden roosters, and a collection of colorful Fiestaware.
The dining room's carved oak furniture suite and rustic lace curtains provide the setting for an extensive collection of whimsical bunnies and delicate light pink Depression glass. Pastel peach and green walls offset the dark woods of floor and furniture.
Looking down the line to a time when climbing steps might prove difficult, the Farrands had their master suite built on the first level. A sleigh bed of hand-painted wood dominates the room, while myriad collectibles sit upon shelf units and quilt-covered antique tables.
The home's second level features an open center loft area that looks down on the great room. By the bright natural lighting of a large arched window, Tim Farrand has set up a desk and surveying tools. Two guestrooms and a full bath make up the rest of this level.
The home's finished basement provides a colorful surprise. In a little over 800 square feet, Tim Farrand has created the idyllic paradise of Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. Tropical wall colors of blue, green and orange are the backdrop for beach posters, fish and parrots, and a mural of sand and sea. Look hard at the mural to find cheeseburgers in paradise and a lost shaker of salt. A straw-and-bamboo cabana bar, overstuffed bamboo furniture, stringed lights and neon floor-to-ceiling palm tree sit under a tin ceiling and help complete this fantasy getaway. The couple says the room provides seaside solace between trips to Key West.
Outdoors, in front of their house, the Farrands are reminded of the difficulty getting a plow to remove snow from the main road up the long gravel drive to their front door. That inconvenience is months away though, and a small price to pay for a dream home where, they say, "We plan to be as long as we can."
Making a dream home
Dream element: The Farrand's custom-built Harford County home sits at the end of a long gravel drive on 7 heavily wooded acres. The farmhouse-style residence has a stunning three-quarter wrap-around porch.
Design inspiration: The home's interior represents an eclectic gathering of country furniture embellished with memorabilia from the Victorian era, most originating from Debbie Farrand's antiques shop. Many other pieces have been purchased by the couple during frequent trips to antiques shows and other shops.
Personal touch: In a house bursting with furnishings that speak to the couple's tastes and collecting savvy, Tim Farrand's obsession with the music and lifestyle of singer Jimmy Buffet has translated into his own basement version of "Margaritaville" complete with a straw-roofed bar and a full wall mural of a Key West beach. It's a favorite room, and the Farrands enjoy hosting parties in Margaritaville and hanging out there between trips to their time-share in Key West.