The Beechwood Farm is tucked inside the East Alabama hamlet of Fitzpatrick (population: 88). This freshly built homestead looks and feels as storied as the 18th-century farm where the homeowner Debra Koehler spent her childhood summers. Now Koehler and her husband Todd Turner, and their kids, Jack and Lauren, can fish for catfish and bass and play among the 600 acres complete with a horse stable and barn. The beautifully finished barn style house has a 14-seater farmhouse table where they can enjoy farm feasts with family and friends in a place where time stands as still as the waters that surround it.
The couple worked together with architect Keith Summerour to design a dogtrot home design which is a typically elevated, breezeway-split style hoe that was popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Melanie Millner was the designer who helped achieve the historical accuracy in every detail of the 2,500-square-foot barn style space, from the reclaimed oak floors to the porcelain door-knobs. The barn style house sleeps 14, although it has hosted as many as 25 friends and family members for holidays, fishing weekends, and Debra and Todd's wedding.
The barn style house is full of charm with an eclectic mix of furnishings and decor. Debra chose the wingback chair and the spindle chair to give the living room area an assembled-over-time look and feel. The rustic mantel in the house is made of wood from Debra's grandparents' farm. The barn style house has central air, which allowed them to enclose the dogtrot's breezeway which was originally where people would cool off on hot days, complete with iron-and-glass doors made. Now it's instead a long dining room that can accommodate a crowd around a large cypress trestle table that seats 14. The pendant lights in the home were crafted from repurposed chickenwire, and a functional potbelly stove reinforces the traditional farmhouse feel.
Debra has been collecting plates with the wild game theme for about five years, the plates mean a lot to her, as she used them at the couples wedding reception, which was hosted in their barn. They look great displayed with a few pieces of white pottery and her favorite glassware in the hutch, which she found on a shopping trip in Atlanta. The barn style house has a wood-panelled kitchen, and there is not one piece of drywall in the entire house. The home is filled with antiques, with one piece, in particular, a converted mechanic's bench, that serves as a place for the family to gathers around the island, to cook, snack, and play games.
In the bedroom, you will find a hand stiched quilt that was made by Todd's grandmother, which provided the design inspiration for the entire guest room, starting with the red-orange paint on the French doors. The Laredo iron bed is another historically accurate touch, which tempers the sweetness of the graphic floral motif. The porch is inspired by the Dogtrot homes that usually featured porches that ran the length of the home. The screened-in porch space serves many purposes to include an entertaining hub, a mudroom, and nap destination.
More about this story can be found at: Summerour Architects