A family’s first house gets its appealing look from white walls, vintage trunks, and eclectic accessories.
Photos by Tessa Manning for MGM Builders
Fussy is not a word in the lexicon of Chad and Shanna Perreault. So when it came time to build their first house with Windham-based MGM Builders, they committed to a style that would be easygoing and relaxed. They outfitted the simple structure with repurposed furnishings and pieces from big chain stores for a style the homeowners call “farmhouse vintage.”
Who lives here: Chad Perreault, a pastor; his wife, Shanna, a stay-at-home mom; and their two sons and one daughter
Location: Gorham, about 12 miles from Portland
Size: 1,536 square feet; three bedrooms, 2½ bathrooms
The white-siding-clad house sits on an open two-acre field. Winters can be very cold and snowy. To prevent air leakage from the structure, as well as chilly air seeping in, the house is wrapped with extra sheathing and fiberglass insulation.
On the pressure-treated-wood front porch, an old steamer trunk found at a yard sale acts as a table. It’s decorated with a metal bucket and a black lantern.
Every aspect of the home was designed around the busy lives of the family of five. Shanna says she wanted to keep the decor sophisticated yet simple, without breaking the bank. That theme begins just inside the entry door, where the walls are painted bright white. Softening the windows are white cotton curtains. Shanna fell in love with the desk she found at Target. She got the chair and crates from an antiques store. Throughout the first floor, vinyl plank flooring contrasts with the white palette and creates a lived-in look.
The homeowners wanted the living room to accommodate family gatherings without worrying about any mess. Machine-washable white slipcovers protect the sofas from spills and stains. Rather than trash their old bureau, Shanna updated it with taupe paint and new hardware. The lamp, nestled in a corner, provides soft lighting. The trunk provides a spot for coffee mugs and snacks. “We love the versatility of mixing different colors and textures,” Shanna says.
Keeping the footprint open was very important to the homeowners. Just off the living room is the dining room, anchored by a rustic table. The Perreaults repainted side chairs they had and recovered the captain’s seats in durable fabrics. A bronze-hued chandelier complements the chocolate-brown lacquered bench, which adds seating without cramping the room.
“We used chalkboard paint on just one small wall,” Shanna says, noting that the couple often writes their grocery lists and kids’ schedules on it. “We also love to write sweet sayings to each other on there.” The sliding glass doors lead to a yard. “We haven’t had a chance to build our deck yet, but that’s coming soon,” Shanna says.
The homeowners wanted the look of a vintage kitchen. After they found the made-to-look-antique refrigerator, they fell in love with its matching appliances. White Shaker-style cabinets and black leathered-granite countertops create a timeless sensibility. The bronzed light fixture is also a pot rack.
“I love to cook and bake with my children,” Shanna says. “I have more than enough space to do that now.” Everyday items are stored on open shelves that the homeowners made out of lumber and stained grayish brown. Shanna says she has fun changing out the dishes and pottery from one season to another.
Rather than extend the flooring upstairs, the homeowners chose wall-to-wall carpeting in the bedrooms for warmth and comfort. The couple’s two sons share this bedroom. Shanna found the trunk in an antiques store and uses it to hide toys. The motor oil can stores a toy car collection. “They are huge NASCAR fans,” Shanna says of her sons. On the left wall, Chad installed a built-in workstation where the kids, who are home-schooled, do their homework.
In the master bedroom, Shanna didn’t want a traditional headboard. Instead, she opted to hang an oversize frame fitted with chicken wire that is the main feature of the room. Throughout the year, she decorates it with flowers, greenery, or wooden letters. The end table was repainted and decorated with new hardware; Shanna’s tall jewelry box is coated with chalk-finish paint. Bright-white linens drape the bed and, contrary to the white palette in the other rooms, these walls feature a taupe color.
Rather than buy a shelf for the powder room, the homeowners converted a handmade blanket ladder into a towel holder. They completed the room with a white oval mirror, black metal light fixture, and vanity that they coated with chalk-finish paint.
Vanity: Home Depot