Morgan Ford didn’t stray far from her roots when building her adult life. In fact, she married the boy down the street and moved into the house next door. The couple then set about renovating the farmhouse (located in rural Western Michigan) and over the years, they turned a once-shabby abode into a cozy, dream-like country homestead. On The White Farmhouse Blog, Ford chronicles her family’s life in this idyllic home. On top of taking care of her family, keeping the house in order, running her blog and managing her social media accounts, Ford also works as a registered nurse. Luckily for us, she was kind enough to share a little bit of her time to talk about how she came to live in the white farmhouse.
Tell us about your home! How long have you lived there and what’s the history behind it?
"This home was my husband’s grandparents’ home, and its smack dab between my family’s farm and my husband’s family’s farm. Both are cattle farmers and yes, we grew up as neighbors. It wasn’t always love at first sight, with the house and with him! He was eight years older, and even though we lived just down the road from one another, those eight years seemed like an eternity. But then one year during the annual joint family Christmas celebration, we hit it off. As adults, we didn’t notice those eight years in age anymore. At one point, we were dating and his grandparents were looking to move. They were in their 80s and his grandfather was having some health issues. I’m not sure whether my now-husband approached them about buying it, or if they asked him. But either way, I basically told him a nice, soft, gentle 'no.'"
"My grandfather was passing around the same time. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and we were having a heart-to-heart about life. He told me to reconsider buying the house. He pictured us with a family there, with clothes out on the line and kids running to grandma and grandpa’s house. And I guess right then and there I got. It hit home and I couldn’t picture anything in life but that. Five years later, we are married with two kids, Auburn, age three, and Woodrow, age one. Funny how life works out sometimes isn’t it?"
Describe your style when it comes to decorating. What do you gravitate towards?
"Less is more, plain and simple. There is nothing more I love than for a home to speak to you, to have its character and charm to shine through and not be hiding or masked by things."
What are some of your tips when it comes to home renovation? Have you learned any hard lessons along the way?
"Don’t take short cuts. I wanted to just throw some lipstick on the pig, but really starting with the bones and making a home safe structurally is so important. From jacking up the home and digging out the basement by hand, to redoing all the electrical, insulation, you name it, we had to do it. And those months were the hardest. My mom kept saying “it has to get worse before it gets better.” And that is what happened. I felt like one step forward and 10 steps back. But in the end to have a home that is safe and sound is the most important."
Our ethos around Schoolhouse living is rooted in purposeful design and thoughtful living – how do you relate to that with your home and way of life?
"As I mentioned earlier, with my style in decorating being less is more, I love Schoolhouse. I most value having purpose with items over having just stuff. I often tell my husband, 'if you don’t use it, lose it.' (He’s not always happy to hear that.) Why fill a home, basement, closets, etc. with just stuff? To have quality heirloom pieces that will last a lifetime is something I value most."
What are some of your favorite Schoolhouse pieces and why?
"Oh boy, where do I begin?! No really, all of it."
What do you love most about your home? Where is your favorite spot?
"I love our wood stove in the kitchen/dining room. We designed the home around the wood stove. We moved the stairwell to the center of the home and added a ceiling fan to help keep the heat downstairs, but also knowing most will rise and heat the bedrooms upstairs. It’s been three years and we still love the heat of the wood stove and wouldn’t have it any other way."
What does the perfect day look like to you?
"Being home with the kids, with full bellies and clear skies."
Finally, what makes a house a home to you?
"A house becomes a home when you fill it with what makes you “you.” Whether that be saving up for months and months to make that big purchase you know you will love and use for years and years to come, or picking something up from a flea market that just screams you. You make a house your home and a place you look forward to coming home too."
Photography by Jenna Borst