A Fresh Take on the Vintage Farmhouse

The Paulsen Home


Built with heart and a unified vision, this custom 19th century-inspired farmhouse is the product of Natalie and Andrew Paulsen’s thoughtful planning. The Paulsens were searching for a specific lifestyle, and after serendipitously finding the perfect lot, they knew they could build it.


by Katie Faulkner | Photography by Philip Slowiak

front door of the paulsen farmhouse home classic chattanooga


The couple was looking for something not too far away from town but with land and privacy – a place where they could enjoy nature. One day while driving, they saw a beautiful custom white farmhouse tucked away from the road. They talked about how something like that was their dream, but brushed it off. Not long after, a friend called to say her son was selling a lot and that they should check it out. Natalie shares, “Andrew went to look and called me at work. He said, ‘You’re never going to believe where the lot is! It’s right behind that farmhouse we saw!’ And that was it. We fell in love with the area!”

Since the fortuitous beginning, Andrew and Natalie have worked tirelessly to ensure every detail of their dream home came to life. Their style stays focused on old-world elements, while the details help modernize the Paulsens’ take on a 19th century farmhouse.

Striking straight lines, symmetry, and the multiple windows of the exteriors capture the simple elegance of this antique farmhouse interpretation. An oversized stacked-stone chimney cultivates the vintage feel. It’s continued with help from a flickering lantern, the galvanized metal shed roof, white columns, and charming mirrored benches and potted plants that bring in warmth and character.

A truly special feature, the front door was designed with thoughtful intention. The door itself was an exciting find at a local antique store. After refinishing it in a subtle aqua tone, the Paulsens flanked it with antique wooden shutters. “I grew up antiquing and going to estate sales with my dad every weekend, and so when Andrew and I got married, it became our thing too. When we found these shutters, which are from a 19th century Italian farmhouse, they were perfect. We bought them before we had even begun the building process. I just knew we’d use them somewhere. So now they’re front and center,” Natalie shares.

Walking into the home, all of the main living spaces are open to each other in a long corridor. “This is probably the space where we spend the most time, and I love the way it came together,” Natalie says. Andrew agrees, adding, “I really like how each space has its own identity and at least one special feature.” The living room features a stunning custom fireplace as the focal point. “Natalie really loves old limestone fireplaces, so we built this one with the same kind of straight lines and really clean look,” Andrew shares.  On either side of the fireplace are windows built to replicate antique leaded ones that Natalie found and wanted to incorporate. “The ones I found really wouldn’t have been energy efficient, so our window supplier custom made these to look exactly like the ones I found,” she says. More favorite features are the wooden ceiling beams. “They bring in more of a rustic feel,” Andrew says. The soft earth tones in the furniture are offset by the whimsy of the Oriental rug, while ample seating makes for a cozy and social living area.

Flowing into the rest of the open living spaces is the dining area. Here, a weathered wood-toned dining set complements the home’s fresh but established feeling. The Paulsens took great care meticulously choosing the perfect custom stain blend for their floors, beams, and other wooden features. “We came out every day, sometimes in the evening for different light, for weeks, trying different colors on this test board we had,” Natalie recalls. Andrew adds, “We just wanted to get everything right the first time around.”

The dining table is perfectly situated for someone to sit and enjoy the company of whoever is in the kitchen. “Andrew cooks a lot, so I like being able to talk to him while he’s working. I can either hang out here or at the island, and there’s plenty of space for both of us to be working on our own things,” Natalie says.

The kitchen’s striking white palette creates an uplifting atmosphere with the cheery bright tones. Quartz countertops and silver hardware create a more modern foundation, while the beautiful centerpiece of the room is a custom Italian dual-fuel stove in white and gold. The antique styling of this piece paired with modern functionality caused the Paulsens to fall in love with it. Across the room from the stove is another special find, where antique arched shutters serve as unique pantry doors. “Dad and I found those in Atlanta, so we reworked the refrigerator space to be able to use both of them,” Natalie says.

dutch door from kitchen to back porch in paulsen farmhouse style home in chattanooga

Walking out of the nostalgic Dutch door to the back of the home is a large outdoor living area. Andrew says, “The outdoor areas were one of the main priorities. We knew we wanted to have tons of space to enjoy being outside and to have people over.” Natalie adds, “We even designed the porch to make sure there was plenty of room for a 10-foot table, because that was something I’ve wanted for a long time.
I want to be able to seat 10 to 12 people out here easily.” And they can. The porch has a beautiful weathered 10-foot table with ample seating and still has room on the other end for an inviting, conversation-style sitting area. The coffee table in the middle was handmade by Andrew. The Paulsens say they look forward to hosting family and friends in this space in the years to come.

The Paulsen Family Natalie and Andrew Paulsen with their dogs, Lucy and Hank in chattanooga

The Paulsen Family
Natalie and Andrew Paulsen with their dogs, Lucy and Hank

Back inside, the master bedroom is located upstairs. The Paulsens designed this home to be where they would live forever, with potential for an addition or two and some amendments as they move through life. The master bedroom was a surprise change for them, however. “Everyone kept telling us we had to have the master on the main level if we wanted to live in this house as we get older, and that was the plan originally. But once we saw the views from the upstairs, we decided we could put a master downstairs one day if we really had to, but we couldn’t miss these views!” Natalie says. Out of their bedroom windows, they can see most of their property. Andrew says they enjoy watching wildlife like turkey and deer and that the sunsets are incredible.

The room’s serene colorscape was designed around the photograph above the fireplace mantle. Taken at Rosemary Beach, Andrew and Natalie say it’s one of their favorite places. “We just wanted the bedroom to be our ultimate place of relaxation, so we modeled it after somewhere we always feel relaxed,” Andrew says. The white and earth tones help create a bright but docile setting. The fireplace adds a sense of coziness, and even the mantle brings in a bit of sentiment. “It’s a red cedar beam, and the area we live in is referred to as Cedar Retreat, so that was a neat tie-in!” Andrew explains.

master bathroom with clawfoot tub in bright white shades in paulsen farmhouse style home in chattanooga


In the adjoining master bathroom, a clean white shade keeps everything feeling bright and fresh, yet timeless. Dual vanities make for convenient functionality, while a gorgeous freestanding soaking bathtub is perfectly framed in a windowed nook. “Natalie loves that she can see the sunsets from her tub,” Andrew says, as this room also makes use of the second story views.

With great attention to detail, and the forethought to incorporate some very special pieces, the Paulsens have created a home that both captures the vintage vibes of an old-world farmhouse, as well as the warmth of their most treasured memories. They created a house perfectly customized for the friends and family they hope to host.CS

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