Their stays in Airbnbs led Victoria and Jed Cairo both to their country home, one of the world's best homes, in the Berkshires, Massachusetts, and to interior designer and architect duo Sachs Lindores (opens in new tab).
‘Jed and I were always taking weekends away but one B&B was notable. I remember looking at the art and furnishings thinking, this is not your typical owner,’ says Victoria, who is training as a doula while Jed is the founder of investment firm Juxtapose. An investigation revealed the house belonged to Daniel Sachs and Kevin Lindores.
Victoria and Jed earmarked those names for a revisit when they came to buy. A recommendation from a friend had prompted the couple to consider the town of Great Barrington, two and a half hour’s drive from New York City, for escapes. ‘It had a great combination of restaurants and amazing countryside, with plenty of hiking and even a bit of skiing,’ says Victoria.
It was a persuasive real estate agent who urged them to view a farmhouse that in the photos looked ‘funky, dark and unappealing’. ‘We almost didn’t go. But when we got there we just had this feeling. The surrounding landscape was beautiful, with two old barns on it. We felt immediately that this was our home. It was a bit of a leap and I don’t know if we were ready but we were really excited.’ Cue Daniel and Kevin’s entry. ‘We called them and they came to see the property and took on the project.’
As is so often the case, a modest renovation (just the improvement of a kitchen and bathroom and a lick of paint) escalated dramatically in scale. ‘We had to figure out how to keep the character but make it as liveable as possible,’ says Daniel.
Hallway ideas include painting the door green to create a strong and striking focal point. The rich texture of the rug is inviting underfoot.
One of the big changes that Sachs Lindores introduced was transforming the garage into a large family room with a strong connection to the garden. This space is now the epitome of country charm with a beautifully decorative floral wallpaper.
Large picture windows create a relationship with the garden. The absence of curtains allows light to flood into the space.
Kitchen ideas included taking down an old unused chimney to create a better flow between the kitchen and dining room. The classic farmhouse cook space has a wonderful modernity to it because of the primary colours and contemporary pieces.
Creating a traditional American setting for family meals with antique chairs and white shiplap boarding was one of the dining room ideas. The pendant light casts an intimate spell.
Living room ideas include using a rich combination of fabrics and colors, with pale walls setting them off.
Much of the reinvented character of the farmhouse comes from clean white shiplap walls, an impressive collection of antique and mid-century furnishings and whimsical Josef Frank wallpapers, as demonstrated by the joyous bedroom ideas in this space. ‘Jed and I have always been drawn to fun, crazy, vivid patterns and colours. They make me so happy!’ Victoria enthuses.
Bathroom ideas included sacrificing a walk-in closet to make room for this magnificent tub.
Pale pink walls lift this bedroom scheme and highlight the richness of the floors and chest of drawers.
Barn pool house
This barn was converted into a pool house and bedroom. The circular patio puts the firepit at the heart of the scene.
During the pandemic, Victoria and Jed decamped from New York City to their retreat with their son Otis and dog Cleo. The family has now increased in size with the addition of baby Felix and another dog Penny. ‘It was such a special time for us that we wouldn’t have had otherwise. It’s been fun to watch Otis grow up here. Last summer, he picked tomatoes from the vegetable garden, ran around with the dog and helped make pizza in the outdoor oven. Our younger son, Felix, was born in our bedroom. We’ve created a home we get more emotionally invested in the more time we spend here.’
Interior design and architecture/ Sachs Lindores (opens in new tab)
Styling/ Michael Reynolds
Photographs/ Stephen Kent Johnson/ Otto
Text/ Juliet Benning
Interiors have always been Vivienne's passion – from bold and bright to Scandi white. After studying at Leeds University, she worked at the Financial Times, before moving to Radio Times. She did an interior design course and then worked for Homes & Gardens, Country Living and House Beautiful. Vivienne’s always enjoyed reader homes and loves to spot a house she knows is perfect for a magazine (she has even knocked on the doors of houses with curb appeal!), so she became a houses editor, commissioning reader homes, writing features and styling and art directing photo shoots. She worked on Country Homes & Interiors for 15 years, before returning to Homes & Gardens as houses editor four years ago.
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