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A Not-So-Big, Green-Built Home in Wisconsin

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This charming modern farmhouse sits on a hobby farm in Ellsworth, Wisconsin. Homeowners Rick and Patti had bought the land overlooking the Rush River Valley after their son went to college as a new project for themselves, and they named the property Holly Ridge after their Golden Retriever.

They wanted to build a small, environmentally friendly farmhouse that would take advantage of the valley views with plenty of windows and a big front porch, and they hired Marc Sloot of SALA Architects to bring their vision to life. Here’s how it turned out!

Holly Ridge Farmhouse

Holly Ridge Farmhouse SALA Architects
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Sloot designed an updated version of an old-fashioned, “right-sized” farmhouse with “many strategically placed windows, especially in the living room, to connect to the river valley and trees below,” according to the Star Tribune.

Holly Ridge Farmhouse SALA Architects
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The tiled entry doubles as a mudroom:

Holly Ridge Farmhouse SALA Architects
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The family room was finished with reclaimed wood paneling and painted Benjamin Moore’s “Cliffside Grey.”

Holly Ridge Farmhouse SALA Architects
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“Sloot wove in vintage farmhouse character, such as beadboard ceilings, white woodwork, knotty oak floors and tall windows that stretch almost to the ground in the clean, uncluttered interiors.”

Holly Ridge Farmhouse SALA Architects
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There are 3 bedrooms:

Holly Ridge Farmhouse SALA Architects
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The house received the Wisconsin Green Built Home certification by using sustainable elements such as board and batten-style fiber-cement siding, spray-foam insulation, a heat recovery ventilator, awning windows for cross-ventilation, reclaimed wood, and even a clothesline in the backyard.

Rick says, “We wanted to do right by the land, and it’s consistent with our philosophy of living simply and sustainably.”

Holly Ridge Farmhouse SALA Architects
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The kitchen has French doors leading to the screened porch:

Holly Ridge Farmhouse SALA Architects
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The house lives large with less than 2,000 square feet.

Holly Ridge Farmhouse SALA Architects
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The “Not So Big House” movement started at SALA with founding partner Sarah Susanka:

Sarah Susanka Not So Big House Author Photo
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On the SALA blog they discuss the effect the Not So Big House phenomenon had on their firm when her book became such a huge sensation in the late ’90s.

the-not-so-big-house-a-blueprint-for-the-way-we-really-live-by-sarah-susanka-b
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Last year one of the original houses she wrote about went on the market:

It’s not about building small houses, necessarily. The focus is on “better, not bigger.”

This farmhouse is a good example of a “right-sized” floor plan. There are no extra or unused spaces, like a dining room or formal living room.

First Floor Layout:

Holly Ridge Farmhouse SALA Architects floor plan
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Second floor with 2 bedrooms, 1 bath + loft space:

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According to the Star Tribune, the house cost $390,000 to build on their lot.

Holly Ridge Farmhouse SALA Architects
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SALA Architects describes the house as a “country cottage on a farm:”

The Holly Ridge Farmhouse looks like it belongs right where it is – peaceful and natural. It is picturesque and practical, calming and invigorating. Tailored to the farm site, the home takes advantage of great vistas. It is the perfect home for a small family, empty nesters, or as the meeting space for large groups of family and friends. Built to a higher standard – healthy, durable, and sensitive to the local and global eco system – the home has earned the Wisconsin Green Built Home certification.

Holly Ridge Farmhouse SALA Architects
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I want one! For more information, visit SALA Architects (kitchen design by David Heide; construction by Cates Fine Homes; photographs by Troy Thies) and read the article in the Star Tribune.

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P.S. Visit my Farmhouses page to see more, including this favorite in Indiana:

*There are affiliate links in this post — thanks!


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