With antique barnwood beams, old Spanish roof tiles on top and picture-perfect views of the rural backdrop of Ojai, California, it’s hard to believe that Steve and Brooke Giannetti’s Patina Farm hasn’t been a part of the landscape for at least a century.
Patina Farm, this elegant rustic home, was built from Brooke’s desire to escape the city life and move to the country. “I always had this dream of raising animals and chickens on the land,” says Brooke. “We built this from scratch, when there was nothing but a couple of ancient oak trees. We based the house around the vistas of the trees and mountains. Steve, an architect, sited the house to take advantage of all the views.”
Now the home they designed together is shared with three miniature Pygmy goats, three babydoll sheep, four mini Sicilian donkeys, a little over a dozen assorted chickens, four dogs, a house rabbit and a couple of button quail. “They kind of roam, and they’re so happy here,” Brooke says. “They bring so much to our life and our land.”
Natural and Rustic
Since homes in the area are Mediterranean style or traditional wood farm structures, the Giannetti home takes its design cues from a combination of the two. “It was also inspired by some of our travels in Europe to France and Belgium,” Brooke says. “When we were in Belgium, there were a lot of houses that used antique building materials in a clean, fresh way, and that’s what we did here.”
Beautiful details, from wooden arched doors to clean plaster walls to antique barn beams, create a “juxtaposition of modern and ancient elements,” Brooke says. “We wanted it to feel timeless, so that people couldn’t tell if it was old or new.”
Antiques and vintage pieces are a big part of Brooke’s style, and she celebrates the beauty of patina and the imperfections in time-worn antiques and materials. “I think they bring their own history to a space,” Brooke says. “They aren’t so precious, and they are very forgiving for use with children and animals.”
For furnishings, she prefers Swedish antiques and imports pieces from Europe for her home as well as her business, Giannetti Home. “I love Swedish antiques,” Brooke says. “They tend to be a little more rustic, but they have a refinement to them, and their palettes are calm and neutral.”
Lighting is especially important for decorating with antiques, and Brooke sources wall, ceiling fixtures or table and floor lamps to create a more natural and period-appropriate look. “We don’t have any canned or recessed lighting. I’m a big believer in letting these fixtures make the room glow,” Brooke says. For this reason, she selects lacquered brass light fixtures. “They just get prettier as they age over time.”
Tied to the Land
Because the home is in the Ojai Valley, it’s surrounded by trees, mountains and horse properties, so it’s only natural that the Giannettis would want to connect their house to its rural setting. This meant the home should blend in with its surroundings. To achieve this, they clad the exterior in rustic limestone for an earthy, soothing feel and chose large windows with slim mullions so as not to obstruct the beautiful views.
“We limited the palette and materials to give it more of a flow,” Brooke explains. “We used one type of limestone, so it flows from the inside to the outside spaces. The floors are a similar color. It’s all neutral and inspired by the surrounding nature, so it’s very calm …It does have that feeling of being far away.”
Accessories are minimal but intentional, and Brooke opts for a natural palette, whether decorating with baskets, leather pieces, Belgian linens or warm unlacquered brass.
For the room layout, they kept in mind how they would use each space and where the sun would be throughout the day. Brooke and Steve’s master suite, for example, is situated to receive the eastern morning light, and their offices are on the west side of the house. “We’re also connected to where the animals are.”
Her animals and the connection to the outside are Brooke’s favorite things about her home. “It’s such a transparent home; it’s all about connecting to the beautiful vistas that surround us,” Brooke says.