Two Artists Turned This 18th-Century Farmhouse Into a Colorful Country Retreat

Old and new weave together to form a cozy family home.

January 19, 2024

After a long hunt for a country retreat had taken painter Mary Nelson Sinclair and metalsmith Matty Cruise to upwards of 30, the Brookln-based couple had just about given up—until they stumbled upon an 18th-century former horse farm. Before even seeing the house itself, Nelson Sinclair and Cruise were struck by the long, winding driveway and the wildness of the property with its pond and old willow trees. Surrounded by a virtually untouched landscape, the plot included a farmhouse as well as the original shed and an old grain silo.

Hoping to turn it into their weekend escape, the couple spent a year sharing the house with Sinclair’s mother, designer Mary Louise Sinclair, mindfully renovating and designing the interiors to suit the needs of their creative practices. And three years later, as their family began to grow, they made the decision to move out of the city and fully embrace country living.

In the primary bedroom, a mural by artist Happy Menocal reflects the wild, lush nature surrounding the house and acts as a backdrop for its owner’s collection of Staffordshire houses displayed on the mantlepiece. Sentimental items passed down from her parents are sprinkled around the house, weaving together the past and the present alongside Sinclair’s paintings and Cruise’s sculptural creations. Now, with their two young children and Yorkshire terrier, Sinclair says the home feels like a “quilt” patched together with things old and new.