The House That Love Built

Today I have the pleasure of sharing an absolutely adorable farmhouse nestled in the Shenandoah Valley. This home was probably built in the 1890s but the exact date is unknown. If the mature trees throughout the property could talk, they would tell us about a cannonball from the Battle of Cross Keys that was lodged in a tree on the property for over 100 years following the Civil War. And if the farmhouse itself could talk, it would almost certainly tell us about the love that went into every room, making it into the one-of-a-kind home it is today.

Exterior: White and Green and Gorgeous All Over

The current owners, Dean and Deena, have been such an inspiration for David and me over the years.

view of the original farmhouse from the side

Deena grew up in Northern Virginia like I did and she and Dean made the conscious decision to forego a big city life in pursuit of a simpler country style to raise a family.

blooming hydrangeas alongside the house

I remember calling Deena when we were still living in Alexandria and asking her what it was like living in the country on an old farmhouse… and she assured me she and Dean absolutely loved their Shenandoah Valley life and it was so worth it!

Taking a close look at their farmhouse, you can see how it’s easy to love their life when they’re living this dream they’ve worked hard to make come true.

front door of the new addition to the side of the house

This house had a smaller footprint when they first bought it– but then they welcomed one baby boy, then another, then another, and finally a baby girl, and they decided it was time to add on. They chose to mimic the same green metal roof and white siding style as the original house and it and works perfectly!

classic front porch of the addition

Don’t you just want to walk right up and sit down?

This farmhouse has so many unusual/ fun characteristics, but if I had to choose one I would say my favorite part is on the other side– the porch(es)!

view of the house from the side

This house has not just a wraparound porch but a double decker wraparound porch, with the upstairs being screened in. Is that not the coolest thing or what? I’m not the only one who thinks so; the kids obviously love it too and there’s evidence of so many cheerful memories being made on those porches.

view of the house from the back


the sweetest porch swing

Warm Kitchen Made With Love

Coming into the house from the back door, you walk straight into the kitchen.

sweet farmhouse sink with handmade cabinets

These cabinets were lovingly built by the previous owner and the craftsmanship is purely awesome.

detail on the handmade cabinet doors

I love the warmth these cabinets add to the heart of the house. I think that’s how I would describe the whole farmhouse, actually: warm.

view of the warm and simple kitchen

As if having homemade cabinets weren’t cool enough for this kitchen, Deena told Dean she needed a kitchen island, so he built her one himself! To everyone reading this– this couple is truly exceptional. They met at summer camp when they were around 13 years old and dated long distance (they lived in different states!) all throughout high school, and both applied to and got accepted to James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia so they could be together for college.

Dean’s kitchen island using reclaimed wood

On top of the island sits a beautiful wood cutting board, which Deena casually mentioned Dean made as well. (I mean WHAT!!!) He gave it to her when they got engaged and I just adore how it is front and center in their kitchen island getting used daily by their family of six. I really feel like there needs to be a country music song made about this. Garth Brooks if you’re reading this blog, you’re welcome for that inspo.

Dean’s truly impressive cutting board

Behind the island is a hidden door that almost blends in with the kitchen cabinets.

closed bi-fold single door

Have y’all ever seen a door hinge in the middle like this? I never had, and I think it’s so perfect for tight spaces (or houses with lots of kids running around!) where you may not want the whole door to swing wide open.

open bi-fold single door


ash hardwood floors of varying size widths

I love the floors downstairs. Dean installed them and they’re a gorgeous ash, which you don’t find much noawadays due to the horrific Emerald Ash Borer that’s decimating so much of America’s ash tree population.

Another detail I love is this adorable little coffee nook Deena carved out of the old pantry when they added on a new pantry as part of their addition. What a perfect use of that space, and how cute!

sweet coffee bar

I feel like it’s impossible to walk through their house without picking up on all the love that’s gone into it. They are clearly head over heels in love with each other and with their sweet kids.

kids’ artwork proudly displayed :)

New Addition: Seamless Transition

When you walk from the kitchen area into the new addition, there’s the most gorgeous china cupboard that displays the family’s nice china and I love how Deena decorated it.

gorgeous china cupboard

The addition they put on was a labor of love too. Dean did all the tiling, electrical work, plumbing and finishing touches on the addition himself. (Is there anything this guy can’t do?)

beautiful shiplap wall in the guest room

There is a large guest bedroom and guest bathroom downstairs that is just so rich in farmhouse character.

glimpse of the guest bathroom


shower in the guest bathroom

The addition also boasts a beautiful mudroom (with a half-bathroom coming off of it): so, so practical for a farmhouse with three boys, one girl, one dog, one cat, and a bunch of chickens to boot!

new mud room with a vintage sink I’m drooling over


door from the mud room going out to the backyard/ to Dean’s office

Second Story Charm

The upstairs of this farmhouse is no less filled with character than the first floor. The three boys share a long/ extended room, which is hard to photograph but basically two beds are in the original room and the third bed is in what used to be a closet that the family connected with the room to make it all flow together. When I think back on my experience as a kid, I would have been ecstatic to have a set-up like this.

two of the three beds in the boys’ room
master bedroom

The master bedroom is especially cool with a brick column going through it (which I think makes it extra fun and adds so much character). I love the simple way Deena’s decorated the bedroom– light colors and yet grounded with the warm tones in the wood. PS: how cool are those little surfaces above the bedside tables? Extra surface area and so pretty to look at too!

beautiful floors where the master bathroom joins the master bedroom

Part of the beautiful master bedroom is the master bathroom, which was added on as part of the addition. The hardwood floors are absolutely perfect everywhere you look in this house… I found myself looking down as much as up because of how pretty the flooring is!

high ceilings and beautiful light fixture in the bathroom

The master bathroom accomplishes what so many designers strive for: that combination of airy and large while also private and discreet. I think a lot of that is accomplished by the high ceilings, which really lend to that grand luxury feeling.

flawless tilework in the master shower (done by Dean!)


beautiful farmhouse master bath sink


picture perfect clawfoot tub in the master bath

Screened-In Wraparound Upstairs Porch

The highlight of the master bedroom, though, has got to be its access to the screened in wraparound porch. I mean… how many houses can boast one of these?

door to the upstairs wraparound porch


hammock in the corner of the upstairs porch

This is one of the most fun spaces I’ve ever experienced. You can tell the family spends lots of time here taking advantage of the fresh country air without the hindrance of bright sun or bugs.


sectional seating area in the upstairs wraparound porch

Enormous Light-Filled Playroom

The upstairs also boasts one very functional room every mom I know would kill to have: an enormous play room filled with light and space for all the toys of four children!

playroom painted in a calm neutral with stunning light fixtures


in the foreground: Legos. at the back: built-in desk where 2 of the boys did remote school during the pandemic

It has built in desks, tables for Legos, built in drawers for storage, open shelving,

beadboard built-in toy storage reused from the house’s previous laundry room

The playroom has a back staircase (I love when farmhouses have two staircases by the way– I think it brings back my inner kid wanting to run all around a house) that leads down to the kitchen.

open split landing for the staircase going from playroom down to kitchen

It’s All In The Details

I really admire how resourceful Dean and Deena are in their journey with this farmhouse. Everything has a purpose, and if they need to move something they save it to use it somewhere later down the road.

Case in point: the sweet country knobs that used to be in the kitchen:

former kitchen cabinet knobs

They repurposed one of the knobs for the chicken coop that Dean built. Now when you go to collect the chicken eggs, you lift the side using that very knob. I think it’s little details like that which are so fun and make this place so indescribably special.

mobile chicken run

I’m sure there are more meaningful details in every square inch of this house than I could ever fit in a blog post.

view from the kitchen looking out back

Deena’s grandparents’ old farm bell hangs proudly off of their back porch and it all just seems so fitting to have little reminders of loved ones throughout their home.

I hope everyone reading this blog post appreciated this farmhouse as much as I did. It is a piece of beauty that Dean and Deena have clearly poured their hearts and souls into. As Deena put it, the house has always felt like a real home, not just a house. You can feel how every square inch is cherished by the people inside, but most of all, this farmhouse showcases the things that really matter in life… and I’ll give you a hint, it’s not really about the things. <3

2 thoughts on “The House That Love Built”

  1. Julie crawford

    Without a doubt, this one is to be truly held in awe! Not too many families can remodel, restore, renovate, update and add-on while building a family and living life(really living) right smack in the middle of it, but that is exactly what this young couple and their children have done! Ask why the house is so beautiful and comfortable and at peace and you’ll find the answer is because it mirrors the family that lives and loves there. Truly a holistic work of art. Bravo, Gakos Family!

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