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Family’s Dream Home: Animals, Love and Color on a Florida Farm

(gentle music) – There’s so much I love
about life on this farm. I live here with my husband, my four kids. We have six dogs, seven horses,
we have about 80 chickens, cats, ducks, geese,
and Emily, our pet pig. My heart and my passion
has always been with land and with animals, and my parents always let me have pets around. When I was 15 years
old I begged my parents to let me move to Israel
to do a high school program in a kibbutz, which is more
of a farm life environment. I got into horses later in life and when I got my first
horse, and we were boarding, I always dreamed about being able to take care of it in my own home and my own barn where I can have the kids go in pajamas in the morning to the barn and see their horses, or feed, or go in and checking on them at night
where I couldn’t do that when I was boarding them
at somebody else’s farm. We have trail horses,
we have two that we like to take out on the trails,
but the rest of the horses are athletes and they’re
competition horses. (upbeat music) When I found this property here, it was a smaller house
on a big piece of land and I knew that this is where I wanted to build my dream space. – Gany, she saw it, she
saw the potential in it and she knew exactly what
this was going to be. Like she already put it in her head. And when I came I saw just a lot of work. – [Gany] The place has changed many times in the last five years because I started with pieces that I had, or pieces that were already in the farm, some furniture that the
previous owners had left behind. Some things were worth
salvaging and others were not. One of the biggest changes that we did to the house was change the floors. It made a very big difference in the way the house looked in general. The house came with
these real heavy doors. You can see them throughout
the house in the hallway, for hallway closet, the
bathrooms, and the bedrooms. We painted those doors to make them a little more lively,
and not look so heavy, but the structure of the doors we love. So we kept it that way. I think my love for color has to do a lot with my ethnic background. Either from the Mediterranean,
or to the South American, I’ve always been attracted
to earthy tones and colors. I travel, and I collect,
and because I do come from so many different backgrounds, that’s very important to me. A lot of things that you
will find around the house are really collected finds. – Our kitchen was clunky
and it took up space. We took down all those cabinets, the countertops, everything came off. – Gany was really concerned, as far as the cabinetry went, about storage. Really most of her things that she buys are from all around the
world and can be displayed. And we felt like what
a shame to stick them behind these cabinet doors when, really, they can be part of the atmosphere. We ended up using western red cedar. It has a natural, aggressive grain and texture to it that
looks rustic and old. It’s really a simple design. It’s really the way it’s decorated from that point on that
makes it so pretty. – There are no rules
in decoration with me. There’s no boundaries. It’s a feeling that I have. I see something, or I
get inspired by a picture or a place that I’ve been to, and I wanna apply that to something at the farm. Then I just go with it. It’s a lived in home, so
it doesn’t look like a home that you can not put your
feet up on the table, or that everything has
to be a certain way. It’s actually a home that you can tell is lived in everyday. It’s used to the max. Two of the girls sleep,
they share a bedroom, and each one wants a way
to display their artwork or their toys or collectibles, so a lot of custom shelving
has to go in there. – The girls bedroom was also a place where I wanted to break
up some of the rustic, and so Gany let me do a little bit of a modern design on their desks. So I used some modern lines and shapes, but kind of a rustic, industrial building material in plywood to create these kind of cool desks that would serve the girls functional purposes. – Aside from living in a small
space with four children, we also have the six dogs,
and two of them are very big. We have English Mastiffs,
a brother and a sister. The female, Lulu, she’s
much bigger than the male. We needed to get her a special mattress for her heavy bone structure. And I didn’t want a
giant twin size mattress hanging around the bedroom. We had to custom build a space where I can hide their dog bed. Because we’re in a small space, a lot of the work that needs
to be done here is customized. So a lot of places where
you can put things away that you can’t see. Everything needs to have it’s place and if it doesn’t have it’s
place I will make it happen. – So in the master bedroom, the window at the time was like a bench seat and had these enormous,
bulky tri-fold doors. So we decided hey, if we take
these tri-fold doors down and we make some great,
enormous, but great, bohemian rustic barn doors, we
can give her a backdrop to the bed and a light closing and releasing curtain at the same time. – Close the barn doors and
we’re completely blacked out. In the utility room we decided to do a customized kitty litter, so the doors, they’re solid, but there’s a hole and then the kitty litter is right there underneath the sink. So the cat just jumps
right in through the hole, right into her kitty litter
and she does her thing. – Because our barn is
an extension of our home and it’s not a boarding facility business, it’s different than any other
barn I’ve seen in the area or that you see in pictures, because it’s got more of a home
environment feel to it. – It’s just like another living space. You want to be in the barn. So it was very important
to be extremely efficient on how we put all our tack, all our things that we need for the horses, like saddles and bridles and just
absolutely everything. – The reason we designed
the tack room the way did is because that was a very small room. We knew we needed to
fit at least 12 saddles in this space that
probably wasn’t ten by five or so a really usable space. – Ow, that’s not a worm. – A very special part of
the day with my girls, like on the weekends, is that hour or two before sunset comes, we like to spend time in the
chicken garden like we call it. And we’ll just be there
and we’ll bring them treats and, you know, we have dry
worms and things like that. And some chickens are
more tame than others and they’ll actually come
and they’ll sit on your lap, so we just kind of hang
out and spend time together out there and do a little animal watching until it’s sundown, and
then, once they all start trickling into their homes we go and we lock them up for the day. But it’s that time of those
two hours before sunset that is one of my favorite
times of the day at the farm. – We try to go away once a year but we push ourselves, because in reality we wouldn’t have to leave this house ever. We could stay here and just be happy and go on vacation right
here, without leaving. – I like that I’ve created a space that is warm and inviting and that my kids love to come home to. (lighthearted music)


  1. Elizabeth Harttley Author

    Well done, overall captured their spirits and giving us the details helps our dream.
    The barndoor window covering is now in my dreamhouse file.
    Thanks 🙂


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