amy johnson – home grown

June 21, 2011

I get tired of looking at gorgeous homes. Don’t get me wrong, initially perfectly appointed, expertly decorated and intellectually conceived spaces engage me. But after a time, if I can’t get a sense of the life that occurs in a home, my senses go numb, and I stop responding. So for me, a well designed home is one that provides another window into the lives’ of the people living there, a.k.a. it has a soul. It is this sense of story that I find truly riveting.

A house that demonstrates this concept beautifully is Amy Johnson’s family home. It’s not perfect, in fact it is always “in process.” But by its very nature of not being static, it is intriguing. Because I can sense the life unveiling there day by day, to me it is endlessly fascinating.

Amy lives in this 1920s crafts style bungalow just outside of Philadelphia with her “Jack-of-all-trades” husband, Chris, and their two adorable daughters, Hannah and Norah. They bought the home 12 years ago, and have been fixing it up ever since. A nature buff and avid gardener, Amy loves bringing the outdoors in, and for that matter, cultivating an amazing outdoor space. (She writes every week for a beautiful and inspiring garden blog, Tend.) Her friends call Amy’s style “woodsy mod,” a mixture of clean, simple, contemporary with natural elements collected on family walks and travels. Flea market finds, DIY projects and a “creative family” contribute to the unique character of the home and help keep costs down.

But I probably didn’t need to tell you any of this. If you look at the pictures of Amy’s home, all the above and more is evident… in the photos of fresh baked biscuits, in newly picked bouquets, a bath, a laugh. In short, Amy’s home is a 3-D visual of her life. And much like her garden, it has different seasons and incarnations. It produces a different bounty depending on what’s put into it. It changes and grows with the family that lives in it.

biscuits and jam

kitchen corner.
Danish fish platter is from a local thrift shop. (Similar one found here.) Dish towel is from Terrain. Hooks are from Ikea.

The bath. Vintage quilt is from a house sale.


homemade rhubarb soda.
In the background is a 1950’s magic chef stove salvaged from Chris’s cousin. It’s perfect with the homey wainscoting on the walls.

baskets and bowls

freshly harvested strawberries from a local farm

The garden

“living table”

flights of fancy in the morning. Bird decals are from Blik.

View from the living room into the kitchen. Vintage baskets are all from thrift stores. Danish modern vases are from Etsy.

Mushrooms. Print by Nikki McClure.

Christmas living room.
Even though it’s now spring, I added this photo from last Christmas, because I though it demonstrated how wonderfully fresh and green Amy’s house is all year.

My kind of briefcase!

You can follow more of Amy’s life and loves on her blog: My Home Grown and at Tend.

All photos copyright Amy Johnson. Used with her permission.

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