When moving out to the middle, it was never a thought that one day I would be connected to a network of people who would have the same love for old houses and in some cases even a bit more. With having been inspired by this community, I decided it would be fun once a month to take you on the “back roads” and give you a glimpse into the lives of those who are out there living their lives on the roads less traveled and leaning into whatever may come their way. It’s my hope that with each trip we take in getting to know someone new, you too will be inspired to cartwheel pass the norm and step into something that makes you feel alive and full of purpose!
Let me introduce to you, Amanda Arcone
Last year on the way home from our family vacation to the Outer Banks, I was scrolling through Instagram and told my husband, Aaron, that I would like to take a trip to meet and stay at my Instagram friend’s Airbnb. He seemed a bit taken aback by the ask, as my question came from left field. He asked me why I wanted to go alone, and I shared that I wanted to go clear my head, have some undistracted time to write, plan, and just find my footing as I felt a bit of kilter as to where my purpose was.
Aaron asked if he could at least escort me to New Hampshire (clever guy he is!) and from there it turned into a getaway for the two of us that was exactly what he and I both needed. The trip turned into so much more than I could had ever planned. I didn’t need to run away to the mountains of New Hampshire alone to find what I was looking for. There was more to be found together, inspiration that serves me daily, a friendship that I treasure even though were hundreds of miles apart, and memories that we reflect on and cherish often.
Friends, I know you will find Amanda to be an inspiration too! Now, let’s take the back roads with her to her stunning farmhouse!
Amanda, would you share with readers a little bit about yourself?
Where do I start! Ha. I am a mom of 4 kids, now an empty nester living in an old farmhouse in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I am a commercial banker by day and my side career, which I am developing, is interior design. I hope to transition to design full-time in the next couple of years.
For those drawn to old houses, can you share a bit of your home’s history or how it’s unique?
The house is built on land owned by a revolutionary war captain, Phineas Cole, who sold the land to Benjamin Appleby. The latter made the farmhouse in 1820 in the Greek Revival architectural style, which was very popular then. You’ll see many types like ours throughout New England. Over time, the land was mainly used for farming until the late 1980s. We are the 5th owners of the home, which I think is fascinating considering the house is 200 years old.
How has living a life in an old home inspired you?
The house and the property, with views of the Kinsman Ridge flowing out of the Franconia Notch, are incredibly inspiring. I instantly connected with the home and the land when I walked into this house. Although this is my seventh home, I have never felt so connected to a place. While I think it has a lot to do with the fact that it’s a historic home, it also has quite a bit to do with the mountains. There is something about the mountains, the air, and the very settling and comfortable energy it nourishes. The hills, majestic by their very essence, also provide a sense of connectivity to nature and healing energies. If you had asked me 5, 10, or 15 years ago, I would prefer to live by the ocean, on a lake, or in the mountains, I probably would have answered the sea. Fast forward to just five short years ago and our search for a home, and I was the most surprised at how eager I was to move even further north, to a harsher climate, with mountain ranges surrounding me.
What do you enjoy most about interior design?
It is my creative outlet; it allows me to explore everything I love about creating a home and space to share with my friends and family. I am a good balance of exploration and a homebody. Traveling to new places, tasting new cuisines, and seeing different landscapes and architecture inspires me.
How has living in New Hampshire inspired your interior design choices for your home?
Living in an old house has given me even more appreciation for old things, which I’ve always been drawn to because of the character and quality of things made long ago. The same goes with old houses, and the saying is so true “they just don’t make them like they used to.” I believe that; I don’t care how much “farmhouse stuff” from Hobby Lobby you put in your home; the old houses, in all their imperfections, have a charm that cannot be replicated. I don’t say that to be demeaning, but uneven walls, worn pine floors, moldings, and other architectural details all come together in a recipe you can’t duplicate. I believe that adding old pieces to your home adds a lot of warmth, texture, and character over buying all new stuff. So, if you want to add that charm, mix newer pieces with worn and well-loved treasures.
Where do you spend the warmer days at most? what design insight can you share to help readers create inviting outdoor spaces?
Oh, outside is where we are all the time, and we set up areas around our property to take advantage of the season. We set up in the barn for meals; have an old table off Craigs List, and use it all the time, even when it’s just the two of us. I light it up the whole barn with string lights too. We have a great firepit with lots of seating for everyone; we love a good fire, glass of bourbon, and smores!