A Rural Dream Home

A couple builds their dream retreat in the countryside they love

The Mode home is nestled into the countryside. SEE MORE PHOTOS OF THE HOME IN THE SLIDESHOW BELOW.

The Mode home is nestled into the countryside. SEE MORE PHOTOS OF THE HOME IN THE SLIDESHOW BELOW.

A dairy farm nestled into the gently sloping farmland of Jefferson has been part of Jim Mode’s family since 1848. It’s where he grew up, worked and raised children with his wife, Georgia, a family practice physician.

So when the couple retired from their careers and decided to build a new house, they didn’t want to leave the land that’s served as the backdrop to so many of their years. They found a country lot just five miles down the road from the farm, and here they crafted a home where they can enjoy life at their own pace, along with cat Pipsqueak.

The Modes purchased their nine-acre lot in 2008, began building in the winter of 2009 and moved in a year later. From the start, they shared with architect Peter Weston and builder Jon Bound specific ideas for their new home.

“We had several years of discussing what we wanted in the house,” Georgia says. “Basically, I wanted daylight in the kitchen and I wanted to be able to see out.”

Jim desired an architectural style that melds with the surrounding environment, and both sought a place that could grow and age along with them. Most of the living space—the living and dining rooms, kitchen, library and master suite—is on the main floor, with wide hallways and doorways; an elevator can take the couple to the lower level, where Jim’s office and Georgia’s canning supplies are found.

The couple turned to Stevens Design for help in choosing fabrics, furniture and colors that give the home its welcoming yet sophisticated feel. “We wanted it to be a nice, calm, soothing place,” Georgia says. New upholstery and pieces coexist with furniture and décor the Modes brought from their old farmhouse, much of which they inherited from loved ones, as well as Georgia’s collection of French art.

And Georgia did get her dream kitchen, an airy space with high ceilings, hickory cabinets and lots of natural light, done by Allen Kitchen and Bath. Jim, on the other hand, is most pleased with the lower level. In addition to his basement, he also has a relaxation area with a television and recliner. “All the years Jim was farming, he didn’t get to watch much television,” Georgia says.

A highlight for both is a hundred-year-old painting of cows that their children Greg and Gina gave them. It occupies a prominent spot where the Modes can look at it often and reflect not only on their past way of life but also where they call home now.

“We just love it,” she says. 

Katie Vaughn is associate editor of Madison Magazine.

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