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Inside the Goodthyme Farm — A Wes Anderson-Worthy Farmhouse in Bellville, Texas

How the Biscuit Home Founder Helped the 100-Year-Old Home Property Reach Its Full, Cinematic Potential

BY Bailey McCarthy // 07.01.22
photography Trevor Tondro and Otto

As an only child, I’ve spent considerable time anecdotally studying “only child syndrome.” In my research, I’ve found it can go one of two ways: The child thrives and grows up to be independent and self-possessed, or the child survives and grows up vowing to never be alone again. I fall into the latter group. As Ariel sings in The Little Mermaid, “I want to be where the people are!” And, for that reason, I have become a prolific gatherer of people. I might go so far as to call myself a professional at it, because throughout the various businesses I have started in my career, what I really do is set the stage and bring people together to create memorable experiences. There’s no place I do that better than our farm.

While living in Chicago with my husband, Pete, I began writing my blog, Peppermint Bliss. The tag line was “Follow Your Bliss … What’s Yours?” I wrote about my interest in food, design, and entertaining, as well as my efforts to decide what exactly I wanted to do with my life.

Eventually, we followed our bliss back to Texas with our one-year-old daughter, Grace, in tow. I opened my store Biscuit in Houston, selling the bedding line I’d started in 2012. We had spent five years chasing our bliss around the country. I was beyond burned out and wanted more quality time with my people. What I probably needed was to sit and regroup; instead, I decided to build a farm about it!

Goodthyme Farm bellville texas
Textured layers in the Goodthyme Farm living room and an abundance of seating make a comfortable gathering space for guests. (Photo by Trevor Tondro and Otto)

It didn’t take us long to find the place: a property in Bellville that had all of the usual trappings of a farm, including a 100-year-old farmhouse.

Pete had begun development on our hospitality concepts, Goodnight Hospitality. We were connected to a network of farmers who helped us nurture and revitalize the land. We hired a caretaker and a full-time farmer, and together we began to cultivate the full potential of the farm. Working on the restaurants inspired Pete and me to expand our vision for what we have now officially named Goodthyme Farm. We bought land across the street and hired landscape architecture firm Reed Hilderbrand to help us create a 10-year plan for the property. At the heart of it all is farmer Jack Jones, who oversees our commercial-scale farm, focusing on development and education in sustainable farming practices. The eight “hoop houses” — large greenhouses that were completed last year — provide produce for our restaurants.

So, the stage was set, and the people were coming together. But the people also needed more space to stay overnight.

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018 OT1227397 (Photo by Trevor Tondro and Otto )
The breakfast room, with petite antique paintings and a custom leather banquette, is papered in one of Miles Redd’s favorite Iksel wallcoverings. (Photo by Trevor Tondro and Otto )

A Cinematic Mise En Scène

For the new larger primary farmhouse, we hired two of my design idols, Curtis & Windham Architects in Houston and Miles Redd with Redd Kaihoi in NYC. We had worked with Bill Curtis on our house in Houston and I was a devoted Miles Redd fan for years – working with him and his business partner David Kaihoi was a dream.

The new house was completed in June 2018, and we immediately put it to the test, hosting 22 adults and 19 children — all under the age of 8 — for Labor Day. Every bed in both houses, plus “Trailer Swift” (the vintage Spartan trailer we rehabbed and installed on one side of the lawn), was full. We swam, we played, we cooked, we lit fireworks — we lit it all up!

Miles Redd says we are like a live-action Wes Anderson film. “We wanted a certain cinematic mise en scène that is essential to any retreat,” says Redd. “But, at the end of the day, it is simply a backdrop. It really boils down to how someone lives in a house. Pete and Bailey should give a master class in this dying art.”

 

Goodthyme Farm bellville texas (Photo by Trevor Tondro and Otto )
A charming seating area in the dining room includes an antique sofa. The pair of slipper chairs, upholstered in Jasper fabric, once belonged to Robert Denning and Vincent Fourcade. Walls are papered in de Gournay. (Photo by Trevor Tondro and Otto )

Divine Design Details at Goodthyme Farm

Written by Rebecca Sherman

“I’ve been the biggest Miles Redd fan forever,” Bailey McCarthy says of the New York designer known for creating joyous interiors packed with color and pattern.“I already loved Miles’ chic city spaces and proper East Coast estates he has so rightly been celebrated for,” she says. “At his core, Miles is a Southern gentleman from Atlanta, and I knew he was the perfect person to interpret a Texas country house in a fabulous fresh way.”

Coincidentally, Redd and Curtis are longtime friends. Although their design styles are polar opposites — Redd’s interiors are exuberant; Curtis’ architecture is restrained — it all came together like magic. The farmhouse’s elegant Greek Revival-inspired architecture has such regionally familiar touches as a sloping metal roof, covered porches, and traditional center-hall planning that references historical Texas dogtrot houses. For Curtis, it was all about keeping things simple.

“We focused on detailing the interior architecture so that it complemented the house and provided a simple backdrop for the strength we knew Miles would provide,” he says.

The McCarthys have two young kids, so they asked Redd to make sure the interiors were casual and durable. “We walk through the house with muddy feet and wet swimsuits, so we didn’t want anything precious,” Bailey says.

On the other hand, she also wanted the interiors to have the quirkiness of a Wes Anderson film — and Redd was only too happy to oblige. “Wes Anderson is about charm and surprise,” he says.

The tented bar in the living room, the painted floors in the breakfast room and kitchen, and the enormous screen porch give the interiors an unexpected and fun vibe. Rooms brim with old Oriental carpets, chintz upholstery, and floral wallpapers, including hand-painted de Gournay panels in the living room.

“The powder room is an homage to the wild, wild West,” Redd says, with walls covered in vintage photos of cowboys, Native Americans, and horses. “And the guest bedroom is decorated with arrowheads collected by Pete’s parents. This feels very Texas, but in the manner of great retreats — comfortable, rejuvenating, and captivating.”

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