Sisse’s Fab Farmhouse
There are people out there who have what it takes—the talent, vision, energy, and resources—to turn a run down, ramshackle house into a dream home. Sisse Jonassen is one of those people.
Sisse, who grew up in Denmark, owns an interior design company located in up-state New York called SJ Interior Designs.
She was looking for a relaxing place to call home that reminded her of her Scandinavian childhood. When she found the 1795 post-and-beam farmhouse in the Hudson Valley, it was love at first sight. Though the house needed a lot of work, it was in her price range; and the open floor plan made the small house feel larger than its 1,268 square feet.
With vision, creativity, and talent, Sisse turned the 18th century farmhouse into an awesome place to live without sacrificing any of its charm.
Shabby chic with Scandinavian flair
Throughout the house you will find a creative, stylish blend of old and new. The rooms are light, bright, and airy—filled with antiques and special treasures Sisse picked up along the way.
in her own words
“The living room has great light, height, and a feeling of space; yet it’s so cozy . . . Here I keep most of my finds, such as the slender Giacometti-looking figure on the mantle that I found by a dumpster and a discarded art-student project that I treasure. The two small paintings are cheap garage sale purchases, and the larger black-and-white painting I did myself.”
“In the four white frames is artwork by Norwegian artist Liv Stange. They are embroidered and remind me of sheet music. The dresser is one of those love-at-first-sight furniture moments for me. I found it in the basement of an antique store, and the dark, weathered forest green spoke to me in a way only deep green can. I feel calm when I’m in the room with it. The small Buddha I brought home from a trip to Bali.”
“The Lady Godiva painting I found in a garage sale. I saw it from the back and was initially attracted to it for its sheer size. When I turned it around and saw the image, I knew I had to have it—even though I had nowhere to hang it at that time. The Louis Poulsen PH-50 lamp is a must-have for anyone of Scandinavian descent. It spreads light in the perfect way, with the bulb being completely sealed off from view, so it is glare-free for anyone sitting at the table.”
in her own words
“The kitchen was awful when I bought the house, but I saw the possibilities, and I enjoy a challenge. It was dark; there were no skylights, and the ceiling was only six-feet high, so you felt cramped in there. Needless to say, I gutted it completely, raised the ceiling, installed skylights and beams for structural support, new windows and a door to the patio. It took a month of working on it every day, figuring out how to overcome an old house with all its crookedness and weird angles. It’s now one of my favorite rooms.”
“I love having an upholstered chair in the kitchen and so does Fred. It has a removable slip cover, so I can wash it when there are too many paw prints or foody smells. It’s amazing how much use that chair gets. When you cook, guests will naturally gravitate to it; when you have breakfast, a cup of tea . . . it’s a great place to sit with a view of the garden.”
I could live in this house. You?
Photos: Emily Gilbert.Designer: Sisse Jonassen, SJ Interior Designs, Inc. Visit Sisse on Facebook.
Portfolio: Farmhouse, Hudson Valley NY.