Would you buy a 111 year old farmhouse in an online auction that had been abandoned for 10 years, was located across the country, sight unseen? She did just that, then packed up all of her worldly belongings and arrived only to find that the copper pipes, plumbing, heating, hot water, electricity, and gas were all gone and the appliances had been stolen. Today’s Eclectic Home Tour of Cj Swank Riverview Farm takes us to this work-in-progress restoration farmhouse done on a budget and in Grandmillennial style!
Says Cj, “My dream was to own a piece of land with an idyllic setting, water views, and a feeling of privacy – a classic, affordable farmhouse to become my forever home. I didn’t hesitate. I was willing to take the risk. After moving across country from Seattle to New York a few weeks after buying the house, the very first thing I did was get myself a dog, a Golden Retriever I named Skye, who quickly became my shadow.”
Cj named the house, Riverview Farm because she is lucky enough to have a river that flowers along the side of the house.
“Life on the farm was not as idyllic as I’d fantasized. It had been vandalized in the decade it was uninhabited. Time had ravaged this once magical farmhouse. But I was undeterred. I saw past the neglect to its beauty, and knew “Riverview Farm” was home. These days, Skye and I explore the fields, fences, riverbank, and wildlife like a land baron. It’s not much. But it’s ours, says Cj.”
During the cross country move from Seattle to NY, all of Cj’s furniture was stolen and there was no insurance so she had to start from scratch!
Cj managed to furnish her entire house with thrifted and Facebook Marketplace finds for only $4,000!
Cj and I share the same penchant for vintage landscape paintings.
Cj says, “After shopping thrift stores and FB MP to furnish my entire house during a pandemic with essentially no money, I am delighted to say this room is starting to make me happy. ‘Buy what you love and it’ll work together’ really does describe my approach to decorating.”
“This room has been collected and curated. My design plan was always quite simple. To have each and every object make me happy when I looked at it, without worrying where it would go. Which is why my home is filled with blue and white chinoiserie”, says Cj.
This home is the perfect example of Grandmillennial style with lots of old-school design trends (skirted tables, patterned upholstery, floral wallpaper, dark brown wood furniture) with a fresh spin for the 21st century.
Cj is a widow and has lived alone for nearly 20 years. She’s proud of the fact that she can handle all things house related by herself from repairing a fence to fixing the boiler!
Two of Cj’s favorite things include blue and white Chinoiserie and leopard print and she mixes them effortlessly.
Original diamond pane leaded glass windows are just one of the perks of living in an old house.
As if having all your furniture stolen isn’t enough bad luck, Cj broke her leg last November and needed surgery and several metal plates. Soon after, she broke her arm and needed another surgery and metal plate!
A beautiful stained glass window pops against the dramatic dark walls and trim in the dining room.
The dining room is big enough for a library table piled high with books.
A peek into the original butler’s pantry with oak cabinets and original brass latches. Cj says the badly renovated 80’s kitchen isn’t photo ready!
Antique beds are the stars in two of the bedrooms and a third bedroom renovation is currently in the works.
The cozy front porch is the perfect place for taking in views of the river.
An old buddha hand statue that Cj’s late mom found for her at a garage sale is one of her favorite possessions.
Location, location, location … it’s all about the river view.
Cj has led quite the exciting life and has traveled all over the world (she’s been to every US state) during her stint in the US Air Force.
After her husband died, she moved to Las Vegas and became a personal fashion stylist for celebrities including Celine Dion, Cher, Jennifer Lopez, Bette Midler and more!
She’s currently in the process of decorating a guest bedroom and has lots more on her to do list so be sure to check out her Instagram page.