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Gordon and Mary Hayward's Vermont Farmhouse | The Gardener's House

Gordon and Mary Hayward’s Vermont Farmhouse | The Gardener’s House
11 votes, 3.91 avg. rating (78% score)

“When we bought this place, we had an opportunity to express what interested us,” Gordon says. “It became our laboratory, where we learned about plants, where we learned about design.”Today, the Haywards’ home is a full expression of their identity as gardeners and Vermonters. Theirs is a house not overrun by indoor plants but instead is oriented toward the work they’ve done outside it. Exterior doors open up to paths that lead to the garden, while windows frame the view of the grounds: trees and shrubs, arbors and statues.

“One of the big things I stress when I lecture is this goal that we should live in a house in a garden, and that the two should relate to each other,” says Gordon, whose property now includes a 1.5-acre garden bordered on two sides by 18 acres of reclaimed pastures. “What you see out the windows is just as important in the winter as it is in the summer. You live in a house 12 months a year, and the gardens should answer that.” That means that even in the depths of winter, the Gordons’ views reveal spots of color. A small orchard of crabapple trees bear red fruit deep into the season, while hedges and other evergreens show something other than white throughout the year.

The importance of the landscape is embedded in the home’s interior as well. The couple long ago moved away from their familiar white walls. Now, soft reds, yellows, and oranges help brighten the home, even on a bitter January morning or a raw March afternoon. The Chinese red in the living room reflects the deep foliage reds found throughout the grounds, while the dining room’s terra-cotta connects to the 50 different pots on display in their garden. “Each room has one major color and many complementary subordinate colors,” Gordon says, “so when you look from room to room, wall colors in the foreground, middle ground, and background play together to enliven what we see.”

The sense of place is also hard to miss, from the milled-in-Vermont cedar and hemlock that were used to rebuild the barn, to the locally produced soapstone countertops and wall tiles in the kitchen. Gordon’s office, a converted hayloft, densely populated with books and dried flowers, looks out over a back pasture and the garden; a desk by Vermont furniture maker Charles Shackleton anchors the space. Even the artworks—Brian Sweetland’s oil paintings, Richard Brown’s photos—speak to the couple’s appreciation of a landscape that gave birth first to this Early American farm and now to the Haywards’ continuation of it.

“More than anything, we’ve tried to honor the past,” Gordon explains. “The new grows out of the old, the established. Our decisions about our home and our gardens have been about defining a sense of place. And so the way we’ve decorated our house has come up naturally out of the place where we live, our own experience, and our own relationships.”

Hayward House Project Resources

Ewald Tileworks: Handmade tiles for kitchens and baths. 3400 Westminster West Road, Putney, VT. 802-387-6661

Hubbardton Forge: Newly blacksmithed lighting fixtures and accessories. 154 Route 30 South, Castleton, VT. 802-468-3090;

Kenzer Furniture: Custom-made furniture and cabinets. 136 East Putney Falls Road, Putney, VT. 802-387-2347;

ShackletonThomas: High-end handmade furniture and pottery. The Mill, Route 4, Bridgewater, VT. 802-672-5175;

Vermont Marble & Granite: Custom-cut, Vermont-quarried marble and granite, plus limestone, slate, and soapstone. 1565 Main St., Castleton, VT. 802-468-8800;

Ian Aldrich


Ian Aldrich


Senior editor of Yankee Magazine: Ian, a native New Englander who has worked and freelanced for Yankee for the past decade, writes feature stories, home pieces, and helps manage the magazine's up-front section, First Light. His stories have ranged from exploring the community impact from a church poisoning in a small town in northern Maine to dissecting the difficulties facing Nantucket around its problems with erosion. In addition to his connection to Yankee, Ian worked as a senior editor of Cincinnati Magazine for several years.
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3 Responses to Gordon and Mary Hayward’s Vermont Farmhouse | The Gardener’s House

  1. Peggy Farabaugh April 2, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

    Thank you Ian for an inspiring article about Gordon and Mary’s beautiful home. Last year we were lucky enough to persuade Gordon to design the landscaping for a 200+ year old farmhouse we converted to a showcase for Vermont made furniture and home decor. He did an incredible job and we can hardly wait for everything to come into bloom for the first time. One thing readers might want to note is that traditional stonework is often a signature part of Gordon’s garden designs. He recommended Torben Larsen of Windham Growers in Putney, VT to do our stonework and it’s remarkable.

  2. Amy Skrzek November 16, 2014 at 9:47 pm #

    Great job with the house and land/garden. However, not all homes in New England are “Capes” The one in the pictures provided (Where Gordon and his wife live) was built in the late 18th cen and from the looks of it is built in the Georgian Style. Their previous home was built in the 1850’s, I would venture a guess that it was Greek(?). The term “Cape” for a house was created post WWII for the smaller homes being built that resembled those found in New England especially the Cape which were built (mainly) in the Georgian Style and were shingle cladded (obviously not all of them…) SO, it was annoying that all three or four homes were referred to as Capes; it does little for the imagination when all I can think of is a post-WWII “Cape” in suburbia…

  3. Deborah Pyle November 17, 2014 at 5:23 am #

    So awesome! Perfect place to live!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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