Gordon and Mary Hayward's Vermont Farmhouse | The Gardener's House
“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; hubbardtonforge.com
Kenzer Furniture: Custom-made furniture and cabinets. 136 East Putney Falls Road, Putney, VT. 802-387-2347; kenzerfurniture.com
ShackletonThomas: High-end handmade furniture and pottery. The Mill, Route 4, Bridgewater, VT. 802-672-5175; shackletonthomas.com
Vermont Marble & Granite: Custom-cut, Vermont-quarried marble and granite, plus limestone, slate, and soapstone. 1565 Main St., Castleton, VT. 802-468-8800; vermontmarbleandgranite.com