Residing primarily in downtown Chicago, a couple was on the quest for a second home that would whisk them away from their harried lifestyles in the city and reconnect them to nature. It was then that they stumbled upon this quaint farmhouse, sitting on 80 acres and nestled far back on a lush, tree-enveloped wooded lot.  

Located in Rolling Prairie, Indiana – just a brisk one-hour car ride away from Chicago – the home seemed to boast all the makings of a tranquil holiday retreat: four bedrooms, a large pond and a detached room. Its dated aesthetic and obstructive layout, however, left plenty to be desired.

Entered Linc Thelen, an award-winning “triple threat” all at once an accomplished interior designer, architect and artist, who was tasked to overhaul the home – an ambitious project considering the scope. The structure had to be completed gutted and “stripped down to the studs”, with not only the interiors completely transformed, but exterior features such as balconies and roof overhang had to be removed. They then added in a stunning pool complete with outdoor shower, concrete pavers, wood walls, limestone surround and last but not least, painted the entire structure black.  

“The inspiration was based on capturing the natural beauty of the landscape where the house is situated,” says Linc. “Materials were minimal to embody the surroundings. The design was based on connecting the outside and inside and connecting people together.”

And this, he did to beautiful effect through artistry, a sense of balance and meticulous precision that transformed the home into a perfect meeting of the verdant nature outside and the sleek, cosy home within. Through the entrance, high shiplap ceilings with crisp-white oak beams are complemented by distressed wide plank white oak flooring, light stone accents and minimal furnishings. These allow for the home’s highlight – the lush green flora and fauna that surround it – to take centre stage, peeking through the home’s many window frames much like paintings themselves.

Scroll through the below gallery to see more of the modern farmhouse (photography by Jim Tschetter): 

The living room is double-height space that opens to the kitchen, featuring a cultured cut stone fireplace and wood niche. In the kitchen, cabinetry crafted in custom rift cut white oak beautifully complements the raw concrete island

Linc's favourite feature in the home is "the fireplace; it’s a natural cultured stone that is warm and modern. I love it’s minimal approach. Also, I love how the dining room table turned out. I designed it and built in my shop."

Beautiful artworks by Linc himself adorn the home, including this oil on canvas in the living room next to sofa from Interior Define and coffee table from Restoration Hardware

The home is decorated in a primarily monochromatic colour palette

The staircases are framed by metal railings

"It was also challenging converting the garage into a bedroom and bathroom. We needed to reconfigure the entire floor plan with the addition and a new pool to make sure it worked with the existing structure," says Linc.

The master bathroom designed in a minimalist aesthetic, with custom concrete tops and concrete porcelain tiles

Three sets of custom bunks and ladders sleep six kids, perfect for hosting large groups of visiting family and guests

Mirrors in the bathroom are custom made by Linc in his shop

A stunning new pool was added complete with an outdoor shower, concrete pavers, ipe wood wall and a limestone surround

Framed by lush greenery, the farmhouse has been painted all black that gives it a modern, lofty feel

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