Home & Living

Photographer Barbara Oliveira’s Forest Hill Homestead is Stylishly Eclectic and Baby-Friendly

Oliveira gives us a tour of her "perfectly imperfect" rustic log cabin, whose roots trace back to 1755.
—Photography by Barbara Oliveira

A HOUSE WITH A PAST: Our house was built to be a trading post, along Deer Creek around 1755, by Sarah and Ralph Pyle. There’s an engraving of “1771” in one of the chestnut logs in our kitchen with the initials R.P.  What a cool glimpse into the past that we get to see every day. Ralph and Sarah’s gravestone markers are on the top of the hill not far away from the house.

RUSTIC CHARM ABOUNDS: Our house, being a log cabin, has a rustic/farmhouse feel to it, and for our decor we love mixing different styles to complement it—modern with vintage, farmhouse with midcentury, new with family heirlooms. I also love adding in natural, bohemian, colorful elements. And I love decorating with plants to bring a natural vibe indoors.

THIS OLD HOUSE: I’ve always loved the idea of living in an old house but not so much the idea of doing constant home improvements, but here we are. I’ve learned to be at peace with the fact that there will always be ongoing projects for us to work on. My husband, Darrion, on the other hand, grew up in this house, so this is what he knows and loves.

BABYPROOFING: Learning I was pregnant sped up some projects that we always wanted to do. We thought once the baby was born, it wouldn’t be on the top of our list, and we would never have the time and money to do it. Our daughter Melian’s room is now the place that we now spend so much time in. It’s both peaceful and cheerful. And it’s the room with the most natural light.

CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT: Most of our favorite pieces are family heirlooms, like the big Persian rug in our living room from Darrion’s grandmother, the green dressers in our bedroom from Darrion’s mom, and the two prints of Lisbon in our bedroom that I got from a flea market in Portugal. They remind me of home—I was born in Brazil and raised in Portugal—and make me smile.

WE ARE FAMILY: We live on the same property with Darrion’s parents and sister’s family. It’s a little family community and together we own a 17-acre piece of land that sits on Deer Creek. We love kayaking and sitting in the water. We keep bees. We have a dog and a cat. We love gardening, permaculture, and sustainability. Little by little, we’re creating a food forest that hopefully will be abundant for many years to come.

PERFECTLY IMPERFECT: I think our homes should be a reflection of ourselves. A place that makes us feel happy, inspired, and relaxed. Our house is one of a kind, with so much character. Nothing is level or plumb, the floors are crooked and squeaky. The house is perfectly imperfect, a reflection of what life is really like. A work in progress, just like we are.