A Growing Family Sets Up in a Maltby Farmhouse

This rural sanctuary has a vintage feel with modern amenities

By Alisa Welch January 15, 2015


This article originally appeared in the January 2015 issue of Seattle magazine.

It’s one of the basic tenets of decorating: Where there are children, nothing shall be white.

Evidently, Julie Thomas, blogger and mother of three active boys, never received that memo, as her whitewashed, vintage-farmhouse-inspired home can attest. “Everything that’s slipcovered can be thrown in the wash. I throw in a little bleach, which I couldn’t do when our couch was tan,” she says. “At least now everything can get clean.”

“We have a sense of community but also privacy,” says homeowner Julie Thomas of her Maltby farmhouse. Hidden from the main road, the home’s acreage includes wisteria and hop arbors, along with a growing menagerie of animals

After moving three times in 13 years, Thomas and her husband, Aaron, longed for a home that could give their three sons, Hudson, 11, Noah, 8, and Lincoln, 5, room to roam. Thomas’ sister found the property while on a drive in the rural village of Maltby, 25 miles north of Seattle. “We knew right away this was it,” Thomas says. “This was what we were waiting for.” Sitting on more than 2 acres, the 1998 farmhouse has the feel of a vintage home (with wainscoting and double-hung windows) while incorporating the must-haves of a modern family (a large laundry/mudroom, large upstairs bedrooms and a home office).

Although the entryway was built in 1998, the woodwork and vintage-style decor make it seem a century older

An admitted devotee of the shabby chic look, Thomas has a decorating style that tends toward the painted and distressed; a lived-in look perfect for a house full of boys. A $69 thrift-store table and assorted chairs became a charming dining set after Thomas painted them a unifying white. Linen chair pads from Ikea—sans the pillow insert—make for easy-to-wash seat covers. “I wanted to have the look of chair pads, but we have kids who love spaghetti,” she explains.

Thomas’ sons Hudson, Noah and Lincoln enjoy the view

Since moving in a year ago, the Thomas family has been joined by two cats, a coop full of chickens, a rabbit and a yellow Lab puppy named Charlie. “Part of the impulse to move to the country was to create a place where there could be more reasons—dogs to walk, eggs to gather, fields to explore—to be home together,” says Thomas, whose husband only had one request when it came to decorating. “[He] really wanted to a fire pit,” she says. “He remembered his own childhood camping trips and told me, ‘With boys, that’s when they’ll sit and talk to you.’”

Julie’s Favorite shops
Country Village in Bothell (23718 Bothell Everett Highway; 425.483.2250; countryvillagebothell.com)
Haley’s Cottage in Kirkland (123 Park Lane; 425.822.2730; haleyscottage.com)
M & M Antiques in Monroe (123 N Lewis St.; 360.794.7660; Facebook, “M & M Antiques”)

To anyone visiting Maltby, Thomas highly recommends Maltby Cafe (8809 Maltby Road; 425.483.3123; maltbycafe.com). “They serve the best breakfasts, including their famous cinnamon rolls; one can feed our family of five!”

Rough-hewn benches covered in sheepskin surround the family’s backyard fire pit

For more about Thomas and her home, check out her blog at littlefarmstead.com.



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