5 minute read

At Home: The Scheenstras

Old World Charm Meets Modern Comfort

How the Scheenstra family filled a fresh space with cherished traditions.

Story by Natalie Caudle | Photos by Topograph

In the middle of country farmland sits a striking home with minimalist-inspired and timeless features. Homeowners Audra and Ryan Scheenstra were aptly in tune with their design style; she and her husband, Ryan, knew they wanted to create a home that could host many of their large family gatherings. After growing up in an extensive German community in Reedley and attending Immanuel High School, Audra met her husband during college. He grew up in a larger Dutch community and attended a private school in Visalia: Central Valley Christian. After getting married, the two began planning to build their dream home. Ryan spends many hours each week operating a dairy, so it was important to them to settle close to his job so he could make quick visits home throughout the day. Audra and their daughter also enjoy frequent bike rides to visit the nearby farm animals.

The Vision

Construction began on their home in 2020 and the project moved quickly. They began working on the plans with architect Julia Kroonenburg over the summer, and once they were approved, they broke ground with Witschi Construction at the wheel. Construction was completed less than a year later and the Scheenstras moved into their home in February 2021.

When designing their dream home, Audra knew she wanted large living spaces that spilled into the outdoors. Working alongside Julia, Audra envisioned an ageless style that weaved in old-world elements. Audra remarks, “I knew my style was simple, timeless, and classic. I also made choices that will hopefully still be in style five to ten years from now.” The team designed a floorplan conducive to entertaining with multiple spaces open to guests and perfect for hosting family celebrations. The Scheenstras reduced the square footage in the bedrooms to optimize the entertaining area. Peppered throughout the house are the welcoming, time-honored elements Audra dreamt of before her home was a reality: brass candlesticks, textured tile, and elegant archways leading into the halls. “I like the cozy feel it brings,” says Audra. “Similar to how you feel when viewing European home photos, warm and not cold; you just want to jump into them.”

Upstairs, classic wallpaper adorns the walls, a nod to the unique and enduring style Audra admires. Kayla Van Grouw designed the spaces, adding elements of gold and black plumbing and lighting fixtures throughout the home. Kayla’s knowledge and creative touch was a lifesaver for Audra. She remembers, “Kayla really helped me during a difficult time when I had just had my daughter, and it was all during Covid. She was so awesome to work with. We had similar styles, so we worked well together.” Kayla helped create a cohesive feel throughout the home with straight lines, a repetitive tile pattern, and bright spaces.

By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures. Proverbs 24:3-4

Room Details

While black-framed windows give vivid contrast to the whitepainted walls, the black stair railing serves as a focal point within the Scheenstra home. The clean lines of the fireplace convey a contemporary feeling; when mixed with the textures within the room, a warm and peaceful aura permeates the inviting space.

The heart of a home is often the kitchen; so it is for Audra. As an avid baker, Audra implemented a large island, two dishwashers, a large-capacity refrigerator, and a sizable range. Some features Audra and Ryan rarely use, like the pasta faucet. “But my favorite feature is the warming drawer that I use every day for things like breakfast burritos, bread, or cinnamon rolls,” says Audra. “It's so handy to make dinner early and leave it in there, or for a loaf of bread that stays warm like it just came out of the oven.” The kitchen's design serves Audra well as she prepares for her family and guests.

The spaces and style of the Scheenstra home give way to an environment where Audra finds herself inspired to create. During her daughter’s naptime, Audra is sometimes found embroidering gifts. “My grandmother embroidered, and it’s therapeutic for me,” smiles Audra. “I cherish the embroidered linens she made.” Additionally, Audra has tried her hand at stovetop potpourri and homemade cookbooks for family members to savor. It’s here, within the walls of their house, that Audra and Ryan have found themselves most alive.

Whether baking chocolate chip cookies in the kitchen or laughing with friends beneath the covered patio, Audra and Ryan have created a home where their family can grow, and friends are always welcome.