Design New England

Agrarian simplicity (and glamour)

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The Studio North chicken coop, a contemporary structure of fiberglass and maple branches, is home to architect Keith Moskow’s growing flock.

For a romantic take on America’s agricultural heritage, we featured Moskow Linn Architect’s Studio North creation Il Tempietto di Pollo, an architecturally forward approach to housing hens, in our May/June, 2012, issue. Its creators, Keith Moskow and Robert Linn, see it as a prototype for everyday backyard chicken coops, a concept gaining steam as the locavore movement picks up devotees. Certainly, the concept of farming on a small scale, at home, is an attractive idea. Enter design minds like Moskow Linn’s and the folks at Williams-Sonoma’s and it can be a stylish reality.


The traditionally styled Alexandria Chicken Coop & Run comes in a cleverly mobile model and holds 6 hens while the stationary Briar model holds 4. They are both handcrafted in the United States of solid pine, exterior-grade plywood, and a cedar roof.

W-S’s new farm-inspired line, Agrarian, offers the Alexandria Chicken Coop & Run and the Briar Chicken Coop & Run that would fit nicely in most any suburban setting. Farm-fresh eggs collected, the gentle farmer may next want to head to the beehive for some pure raw honey. That is what artist Gay Gillies (House as Art, May June, 2012) does when she tends her hives in southeastern Massachusetts, where her family summers. Her fascination with the species has evolved into a series of paintings depicting the plight of the bee population as their colonies are inexplicably collapsing.



Paintings in a bee-inspired series by Gay Gillies in which she used wax from her hives and spices to achieve the look of pollen.

Whether your interest is biology or just sweet natural honey, W-S offers a compact starter kit that includes the hive, tools for cultivating honey — and most importantly sting-proof gloves and a helmet with polyester/nylon veil and built-in sweatband!


If live chickens and bees are not your thing, perhaps canning and preserving will satisfy your back-to-the farm hunger. These appealing screen-printed jars from Williams-Sonoma are perfect for sharing the bounty.

Williams-Sonoma also carries vegetable, fruit, and herb plants along with a range of raised bed structures, planters, window boxes, and a space-saving vertical frame with grow bag.


However, since we prefer to shop locally for such goods, it was the exquisite collection of garden tools crafted by Austrian coppersmiths (above) that had us intrigued. In addition to their visual appeal (they can also be monogramed), they enrich the soil with tiny copper deposits that promote water absorption. Now that is gardening glam with a practical side.

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