The circa-1833 farmhouse tucked into the undulating hills of rural Ottsville had humble beginnings. Once a tiny one-room home, it’s had many iterations, including a 1960s renovation that saw an addition of more than 2,500 square feet, along with excessive wood paneling, a canary-yellow exterior paint job and purple shutters. Its newest chapter, as a weekend home for renowned chef Jose Garces and his young family of four, is also its best—one in which the home’s rustic charm was respected and refined with fresh paint, new landscaping, and a few modern accoutrements (like a luxe outdoor kitchen) to keep things refreshingly simple, as life on a farm should be and life in the city most definitely is not.
During the week, Garces buzzes about, filming Iron Chef, ping-ponging among his seven Philadelphia restaurants, dealing with the perpetual chaos of running his mini food empire, and only half-resting at his minimalist, white-walled, high-ceilinged home in the heart of the city. The weekends are when he gets back to basics—family, farm, food—and he enlisted Gretchen Kubiak, principal of Philadelphia design firm Black & Poole, to help turn his brimming-with-potential farmhouse into a place of sweet respite that he’s since named Luna Farms.
“The fresh air, the natural beauty, the quiet return to nature,” Garces says, as he strolls along a pebbled walkway leading out to a field in which he’ll soon grow many of the vegetables used at his restaurants. “Philly is busy and urban. Being able to remove ourselves from that, to disconnect and restore and refresh—it’s priceless. This is a dream.”