Carla Dougher and her family lost their home in Los Gatos on the morning of January 3, 2018. What started as an electrical fire in the garage of their 1970s rancher ended up engulfing the house. The property, formerly owned by her grandparents, immigrants from Lebanon, held a lot of meaning for Carla, so she set out to rebuild.
Carla’s new home, a modern farmhouse, reflects her past as a “farm girl.” She grew up doing 4H and raising animals, and she still keeps chickens today (we designed a chicken coop for her new brood!). The home also reflects Los Gatos’ history as a farming town. Now the home of major tech companies like Netflix, it was once covered in orchards.
Carla designed everything in her home, from the board-and-battened exterior to the tiny interior details, like the knobs on her drawers. Her greatest ally in the process: social media. Over the last two years designing and building her home, she has spent countless hours on Pinterest and Instagram, pouring through projects and sourcing inspiration to help craft every inch of her home. One of her favorite finds on Instagram: Clé tile, which adorns several rooms in her house and will make an appearance outside as well.
Another favorite find on Instagram: Yardzen.
Carla first contacted Yardzen in February of 2019 and did a project consult with Yardzen’s co-founder, Allison. She wasn’t ready to place her order yet—construction on the house hadn’t begun—but she was excited to learn how a previously “traditional” industry was using technology, and she wanted to learn more. Once the bones of the house were in place, Carla was ready to place her order with Yardzen.
When asked why she chose Yardzen, Carla stressed the importance of a collaborative team. After spending so much time searching for inspiration and crafting her house, she “had a good sense of what [she] wanted for the design” and she “wanted to work with a “team of experts well-versed in the best design practices to bring [her] vision to life.” She feared that if she hired a “traditional” landscape designer, they wouldn’t share her aesthetic and would be less open to feedback. “Working with someone in person, I felt like I was going to be challenged to get the end product I really wanted. I knew I needed to be in a more collaborative role.”
While going through the process, Carla enjoyed all of the opportunities to share her ideas. She had a lot of “fun” using the online platform. She enjoyed answering the questions about style and sharing all of her inspiration photos. She felt like she was able to “clearly communicate the design look and feel I wanted.” All of the opportunities to share her ideas made her feel “like I had more control.” The result: a modern farmhouse yard, complete with raised beds, a chicken coop, an outdoor kitchen, and ample space for enjoying the outdoors.
After going through the Yardzen design process, Carla connected with one of Yardzen’s vetted contractors to complete the install of the yard. The build process was just as fun, easy, and collaborative as the design process—Carla even jumped in to help!
Now that the yard is complete, Carla and her family enjoy every evening outside—eating alfresco with friends, roasting s’mores by the fire, and spending time with the chickens! Scroll through the photos below to see Carla’s modern farmyard!