Part two of Bree’s interview with David Larned. Click here for part one. – TSD.
Life on Stock Grange Farm for Sarah and David Larned is dynamic, to say the least. Between keeping up with their careers as artists, raising their young daughter, two goats: Bette and Maude and pug, Weezie meanwhile restoring the historical, charming farm that they call home – and work, they embrace their lifestyle with such passion and grace.
I am amazed at how they have taken a property that was once in such disrepair and in five years transformed it into a warm, welcoming place that embodies their love and devotion they’ve invested into making it their own. The Larneds are consummate hosts; always planning their next memorable evening with friends and family, where it’s known you will be guaranteed a full beverage at all times. Last time we were there, we were introduced to Le Nez du Vin, a game involving 54 vials filled with common aromas found in wine, where a group of us tried to identify each aroma. And for a nightcap, Sarah typically entices her guests with one of her famous Brandy Alexanders. When weather permits, you will find the customary game of Nine Holes Anywhere set up on the property. Needless to say, a typical evening spent with David and Sarah on Stock Grange Farm is unequivocally accompanied by many laughs, excellent company, a gourmet meal and a bottomless cocktail.
Q&A with David Larned:
When did you guys buy your farm and can you tell me about the phases of projects you’ve done over the years?
Five years ago. It was a disaster when we bought it. Feral cats, ivy growing in the windows, lawn car with a tree growing through it. It’s triage. Patch the roof first, then replace heater, install A/C. Later, we could get to more cosmetic things like paint and shutters. Now, we are contemplating how to repoint the barn ruin. If you do it too obviously, it will look like Disney Land. This place will never be done. I have enjoyed every minute of the restoration.
Having shared endless fun dinners with you guys over the years, what are some Larned dining traditions and favorite beverages and dishes?
I know personally that a headache the following morning has become my tradition. I am lucky to have an amazing wife in so many ways. One of which is her culinary skills. It’s a treat to see what she comes up with. And it’s varied, so I can’t say there is a defining dish. As for beverages, we keep a pretty diverse bar too. I favor gin, Sarah tequila. Strange Italian aperitifs are becoming an after dinner staple. Some good bourbons have been put down here too. Unfortunately, my taste in wine exceeds my budget, so the great wines we have had here have all been brought by our guests.
Your bar is well loved. What are some of the favorite beverages and spirits you keep on hand?
Dear Lord, where to start. It’s been loved long before we got here too. Claude Rains owned the house in the 40′s and he had Hollywood friends over. Bette Davis was a frequent guest, even Charles Lindbergh. I try to keep everyone happy so the range is wide. We have a kegerator loaded with either Dogfish Head or Victory. I love wine, so there is always something sparkling, white, and red open. If my mother-in-law is in town a Rose from Provence is de rigueur. I try to keep a range of each spirit from approachable to challenging. So, a Johnny Walker blended scotch on one end to a very peaty single malt like Talisker on the other. Same thing with bourbon; Jack on one end and Pappy (when I can find it) on the other. A late acquaintance reintroduced me to the wonders of a perfectly made gin martini. So, I drink a lot of Bluecoat. Our Tequilas tend to be darker, more flavorful. The bar really has everything, Absinthe, Sambucca, Cynar, Port, Sherry, Madeira, Corn Whiskey, Lillet, Campari, etc. We try to make sure people can find what they want when they are here.
For the full interview and image set from Stock Grange Farm, click here to visit the Dilwyne Designs blog.