Rachel and Kevin Quenzer are reformed Chicago suburbanites who moved their little family to a 7-acre farm in Michigan in late 2018. They wanted a place with wide open spaces where they wouldn’t be able to see directly into their neighbors bedroom and land to make their own.
In 2018 they were on the hunt for homes in Illinois but weren’t having any luck. When Rachel was on a business trip in the fall of that year – sitting in the middle of a peanut farm, no less – Kevin sent her a photo for a farmhouse just outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan. They had talked about moving out of Illinois, but at that moment it became a reality. Rachel had gone to college in Michigan and still had ties to the area and the farmhouse seemed like a dream come true – old but renovated, beautiful already but with tons of potential for more and just far enough in the country to still have neighbors without being able to actually see them.
Everyone in their families thought they were crazy. No one could see Rachel scooping chicken poop or Kevin happily mowing the massive acreage – he hated mowing just the quarter acre lot of their Illinois home. But, they did it anyways. They dug in, made it happened and moved the day after Christmas. Their first year they survived one of the worst Michigan winters in decades and as they go into their second spring, they are ever grateful for all this extra space with a global pandemic ebbing and flowing throughout the world.
As they move forward now they see nothing but possibilities in this place and have continued to make the farmhouse their home – inside and out.
Rachel is a wife and mother of two precious little babies – who aren’t really babies anymore – and has been married to Kevin for more than a decade. She’s an animal lover, a dreamer, a writer, a budding gardener and a creator of all the projects you will see happening at Sugar Maple Farmhouse. She’s also a home chef and is loving every bit of this journey as she learns to make more and more food from scratch. She an introverted extrovert and loves the comforts of home, a well-designed room with plenty of straight lines, natural tones and a lot of plants. Her farmhouse style is a mix of traditional and modern. She loves adding antique pieces to their home to balance out the new construction. She shares it all here on the blog, on Instagram @sugarmaplefarmhouse and on the Sugar Maple Farmhouse YouTube page.
Rachel has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Grand Valley State University and a Master’s in Public Relations and Advertising from DePaul University in Chicago. She always hated the idea of having to pick one career path and blogging has allowed her to do a bit of it all.
Kevin is the dad of those same two babies from above and you could say he’s the Ying to Rachel’s Yang. He’s practical, logical (except when it comes to purchasing farmhouses on whim) and likes numbers. He leaves the flowy and flowery decisions to Rachel. He has started working on a home brewery space in the barn and plans to learn the trade right in his own backyard. He loves computers – usually building them from scratch – and he’s often the one pulling Rachel back as she jumps forward with two feet at a time. He’s an introvert but since moving to Grand Rapids has had more man nights out than he has over the course of the last 10 years. You can find his personal Instagram account @crop.daddy and see him pop up from time to time on the Sugar Maple Farmhouse Instagram and YouTube channels.
Kevin has a Computer Science Bachelor’s Degree from Illinois State University and has worked in Information technology his entire life. He’s the steady hand in their marriage.
Keira, 7, and Roman, 5, are two rainbow babies. After having a difficult time keeping pregnancies, Rachel and Kevin were blessed with these two. When their first son, Alexander, was stillborn in 2011, the pair doubted they would ever be able to carry a baby to term. They consider these two kids miracles and while parenting them isn’t a walk in the park, they are the greatest joys in life for Rachel and Kevin. Moving to Sugar Maple Farmhouse was about being able to give the kids a different type of life and showing them that something exists outside of the internet in the literal outside. Roman is an animal lover like his mom and is constantly wanting to bring frogs and bugs home as pets. He could spend his days outside exploring and be perfectly happy – as long as he has a cap to keep the sun from getting in his eyes. He’s outgoing and a happy-go-lucky kid that’s not afraid to tell it like it is. Keira is more timid and prefers to spend her time indoors lately. She’s a true homebody and a kind soul. Anytime anyone is sad or upset she’s there with a hug and encouraging words. She’s amazing at drawing and – even if she doesn’t like to it – reading and math.
Rachel believe in rescuing as many animals as possible. So, their new puppies – Bailey and Daisy – have both come from area Michigan rescues. When The Quenzers moved to the farm they brought their senior dog, Frenchie with them. She has been Rachel’s dog, friend and shadow for 16 years. She was able to spend her last few months in the wide open spaces and when walking became hard she would sit in the sunshine and take it all in. The family said goodbye to her June 1, 2019.
In July of that year, the Quenzers adopted their Pitbull mix Bailey from a local animal rescue when she was just 12 weeks old. While Rachel was leery about the breed, Bailey has proved her wrong each step of the way. Bailey is the most gentle soul who loves to snuggle, sleep under the blanket, play with other dogs and lets the kids hang all over her. She’s very even with her emotions and stingy with her kisses. She just celebrated her first birthday.
In February of 2020, Rachel went to the feed store for chicken supplies and bought a puppy. There was an animal rescue there that day and some of the puppies looked exactly like Frenchie. Daisy, who seems to be some sort of Shepherd mix, joined the family that next week. Believe it or not, she’s the guard dog as Shepherds often are. She’s leery of strangers and takes a while to warm up to new people. She loves to give kisses, wags her tail at you all day long and loves her family. But, unlike Bailey, doesn’t enjoy having the kids hang on her. She’s six months old.
Sugar Maple Farmhouse is small, 7-acre farm nestled just outside of Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was named by Rachel and Kevin for the 120-year-old Sugar Maple Tree parked right outside the front door. The farmhouse itself is a renovated farmhouse. Half of the house is from 1900 and half of the house was added in 2017. When The Quenzers moved in they continued the renovation with some small interior remodeling projects on the master bedroom, bathroom, mud room and the room that’s now Rachel’s home office space. Additionally, they completely transformed the old, falling down barn and garage on the property and made it into a functional 2-car garage and studio space/extra space for family and friends when they come to visit. They’re in the process of completely revamping the garden and adding a greenhouse for 2020 and there’s so many more fun projects on the horizon.
Currently, the farm has two dogs, two cats, one rooster, 11 hens, five baby chicks and counting…There’s a plan to add additional animals to the home next year too!