Lebanon couple drawn to sunflower fields forever

Home’s inside, outside spaces reflect love of nature.

Sunflowers, birds and beehives say it all, from a design perspective, when you first enter a Lebanon couple’s country retreat. The ambience Leslie Josephson desired for the home she shares with her husband Dave was simple: Incredibly charming and inviting. The couple aimed to create “a truly ‘lived-in’ home, comfortable, homey and yet upscale for a farmhouse — very private yet close to everything,” she explained.

And they have warmly greeted success.

“We have 48 acres here in Lebanon, complete with 23 beehives and 25 flower gardens,” Josephson added. “(This is) where the birds, bees, flowers — and us — live in love with nature. Inside and out.”

In 2019, Josephson moved into the 1900 farmhouse with a wraparound porch after reconnecting with and marrying Dave, her childhood sweetheart. Both are originally from western New York. “My husband purchased this in 2003 and was drawn to the acreage of the land,” featuring privacy and magnificent views, said Josephson.

After an addition in 2007, the home now measures 2,800 square feet with four bedrooms, four full baths and an office/bedroom on the first floor.


“The house had a beautiful addition added in 2007. But the kitchen was not set up for someone who loves to cook, and that troubled me,” said Josephson. “My sweet husband Dave renovated our kitchen to make me feel more at home.”

With the help of a friend (Dan Wampler of Cincinnati), according to Josephson, her husband tiled an entire new floor “that reminds me of our barn, and it looks so perfect!” She added cabinets were crafted by “our friend’s brother Doug, who owns R.E. Wampler & Son of Bellbrook.” A spice cabinet was also created “where we had a chimney that didn’t allow deep cabinets. That is my favorite little sweet spot.

“Spices always end up in a drawer or just taking up space in counters, but mine have a perfect spot (and are somewhat alphabetical).” With vegetable gardens and a quest for flavorful, healthier food, the couple, both 64, enjoy creating their own sauces and other staples. “It’s all about the land ... we could live off this land,” Josephson said.

Naturally, the kitchen theme is sunflowers. “We brightened up the inside with wallpaper and fabric to match the theme online from Spoonflower,” a global marketplace that connects makers and consumers with independent artists.

The wondrously bright dining room capitalizes on the sunflower motif — as well as Josephson’s craft skills. “I love to sew, so I made the tablecloth and curtains,” she said.

The couple’s current projects are “mostly outdoors, now that the guest bathroom has been remodeled this winter,” Josephson said, with efforts underway, too, to improve the flower and bird gardens.

The outside has “barn quilts” of sunflowers painted by the couple’s son Fritz this past spring. “The gardens are our pride and joy in the summer, but no one loves them more than the bees! We are a pollinator ‘mecca’ here on top of the hill in Lebanon,” according to Josephson.


Josephson, a part-time pharmacist, says she gleans interior-design ideas from a variety of sources, including magazines, internet searches, other people’s homes and visits to stores.

“I have idea boards on Pinterest, too, but mainly I work with my husband to get his opinions and we decide together our style for the room and what is comfortable for us,” she added.

“Dave does most of our remodeling,” said Josephson. “He is amazing with his research and his creativity. He remodeled our kitchen in 2021, and our guest bathroom in 2023. He did all the tiling himself. No job is too big … but he may ask for help/advice of friends and ultimately hire professional electricians and plumbers.”

Dave, who is a full-time research fellow and chemist in the flavor industry, doesn’t particularly enjoy painting, Josephson said with a laugh, “so he will hire that out whenever the job is a big one.”


Josephson offers this advice to those seeking to renovate or refresh their abode: “Just because a color (i.e. gray) is super popular, it doesn’t mean you must go with it. You can gauge your feelings on color and mixing colors in your home.

“What makes you happy? I like to start with a something I first fell in love with — in this case it was our tan-brown floor tiles — and work around that with the addition of colors that make me happy but also soothe me. Dave fell in love with our dark-brown quartzite counters, and we worked from there starting with the two things we loved. I guess my advice is to work together.”

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