Farmhouse and rustic may be two of the hottest trends in interior design right now, but it can be tough to find a home design that matches the style. One reason for that is because farmhouse is less about a home’s architectural style or design and more about its function. Similar to the original ranch home design, a farmhouse was traditionally built on a farm and used to house the farm’s family or workers. The homes didn’t follow any sort of specific design or floor plan. More often than not they were built based on the people and their skills, the climate and the raw materials available in a particular region.
We may have fewer family farms and smaller lots these days, but Americans still love the farmhouse look. Builders and architects are taking note of this interest and responding by offering modern farmhouse designs that evoke the look and feel of a classic farmhouse while fitting in on a suburban lot.
“The modern farmhouse style of design is not just a look, it’s a feeling. It’s easy and casual, nothing overdone or excessive. They combine the best of modern and old-fashioned looks, and they work in all kinds of locations,” says Boulder, Colorado-based Stillwater Architecture on its website.
History of the Farmhouse
Historically, farmhouse designs were strongly influenced by the region and the background of the settlers building the homes. Immigrants often incorporated design elements of their native lands into their new American farmhouse. Settlers from the United Kingdom may have incorporated a lot of stone into their homes, while those from Scandinavia might have favored wood and masonry.
One element all farmhouses had in common was practicality. Life was busy on the farm; there was no time for frivolities or fancy adornments such as what might be found in Victorian-style homes. Farmhouses were built by the people who lived there, using materials that could be easily found locally. Functional, unpretentious and straightforward. That’s the farmhouse for you.
Today’s farmhouse designs build on these classic elements while elevating comfort and style.
Features of the Farmhouse Style
A classic farmhouse would be located in a rural area and support a farming lifestyle. That means informal gathering spaces inside, a spacious open kitchen and transitional features like a large front porch for stowing muddy boots and outdoor gear. These classic homes were often quite wide and featured two stories with the lower level serving as the public area of the home for friends and neighbors to gather while the family had their bedrooms and private areas upstairs.
Today’s farmhouse styles mimic these elements by maintaining the wide footprint, two-story design and front porch as a transitional space. The whole effect is designed to be welcoming and homey with easy access to the outdoors. Plenty of large windows, dormers and doors support indoor-outdoor transitions and a connection to the natural setting, while fireplaces, roomy country kitchens, lofts and large dining areas create a comforting and cozy feel inside.
Common features of the farmhouse style include:
- Rural or suburban locations
- Large, functional porches
- Formal front rooms for entertaining guests
- Simple rectangular or square floor plans with clean lines
- A-frame roofs
- Open floor plans
- Wood framing
- One or two stories
- Large kitchens and dining areas
- Overhead dormers
- Light-colored exteriors and neutral colors
- Natural materials
Why We Love the Farmhouse Style
When it comes to easy living, the farmhouse style can’t be beat. These are spacious, practical, easy-care homes that reflect a simpler time. The overall effect is one of welcome and comfort, where friends and family can relax and enjoy each other’s company. With its emphasis on practicality, the farmhouse style is the perfect choice for busy families. These homes have a place for everything. Expect large pantries and plenty of storage areas — an homage to farmers’ self-reliance and, often, isolation.
Another great thing about the farmhouse style is its flexibility. The clean and simple design allows homeowners to decorate in the style that best suits them. Modern farmhouses range from industrial chic to classic country and everything in between. They work just as well on suburban lots as they do in rural locations and run the gamut from affordable to luxurious in price.
Silicon Valley Realtor Karen Yang has seen an uptick in modern farmhouse styles and credits the design’s popularity to its flexibility: “If one spouse loves modern and the other spouse wants a more ranch or Craftsman look, they both seem to be able to agree on the modern farmhouse. It has enough interest to appeal to all kinds of buyers. It’s easy for a family to live in. They can easily see how they’re going to live in it because that whole farmhouse element is about efficiency and family living.”
Her colleague, Christopher Fling, agrees, “Spaces in those designs tend to be somewhat flexible. You might have a great room plus a formal dining room, but the formal dining area can become a media room or a secondary den. Depending on how your lifestyle changes, your home can adapt with you because you’re still going to have that space in 10 years. You have the space to adapt to life changes without making structural changes.”
Flexible, comfortable and practical. What’s not to love about the farmhouse style?
Tempted by the farmhouse style? Browse modern farmhouse designs at NewHomeSource right now to find your perfect home.
Liyya Hassanali is a Project Manager and Content Strategist for Kinship Design Marketing, a boutique agency that provides marketing strategies and content for architects, interior designers, and landscape designers. She is a 15+ year veteran of the marketing and advertising industry, working closely with her clients to provide written content that meets their marketing goals and gets results.
Liyya is passionate about home design and décor and is a confessed HGTV and Pinterest addict. When not providing content writing services for her clients, she can be found browsing home décor sites or spending time with her family.