By definition, a modern farmhouse encompasses a blend of modern and traditional elements. Sometimes we see a traditional farmhouse on the exterior, but once when we step inside it is laid out in an open-concept, fresh & new, clean lines kind of way (think shiplap). Other times the outside is updated and modernized with clean lines of exposed metals and updated windows while the inside is sharing the charm of exposed brick, hefty and loved hardwood flooring with quaint built-in cabinetry or exposed beam/s around each corner. Then there is the mix of both modern and traditional elements both in the inside and outside of the home. This time around we are focusing on the exterior of the modernized farmhouse. The curb appeal, if you will.
Designing the outside of any house can be a daunting task. And if you place yourself in the “visual learner” column, this part of the renovation process will have you spinning. I found myself in this mindset when we replaced our windows (all 29 of them). There seemed to be so much anxiety around the thought of “what will this all look like in the end?”. When deciding on a “modern meets traditional” design aesthetic for a farmhouse’s exterior, remember to think of simpler times with an of-the-moment touch. What are the elements that belong to the home of yester-year that you want to continue to incorporate in your overall final design? Then hone in on the more contemporary elements you would like to include in the overall final design. The idea here is to create a welcoming feel. Take the stale out and slowly, thoughtfully start to add simple in.
Start with the landscaping. If you are not a landscaper, this can be very arduous and it may feel like a steep learning curve. Knowing what plants/flowers/bushes/trees to put and where is overwhelming if you have a brown thumb. Landscaping is truly an art, one not to be taken lightly. Our home was so super over-grown that we chose to hack away at everything! We consulted several landscapers and they all agreed that nothing was worth saving. They all told us to start fresh. All of our shrubs and trees and bushes were overgrown. We knew this wasn’t the “modern farmhouse” vibe we were aiming to share, so we decided to take their advice and start from scratch.
When adding greenery back into the plan, be sure to keep it simple and easy. This way, you will slowly add to your outdoor “to-do” list for upkeep and maintenance. It is easy to get overly enthusiastic. Also, picking the right pieces can help a lot in your complete “contemporary meets traditional” design plan. Always think clean lines and of-the-moment gardening designs.
There are few check boxes when striving to obtain an overall “modern farmhouse” vibe on the exterior of a home. Here are some notes. We hope you find this helpful…
- Any character that qualifies as charm, especially those things that are functional as well! For example, arches on windows or specialized character like diamond-shaped panes. Restore or re-design those characteristics into your home’s plan. A built-in milk box on the driveway side of the house. Light fixtures that don’t look as if they’ve seen better days. Rather, they say, “I was here all along and I serve a purpose. This is why you love me”.
- Porches. Porches say so much about a farmhouse. Who doesn’t love a front porch on a farmhouse? Or even a side porch (extra entertaining square footage, too!).
Chuck: Anything that has lost its “of the times” romance. A trellis or some hardware that were not kept well and won’t add that “wow” factor to your home’s finishing touches. Don’t get caught in the romance. As long as you keep and update some of what was there it is important not to feel as if keeping every little element is the only way.
- Fencing, this can speak to the original style and age of your home. Classic, traditional with a touch of character (like a scoop on the top of the fencing to create a softer look). Sometimes the traditional feels modern again because design is recurrent. Simple wins a lot of the time.
- Sleek and streamlined window designs, like two-over-two, double-hung. Or bigger windows. What a wonderful way to invite the outdoors in while providing more natural light. Older homes do not always have a lot of light, so this is an updated element that will modernize both the inside and outside of the farmhouse!
- Think of adding materials that will step the design up a bit – exposed metals like copper cladding on top of a window or timber framing reimagined with a modern touch. Salvaged materials like siding made from reclaimed wood cleaned up just enough.
- Modernized accessories like a bench seat or planter.
- Update outdoor spaces by creating more of a patio. Think fresh, clean and simple, sophisticated lines with established materials like stone and slate.
- A window box. This is always an easy way to set a more welcoming appeal.
An ideal Modern Farmhouse to us? Traditional farmhouse architecture with sophisticated contemporary living possibilities. The comfortable, relaxed farmhouse style includes modern touches like smooth lines and glossy accents. Rustic, yet chic. Contemporary, yet country.
The natural color palette becomes a focus and creates a less rustic, more polished feel while staying true to homey roots.