The idea “what’s old is new again” is being dynamically expressed through urban America’s renewed love affair with farmhouses. However, while they are inspired by the past, make no mistake: when it comes to quality, craftsmanship, features and finishes, today’s custom farmhouses are definitely built for life in the 21st century. Home design pioneer David Simonini, an advisor and consultant to The Simonini Group and winner of National Builder of the Year, America’s Best Builder, and National Quality Award — explores the key exterior and interior elements of stunning modern farmhouses that blend yesterday’s charm, with today’s sophistication.
Key Exterior Elements
According to David Simonini, key exterior elements of modern farmhouses often include:
- Plenty of windows to welcome in rays of natural light — which is not just esthetically gorgeous and makes the interior space feel more spacious but is also energy efficient and can help reduce utility costs.
- White or light-colored siding, which may be accented by natural wood. Some families opt for weathered siding to give their farmhouse a more rustic, authentic look.
- A large, welcoming porch that is perfect for enjoying a morning coffee.
- A dark A-shaped roof made of strong, weatherproof metal. The dark roof contrasts nicely with the white siding to create a sense of permanence and stability, which is a core characteristic of farmhouses.
- Carriage-style garage doors that swing out vs. roll back and give way to an insulated space that can easily accommodate two (or sometimes more) cars, plus other items like lawnmowers, shovels, tools, and so on.
- A large front door that is usually dark and compliments the dark-colored roof.
Key Exterior Elements
According to David Simonini, key interior elements of modern farmhouses often include:
- Large, functional rooms with high ceilings that are designed for practical living.
- Neutral color schemes that typically use white as the dominant color.
- Muted, low-key finishes that echo a classic farmhouse look and feel.
- Industrial-inspired accents, such as galvanized metal storage buckets, iron light fixtures, wooden mantels, and exposed brickwork that looks fantastic above a fireplace.
- Natural flooring, such as hardwood upstairs and in the dining room, and bluestone tile in the kitchen.
- Wood stoves that are both functional and beautiful.
- A functional, yet eclectic mix of different furniture types that contrast bold colors, like navy blue and deep orange.
- An Aga cooker, which is a farmhouse staple and an instant conversation-starter when entertaining.
- Modern creature comforts such as plush couches and accent chairs, cushioned bar stools, and plenty of throws and oversized pillows to create a homey, comfortable ambiance that works throughout the year.
David Simonini on Looking Ahead
Indeed, what’s old really is new again as more families opt for a classic farmhouse design that reminds them of a simpler, slower, and more stable time. But as David Simonini quickly points out, kids who dread the thought of living “off the grid” should not be concerned: today’s stunning modern farmhouses are equipped with high-speed broadband internet and whole-home automation. So no, it’s not grandma’s house — it’s more like going back to the future.