Farmhouse design has had a huge moment lately. Thanks to high-profile designers like Joanna Gaines, reclaimed wood and shiplap seem to be here to stay for awhile. For the most part, this look can be described as “cute,” but recently we had clients come to one of our trade partners, Jennifer Radakovic Design, with a vision for their own “fixer upper” that elevated recent design trends into something high-end and timeless with just a touch of rustic.
A Work in Progress Modern Farmhouse
The homeowners had been in this 1990’s farmhouse-style home for over 25 years. The property is an actual working farm, and they had no intention of leaving it, but they did need it drastically updated to meet their current needs and their family of six. The exterior was worn and tired, the interior and exterior layout wasn’t working for their family or their farming needs and there simply wasn’t enough space. The family also needed to remain on the property during the renovation to continue to care for their animals and gardens.
Some primary concerns in addition to space and layout were the use of environmentally friendly, sustainable, low maintenance and long-lasting materials. The exterior and interior of the home needed to have a cohesive farmhouse style rather than the disjointed farmhouse and colonial styles the home currently had. The owners also wanted the home to be somewhere they could age in place, which meant creating a master suite on the first floor using universal design principles.
There were a lot of boxes to tick off, but Jennifer Radakovic was up for the challenge and so were we and the homeowners. There are dozens of beautiful, functional and fun details in this home, but here are just a few of our favorite ways Jennifer and this family took their farmhouse to the next level while maintaining a homey, ice-tea-on-the-front-porch kind of feel.
Modern Wood Stove
The homeowners chose to keep the original wood stove location, but replaced the large, bulky stoves of the past to this slim, modern, glass-front design. The functionality remains, but it opens up more space and creates an interesting design element in the sitting room.
The Butcher Block has been a big part of the Farmhouse comeback, but it can be overused in kitchens. For one thing, it’s not a functional material on all countertop areas in a kitchen. But for bars and islands it can be a great choice. Our client chose a deep, rich oak that displays lots of character without being overly rustic or distressed. The island is quite large in order to accommodate the homeowner when she’s grinding her own grains. The generous bar created with its overhang can seat up to five people, and the rest of the countertops in the kitchen are a smart solid soapstone. The various textures and colors also help pull in the Farmhouse feel.
The Barn Door
Sliding barn doors are not just a neat design trend, they’re exceptionally functional. Not having doors that swing open helps the flow of narrow spaces – especially in tight kitchen hallways where there are appliances, people and pantries in use at any given time. We love how the pantry barn doors in this home use the flat black hardware that ties in with the rest of the kitchen, giving it a modern twist.
Shiplap (In Moderation)
Perhaps the most overused material in Farmhouse design is shiplap, which is unfortunate, because when used appropriately it makes a great visual impact. Our clients narrowed down its use to just a few spaces. The first is in the mudroom as the backing for their built-in storage and seating. It’s the perfect pop of texture.
The second is on one wall of the powder room behind the sink and mirror. It’s balanced with deep blue walls, a brass fixture and a piece of bright, contemporary art. It’s a stunning juxtaposition and shows just the right amount of restraint.
Several fixtures in the house are reminiscent of vintage schoolhouse lighting, but particularly in the second upstairs master bathroom. These fixtures put a spin on the old school look with a bright flash of chrome. Set against a dark blue wall, they’re striking the way modern fixtures often are, yet familiar and just right for the space.
Built-ins are in all types and styles of homes these days, but they feel natural in a Farmhouse style where custom cabinetry would have been a given. In this home, the various built-ins provide tons of storage for this busy family and keep rooms uncluttered and spacious.
Nothing says “sit and stay awhile” like every good Farmhouse should as much as a wraparound porch. The home originally had a porch across the front of the house. This porch was extended around the side, and we added horizontal railings and stairs. This opened it up in true Farmhouse style to create a comfortable, inviting living space.
Perhaps the most dramatic change that was made on this home was its exterior and specifically the decision to go with metal Galvalume roof, gutters and awnings. Visually, this sets the home apart from the majority of modern houses, but it’s also an appropriate and accurate Farmhouse material. Like many Farmhouse materials and design decisions, it’s as functional as it is charming. Metal roofs, especially new ones, can last decades, and Galvulume is specifically designed not to patina as it ages.
The Modern Farmhouse: Good Design Matters
Every home and every client is unique, and what we loved about working with this family was being able to interact with their four children throughout the process. While it’s never easy to undergo a renovation while living on the property, this family made the best of it and even told us that Jennifer Radakovic “taught all of us, and especially our four children aged 10-18, how good design matters and influences our everyday lives.” We were excited to work with Jennifer, and we are excited for them to enjoy many more decades as a family in this beautiful farmhouse they call home.