The Beloved Farmhouse
Understand the hallmarks of this informal style, whether you’re designing a new home or remodeling a classic.
The American farmhouse style combines comfort, elegance, and nostalgia, all without pretension. It is practical and hardworking. Pared down to the essentials, the farmhouse style is flexible enough to be adapted to a variety of family types and homeowner lifestyles.
New traditionally styled farmhouses tend to reflect homes built between 1820 and 1920, when farming was an inherent part of life for many families. Earlier, Georgian-era homes—typified by the New England Colonial and Federal styles and southern plantation homes—can also be farmhouses. Because the farmhouse is not specific to an era, the style lends itself well to modern interpretation.
Though regionally, the term “farmhouse” brings different images to mind, there are many common details found on most farmhouses. Because farmhouses don’t have the strict design guidelines of other, more formal architectural styles, any of these elements may not appear—but here’s a look at what you can expect to find on a typical farmhouse, or should consider when designing your own project.
Shaped over time
Even today, a farmhouse is ideally built in a rural location or a suburban area with a rural feel—or a long view. That’s not to say that the farmhouse style is not comfortable in a village or urban setting, but for the full effect it should appear to be on what was once, if not currently, a farm. Even when the surrounding area has been developed, a farmhouse can retain its presence. A vegetable garden or other casual gardens with flowers and herbs sprinkled around the property can help cultivate the farmstead feel, though an overly stylized garden may look out of place in what is meant to be a hardworking setting. A pair of marriage trees in front of the house or an orchard in back create a sense of purpose, such…