It’s hard to imagine that just 100 years ago most of the U.S. was covered in agriculture. Barns, farms, livestock and crops dominated our landscape. How drastically things have changed! Cities like New York, Chicago and Miami are now littered with high rise buildings, hotels, retail stores, paved streets, homes in close proximity and not to mention loads of traffic. But if you pay close attention, you will find that there is a quiet but persistent movement to preserve the past. The number of parents who are homeschooling their children has grown, families are planting vegetable gardens and hosting chicken coops in their backyards, and the popularity of organic products and farmer’s markets are at an all time high.
In interior design, there is also a movement to preserve the past. People are picking, antiquing, repurposing items and upcycling like never before. Landmarked buildings are carefully being restored under stringent guidelines and homes with historical value are being returned to their original state and charm. Fueled in part by celebrity interior designers like Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV, as well as, Canadian based Sarah Richardson, the farmhouse design style has taken the world by storm. I mean even I want to desperately distress something in my house.
The farmhouse design style tends to be rustic, as well as, somewhat sustainable (environmentally friendly) and includes things like rough hewn flooring, shiplap, reclaimed barnwood, distressed furniture, subway tile, farmhouse sinks, antiques, family heirlooms, old signage, black or bronze metals, chalkboards (or chalk paint), custom made or DIY furniture and a lot, I mean a whole lot of the color white. This style seeks to pay homage to the past, bringing a piece of history into the space.
Maybe it’s a desire to get away from this technologically advanced society or a desire to make things simple again, but the farmhouse design style has become so popular that some folks are literally chucking their current contemporary furnishings (ok maybe not chucking them, but selling them, donating them or repurposing them) in an effort to replicate this look in their homes. (I’m a designer so trust me on this.) If you are secretly wishing you could get on the farmhouse gravy train too, you can and you do not have to start from scratch. Here are some images of how designers expertly blended farmhouse elements with contemporary ones:
This Restoration Hardware sofa and rug can easily live in a contemporary space, but the table and glass door cabinets in the background bring in the ruggedness that we expect from farmhouse design.
Let’s face it; you may not be ready to commit to all that shiplap, but changing out a regular door for a barn door is an instant boost in the right direction.
The knotty pine on the ceilings, the farmhouse sink, the wooden and metal stools, as well as, the corbels below the vent hood make it feel like we’re going farmhouse without sacrificing contemporary design.
This bathroom looks contemporary until you feast your eyes on those reclaimed wood floors.
I am not ashamed to say that I am a bit of a Joanna Gaines junkie (I mean isn’t everybody?), because she is pretty much the current reigning queen of farmhouse design. The image above is from the blog that essentially made Joanna Gaines a household name. She clearly has a thing for shiplap, white everything, and vintage accessories.
Still, you do not have to be all in to capture the farmhouse design style in your home. By adding a barn door here or a reclaimed wood ceiling there, you can achieve a look that even Joanna Gaines would be proud of.