Modern Farmhouse Style

Beyond Fixer Upper: Exploring the Evolution of Modern Farmhouse Style

By Interior Designer, TRACY SVENDSEN | Published September 05, 2023 |

Modern Farmhouse Style: Step into any modern farmhouse, and you’ll immediately feel a sense of warmth and tranquility. But the evolution of this beloved design style goes far beyond the walls of Chip and Joanna Gaines’ iconic “Fixer Upper” series. In this article, we’ll look closer at the journey of modern farmhouse style and the key elements that make it so appealing to homeowners nationwide.

From its humble origins in traditional farmhouses to its resurgence in popularity in recent years, modern farmhouse style has captivated our hearts with its combination of rustic charm and contemporary flair. By blending distressed wood accents with sleek, minimalist furniture, this design aesthetic offers a fresh take on country living.

We’ll explore the fundamental elements that define modern farmhouse style, including the use of natural materials, neutral color palettes, and open, inviting spaces. We’ll also explore how this trend has influenced interior design, exterior architecture, and landscaping.

Whether you’re a fan of the popular TV show or simply looking to incorporate a touch of farmhouse charm into your home, this article will help you understand the evolution of modern farmhouse style and inspire your next design project.

Modern Farmhouse Home Tour

Modern Farmhouse Style Home
All Images courtesy of: 1st Dibs & Sean Anderson Design
Photography by: Haris Kenjar

Modern Farmhouse Home Tour: Sean Anderson Marries Rough & Refined in a Vestavia Hills Residence

This modern farmhouse home is the work of Sean Anderson Design, who grew up in Tupelo, Mississippi. Anderson’s home in Memphis, where he runs a burgeoning interior design firm, is moody, cerebral, and compact. It took many years for him to discover what his form of artistic expression would be, and after dropping out of college, he worked as a bartender, a janitor, and a house painter for most of his 20s. In his early thirties, he decided to give his passion for design a shot.

His partner then encouraged him to apply his creativity to their home. “The house was devoid of any real decorative features, which allowed me to explore my aesthetic,” he says, adding that the project helped him discover his style. The results intrigued his friends, and they started asking for design advice.

In 2013, he founded Sean Anderson Design and started working on a 100-year-old bungalow for his friend. A photographer submitted the project to Architectural Digest, which published it online, and his career took off.

In 2019, a couple in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, asked Anderson to create the interiors of what he calls “a modern rustic villa” designed by architect Tom Adams. The wife wanted bright, white rooms; the husband preferred a more natural, outdoorsy lookAnderson took both spouses seriously. “I listened to everything they said; I looked at what they wore. I studied what they were about. And then I brought both of their sensibilities together.”

The featured image above shows Anderson’s design intention to bring materials from the outside of the house to the interior to roughen things up a bit. For instance, the wall over the kitchen stove is covered in the same riverstone as much of the building’s exterior but with a light wash over it.

Modern Farmhouse Exterior Photos

View of the Pool
The living room of the Vestavia Hills residence opens to a large pool flanked by chaises by Kingsley Bate.

Origins of Modern Farmhouse Style

Modern farmhouse style has its roots in the traditional farmhouses that dotted the American countryside. These humble dwellings were designed to be functional and practical, focusing on serving the needs of the farming families that called them home. The simple, sturdy construction and natural materials gave these homes a timeless appeal that still resonates today.

Over time, as agriculture became increasingly mechanized and the role of the farmhouse shifted from a working farm to a family residence, the design of these homes began to change. The influence of other architectural styles, such as Colonial and Victorian, started to make their mark on farmhouse design, adding decorative flourishes and embellishments to the otherwise utilitarian structures.

Modern Farmhouse Decorating Ideas
Modern Farmhouse Decorating Ideas

The Study & Foyer

Left: Anderson created a gallery wall of works he’s collected over the years in the home’s study. Right: The foyer features a wall sconce by RALPH LAUREN for VISUAL COMFORT and a framed collection of vintage paper aspirin boxes.

Key Elements of Modern Farmhouse Style

The modern farmhouse style we know and love today blends old and new, rustic and refined. It takes the classic elements of traditional farmhouses and updates them for a contemporary audience. Here are some key features that define modern farmhouse style:

1. Natural materials

One of the hallmarks of modern farmhouse style is the use of natural materials. From reclaimed wood to stone and metal, these organic elements bring a sense of authenticity and warmth to the space. Distressed wood accents play a crucial role in creating that rustic farmhouse feel.

2. Neutral color palettes

Modern farmhouse style is known for its neutral color palettes, with shades of white, cream, beige, and gray dominating the scene. These soft, muted tones provide a calming backdrop for the space and allow the natural materials and textures to take center stage. Accents of black and other earth tones can be used to add depth and contrast.

3. Open, inviting spaces

Modern farmhouse style is about creating open, inviting spaces perfect for gathering and entertaining. Open floor plans, large windows, and high ceilings help to maximize natural light and provide a sense of airiness. Sliding barn doors and exposed beams add a touch of rustic charm to these modern interiors.

Pictures of Modern Farmhouses

Neutral Modern Farmhouse Living Room

The Evolution of Modern Farmhouse Style

While the origins of modern farmhouse style can be traced back to traditional farmhouses, its resurgence in popularity can be attributed to a combination of factors. The rise of social media platforms, such as Instagram and Pinterest, has allowed homeowners to discover and share design inspiration more efficiently than ever before. The popularity of shows like “Fixer Upper” has also significantly introduced modern farmhouse style to a broader audience.

As modern farmhouse style gained traction, it started to influence interior design, exterior architecture, and landscaping. Homeowners began to embrace the idea of creating cohesive, farmhouse-inspired spaces inside and outside their homes. This led to the rise of farmhouse-style exteriors characterized by white siding, metal roofs, and welcoming front porches.

 

Modern Farmhouse Design Ideas

Living Room with Light-Stained Oak Flooring

Situated between the living room and kitchen, the home’s dining area features an Anderson-designed polished concrete dining table set with Verellen side chairs and spindle chairs by British designer, Mathew Hilton. The living room has white walls and light-stained oak flooring.

Popular Color Palettes and Materials Used in Modern Farmhouse Design

When it comes to color palettes in modern farmhouse design, neutral tones reign supreme. White is often used as the primary color, creating a fresh and clean canvas for other elements to shine. Beige, cream, and gray are popular choices, adding warmth and depth to the space. These muted colors create a timeless backdrop that allows the natural materials and textures to take center stage.

In terms of materials, wood is a staple in modern farmhouse design. Reclaimed or distressed wood is often used for flooring, beams, and furniture to add a rustic touch. Stone, brick, and metal accents are commonly used to create texture and visual interest. These natural materials add character and authenticity to the space, evoking a sense of old-world charm.

Modern Farmhouse Kitchen Ideas

Living Room with Light-Stained Oak Flooring

Situated between the living room and kitchen, the home’s dining area features an Anderson-designed polished concrete dining table set with Verellen side chairs and spindle chairs by British designer Mathew Hilton. The living room has white walls and light-stained oak flooring.

Mixing Modern and Farmhouse Elements in Interior Design

One of the reasons modern farmhouse style has gained such widespread popularity is its ability to blend modern and farmhouse elements seamlessly. Mixing sleek, minimalist furniture with rustic, farmhouse-inspired accents creates a unique and inviting space that feels timeless and contemporary.

You’ll often find a combination of clean lines and natural textures in modern farmhouse interiors. For example, a contemporary white sofa might be paired with a reclaimed wood coffee table or a metal pendant light fixture. This juxtaposition of old and new creates a sense of balance and adds depth to the design.

Modern Farmhouse Kitchen Ideas
Modern Farmhouse Kitchen Ideas

Living Room with Light-Stained Oak Flooring

Situated between the living room and kitchen, the home’s dining area features an Anderson-designed polished concrete dining table set with Verellen side chairs and spindle chairs by British designer Mathew Hilton. The living room has white walls and light-stained oak flooring.

Modern Farmhouse Exteriors and Curb Appeal

A home’s exterior is just as important as the interior when it comes to modern farmhouse style. The goal is to create a welcoming and visually appealing facade that reflects the charm and character of traditional farmhouses. White siding is popular for modern farmhouse exteriors, creating a fresh and timeless look.

Other elements, such as black windows, metal roofs, and board and batten accents, add depth and contrast to the design. A front porch with rocking chairs or a swing is a classic farmhouse touch that invites visitors to sit and stay awhile.

Modern Farmhouse Home Tour
Modern Farmhouse Home Tour

Living Room with Light-Stained Oak Flooring

Situated between the living room and kitchen, the home’s dining area features an Anderson-designed polished concrete dining table set with Verellen side chairs and spindle chairs by British designer Mathew Hilton. The living room has white walls and light-stained oak flooring.

DIY Projects and Budget-Friendly Ideas for Achieving Modern Farmhouse Style

Achieving the modern farmhouse look doesn’t have to break the bank. There are plenty of budget-friendly ideas and DIY projects that can help you transform your space into a rustic retreat. One simple and affordable way to add farmhouse charm to your home is by incorporating vintage or antique pieces.

Flea markets, thrift stores, and online marketplaces are excellent sources for finding unique and affordable treasures that can add character to your space. Consider repurposing old doors as headboards or using vintage mason jars as vases.

Another budget-friendly idea is to embrace the power of paint. A fresh coat of white paint can instantly brighten up a space and give it that farmhouse feel. Consider painting your kitchen cabinets white or adding a shiplap accent wall for a touch of rustic charm.