Modern Farmhouse
© The Highland Group

If owning a home is part of the American dream, the quintessential American dream is embodied in owning a modern farmhouse.

In fact, over the past few years, the modern farmhouse style has arguably topped the charts in terms of popularity among homebuyers.

Homes in this style appeal because of their spacious layouts, their nod toward rural tradition, and their contemporary edge that marries past to future.

But how much do you know about the modern farmhouse style of architecture? In this guide, we will explain exactly what features distinguish modern farmhouses.

We will also go over the benefits of homes built in this style, and show you where to look when shopping for a modern farmhouse of your own.

What is a Farmhouse?

Before you can understand modern farmhouse architecture, you first need to understand what a traditional farmhouse is.

Actually, the word “farmhouse” does not refer to a specific style of architecture. Surprising, right?

The word is functional in nature—or at least it was originally. Any home constructed on agricultural land technically is a farmhouse.

But now, the word “farmhouse” may sometimes be used to refer to any home that features some of the layout and style elements that were common in historical homes built on farmland.

So, colloquially, “farmhouse” now can refer to a style. It is just not a formal one.

What is a Modern Farmhouse?

A modern farmhouse is simply a modern home that incorporates traditional farmhouse style elements.

How rustic or contemporary a modern farmhouse looks can vary. Some designs lean more toward the traditional, rustic end of the spectrum. Others may be very modern.

A modern farmhouse may be located on agricultural land, but it can also be in a suburb or a city.

The exurbs are a good place to build modern farmhouses, since they put homeowners within close reach of a city’s amenities, but offer enough acreage to enjoy spacious layouts and beautiful views.

What are the Defining Features of Modern Farmhouse Architecture?

Now let’s talk about the features that are common in modern farmhouses.

  • Gabled roofs. The roof line of a modern farmhouse typically features gables. The most common roof pitch is 12:12. These gables draw the eye upward. A range of materials are suitable for roofing, but metal is a popular choice. It conveys a modern appearance, but hearkens to the metal roofs that are traditional in farm settings.
  • Big porches. One of the most recognizable and ubiquitous elements of modern farmhouse design is the inclusion of spacious porches. Often, there is more than one porch for a farmhouse—perhaps one in front, and another in the back. Wraparound styles are popular. If the farmhouse features multiple stories, there may also be decks.
  • Clapboard siding. Originally, traditional farmhouses included clapboard siding for practical reasons, as it helped to protect the interior from cold and precipitation. But today, modern farmhouses use clapboard, board and batten, or lap siding for aesthetic reasons. Usually, it is white, or another light color. You may sometimes see brick siding in farmhouse design as well.
  • Light, neutral colors inside the home and out. Just as white or light colors in a neutral palette are most likely to be used for modern farmhouse exteriors, the same is true inside modern farmhouse homes as well.
  • Double-hung windows. These types of windows also are called “double-sash” windows. With this type of window, instead of one movable section and one section fixed in place, you have two movable sections.
  • Large fireplaces. The fireplace is often a focal point of the common areas inside a modern farmhouse, inviting family members to gather together in its warmth and share time together.
  • Open floor plans. Spacious, open floor plans are popular for modern farmhouses.

It may interest you that traditional farmhouses usually featured an entrance leading to a seating area, with a kitchen in back. Bedrooms were either situated next to the kitchen, or up a flight of stairs (or both).

You may sometimes see this same approximate layout with modern farmhouses, but not always.

As one more aside, the gabled roofs of modern farmhouses might put you in mind of Victorian architecture—just less ornate.

Actually, it is a misconception that all Victorian architecture is ornate. One style that lacks the embellishment you may associate with Victorian architecture is the style called “folk Victorian.”

Indeed, this style was popular starting in 1870 and running through 1910 in the US. If you look up examples of folk Victorian architecture, you will see that the style closely resembles that of the modern farmhouse.

What are the Benefits of Contemporary Farmhouse Design?

A modern farmhouse can offer you quite a few attractive benefits. Some of these include the following:

  • Plenty of space. Modern farmhouses can be large or small, but it is common for them to be on the bigger side. If you are searching for a design that can accommodate ample square footage, you will love what is possible with a modern farmhouse layout.
  • Raise a growing family in comfort. If you are raising a family, you should find that a modern farmhouse offers the perfect environment in which your kids can grow up. In fact, if you are not sure how many children you eventually plan to have, a large modern farmhouse is a great choice since your family will have room to grow into if it expands.
  • An attractive aesthetic that isn’t “busy.” There is plenty of visual interest to enjoy in a modern farmhouse, but the style is clean, featuring simple, elegant lines. In fact, going back to our discussion on Victorian architecture, some people like the shapes of Victorian homes, but find the amount of embellishment on some Victorian structures to be just “too much.” The modern farmhouse gives you the shape without the clutter.
  • Lots of natural light. Big windows are a common feature of modern farmhouses. The placement of the windows can direct natural light throughout common spaces and smaller rooms while also offering picturesque views.
  • Common areas for family time. Large, central living areas are a great feature for facilitating family time in modern farmhouses, giving you spaces in which to create cherished memories together.
  • Separate wings for secluded bedrooms and offices. While modern farmhouses keep everyone in the home connected through open, central common areas, they also tend to provide opportunities for seclusion as well. In fact, they may feature wings that lead away from the main areas so that privacy and quiet can be enjoyed in bedrooms, studies, and flex rooms.
  • Fun to decorate. Choosing furnishings and décor for a modern farmhouse can be an absolute blast. It isn’t just the modern farmhouse architectural style that is popular these days, but also the interior décor style that combines rustic and modern elements, reclaimed materials, neutral colors, and a hint of Mid Century Modern. You will find plenty of inspiration on Pinterest and HGTV.
  • Great value. With modern farmhouses rising in popularity every day, this could be the perfect time to invest in one. Depending on market conditions, you may find that it rises in value over the years ahead, offering you great resale value if you ever decide to part with it.

Is a Modern Farmhouse Right for You?

Now you know about the benefits of modern farmhouses. But is a modern farmhouse the right fit for you? A modern farmhouse could be ideal for you and your family if …

  • You love traditional styles, and want something that exudes classic Americana. With a modern farmhouse, you can inhabit a slice of rural America no matter where you live—even if it is a bustling metropolitan area.
  • You want to enjoy your outdoor spaces. If you daydream of kicking back in a porch swing and enjoying a glass of lemonade and some fresh air each weekend, the modern farmhouse style may suit you. Your spacious porches should also be great for entertaining guests.
  • You want a look for your home that is modern and up-to-date. Since modern farmhouse is the trending style in home design right now, you could not possibly be more up with the times.
  • You can’t get enough of the modern farmhouse décor trend. If you love modern farmhouse interiors, you should have a modern farmhouse of your own! It is ultimately a lot more satisfying to pair your favorite décor style with an actual farmhouse than it is to settle for just decorating a regular house or apartment that way.
  • You like light and neutral colors. The white modern farmhouse is the iconic example of this style, and it works best with this color scheme. But if you like different colors, you can still make it work!
  • You have or expect to have a growing family. If you have a few kids now or expect them to be on the way in the years to come, a modern farmhouse is going to be just what you need. But you know what? It is still a great style for a small family, a couple, or one person living alone. Modern farmhouses do not have to be huge.
  • You are looking for a layout that is balanced. If you cannot decide whether you want an open layout or one with more secluded, distinct spaces, the modern farmhouse style can offer you just the balance you are after.
  • You want your home to be simple and clean, but not cold. If you enjoy the clean lines of modern design, but are worried about a “cold” appearance, you will appreciate the ambiance of a modern farmhouse. You will get the distraction-free shape and lines you desire, but in a package that is inviting and warm.
  • You like mixing and matching styles. Naturally, a modern farmhouse structure is ideal for a modern farmhouse interior style. But the nice thing about modern farmhouse architecture is that it really does not box you into just one style or another. It is compatible with any number of different interior décor styles: industrial, rustic, Mid Century Modern, Victorian—it is totally up to you. In fact, you could mix and match some of these different styles throughout your home (to a large degree, that is exactly what the modern farmhouse interior décor style is anyway—an amalgam of styles).

If you are in love with the idea of owning a modern farmhouse, you are in the right place! To check out live listings for beautiful modern farmhouses for sale in your area, click here.