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May 08, 2023

Is the Farmhouse Party Coming to an End?

Perhaps you’ve noticed a proliferation of Farmhouse and Modern Farmhouse elevations. I was recently asked why I thought that’s the case. Could it be all because of a popular TV show? Perhaps there is more to the popularity.

The perfect blend

I believe the style is the perfect blend of nostalgia and a modern-day vibe. It is nostalgic with its iconic gable forms. Ask any first grader to draw a house and nine times out of ten, you’ll get a house with a gable. The style also has a current vibe that we see throughout design – both inside and out. Simple clean lines and not overly ornate. We see these clean lines in kitchen cabinets, appliances – even fabrics.

Traditional Farmhouse

Modern Farmhouse


Most farmhouse elevations have a front porch – which makes them very welcoming. Whether you choose rough hewn columns or ones painted white, the key is to make the depth of the porch usable. I like a minimum of 6’ in depth.

Not Beige

I believe another contributing factor to its popularity is that it is not “builder beige.” Picture an entire street of earth tone in various shades of beige. Hey – I get it. Beige was safe. No one wanted to go out on a limb and pick an outrageous colored home. It was also a byproduct of the popularity of the craftsman style – which the farmhouse will quickly replace as the most preferred style. But builders and buyers beware. An entire street of white farmhouse elevations is just as lifeless as an all-beige streetscape and will age just as poorly.

Room for expression

Perhaps the biggest reason for the style’s popularity is its ability to be either traditional or modern and everything in between. Furthermore, what is considered modern in one location may be considered moderate in another location. We see a lot of white paired with black window frames. But use caution on the black – and don’t use it for corner boards and window trim. Note how the elevation below uses black to accentuate the board and batten, allowing the white stucco to also stand out and highlight the entry. Intentionality matters!

What are the key elements?

For me, as previously stated, it all starts with a prominent gable element. Mind you, this is not the nineties where the house with the most gables wins. Think simple and clean lines. Then add board and batten siding. Or for a more modern interpretation, the vertical siding could be metal. To complement the verticality of the siding, I like a two over two window grid pattern. If you can afford a steeper roof pitch for the front facing gable – it will further accentuate the verticality of the style.

So how long before builders and buyers get tired of farmhouse? In some regions, that has already happened. I think Farmhouse is here to stay, but we need to see more variety in the style and explore more possibilities. To me, the first step in keeping any style fresh is to add color! I believe we will be seeing various forms of farmhouse elevations for some time to come. Are you ready to take Farmhouse to the next level? Let’s see what we can do!

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This post was written by Housing Design Matters