BRINGING A POPULAR STYLE INTO MODERN TRENDS
Photos by 434 marketing
A century ago, farming was a dominant industry and private endeavor in our country. And farmhouses, well, that’s where farm families and workers lived. Function over form dominated these homes in structure and design. Wood was cheap and easy to come by for construction and furnishings, and shiplap preceded the sheetrock walls of today. You could say that the “farmhouse style” of the day was simple, intentional, and purposeful. There was little “fluff” because, frankly, there wasn’t time for it. >>
But about seven years ago, an HGTV show out of Waco, Texas, brought farmhouse back with a bang. We were all scrambling to find vintage, chipped pieces (or create them), and “shiplap” quickly became a household word. Every nook and cranny of our homes reflected this movement. If there was a blank space on the wall or empty corner on a counter, it had to be filled with a collage of word art, and galvanized metallic accents—the more we accessorized, the better!
“Joanna Gaines definitely set the farmhouse tone, but we all have been overplaying it,” explains Katrina Morris, owner of The Morris Manor and a new home décor shop inside James T. Davis Paint and Design Center called Katrina & Co. “Social media has also taken it to a whole new level, as we all compete to show that we live in a farmhouse—if it’s old, we wanted it, and if it was wood, we painted it.”
Currently, in our desire to embrace it, this trend has become a bit exaggerated. Simplicity of style and vintage charm have given way to clutter and visual stress. “Anytime you do too much of a good thing,” Morris says, “you lose the meaning and the beauty.”
It’s time to reign in this style, modernize it, and create a look and feel that is timeless.
Reframing the Farm
So, how can we retain the appeal of the farmhouse style and apply modern sensibilities?
According to Morris, “We need to edit the space. The key is to create focal points where, when you come into a room, you notice one or two key pieces.”
Examples include a tray with loved items corralled on it or one large—and meaningful—art piece. “Retaining clean lines and incorporating some texture and a few vintage items really refines this trend.”
Think beauty plus function. If you love a sliding barn door, go for it. Just install it in the right place and not at every doorway. Identify farmhouse attributes that mean something to you and provide purpose within your lifestyle. If you went a little crazy with painted furniture because you really liked it, keep some of it—your coffee table, desk, or media table, for instance. Otherwise, consider returning wood furnishings to their raw origins. And all that stuff? As another popular TV personality puts it, hang on to what brings you joy, and let go of the rest.
Create a Modern Mix
“What’s really exciting now is the modernization of the farmhouse trend,” Morris says. “It goes beyond editing the overkill to applying a fresh approach.” She explains that the current—and enduring—movement is to combine vintage with contemporary. “Blending raw and painted woods with clear, acrylic furniture and integrating gold or brass fixtures immediately elevates this style.”
Picture your antique farmhouse dining table surrounded by Lucite chairs, or your overstuffed leather sofa flanked by sleek acrylic end tables. In lieu of galvanized metals, gold accessories deliver visual impact and a bling of sophistication. Think high-contrast paint, too. Farmhouse style is typically awash in white, so try adding elements of deep blues or even black to add impact and pop. Morris elaborates, “The metallic tones of today’s gold and brass is the same as previous fashion eras, but the style is very different. We’ve gone from the ornate 1990s faucets to industrial goosenecks and bridge faucet styles of the 20s and 30s.”
Modern farmhouse is refined, functional, timeless. According to Morris, “Items in our homes should be collected because we love them and then displayed in a clean, simple way.”
Pieces are quality and long-lasting, typically getting more beautiful and loved over time. “And no matter the style or era of home you have—from Victorian to mid-century to new build—these elements work.”
So, let’s harken back to the days of the pioneers, with their purpose-driven abodes, and then amp up the style (because, let’s face it, most of us don’t farm our land anymore). Embrace the vintage and add chic accents.
But most importantly, make it beautiful (to you), so you love where you live.
Katrina Morris is an interior designer, social influencer, and DIY expert. In addition to her blog, TheMorrisManor.com, she has recently launched her own home decor shoppe within the James T. Davis Paint and Design Center. The line, Katrina & Co., is a curated selection of decor items and interior design inspiration, all chosen by Katrina herself. Visit her website at www.themorrismanor.com and follow her on Instagram @themorrismanor. Shop the line in person at 3416 Candlers Mountain Rd, Lynchburg, located inside James T, Davis Paint and Design Center.
During the Pandemic…
“Now more than ever, home has become our safe haven and refuge. It plays a vital role in our well-being and should be filled with the people and treasures we hold most dear.” – Katrina Morris, The Morris Manor and Katrina & Co.
Doing Modern Farmhouse Right
with Rebecca Boles
Photos by Ryan and Kelly Portnoy
How did you find your design style?
I’ve always loved interior design—but I never studied it. My mom always had a country-styled home and she was really intentional about adding what she loved. It was cozy, but not cluttered. So, I’ve always loved things that make my home feel like my space. My style has definitely evolved, and I think having access to social media to get inspiration is really helpful. I’ve tried to find things that caught my eye and then figure out why I love it.
How would you define the typical farmhouse style?
It’s definitely shifted from its original intention of rustic simplicity and repurposed wood. Now, I think people tend to go overboard with too many antiques and too much distressed stuff—everything made out of pallets, for example.
What do you suggest for refining farmhouse?
For me, a modern farmhouse style has a very welcoming feel—warm and inviting. There’s a mix of rustic and modern. Our home marries modern farmhouse with a calming, cottage feel. Clean lines, lots of white, and some coastal colors with warm undertones. We have natural wood pieces that serve as an anchor to the farmhouse style. Regardless of where you are on the farmhouse spectrum, I believe everyone needs to intentionally style their home in a way that makes them comfortable and happy.
Rebecca Boles is a wife and mother of four with a passion for interior design and healthy living. Her and her husband, Jeremiah, designed and built their home. Follow along with her on Facebook (@modernfarmhouselove6) or Instagram (@modern_farmhouse_love).