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From traditional to contemporary, slight modifications to exterior forms and window styles can shift the typical farmhouse design in many directions.

“Farmhouse modern” doesn’t mean the same thing today as it did 30 years ago. Today’s Modern Farmhouse has an urban edge that mixes well with other styles yet retains a warm, approachable feel. The American Farmhouse style first emerged in the Midwest in the mid-1800s, and its look ranges from small, simple structures to more elaborate homes bordering on Victorian.

The rise of the Modern Farmhouse style reflects an embrace of simplicity and practicality, like a pitched roof that sheds snow or a deep porch that enhances cross ventilation. Its look is inherently simple and clean, but has the versatility to be customized with thoughtful changes such as moving away from the smaller windows common in a Farmhouse in favor of larger windows grouped together.

“Farmhouse is an overall design that people can really play with; they don’t feel like they have hard-and-fast rules that they absolutely must apply,” said Marc Sloot, AIA, Senior Associate at SALA Architects and an architectural adviser to Andersen Windows. “Part of the ongoing appeal for the Farmhouse style is that people feel they can express their own originality, whether on the more traditional end or the more contemporary end. It still has the characteristics that feel comfortable, but they’re able to put their own stamp on it.”

With that in mind, Andersen, with assistance from Sloot and SALA Associate Marta Snow, AIA, developed five approaches to the Farmhouse style, moving from traditional and classic to modern and edgy:

Traditional

A traditional American Farmhouse is typically one-and-a-half to two stories and features asymmetrical massing with a gable at the front. These homes feature simple detailing, open floor plans with central chimneys, and often wraparound porches. For this take, the chimney was swapped for a glassy cupola, achieving similar massing but a more unique approach. Common window and door styles to achieve this look include double-hung windows, hinged patio doors with transoms and simulated divided lights, and Arts-and-Crafts entries with sidelights. Though not historically accurate for a Traditional Farmhouse, Arts-and-Crafts entry doors have attributes that work well for Farmhouse designs on this end of the spectrum.

Farmhouse
Farmhouse

Classic

This update on the traditional look simplifies the details. The cupola is gone, as are supports on the porch; board-and-batten accents add a visual pop to the gable. The changes are subtle, but just enough to streamline the look. The windows here are now casements and are larger and used more in combination. Similarly, the hinged patio doors may have fewer divided lights and include sidelights. The entry door remains an Arts-and-Crafts style for similar reasons as the Traditional option.

Transitional

“The transitional approach to the Farmhouse starts to play with the form a little bit,” explained Sloot. “Windows are a little taller, bigger. Some of the lines shift, such as from a simple gable to a shed-side dormer, starting to break away from the traditional forms.” Large window combinations and the addition of transoms increase the amount of glass. Awning windows appear along with the casements, and the hinged patio door includes full-height sidelights. Gliding patio doors also may be used.

Farmhouse
Farmhouse

Modern

Clean lines, asymmetry, and fun window combinations infuse both sophistication and whimsy into this home. A large, four-panel door encourages an indoor-outdoor lifestyle. The casement windows are absent of simulated divided lights, and transoms and sidelights are eliminated from the doors. Corner units and thin frames add a decidedly modern edge.

Contemporary

A barn-like massing and dormers are reminiscent of the Farmhouse vernacular, but with expansive walls of glass, dramatic sightlines, cantilevered punched openings, and massive doors, this design is decidedly responding to the trends of today. It’s striking in its elegance and minimalism. Here, E Series windows in casements, awnings, and specialty shapes take up much of the façade. And a creates a seamless connection to the outdoors when opened.

Though distinctively different, the evolution of these five styles demonstrates the possibilities of a similar massing and footprint. The ability to bridge the design gap provides tremendous flexibility to meet homeowners’ varying preferences–even within the same household, while maintaining the desired levels of traditional and modern elements.

Farmhouse

By: Andersen Windows

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