By Erin Carlyle, Houzz
Ah, the modern farmhouse. It’s one of the more popular home styles on Houzz — but what is it exactly? How much is farmhouse? How much is modern? Or is it really neither one at all?
One of the most appealing things about this architectural and decor style is its flexibility. When it comes to applying this style in the bathroom, we’ve identified some essential elements in past stories — the use of wood, vintage lighting, repurposed furniture pieces and a stand-alone bathtub among them. These are all elements that would have been seen in old farmhouses.
But the style is open to a wide variety of interpretations, including what dose of modern silhouettes and styles to marry with what dose of the more classic farmhouse elements. “We’re building quite a few. It’s been fun to see how different each modern farmhouse can be,” says Nicole Tew of Trickle Creek Designer Homes. Some lean more modern, others more farmhouse. And there’s always the possibility that a modern farmhouse might not look modern at all — it just might be a farmhouse that’s modern by definition because it was built in modern times.
Whatever their mix of the modern with rustic or farm-style, the following five spaces share a feeling of warmth, and an inviting nature that would have been present in the old farmhouses. Read on to see the distinctive ways designers applied the modern farmhouse concept in the bathroom. Learn from their mixing skills and then tell us: In which bathroom’s (stand-alone) tub would you like to soak?
1. A ‘Clean and Fresh’ Take for a Modern Farmhouse Bath in Georgia
Who lives here: A couple with two school-age kids
Location: Athens, Georgia
Bathroom size: 160 square feet (14.9 square meters)
Project cost: About $30,000
Design team: Curran & Co. Architects, Lauren DeLoach Interiors and Athens Building Co.
Scope of work: This bathroom was part of a new build
The backstory: This home in Athens, Georgia, is built in what architect J.P. Curran describes as a “vernacular farmhouse” style. The homeowners both grew up in south Georgia’s low country, a stretch of coastal land that includes many plantations, and their home features elements that signify the local style, including a large front porch. Shiplap in the living room evokes the pine-plank walls commonly seen in the area, Curran says.
Undermount sink and Cisal collection tub filler and 8-inch wide-spread sink faucet in polished nickel: Rohl via Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery
Curran & Co Architects, original photo on Houzz
What elements evoke a traditional farmhouse? Stand-alone tub, old-time bath and sink faucets, furniture-like vanity, hexagonal floor tiles
What makes it modern farmhouse style? Farmhouses and master bathrooms really don’t go together, Curran points out. “Most farmhouses had one bathroom, one or two bedrooms. They were nothing sophisticated.”
This modern farmhouse bathroom — like the other bathrooms in this story — interprets farmhouse style for the way people like to live in their homes today. It includes a key element of farmhouse style: a stand-alone tub, which has old-style valves and faucet handles that evoke an older farmhouse. But the homeowners still get a luxurious, separate walk-in shower. “People like traditional but want modern conveniences,” Curran says.
The vanities are simple “but kind of furniture-like,” Curran says, and recall a farmhouse staple: reused furniture pieces. The inset style — where inset cabinet doors are flush with the cabinet frame so that the frame shows — helps create that furniture feel. The door style, Shaker, is also often seen in modern farmhouses.
The bathroom floor’s octagonal tiles are more reminiscent of a time period (the 1920s) than a particular design style, Curran says. “Think of old farmhouses, and you think of the old wood-plank floors going through.” While wood planks may be the ultimate farmhouse floor, designer Alison Kandler notes that hexagonal tile — which looks quite similar to octagonal tile — was also picked for farmhouses because it was cheap and practical.
Two-inch octagonal floor tiles in Butter White and Platinum Gray and three-quarters-by-12-inch cornice in Butter White: Traditions in Tile and Stone; Pimlico single lights in polished nickel with white glass: Circa Lighting
Curran calls this space a “clean and fresh take” on farmhouse. The separate shower makes an elegant and modern feature that wouldn’t have been seen in an old farmhouse.
Six-by-12-inch and 12-by-24-inch honed Calacatta Regina marble shower wall tiles: Traditions in Tile and Stone
2. A Modern Farmhouse Bath With California Wine Country Views
Who lives here: A family of five, including three daughters
Location: Sonoma, California
Bathroom size: 270 square feet (25.1 square meters)
Designers: HN+ Design and Michael Guthrie & Co. Architects
Scope of work: Part of a new build
The backstory: The owners wanted their newly built vacation and retirement home to have lots of glass to take in the surrounding Sonoma, California, wine country views.
Contura II 7232 bathtub: Americh; Stillness floor-mounted tub filler with hand shower: Kohler
Sonoma Bathroom, original photo on Houzz
What elements evoke a traditional farmhouse? Stand-alone tub, planked ceiling, vineyard location
This home is actually on a farm — or rather, a vineyard that “produces a decent fruit for a local winery,” says Ha Nguyen of HN+ Design, who acted as the project architect and manager. The exterior style is modern farmhouse, and many aspects of the interior recall traditional farmhouse elements, including the angled ceiling in the living room and the prevalent use of wood throughout the spaces. A freestanding tub revives a classic farmhouse element — but with a modern silhouette — while the cedar-planked ceiling with rafter beams creates a rustic look that can be found in typical farmhouses, Nguyen says.
Vanity: Precision Cabinets; cabinet pulls: Belmont Hardware; countertop: Ceasarstone; wall sconces: Waterworks; stone floor and wall tiles: Global Tile Design; windows: Fleetwood Windows & Doors
What makes it modern farmhouse style? For Nguyen, choosing natural, even rustic, materials (cedar for the ceiling, natural stone for the floor) in a neutral color palette, and then combining those materials with modern plumbing shapes and fixtures, sealed the modern farmhouse style. The wire fencing in front of the bathtub window, in addition to the clean lines of the tub and vessel sinks, brings modern flavor to the space.
Equally important for Nguyen was bringing in the surrounding nature by incorporating large expanses of glass and by placing mirrors to capture reflections of the views, as shown in this photo.
Stillness wall-mounted, wide-spread sink faucets: Kohler
3. A New Farmhouse Bath on an Old Oregon Farmstead
Who lives here: A family of five
Location: Sheridan, Oregon
Bathroom size: 219 square feet (20.3 square meters)
Design team: Rockefeller Partners Architects, Alana Homesley Interior Design and Hammer & Hand
Scope of work: Part of a new build
The backstory: This 82-acre Oregon property had a small white farmhouse on the site, and the homeowners enlisted architect Christopher Kempel to design a modern farmhouse that the family would use as a second home. The goal was to create a modern home with a rustic feel — in other words, a modern farmhouse.
Dual Bath 819 claw-foot tub with continuous rolled rim and Nouveau feet, painted in custom color: Sunrise Specialty Co.; Highgate collection plumbing fixtures: Waterworks
Rockefeller Partners Architects, original photo on Houzz
What elements evoke a traditional farmhouse? Claw-foot tub, angled ceilings, apron-front sinks, use of wood
This bathroom shows an interesting blend of traditional farmhouse and modern shapes. The claw-foot tub and apron-front sinks are classic farmhouse elements, while the angled ceiling is reminiscent of the gables often seen in farmhouses. Hexagonal tiles also hark back to a farmhouse choice.
What makes it modern farmhouse style? The wall sconces and chandelier, with their traditional shapes and shiny finishes, evoke farmhouse style but in a more sophisticated, glittery way. This bathroom also includes many modern elements, the clean lines of the slab-front cabinetry and the square shape of the glass-enclosed shower among them.
Special features: Skylights, vaulted ceilings
Splurges: Radiant floor heat, heated towel bars, Toto toilet and bidet (not shown), marble wall tile (instead of ceramic), glass-walled shower, fully designed closet with LED lighting
Tribeca collection hexagonal floor tile in New White: Walker Zanger; Butler sconces (discontinued), vanity stool (discontinued) and Keystone collection wall tile in polished Carrara C: Waterworks; reversible fireclay farmhouse sinks: Whitehaus; Altamont Open pendant lights: The Urban Electric Co.; Barret printed rug: Pottery Barn; window shades: The Shade Store
Mackey Design Group Inc, original photo on Houzz
4. A Modern Bath With an ‘Urban Barn Motif’ in Alberta
Who lives here: A family of five, including three children ages 10, 8 and 6
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Bathroom size: 204 square feet (19 square meters)
Project cost: $60,000 to $70,000
Designer: Mackey Design Group
Scope of work: The owners tore down most of the existing home but reused its foundation and living-area fireplace, and expanded beyond the original foundation footprint.
The backstory: The homeowners both come from a small town in Sasketchawan. “Farm life was embedded in the roots of their lives and in their upbringing,” says Clare Mackey, principal of Mackey Design Group. So when the homeowners, who are both professionals, built this home, “they wanted to pay a little bit of homage to that. They wanted elements of an urban barn motif throughout their house,” Mackey says. “They like the modern fixtures but wanted old motifs, such as hardware from barn doors.”
What elements evoke a traditional farmhouse? Stand-alone tub, barn door and mirror detailing, chandelier, sconces
Vaulted ceilings, large windows and the stand-alone tub give this space a vibe that Mackey describes as “urban farmhouse.” The lighting fixtures, barn door and sliding mirrors add rustic touches.
Sconces and chandelier: Restoration Hardware; barn doors: Real Sliding Hardware; mirror sliding doors: Real Sliding Hardware, customized by Mackey Design Group; porcelain Calacatta floor tile in matte finish: Icon Stone & Tile; custom flat-panel vanity: Signature Millwork; bathtub, tub filler and sink faucets: Rubi by Soligo; countertops in Shitake: Caesarstone
What makes it modern farmhouse style?
While the bathtub is stand-alone, as you would see in a traditional farmhouse, the lines — of both the tub and its fixtures — are completely modern. “It’s not a claw-foot,” Mackey says. “They made a very conscious decision that they did not want to do rustic plumbing fixtures.”
The slab-style cabinets (shown in the previous photo) are another hallmark of modern style.
Mackey Design Group Inc, original photo on Houzz
The shower area also contains details that are very clean-lined and modern. Mackey says that it’s the combination of elements — rustic details, as shown in the first photo of this bathroom, combined with sleek modern shapes — that creates a “a bit of an eclectic feel” similar to the vibe of an actual farmhouse bathroom. In the old farmhouses, pieces of furniture were often borrowed from other spaces and repurposed — a bedroom dresser might become a makeshift linen closet, for instance. The eclectic elements keep that borrow-and-mix spirit alive here.
Splurges: High-end chandelier, barn hardware, custom barn detailing on the mirrors
Savings: Porcelain wall and floor tile instead of stone
Shower head: Rubi by Soligo; porcelain Calacatta tile in polished finish (walls and shower bench) and matte finish (ceiling), porcelain chevron mosaic (shower floor) and marble mosaic penny tile (accent wall): Icon Stone & Tile
Trickle Creek Designer Homes, original photo on Houzz
5. A Blend of ‘Stuff That Looks Old’ and ‘Stuff That Looks New’ in Alberta
Who lives here: Nicole and Michael Tew
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Bathroom size: 208 square feet (19.3 square meters)
Project cost: More than $25,000
Design team: Trickle Creek Designer Homes
Scope of work: New build on an infill lot
The backstory: Michael and Nicole Tew designed and built this home as a show house for their company, but then they fell in love with it and decided to move in themselves. The style of the exterior and the interior is modern farmhouse, and the couple strove for a balance of modern and rustic throughout. “We wanted to make sure we did a blend of materials and stuff that looked old and stuff that was clearly modern,” Nicole says.
Euro Jacob cabinets in rift-cut oak with horizontal grain and matte finish: Ateliers Jacob; contemporary-style 8609 metal cabinet knobs: Richelieu; 6-by-47¼-inch porcelain Blendart floor tile in white: Walker Zanger via Icon Stone & Tile; Tate sconces: Canarm via Cartwright Lighting
What elements evoke a traditional farmhouse? Wood-effect floor tiles, wood-covered ceiling, exposed beam, stand-alone tub, sconces
The Tews chose floor tile made to look like warm barn wood to set the foundation for their farmhouse bathroom. The wood on the ceiling seemed to the Tews like “what a farmhouse would have in it,” she says. The exposed wood beam dividing the skylight serves as an anchor for the chandelier over the tub and adds to that farmhouse feel. The sconces looked like old farmhouse lights to the couple.
Caicos B0006 bathtub: Aquabrass; chandelier: Cartwright Lighting
What makes it modern farmhouse style? The tub in the space, though stand-alone, is a decidedly modern shape. The glass-walled shower feels modern, as do the slab-front cabinets and sleek pulls on the vanity.
“We wanted it to feel homey, lived in,” Nicole says. “I think part of that is why we ended up choosing the materials that look a little more worn, old or previously loved, and blending those in with the modern. That was sort of our theme throughout.”
Table near bathtub: HomeSense