Directions in Design and Lifestyle – Contemporary Farmhouses

Directions in Design and Lifestyle – Contemporary Farmhouses

In almost all the homes we are building now, and perhaps over the past 2-3 years, we are seeing an attraction toward more contemporary elements of design. We can witness this shift first in the retail design directions of Restoration Hardware, where just a few years ago the retailers’ catalog moved into the whites and warm gray tones and mixed their standard traditional home furnishings with both clean/sleek and industrial/loft pieces.

The same trend is seen in the architecture of our client homes…while maintaining respect for traditional forms and authentic execution…more and more, elements of exterior and interior design are being introduced to bring the classic forms into alignment with more contemporary life and style.  According to the American Institute of Architects, “there are 45% of homeowners who favored contemporary-style homes in 2015, a seven-point increase over the year before.”

In one of our current projects, we are building a new contemporary farmhouse on the front of a property while preserving a concrete and glass guest home at the rear of the property. “The concept of a contemporary Farmhouse is exemplified by using basic New England forms and materials in a fresh combination – standing seam metal roof, board & batten, stucco, and stone – juxtaposed against each other to bring out their nature,” according to the project architect, Karen Putman of p2 Design. “The trim and details are understated and straightforward, achieving richness in economy.  The oversized windows and open floor plan flood the home with natural light, joining the outdoors and indoors.  The two-story “cottage” respectfully fits into the neighborhood with a limited palate of materials and colors.  The welcoming porch flows inside to become a large open living space that as one circulates through the home, focuses out towards the yard and landscape – responding to the surroundings.”

Project owner and interior designer, DeeDee Rosson also speaks of this trend when she said “Having lived in a mid-century home throughout the fifties, and then being trained in Period Design and Architecture during the sixties, I feel we have finally reached a fresh new period where transitional architecture mixed with contemporary elements is redefining how we want to live — cleaner, simpler, without the emphasis on materialistic “things” and acquisitions. The contemporary farmhouse seems to perfectly accomplish this modern sensibility by combining the clean contemporary elements we love with the warmth of the traditional aspects we are not quite ready to let go of. The result is a very current and fashion-forward aesthetic…resulting in a comfortable, functional, and beautiful home.” For all of us who are passionate about the creative process and it’s manifestation into great spaces and homes, this is a very exciting time…one of innovation, imagination and new exploration. The result is inspired design…and that is the core of what makes the home building craft exciting, interesting …it captures our hearts and minds!

In a recent Builder Magazine cover story entitled Rustic Refinement, the subtitle reads “Farmhouses have always been a quintessential part of the American dream: a symbol of open space and land to call one’s own. The style has endured in rural areas, the suburbs and even the city, but now is seeing a resurgence-and being refreshed. Modern farmhouses blend simple lines and an agrarian sensibility with contemporary styling. Think of them as a new twist on a trusted American vernacular.”

Several of our clients and projects are reflecting varying degrees of “transitional” architecture, interiors and site designs. Transitional design refers to elements of different genres and generations of design, combined to define a style that is reflective of a transition of style and time. We are currently building three special homes, one in each Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades and Brentwood that are transitional designs…inspired, to varying degrees, by the American Farmhouse. In the coming days we’ll be covering each of these projects in more detail … stay tuned!

**Image credit: Koch Architects, Inc. Joanne Koch

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