Shem Arnold


Shem Arnold commented on an ideabook

15 Key Pieces for Modern Farmhouse Style

Get that homey feel while staying of the moment with these modern takes on country classics Full Story
     Comment   August 21, 2014
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Shem Arnold
I think there are a few points to make. A "farmhouse" does not mean you have to live on a farm. I just bought a farmhouse in rural Iowa. I have 10 acres of land and am surrounded but hundreds of acres of corn and soy fields. I do not farm but am surrounded but farms. I still consider my house to be a farmhouse because it is! The term is just as true as an architectural style as a literal function.

What I love about the "farmhouse" is that the design is eclectic. Most good farmhouse designs look like a series of shapes and sizes. This is due to that fact that old farmhouses were small and as the families grew they would add on. As the farm grew so would the house. The interiors should be just as eclectic. Yes, there are so fundamental design pieces that say farmhouse more than others but there are new ways of looking at those things all the time. Take the "farm sink" normally white porcelain but now you can get them in lots of finishes even stainless steel.

We we bought our farmhouse we new that were were going to do a complete gut job on it and make sense of the flow. The house also didn't have a "master suite" as we know in todays design vocabulary. We are working on the master suite now and I decided not to go literal in my design of modern farmhouse. Instead I wanted it to be a true retreat. Somewhere after fogging for mosquitoes, mowing the 10 acres, trimming trees, and planting flowers I can relax, unwind, and get rejuvenated. The only time I have felt that good was on a trim we took to Bali, Indonesia. I used this for my design of the master bath. As you can see in my photo's I still incorporated things like the pendant lights with Edison bulbs and the rough wood frames for the mirrors that I actually made out of the cladding from the side of the house where they put in a hew window.

In the bedroom I have a modern quilt that I purchased at a big box store. I don't need something to last 100 years I want it to be functional now. It's a great quality and my dogs make sure it can stand up to quite a bit of ware and tare. I event took the ceiling joists they cut out to give me a vaulted ceiling and turned it into my fireplace mantle. Giving tribute to the house and it's history I think it's a fundamental part of living in a farm house.

I still have a longways to go on the house but my point in this: A farmhouse is unique not only to the region but to the people who live in it. They are eclectic and one of a kind. They can be clean and white or colorful. They can be whatever the owner is inspired by and most if not all great farm houses are designed with how the specific family uses each space on a real day to day basis.

Oh, and as for art... I am an artist and I love photography of places and things. I am looking forward to going across the gravel road next spring when the cows are grazing to get some new shots to add to my "country" living room. All my artwork that is hung in my house are photos of places we've been that we love. Each room is a different place and the living room is going to be shots of our quaint town and the surrounding area. Art is in the eye of the beholder.
August 21, 2014 at 8:28AM     
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Creative Kitchens-Heather Graham
Great article Laura. I grew up on a farm and so I'm drawn to many aspects of the farmhouse "style". I have a studio apartment with slab door cabinets and built-ins, but my murphy bed is covered in the quilts and afghans my grandmothers made for me, and my 1970's no-style brick ranch has shaker style furniture (made more "modern" with Ikea knobs) and a bed with a chenille bedspread. My grandmother, who had the not so glamorous job when she was young of slaughtering chickens, has her house decorated with roosters, and my parents, who raise horses and cows, have both animals in their artwork and decor. Personally (and I'm an interior designer) my least favorite "style" is a completely, professionally designed home or space with nothing that reflects the personality and lifestyle of the homeowner...
August 30, 2014 at 8:26AM   
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jilliehj
Thank you for finally putting a name to a style I have always been drawn to!
August 30, 2014 at 4:08PM   
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