Image: Julien Fernandez
10 simple steps to achieving quaint farmhouse style, whether in the country, in the city or by the sea.
Lie back, close your eyes and envision yourself on a quaint farm in the country. Do you feel the sun on your face? Can you smell the freshly cut grass? Is the bright blue sky dotted with fluffy white clouds? Are there hay bales in the background? Animals grazing? Birds soaring? We bet you’ve taken a deep breath and your shoulders have relaxed a touch just thinking about it, because that’s the magic of farm life – the fresh air, the picturesque setting and those afternoons when time seems to stop so you can enjoy the easy pleasures of your surroundings. Simply put, it’s magical. Even if you don’t live on a farm, you can bring that laissez-faire farmhouse style home with these 10 meaningful touches that set the stage: rustic, ultra-relaxed, sometimes kitschy but always stylish.
1. Show your stripes.
Calling to mind an English cottage, a collection of blue and white striped Cornishware makes a striking statement whether on display in the white-painted corner cabinet or set out for brunch. Ticking stripes on the dining chairs echo the look and underscore the country mood.
2. Wash it out.
An all-white envelope isn’t too stark when you add texture to the space. The wood grain on this dining room’s pale-stained floor subtly shines through and engages the eye.
3. Make introductions.
Farmhouse style starts curbside. Even without acres of property, grazing animals and an old barn to back it all up, incorporating a quaint country look into your landscape says it all. From the white picket fence and garden arbour to the worn brick walkway and grey-painted exterior, the message here is clear: This isn’t Old MacDonald’s farm. In fact, it’s not really a farm at all, but whoever lives here has an eye for detail and a casual farmhouse style worth singing about.
4. Let it all hang out.
A style teeming with personality, country farmhouse is all about displaying objets that are kitschy, crafty, antique and meaningful. Bold trends have no business here, but those bowls you bought on a vacation in Mexico, that quirky vase you scored at a yard sale, the mug you’ve clung to since you were young because it reminds you of your grandma’s house and that painting you did during your post-university artist phase are all welcome. Unify the display by using pieces with like colours. Or don’t. With the white envelope, this look lets you do you.
5. Get collecting.
Display your favourite collections en masse to create artistic eye candy. Beside this rustic white-painted exposed-brick fireplace, curvy white and green vintage McCoy pottery flirts with the botanical artwork leaning on the mantel. The look is cohesive but casual.
6. Put the everyday on display.
Forget sleek uncluttered countertops! Old farmhouses often have narrow cabinetry and shallow drawers, putting storage space at a premium. So don’t hesitate to exhibit those functional items you use every day, such as pots, pans and utensils...but favour the pretty ones.
7. Go Dutch.
Is there anything more farmhouse fabulous than a Dutch door? Opened to the screened porch, it lets the fresh air flow through the kitchen and keeps the cook connected to her company.
8. Invest in distressed.
Whether its inhabitants are grabbing fresh herbs from the garden before cooking in the kitchen, taking a dip at the beach and drying off in the screened porch or capping a long bike ride with a nap on the sofa, country homes are the ultimate in indoor-outdoor living. So opt for hard-wearing, scuff-proof and easy-to-clean items like slipcovered sofas and distressed-finish tables.
9. Wind down.
The screened porch is the perfect place to doze, read, sip tea and luxuriate lakeside. The antique daybed, which has a distressed frame, and the blue-striped toss cushions are classic farmhouse, while the seashell motif on one toss cushion and the string-light garland say beach house chic. Who could guess that farm and beach styles would be so harmonious?
10. Bring on the bamboo.
Nothing speaks to this look quite like pieces from the past. In the master bedroom, bamboo furnishings reminiscent of Art Deco designer Paul Frankl’s Pretzel chair connect to items in the living room and screened porch. The curved frames and warm tones imbue a covetably cozy vibe that feels subtly eclectic and internationally inspired.