The space above and the two below were designed by Hillary Wallace for an Oklahoma native turned TriBeCa loft owner in New York City. The farmhouse elements: Clean, creamy white walls. Warm wood flooring. Simple window treatments. Textural fabrics on traditional furniture shapes. Rustic accessories and needlepoint rugs. The city: A wide open floor plan. An L-shaped sectional helping to anchor one of two separate seating areas in the living room. Recessed ceiling lighting to create illumination throughout. Art framed in a contemporary fashion.
In the bedroom, below, the designer used feminine pieces like a small chandelier, curvy bench, and lacy white linens as counterpoints to the loft's original brick wall. See more of this space here at countryliving.com.
In his own Scottsdale, Arizona condo, designer Christopher Coffin left the kitchen's white marble floor as he found it and built a French-inspired kitchen on top of it. This is all pretty fancy as farmhouses go (click on the photo to see the rest of this gorgeous home), but what I think is important to note is this: farmhouse can be dressed up or dressed down. With its vast use of marble, curvy iron center table and faux limestone walls, this is definitely an uptown look.
Christopher Coffin again mixes plain with fancy in his dining room, below. It should be noted too that while Hillary Wallace's farmhouse design for her client was reminiscent of American country, Coffin's country look is of French descent.
Mary Jo and Jim Donohoe brought the feelings of the French and Italian countrysides to their new home in Bethesda, Maryland, asking their architect, David Neumann to "capture the feel of an old French barn". This is a grand room and a beautiful home (to see more, click on the photo, below) . However, there are many elements you can borrow to use in your own interpretation of farmhouse: rustic wood, iron details, provincial pottery and utilitarian furnishings like the antique corner cupboard. The "city" here? Brand new construction and modern efficiency in the heart of a bustling suburb.
This 1932 brick Tudor in Atlanta, below, could have been given an overstuffed, collected over time English treatment, but designer Kay Douglass chose to keep it simple. Her pared down, clutter-free designs focus on texture and form with a minimal use of color. Where she does use color, as in the room shown here, it is to great effect. Bright solids on chairs and in the artwork and accessories give this farmhouse look its contemporary spin.
In an even more colorful "farmhouse" in another New York City loft, textile and interiors designer Annie Selke joined forces with Country Living magazine's Jennifer Vreeland to bring loads of country character to blank, boxy spaces, below. Together they layered on warmth with natural wood, textiles, and leather. Clean profiles, rich textures and personal collections create the character of a country house within a cozy retreat that offers all the conveniences of modern city life.
Of the pale blue walls and liberal use of white linen the designer says "The colors were chosen to inspire a bit of calm from the city experience, so you come in and feel relaxed without giving up sophistication." Hits of classic country red appear throughout the apartment to provide continuity and fun.
Designer Jill Sharp Brinson's gorgeous Atlanta home, as recently featured in House Beautiful magazine, has rushed around the blogs like wildfire. Apparently, her brand of country appeals to a lot of us! (click here to see and read the online article) Brinson's style is definitely a European take on farmhouse design with influences from Belgium, France, Italy and England. Toss in some Morocco and Mount Vernon, and it's a unique version indeed. In her interview with house Beautiful's Lisa Creagan, Brinson explains her attraction to farmhouse this way: "We live in total denial that we're smack in the middle of a big city. My husband, Rob, and I have a love affair with rural settings... It's part farmhouse, part loft. The style is a blend of our interests in both humble, rustic houses and turn-of-the-century industrial-style warehouses". I'll just let my favorite photos from the article speak for themselves :
Luckily for us mere mortals, Jill Sharp Brinson is the Creative Director of Ballard Designs. She brings her great eye to this popular source for decorating ideas, inspiration and a huge variety of products that provide the crossover appeal of the country in the city look I've shown you here. I used their Eldridge Pendant light at the top of this post. Simple but sophisticated, it illustrates perfectly the look of modern country. If you're not familiar with Ballard, click on the graphic below to go to their website. You'll be taken first to a fun feature in which they've collaborated with Traditional Home magazine to show us twenty-one things every well-designed, efficiently functional home should have.
Now, you and I both know that this feature is meant to help sell Ballard merchandise. But I think it's a good list to keep in mind—wherever you go to get the things you need—when you're rethinking the spaces in your home. How many of these "must haves" are you lacking?
2. a nomad console
3. a lamp to read by
4. knock-your-socks-off art
5. a cushy chair
6. party-friendly portables
7. grown-up dinners
8. a versatile bookshelf
9. natural fibers
10. a welcome entry table
11. a pretty place for laundry
12. a hang-out bed
13. a mirror mirror
14. a french connection
15. a place to put your feet up
16. a truly comfortable sofa
17. a pillow wardrobe
18. eye-catching accessories
19. patterns that make a statement
20. a touch of modern
21. a well-adjusted dining table
While you're taking inventory, look around and tell me, if you don't already live in an actual farmhouse (lucky you, if you do!), what elements have you seen here that you would like to add to your interiors? What favorite farmhouse things do you already use?