1959 Faux Farmhouse

Today I’m going to explore the architecture and history of my home, then ramble about design styles. There will be lots of links to click through if you’re as confused as I am when it comes to defining the style you have, and the style you want.

However, before we go there, let’s start with a proper house name. 1959 Faux Farmhouse could trend, but maybe something prettier? Chris Loves Julia did a fun post a while back about naming their cottage. I used the name generator they shared and the first suggestion was “Brick House” which brought a big smile to my face. However, instead of an homage to The Commodores, we have a beautiful Silver Maple in out back yard, so Silver Maple Farmhouse seems appropriate.

The day we signed the papers. I do hate that siding, someday it might change.

When my mom and dad first came to visit our new-to-us house, they were convinced it was a real farmhouse. They believed it stood long before the ranchers and cape cods that line our street. My father grew up in a humble farmhouse on 100 acres of working farm land, so if he was convinced, then I would say my house is a convincing dupe.

My house was built at the same time as my neighbors houses, in 1959. If you walk around the corned and down the street you can find two homes that are identical to mine. Over it’s 60-years my neighborhood has grown a multitude of mature trees and harbored enough renovations that it has lost the ticky-tacky feel.

My parents were however correct about the architecture of my home. It has a gabled roof, large front porch, original wood floors and the main room is the huge eat-in kitchen, all features that define farmhouse architecture in this article. My guess is that the faux farmhouse architecture was chosen to blend with the 100+ year old farmhouses that stand around the other corner and down the street, which are now in rough condition, but 60-years-ago were only 40-years old.

Maybe you’re thinking, “lucky girl, farmhouse decor is so on trend right now! Styling your house must be a breeze.” It should be, but it’s not. The cabinetry and fixtures in our house swing from classic, to modern, to builder grade. I understand why everyone is drawn to the farmhouse style, it’s just not my preference. I personally love urban communities, industrial glass, smooth lines, and steel: not shiplap, chippy paint, and corbels.

If I was a bachelorette living in a city I would buy a loft and make it industrial. However I’m a married mom living in a small town. Industrial lofts are not feasible nor practical. So I’ve been musing about what is. Lately I’ve really enjoyed the more romantic and ornate detailing trend of shadow boxes and chair molding. Like here and here and here.

However that doesn’t really feel like me either. I lived in Seattle for 13-years, where I fell hard for a good Craftsman with funky Boho decor. When a contractor asked me a year ago, “What’s your style?” I told him “my style is Boho Grandma.” The contractor rightly thought I was crazy. I don’t know how to describe what I like and what I don’t. I think Boho Grandma is a great title for 60’s/70’s colors meet Scandinavian minimalism. But then the design idea Grandmaillennial showed up. Is that my style? I thought I was being ironic. I don’t think I actually like chintz, am I being influenced? (I do have needlepoint throughout my house – my mom retired and picked up the hobby.)

I always thought I’d honor the architecture of the home I owned, but I never planned to buy a farmhouse. Yet it was the right house in the right location with a beautiful old silver maple in the back yard, I couldn’t let it go. I’ve researched our architecture, and thought I could use the trends of the 1960’s, bring the style back to when the house was new and fresh. (But make it fashion, ya know?) A leading trend in the 50’s and 60’s (possibly another inspiration for my homes architecture): Early American design. My husband loves Colonial homes with Early Americana decor, because he grew up in a beautiful home of that style. But that doesn’t feel right to me. (But make it fashion, maybe?) Then I rediscovered French Country or French Provincial, which has all the feel of a farmhouse but… make it fashion.

For every room I’ve finished (the master bath and bedroom) I’ve leaned on French style. Unintentionally mixing Provincial and Parisian. In the bathroom, my leading design element was our grid shower door. It made me think of a green house or the ceiling of the Grand Palais. In the bedroom I leaned on the romantic with draped curtains. I found Provincial style in the antique furniture that curved, had ornate detailing, and aged paint finishes. I attempted to make it Parisian or metropolitan with modern sconces and black matte industrial frames. I even brought in my watercolor print by Shan Merry, who designed scarves for Hermes in the 70’s. So French.

I didn’t do any of it on purpose. I was just feeling my way through the process, however as I continue designing the spaces in my home I think it will help to have an idea to turn to when I get pulled in too many directions, indecisive, or lost in the details. I might change my mind about this direction. I do love Scandinavian minimalist and modern industrial and bold colors. Maybe all ideas could live in my house, but the different designs need to be in conversation with each other and not fight for attention. Like a family, each is uniquely different but must all live together in the space of a home and like a home I need a place to turn when I get lost. Lost in the design weeds.

“When in doubt, go to the library.” ~Hermione Granger

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