I don’t even need to say Chip and Jo’s full names in order to catch readers’ attention, as almost everyone in Texas (and outside of Texas) know who Chip and Joanna Gaines are from their hit HGTV show, “Fixer Upper.” The Texas couple, who are from Waco, own and operate a remodeling and design business called Magnolia Homes. Through their company, they turn dilapidated houses into new masterpieces, many of which are designed with the “modern farmhouse” in mind. For Chip and Jo, they seem to use some key elements that make up the modern farmhouse, so I thought I’d highlight them here.
When creating the modern farmhouse, a key trait I’ve noticed is brightness. Light and bright colors are vital to keeping the house open, welcoming and clean-cut. In particular, white is commonly used in excess, whether it’s for every wall or every cabinet. Though “excess” sounds negative, it’s not. For a look specific to the modern farmhouse, it’s crucial to have a light background that will allow all other charming features and accents to stand out, like the mandatory hardwood flooring, exposed beams or rustic antiques.
Another key element in Chip and Jo’s modern farmhouse is shiplap, a building material commonly used as exterior siding in the construction of residences. In other words, it’s wooden boards that can be used as paneling for internal walls in place of the everyday drywall. Shiplap looks as though it comes from a barn, shed or other rustic buildings, which is why it’s perfect for the modern farmhouse style.
Shiplap can be applied in many places throughout the home, for many purposes. I’ve seen it used as an accent wall, like behind a bed in the master bedroom, functioning as a headboard and focal point. It also adds interest to underrated spaces like the powder room, stairwell and dining room. As a framing feature, shiplap can surround a fireplace or be used as backsplash in the kitchen. Most often, the material is painted a bright white or light color to keep that clean-lined, white-picket-fence look going.
Speaking of the exterior of the home, I’ve seen several outdoor features brought indoors to contribute to the modern farmhouse. Window shutters, rustic barn doors and outdoor lighting can be used inside for a raw stylistic touch. Chipped and worn shutters are often hung as wall art, while large, stained barn doors are installed on sliding racks to connect common areas in a functional and old-fashioned way. Front porch sconces look stylish hanging on either side of the fireplace, in the stairwell or along the hallway.
The kitchen is a major focal point of the modern farmhouse on its own and should be given detailed attention when designing with this look in mind. Farmhouse sinks, which are large barrel-like tubs made of some kind of vintage metal, are common features in a modern country kitchen, as are open shelving and concrete countertops. Not to mention, these elements are often more practical and durable. The look of floating wooden shelves is simple and clean (the modern part), while still a natural resource (the rustic part). If there’s an opportunity for exposed stone, brick or wood — it should be utilized. The home’s farmhouse style depends on characteristics like these, which give off an “original” and “traditional” feel. The same goes for the use of wooden built-ins or just custom wood pieces in general.
Lastly, though vaulted ceilings can be expensive to do, they are a huge part of the proper farmhouse design, especially with exposed beams. Not only does it add value to the home, but it gives the illusion of more wide open space — just what any country-chic-style fan loves. So, if you’re into the modern farmhouse style that Chip and Jo have perfected, keep these elements in mind.