From House to Home:

A Farmhouse Spawns a Career

The farmhouse: I know it well. I grew up with it, I live in it, I get it. It's second nature to me, ingrained in my soul. My grandparents lived on the family farm. A good deal of my childhood was spent there. Truly some of my happiest days were with my grandmother.

I'm sure I became a stylist and a designer because of her and that farm. To this day, Benham Lane remains my favorite place.

But you don't have to grow up with a farmhouse to create one of your own. These five elements can help yours stand the test of time:

• White paint. Above all, the quintessential farmhouse is white. Use it liberally. It's fresh and clean and it will never go out of style.

• Tongue-and-groove paneling. Add it as wainscoting, or panel an entire room with it. It's great on ceilings and as backing for bookcases, cupboards and cabinets.

• Wood floors. Left natural or painted, with or without rugs, wood floors in a farmhouse tell a story. The worn look of well-used stairs and thresholds add character and charm.

You don't have to grow up with a farmhouse to create one of your own.

• Simple, utilitarian fabrics. Think blue-and-white mattress ticking, burlap, hemp, canvas, worn linen grain sacks and unbleached muslin. Keep it simple.

• Anything galvanized. From buckets to washtubs, watering cans to planters, you can't go wrong when you bring in these hard-working basics. Put them to use in creative and unexpected ways.

When I remodeled my own home, the family farm oozed out of me. I'm sure I was guided by my grandmother's hand. When a client says to me, "I want that Farmhouse Feel," I close my eyes and just imagine myself down home.

This article originally appeared in Lifestyle Insights on June 28, 2010

Please visit my Contact Page to send me your comments or questions.

Follow me online

© Copyright 2012 Lufkin & Lufkin, Inc. Legal and privacy policies