Aug 19, 2023 - Real Estate

Modern farmhouse design dominates the Twin Cities

A photo showing a family room with a couch, wooden ceiling and vertical, shiplap-like walls with black window casings

Photo: Courtesy of Style & Structure

Crisp white shiplap, black window casings and exposed wood beams have taken over home design in the Twin Cities metro area.

Why it matters: Modern farmhouses have dethroned McMansions as the suburban dream home.

  • Minneapolis-based Martha O'Hara Interiors has worked on "more [modern farmhouse projects] than we can count," the firm's CEO Kate O'Hara tells Axios.

Driving the news: The breezy, neutral style was popularized 10 years ago when Chip and Joanna Gaines launched HGTV's "Fixer Upper."

Zoom in: City dwellers seeking more land in the suburbs or rural areas are especially drawn to the look, says Danielle Yegge, who owns Style & Structure, which has custom-built the trendy homes in and around Stillwater, Lake Elmo and Woodbury.

  • "They don't want to give up that modern flair, but they love aspects of the farmhouse lifestyle," Yegge tells Axios.
A photo showing the exterior of a modern farmhouse home with vertical lines, all white with black finishes
Photo: Courtesy of Style & Structure

The big picture: Retailers and home builders jumped on the bandwagon to give consumers what they want.

  • Target's home goods section is stocked with farmhouse-inspired Magnolia and Studio McGee collections.
  • The style dominates new-build communities around the country.

Of note: Some design experts predict the trend is here to stay.

  • The ease of replicating the look "has played a significant role in the phenomenon of the modern farmhouse," says Veronica Valencia, host of HGTV's "Revealed."
  • "As a homeowner, when you look at a simple modern farmhouse room, you immediately feel like, 'Oh! I can tackle that!' There are no bells and whistles to it. … It's simple and familiar," Valencia says.
A photo showing the interior of a home with a fireplace flanked with shelving full of cut wood, metal dining chairs near an island and two plants as accents
Photo: Courtesy of Style & Structure

If you want to incorporate the style at home, here are Valencia's top tips:

  • 🎨 Paint your walls bright white.
  • 🪑 Accessorize with antiques and modern lighting.
  • 🖼 Frame large, contemporary prints with natural wood.
  • 🔨 Install shiplap vertically instead of horizontally and then paint with your favorite color.

What's next: People are leaning into organic modern homes, O'Hara says. It's similar to a modern farmhouse but with fewer barn doors, farmhouse sinks or shiplap walls, she says.

Data: Pinterest; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Pinterest; Chart: Axios Visuals

Between the lines: The average consumer isn't ready to quit the approachable style.

What they're saying: "Pinners are also putting their own spin on the trend to make spaces feel like their own," says Swasti Sarna, global director of data insights at Pinterest.


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