Tag Archives: modern farmhouse

Post #23: The Frame & Window Game

Hey all! Long time and no post, huh? My apologies, as I know you’ve been holding your breath, right? But I hope all is well with all of you!!! It’s been an incredibly busy late fall and early winter, but there is lots to report on in regards to the farmhouse. We hit the huge milestone of completing framing last week (yay!) Now it’s on to less exciting, but still very critical things, like installation and HVAC. But here’s a recap of how framing went…Oh! We have windows now too (so pretty!)

 

Our framing crew started in late September. September 26th to be exact, which was exactly one month after George, Walker and David started framing in the workshop. First, they prepped the foundation with installation and support boards. Then came a layer of plywood.

Then the walls started going up…

 

Along the way, we had a crane day, where metal support beams were installed to ensure structural integrity.

Then more walls went up. As they finished them, the walls were wrapped in plywood sheathing. (In the above photo, the framed in garage bays are on the left, the great room portion of the home is in the center, and the start of the bonus room wing is on the right. Also included is David’s truck “Rosie” who has spent lots of time being a delivery truck these past few months, picking up everything from lumber to lunches and the like…)

 

By mid-October, it was time for the crew to move onward and upward and start framing the 2nd story of the farmhouse. As you may recall, the second story only runs along the east side of the house. Here will be a loft, a laundry room and the master suite.(The start of the attic space above the garage.)

(View from the master bedroom.)

 

By early November, things got all sorts of technical, as they installed the roof trusses in the great room. Our head framer, Julian, had the ingenious idea of having the crew build the trusses on the ground ahead of time, and then they were installed them with the help of a crane.

The 60 foot header beam to anchor the 2nd story roof was also installed via crane.

Once the main beam was installed the roof could be framed out.

 

Next, it was time to start structural steel work on the silo and focus efforts on framing the bonus room wing. (Do you like how Walker is wearing shorts in mid-November? It was a wonderfully and abnormally warm fall this year in Colorado, which made framing so much easier than having to do it in freezing temperatures!)

 (The rings were welded into place on site and then raised up via forklift.)

 

Next came framing work on the clear story portion of the great room (the row of windows that pop up from the top of the roof.)

Also during this time, our concrete crew came back to pour slabs for the the posts for the front and back porches, the patio off of the dog room (yes, our dogs are getting their own patio…) and the 2 fireplaces.(This is the foreman of the concrete crew, Omar. After claiming to not know what work or a wheelbarrow was, David, George, and Walker made him reluctantly pitch in one afternoon…)

 

By mid-November, we had windows going in. We went with options from the Integrity line and the Ultimate line of Marvin Windows. All of the windows are black on the outside and white on the inside, except for the ones in the bonus room. (Those are black on the outside and stained wood on the inside.) We had a tough time choosing between Marvin windows and Kolbe windows, but Marvin’s offering of 2 lines of windows to choose from that you can easily mix and match for cost savings, won out in the end. Because at the end of the day, there are certain windows you are going to spend lots of time looking out of and then there’s a window like the one below in the guest bedroom bathroom that going to give someone a view while they brush their teeth maybe 5 times a year. Sorry guest bathroom window! We still love you all the same! Also our window rep, Bobby was and continues to be exceptional to work with!

We also (finally) got our first snow of the season on November 19th.

 

By December, the crew started installing the amazingly crafted timber beams that Walker had spent weeks putting together onto the front and back porches. (Needless to say, I think Walker was excited about his handiwork!)(SOOOOO gorgeous!)

Our silo also got it’s wooden top, and our fireplace and chimney was framed out. (Our head framer, Julian, once again saved us time and money with his quick, ingenious thinking. Instead of having to rent another crane and operator to install the centerpiece [a.k.a. “the nuclear warhead,” as the guys called it,] into place, Julian decided to try hoisting it with this manual lift that we’d rented to help lift Walker’s timber frame beams into place. Success!)

Christmas came early and on December 22nd, the windows I’ve so been looking forward to were installed – the huge windows will run along the stairs leading from the first floor to the second floor and the windows on the north side of the great room.

Our plywood roof was covered in weathershield wrap to protect it from the elements and prepare it for the actual metal roof (to be installed later on,) but apparently it couldn’t hold up to the 90 mph wind gusts that we had on Christmas day, as some of it blew away! But it’s only money, right? 🙂

After Christmas, we got even more presents, as we had the huge, glass sliding doors installed in the great room.

The new year of 2017 was ushered in with some brutal cold and more winds, but we had windows installed in the clearstory. (The branch you see on the chimney is an old, Dutch building tradition. Walker placed a branch on both the workshop and the farmhouse, explaining that “A branch on top of a newly standing structure represents good fortune and fortitude for not only the building, but it’s inhabitants, as well. It’s an ancient tradition of good blessings.”) 

 

After wrapping up some lingering odds and ends for the next 2 weeks (minus several days where it was too cold or too windy to work,) the last piece of sheathing was put into place in mid-January. (Before finishing work for the day, Eric, one of our framers, paid homage to his home country on the garage roof. Unfortunately, it dumped about 10 inches of snow in the next 24 hours, so his shout out was soon buried in fresh powder.)

With the exception of having the windows in the silo, the garage doors in the garage, and a front door in the front, we’re all closed in for the winter. (The final piece goes on…)

And that ladies and gentleman, is a wrap on framing and windows!

I’ll try to keep the blog posts coming more frequently now. We’re getting to so much good stuff now, and I appreciate you all following along!

 

‘Til next time,

Kim

 

 

 

 

 

Post #21: Construction Updates or “There Is No Progress Unless You Make a Mess”

This quote by Tanya Radic pretty much sums up how things have been progressing at the farmhouse over the last month:

there-is-no-progress-unless-you-make-a-mess

After what seemed like nothing short of sluggish progress in the 2 months prior, the month of August and early September has certainly made up for lost time! Tons have happened and much of it all at the same time! Our property now often resembles a parking lot there are so many people there accomplishing different tasks on any given day. It’s a beautiful mess of dirt flying, machine engines running, nail guns firing, and it’s all so exciting! I can’t help but hope this momentum continues!

Here’s what’s been shakin’:

Concrete Work:

If you can recall from my last blog post, we’d finished with the foundation walls, but things had sat idle for long enough that weeds were now growing where our floors would one day go…

weeds2weeds1

Thankfully, that’s been addressed by our handy concrete crew. They dug out all the extra dirt from areas where needed, as well as leveled out, insulated and poured concrete floors for the garage and workshop.

concrete17floor-pouring-august1 floor-pouring-august-9 Hard at work on David’s workshop…

floor-pouring-august10floor-pouring-august7Future garage and mudroom…

Additionally they leveled out and graveled the floor of what will be the crawl space below our home. In time this will be insulated with a plastic barrier and spray foam insulation, so it will be as dry and sealed as if we did a basement down there. The crew also poured concrete pads that will support structural steel.floor-pouring-august-8

 

Structural Steel:

Another crucial update to the farmhouse structure has been the installation of structural steel. As mentioned above, some of the steel has been anchored to the concrete pads poured in what will be the floor of our crawl space. Other steel beams run across the farmhouse foundation to support what will be built above it.structural-steel1structural-steel2structural-steel4

 

Plumbing:

Another important task that has now been crossed off the never ending “to do” list was to install plumbing for the farmhouse and workshop. This task was completed by Quick’s Hoe Service (not sure if the name is supposed to be a joke or not.) Quick’s dog Pinto was the crew’s supervisor for this job. He even rode on the heavy equipment used to dig the trenches, SO cute!pinto-the-hoe-service-dog Trenches were dug and pipes were laid to connect plumbing to the farmhouse and workshop to the water and sewer tap that was actually located under the pavement in the street. So of course, this meant disrupting traffic for a bit to tap into everything. Everything went well though!

plumbing4 plumbing3plumbing2 As David quite crassly, but rather hysterically, pointed out to friends when showing them this picture, “This is where my poop will go…”

plumbing1So this part got a little bit dicey. Remember how high our water table is out at the farmhouse site? (It’s dig down 3 feet and you’ll have a stream in no time high.) In order to accommodate plumbing in the workshop, and not have plumbing running underneath what will someday be the driveway to the right of this photo, the crew had to carefully dig their trenches right around the base of the workshop. Of course the trenches started filling up immediately with water, to the point that everyone started freaking out that the workshop foundation might slide in. Of course it worked out just fine, but David (who never gets stressed out) said that it was terrifyingly stressful! Good thing that Pinto was supervising the job, right?

sewer-tap  Why does everyone look so concerned?sewer-tap1sewer-tap2sewer-tap3  Success!

In addition to water, we are also happy to report that there is now temp. power at the job site! This means no more running of generators to power things! Now there are just endless tangles of extension cords running from the temp. power main to various parts of the site.

power

Framing & Workshop Supports:

Our contractor George (on the right-hand side in the photo below,) trusted right-hand man Walker (on the left-hand side in the photo below,) and David (not pictured) began the exciting process of framing the workshop 3 weeks ago. I know that I owe you a more detailed post on the plans for the workshop, so I promise to get that out soon! But in the meantime, here are how things are taking shape…workshopframe1  workshop-framing3Day one of framing. From left to right: Walker Melzer, David Harrison and George Harrisonworkshop-framing4  Walls are in place…

workshop-hardware                                                                                          To reinforce and strengthen the workshop walls, a cabling system was installed within the walls themselves. It’s too bad that all of this cool cabling will be hidden behind drywall eventually, but I guess that’s just how it goes sometimes…

 

Final Excavation & Backfill Work:

As you may or may not recall, there used to be an enormous mound of fill dirt towards the back of the property. The property’s previous owner had brought the dirt in in anticipation of building here. On top of the fill dirt that was already on the property, the crews added extensively to the mounds while digging the foundation and the plumbing trenches. A fair amount of the mound was used as backfill to even things out and bring dirt up closer to the foundation again once it was completed. The remaining dirt was then flattened and leveled out to give us a big, beautiful blank slate of a back yard. Can’t wait to fill it in with grass and all sorts of fun stuff!pic-of-mound-august Before: Part of what the mound in our future backyard looked like.

no-more-moundAfter: No more mound. David and his Dad walk the blank slate, September 4, 2016

 

Roof Trusses:

Most recently, with the framing on the workshop now complete, the roof trusses (or supports) were installed on Friday (with the help of a big, huge crane, of course.) All in all, it’s looking great!

crane1crane3trusses3trusses4 trusses1 trusses2

Thanks for reading and following along on our progress! It’s been a fun, but crazy busy summer with the farmhouse and other parts of life. Here’s hoping for a bit of a slow down this fall, so I can do a better job of keeping you all informed on the progress and up-to-date on the design.

Best,

Kim

Post #6: Designing the Home of our “Dreams”

We had bought the property, found the overall design, picked the architect…now what? Naturally, we devised a wish list for our new home. We’d thought a lot about this since we’d purchased the property, and we’d come up with what we thought was a detailed, but good set of wants for our new abode…

Initial Wish List:

  1. Modern Farmhouse design (think farmhouse meets open-concept, mid-century modern)
  2. Detached workshop for my furniture making husband
  3. Open-concept great room (kitchen and living room area)
  4. Separate dining room – I love the idea of the great room featuring an open concept kitchen, dining room and living room, but was afraid that everyone would be siting in our dining room staring at the mess in the kitchen. I was (and still am) obsessed with the steel metal window surround dining room at the Bunny Run Farmhouse and wanted to have one in our house too.
  5. Master suite in a separate area of the home – One thing we love about our current home is the separation of public and private space. We put our master suite in our remodeled basement (trust me, it doesn’t feel basement-y.) On an everyday basis, we live our lives on the main floor of our bungalow. So when you head downstairs to shower or sleep, it truly makes the area feel more like a retreat. It’s also really nice to have a separate floor or area to yourselves when you have guests staying with you, so you aren’t tripping over each other.
  6. Laundry room in close proximity to the master bedroom
  7. Guest bedroom with an attached bath
  8. Secondary guest bedroom (a.k.a. The Bunkroom) – After farmhouses and mid-century modern homes, my favorite homes have to be cabins and/or lake homes. My family has vacationed in Lake Placid, NY since I was a kid and the homes there are amazing. I especially love lake homes that have bunkrooms that sleep the masses. Since we’re pretty well landlocked in Colorado, I thought it would be fun to steal this cabin/lake home feature and include it in our home for housing overflow guests.
  9. His & her offices on the first floor – This goes back to the whole public and private space thing. In our current home, the 2 guest bedrooms that work as offices are both off of the kitchen and in close proximity to the living room. So if someone is on the computer and someone is in the kitchen, we can still interact. It works great.
  10. First floor powder room
  11. Exercise room
  12. Dedicated dog room with access to a private side yard
  13. Tack room – For you non-horsey people, a tack room is a space where you store all of your horse gear and supplies. I currently have most of it in the garage, but anything liquid or leather goes in the guest bedroom closet (so it won’t mold or freeze depending on the item.) Actually that’s a lie. That’s how it started out, but over time there’s a little bit of everything spread out between the 2 places which makes it tough to find stuff, no matter how often I organize…
  14. Indoor pool – This wish list item transpired after we looked at a house for sale that had an indoor pool. David loved the idea of swimming everyday for a workout. In ultra-water conscious Colorado, I thought it seemed a little excessive, but I told him as long as I didn’t have to do the maintenance on it, I could get on board with the idea. And I do love me a good hot tub…
  15. Incorporation of a silo into the design – Because who doesn’t want a silo in their farmhouse? I thought it’d make a great spot for the hot tub initially, but then got all excited over the prospect of having it in the bonus room where we could fill it with book shelves and one of those bad ass ladders that rolls along the outside of the shelves…
  16. Bonus room off of the pool to function as a secondary living room/dining room or entertaining space, or space to just grow into.
  17. Unfinished basement for storage
  18. 3-4 car garage

As I mentioned in Blog Post #3, we’d fallen in love with a modern farmhouse design we’d found on the Internet, but wanted it tweaked in order to fit our wish list. The resulting design our architect came up with was a U-shaped house with the kitchen and great room being at the bottom of the “U,” the bonus room/pool wing was on the right-side, and the wing with the master bedroom on the second story was on the left.

Early renderings/designs looked like this:

March, 2015:

 old version of farmhouse 

(This is an early rendering of the house superimposed onto our property via ariel view in Google Maps. The tan lumps in the back of the photo is a bunch of fill dirt that the previous owners brought in. We eventually have the fun task of taking all of that away…)

Over the next few months, we met and worked on revisions to the overall plan. Every time we discussed the design, something (or a lot of things) didn’t seem right. With wanting the one-story bonus room and pool/greenhouse wing on one side of the house, and a private master bedroom level on the 2nd story of the other, it meant that a lot of rooms were left to be crammed onto the first floor part of the 2-story wing. It began to look like a maze. Complicating the overall design even further, was the zoning requirements of 30 foot setbacks. This meant that no part of the home could be within 30 feet of the property line in any direction. On a long, narrow lot, this was proving to be tough. And somehow, the design itself had swelled to over 5,000 square feet. Entirely too much space for 2 people and 3 small dogs. I definitely didn’t want to be responsible for cleaning all of that! But we kept pushing forward, trying to make things work. We were getting further and further behind and needed to wrap this phase of the project up.

Somewhere around the 5th month of designing things, I had a little meltdown. It was following a design meeting with our architect and contractor. I had a raging migraine with never helps anything, but I didn’t want to miss the meeting in fear that it would cause further delays. George, my beloved brother-in-law and trusted contractor, told me a few weeks later that he knew something was really wrong during that meeting because I’d barely said a word, and he knows how excited I get about home design stuff, migraine and all. My meltdown, I’m sorry to say, consisted of tears of frustration and claims that I didn’t want to live in our new house anymore, but most of all, there was an overwhelming desire to start all over again.

So I did what any independent, well-adjusted 32 year-old woman does. I went to my mommy. Actually, my mom has a killer eye for design and she happened to be in town visiting from Pennsylvania for the week to help watch my 2 year-old nephew while my sister was in Antarctica. Yes, you read that right. (On a side note, you might enjoy checking out the amazing blog Amy did about her artic adventures with National Geographic here.) Over the course of the next two days, while my nephew Blake was napping, Mom and I began scouring floor plans of modern farmhouses on Pintrest and ready to purchase home plans websites. They all seemed so simple and straightforward. But then again, so were the apparent wish lists of the clients, or potential clients, that the homes were designed for. Each evening I’d return home and share the things we’d come across that afternoon with David.

Somewhere along the line, the light bulb went off. David and I realized that in order to make this house truly livable, we’d have to scale it down. Quite frankly, you could say we’d gotten a little greedy when it came to our wants in our new home. In the process, we’d unintentionally designed the exact kind of sprawling suburban compound that we’d found unappealing and unrealistic during our home search the summer before. There was a valuable lesson to be learned here:

Just because you are designing your dream home, it doesn’t mean it has to include everything you’ve ever dreamed of.

The solution was to cross things off the list and revise other spaces. In some cases this felt painful, as I’d grown attached to the idea of having certain spaces in the home, but at the end of the day, nothing we actually needed was sacrificed.

The Revised Wish List:

  1. Modern Farmhouse design
  2. Detached workshop
  3. Open concept great room (kitchen, dining and living room area)
  4. Separate dining roomConsidering how often we used our current dining room, there was no way we needed to keep this one on the wish list. There was no reason why we couldn’t fit a dining table in between the living room and kitchen, and we could even have a second, larger dining table in the bonus room. This is how it’s done in 99% of open floor plan homes, so I’m sure it’s done for a good reason!
  5. Master suite in a separate area of the home
  6. Laundry room in close proximity to the master bedroom
  7. Guest bedroom with an attached bath
  8. Secondary guest bedroom (The Bunkroom)Because who would ever stay in the bunkroom? Somewhere after the age of 12, bunk beds aren’t that appealing. Besides, we have guests a handful of times per year and in ones or twos at that.
  9. His & her officesKeep one dedicated office on the second floor to help with room spacing and have the second office also double as an overflow guest bedroom on the first-floor. We decided that David’s office will go on the second floor. I envision myself climbing lots of stairs to go talk to him, but stairs are a good workout, right?
  10. First floor powder room
  11. Exercise roomMove weights to the garage and move the elliptical to the guest bedroom. When we have guest staying there we’ll simply fold up the elliptical and store it in the now, oversized closet.
  12. Dedicated dog room with access to a private side yard
  13. Tack room – All I ideally needed was a relatively climate-controlled place to store horse items. Since the garage is attached to the house, it will stay significantly warmer than our garage now. I’ve been promised some pretty creative shelving to store things on too.
  14. Pool changed to Greenhouse & then scrapped all together – This was surprisingly the last item to be cross off the initial wish list. When David investigated the costs further, the pool was initially swapped out for a greenhouse (David has quite a green thumb.) However, building a greenhouse proved to be far from inexpensive, and the time needed to design the space was going to push us even further behind schedule. So within a few months, the greenhouse idea was replaced by a small patio and pergola off the end of the bonus room. David also figured he’d have enough landscaping, fencing, and furniture projects to keep him plenty busy during our fist few years at the farmhouse. Perhaps somewhere down the line, a combination pool and greenhouse structure can be Phase 2 of the property.
  15. Bonus room off of the pool or greenhouse to function as a secondary living room/dining room or entertaining space, or space to just grow into, complete with the aforementioned library silo idea.
  16. Unfinished basement for storageThe abnormally high water table in the area nixed this item for us. A full basement, finished or unfinished would be too prone to flooding in the spring. We opted for a more space efficient attic over the garage and added a small mudroom
  17. 3-4 car garageChanged to a 3-car garage, one for each automobile and an additional bay for storage and a lawn tractor

Within a few weeks and several meetings, a more reasonable, manageable floor plan and design was taking shape. In addition to the above revisions, we also decreased the size of most rooms. In time, the 5,000+ square foot behemoth became a more livable 3,900 square feet (3,200 square feet in the main parts of the house and 700 square feet in the bonus room.) It was still larger than the average American home, but it truly (and finally!) seemed to meet our needs, as well as our wants.

Revised Design:

By July, 2015, we’d whittled things down to this exterior design:

model1 model2

 

By the fall of 2015, we found ourselves here:

DF2

(North Elevation)

se view

(South Elevation, before we nixed the greenhouse)

south elevation - final

(Later revision of the south elevation, with the greenhouse removed)

I’m looking forward to jumping to the specific floor plan of the farmhouse with you in the next blog post. Hope you’ll stick around and join us then!

Thank you for reading!!!

Kim

 

 

Post #4: Our Favorite Modern Farmhouses

Here are some of our favorite Modern Farmhouses, if you’d like to take a look…

Note: Like these houses? Want to pin them to your own boards? Yeah, me too. Please, please, please go to the direct sites to pin, so the designers and architects get the credit and not little ‘ol me. Thanks so much!!!

 

This home, designed by Tim Brown Architecture and built by Redbud Custom Homes in Austin, TX, was the Modern Farmhouse that I first fell in love with. Our great room exterior was inspired by the back of this home, and we also loved the idea of having 2 separate wings extend off of either side the great room. Viewing the floorpan of this home later on in our design process, when we’d gotten too complicated and had entirely too much square footage, helped us to streamline things too.

redbud austin mod farmhouse

redbed home2

 

While it’s also lovely one the exterior (great windows, great use of Texas limestone,) I especially love the Bunny Run Modern Farmhouse for its amazing interior. For several months, I insisted that we have a glass-surround dining room because I love the one in this home so much! And how cool is the window in the stairwell? The kitchen is spectacular with great colors and open shelving that extends for days. I also love how they decided to paint several rooms in the home instead of leaving them the typical Modern Farmhouse white, and elected to use wood paneling on the ceilings in some rooms instead of the typical application of using it on the walls. No wonder Southern Living magazine named it Best New Home (see their slideshow here.)

Tim Cuppert Mod Farmhouse

 

While super modern on the inside, we were really drawn to the simplicity of this house’s floorpan that was designed by Nicholas Lee. We lovingly refer to it was the “shotgun house,” like the quintessential shotgun layout you find in old New Orleans homes (long and narrow with one room leading to the next.) Also, do I even need to point out just how drool-worthy the windows and doors on this house are? Obsessed!

shotgun mod farmhouse  shotgun farmhouse 2

 

During the design process, we often looked to see how things were done in the Arroyo Grande Modern Farmhouse, designed by Gast Architects. It’s definitely more modern than we planed on going with our own Modern Farmhouse, but it’s u-shape mimicked what we were after.

arroyo grande

 

This home led us to our architect. While searching around on Houzz.com, we realized that this home was in Cherry Hills, a neighborhood in Denver. So we reached out to Blueline Architects, spoke with Ken Bridges, and the rest is history…

cherry hills farmhouse

Post #3: The Modern Farmhouse

The decision as to what kind of house we should build on on our new piece of land was an incredibly simple one. Far and away, that was the easiest part of the design process, oddly enough.

I stumbled across the idea/concept of a modern farmhouse earlier in the summer after we looked at a rundown little house on a 2 acre plot of land also in the town of Arvada. It was a half-farmhouse/half-bungalow looking place that was right up against the road. Beyond that road was the interstate and the whooshing of cars racing by at 70 miles per hour was so intense that it broke my heart. I felt so sad for this property. If it wasn’t for the interstate, it would have been the most charming little place to own and fix up. It had a little barn, a creek running thru the yard, and did I mention that I’m a sucker for old houses? There was no way we were going to consider buying this house because of the noise, but I still found myself imagining the remodel of the the little old house and designing an addition to tack onto the back of it. This lead to poking around on houzz.com and Pintrest with the search term of “farmhouse addition.” And my mind was blown. There was this thing called a modern farmhouse that kept coming up, and I was immediately obsessed with it.

It was also around this time that I discovered the show ‘Fixer Upper’ on HGTV. For those of you who haven’t seen the show, this badass couple, Chip and Joanna Gains, transform neglected houses into their clients’ dream homes in Waco, Texas. They are probably considered to be the King and Queen of Modern Farmhouse Design, and the work they do is unbelievable. Their own home, a rehabbed farmhouse is the piece de resistance for me. Be sure to take a look at it on their website. They also have a fantastic store and bog too. Oh and watch the show!

Anyway, I filed the modern farmhouse thing away in the back of my mind and we moved on in our home search. Once we bought the property though, it was immediately the style and design of a home that I went back to. Specifically, I went back to this this home designed by Tim Brown Architecture and built by Redbud Custom Homes in Austin, Texas. This is the back of the home, but I wanted something that looked sort of like this from the front. When I showed it to David, he paused for the briefest of seconds and said, “Yup, that’s the one.” Case closed. Done!

redbud austin mod farmhouse

In case you are unfamiliar, let’s bring you up to speed on elements of a Modern Farmhouse, shall we? (This is the list of things I’ve come up with, so if you agree or disagree, thing there needs to be more added to it, etc. by all means, please let me know!)

Like the name suggests, a Modern Farmhouse is exactly that – a modern version of a classic farmhouse. It retains so much of the country, farmhouse style of  home, but updates it for modern living. Many times, Mid-Century Modern elements are also found in the design. So like the tagline of the blog states (pulled from the song written by Marty Cooper,) a Modern Farmhouse is “a little bit country, a little bit rock-n-roll.”

Elements of a Modern Farmhouse:

Great Room (open kitchen, dining room, living room): As with many older homes, farmhouses often have rooms that are divided up vs. the more modern design of open concept living. As far as farmhouses go, having distinct separation of rooms wasn’t necessarily a conscious design decision, as much as a necessity. My understanding was that rooms were added on to your house as you needed them, or as your farm prospered over time. A design element used in modern farmhouses that departs from that is the open concept great room idea. Basically it’s having your kitchen, dining room, and main living room all in one open space, on the same level. It’s clean, straightforward and keeps the most used parts of the home is one area. Personally, we are drawn to this, as we like to close off rooms that aren’t in use all of the time (to keep energy costs down and keep things cleaner.) We’ve also grown used to mostly living on the main floor of our current home. Even though the rooms in our bunglow aren’t completely open to each other, the living room and dining room are, and the kitchen is close by. The two bedrooms off of the dining room are utilized as our offices and are separated by the main bathroom. We only go downstairs to the remodeled basement to sleep, shower, or do laundry. The open floor plan concept first became popular in Mid-Century Modern homes built in the 1950’s. The Mid-Mod concept of having function be as important as form can often be found in Modern Farmhouses, along with minimal color and clean lines on furniture.

A new build that looks like it’s had several small additions added onto it: This is a nod to older farmhouse architecture. As I mentioned when discussing the great room above, most farmhouses were build room by room. Another bedroom would be added as the family expanded, or an upgraded living space would be added as the farm prospered. For example, you’d build on a separate dining room because you could no longer fit everyone at the table in the kitchen or because things were going so well you could afford to add this upgrade to your home. In many historic, east coast farmhouses (like my parents’ in Newtown, PA that dates back to the early 1700’s,) you can even tell where one room was added onto the next because a different type of stone was used on the exterior. It’s not uncommon to see farmhouses that have three or four different kinds of stone on their exterior. I love how farmhouses tell a story like this. Even though most modern farmhouses are typically built from scratch and the whole house is built at the same time, they still often pay homage to this idea and have what appear to be additions added onto the central part of the home. In our inspiration house, one could assume that the one-story great room was the original part of the farmhouse, then the 2-story structure was added onto the house at a later date, and then finally the bonus room area was added later still.

DF2

Covered Porches: Another nod to classic farmhouses, the porch was an ideal gathering place. Old farmhouses were built long before there was air conditioning, so porches provided an escape from a hot house for some, and provided some time in the shade for others working in the fields. Additionally, they made a great place for the lady of the house to feed a bunch of filthy farmhands without getting her house dirty.

Industrial Elements: This is what puts the “Modern” into “Modern Farmhouse.” Industrial elements like black, steel windows, metal beams, exposed ductwork, industrial looking stair cases and subway tile are prominently found in Modern Farmhouses. I am utterly obsessed with the use of steel windows, much like the ones you’d find in an old warehouse. Hope Windows makes the most beautiful ones around, and I will eat Ramen noodles for the rest of my life to afford them. David’s not so convinced about that one, so we’ll see where we end up.

hope windows 3

Lots of Windows/Natural Light: The use of windows to bring in lots of natural light to the home is an aspect of Modern Farmhouse design that really excites David and I. First, since Colorado boasts over 300 days of sunshine each year, I feel you need to take advantage of that fact in your home and bring that sunlight in! Secondly, if done well, it can make for a more energy efficient home, thru passive solar and the need for less electric lights during the day.

Board & Batten Siding: By and large, the trend seems to be to side your Modern Farmhouse in white board & batten siding. Often, to create contrast, parts of a home will have vertical siding, while other parts will feature horizontal siding. It gives the house a clean, uniform, yet distinctive look. James Hardie siding seems to be the industry leader in the type of siding most commonly used on Modern Farmhouses. board and batten siding

Woodwork: Using wood work in Modern Farmhouse design is what makes the overall design feel warm and homey vs. cold and modern. You will often find wood beams and reclaimed wood playing a role in decor on the interior and exteriors of Modern Farmhouses. Tongue and groove siding or shiplap is often used to cover interior walls. Often these wood walls are painted white or left in their natural state. Wood floors are almost always found in Modern Farmhouses, as well.

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Simple, right? 🙂

I came across this unofficial list of rules for decorating a Modern Farmhouse recently, but I think even unofficial rules were made to be broken:

Mod Farmhouse Rules

Please check back later this week to see some of our favorite Modern Farmhouses!

Til then, thanks so much for reading along!

 

 

Post #1: The Garage Remodel Turned New Home Search…

The Denver Farmhouse Project began in the winter of 2014, with an attempt at a garage remodel at our current property. We’d lived in our current abode for 5 and a half years at that point, and in during that time we had completed several remodel projects on the 1921 brick bungalow in the Highlands neighborhood of Denver (roughly a mile and a half northwest of downtown.). The largest undertaking was finishing the basement, which included the sizable task of lowering the floor to provide more ceiling height. This resulted in the north wall of the house coming dangerously close to collapsing just days before they were scheduled to re-pour the new concrete floor, all due to a freak rainstorm of epic proportions and a misplaced downspout. But we survived and now call the lower level home to our master suite, laundry room, and an additional bedroom. Having the original windows re-built onsite and updated with additional installation and double paned glass was another big-ticket project, but the character it preserved was well worth the cost and plaster damaged caused in the re-installation. (Note to self: get this fixed before moving out…) The project that made the most noticeable difference was our landscape overhaul and yard extension. Blessed with a corner lot, we leveled things out and extended the fenced area to create a side-yard complete with a fire pit, aspen grove, and garden area. We also swapped out the unsightly endless sea of red mulch on the breezeway in between the sidewalk and the street as well as in front of the house (a half-assed completed DIY job by the house’s former owners) with beautiful, but thirsty grass. The complements we received from neighbors and passerbys made us realize just how much our house had previously been the eye sore on the block! A full paint job and first floor bathroom remodel rounded out the list of completed renovations.

4104 grove                                                                                       Our current home, a 1921, craftsman bungalow in the Highlands Neighborhood of Northwest Denver.

The garage had been an annoyance since we’d moved in. It was built up onto an elevated pad of concrete, so the short driveway leading into it was a sharp uphill turn that didn’t leave you with enough pull-in space to actually fit 2 cars into what was otherwise a 2-car garage. And backing out of the garage…let’s just say that it took considerable practice as well as “cahones” to do a blind, incredibly tight, 90 degree turn in reverse (a former car of mine took the brunt of the beating, getting scraped up mightly in my first attempt at the feat.) Snowy or icy weather made shoveling imminent and traveling up and down the driveway treacherous, but it did serve as one hell of a skate ramp for the neighborhood kids. (Thankfully no one has smashed their face in and sued us for damages…)

Ok, so here was the remodel plan:

  • Get rid of the unnecessary concrete retaining wall and lower the garage to street level
  • Straighten out the drive, so you could easily pull in and out of the garage onto the street, avoiding the alley all together
  • Make the overall size of the garage larger, so it could accommodate a woodshop for David’s new found hobby of fine woodworking
  • Add a second floor or loft area to the garage to accommodate overflow storage, specifically Kim’s horse tack and supplies, and/or make it all tricked out as a greenhouse or lounge space

After several meetings with an architect and our trusted and amazing contractor George Harrison (my brother-in-law, David’s brother who had already carefully restored our home to all of it’s former glory over the years,) several things became painfully obvious:

  • We’d be fighting an uphill battle to get a second story onto the garage. The zoning board would automatically reject it, and an appeal could be lengthy and potentially futile. (Apparently Denver is convinced that by adding a second story onto your garage, you’ll automatically be creating an additional living space or apartment, thus disrupting intended parking and overall traffic…)
  • The desired size for the garage may or may not fall into the determined “footprint” of the original structure – meaning that we might have to scale back the size of the new garage in order to meet zoning requirements, making an already tight space for parking 2 cars and large woodworking machinery even tighter
  • In order to reconfigure the driveway for easier pull in and pull out, a large tree would have to be taken down, and a telephone pole would have to be removed and relocated to some other seemingly non-existent space in the alley for an unspecified, but most likely incredibly expensive amount
  • The plumbing for our entire house may or may not be running directly thru that concrete retaining wall that our current garage sat on top of – meaning that our plumbing would potentially have to be re-routed in order to accommodate the new garage. Sounds cheap, right?

And even if we got everything we’d wanted, we were still trying to “fit a square peg into a round hole” (so to speak) in regards to space and size with the new garage. Additionally, on top of still having little to no storage around the house, I had decided that we absolutely needed a third dog and had managed to convince David of the idea during this time. While we were loving the new addition to our family, things were getting a little cramped and the level of organized chaos seemed to be reaching somewhat of a breaking point.

Thus the question was raised: Would it be worth it to look at real estate in surrounding towns to see if we could find a new home with more property that would better suit our needs?

After carefully weighing whether I just liked looking at real estate, or whether I actually wanted to move, the answer was to at least take a look.

We’ve loved our time in Denver, we really have. David and I met there, fell in love there, had our first house there, and went from one dog to three dogs there. But we’d also watched the city grow exponentially in a short period of time, and found ourselves craving a bit more quiet and a bit more elbow room. I grew up on a small farm, so I’ve never even remotely considered myself to be a “city girl” (although Denver has always felt like a big town full of little neighborhoods instead of a city,) and David had expressed interest in owning more land at some point in time, so why not do it now?

So like all good searches these days, we turned to the trusty Internet and began to explore surrounding towns like Wheat Ridge, Golden, Morrison, and Lakewood. Armed with our trusty real estate agent and friend Jess Kuhn of City Limits Property Management, we found some interesting options over the next few months, but never found one that checked off enough boxes. Too many homes in the area were enormous, 5-6 bedroom sprawling suburban compounds. Which fit the bill for the average suburban family with 3.5 children or more, but not for us. As a couple with three small dogs, there was simply no way we needed that much space. So when a 1.5 acre lot went on the market in western part of Arvada that came with the opportunity to build exactly what we wanted and needed, it seemed like it was too good to pass up.

A vacant, residential lot that close to downtown Denver was pretty much unheard of! And the price, while not a steal, was well worth it. We had kicked around the idea of how great it would be to find a lot of land and build from scratch, but hadn’t come across anything and hadn’t expected to. But low and behold here it was! We visited the property with Jess and had an offer submitted within a few hours. Better yet, it was accepted shortly thereafter. On October 1st, 2014, what would eventually become 14400 W. 52nd Ave. became ours. (In fitting fashion, Dave came to closing right from the woodshop, so he was covered in wood shavings. I came straight from the farm and still had my riding breeches and tall boots on — weren’t we quite the pair!)

Now if you would have told me that 16 months after closing, we still hadn’t even broken ground on the new house, I’m not sure if I would have committed to this whole undertaking. But I’m still glad we did. Unfortunately, it’s just taken that long to find a great architect, figure out a design, change it like 50 times, tweak it, tweak it, and tweak it some more and have David tell me that it’s only a few weeks away from being finished every single week… But apparently now we’re actually getting close to being done with the design and can submit for building permits after that.

So now we can share the good stuff and the fun stuff with you all! I’ll need some posts to get you all caught up to speed on things, but then we’ll be full steam ahead on something that we hope will be pretty stellar. And in the end, we’ll get to live there!

So lace up your work boots kids, it’s going to be one hell of a ride!

 

Thanks for reading along!

Love, Kim