We Aren’t in Kansas Anymore. Why the Modern Farmhouse Design is so Hot.

At first glance, the design style known as “modern farmhouse” sounds like a conflict in terms. For anyone who grew up on a farm or visited grandparents who lived there, they most likely have memories of life on the farm as anything but modern!

Dorothy’s mythical home in Kansas, featured in the movie “Wizard of Oz,” is more likely to represent the farmhouses we recognize. However, just like Dorothy, the farmhouse is not in Kansas anymore. It’s in the hottest neighborhoods in the United States, and it has a modern, open look and feel.

It has been noted that the modern farmhouse design “marries a contemporary-transitional design aesthetic with cozy natural elements to create a fresh, cleaned-lined warm feel.” For several reasons, this style of home has gotten extremely popular for both renovations and newly constructed homes, and Denver-area custom home builder Mike Schroetlin of Schroetlin Custom Homes has some thoughts as to why this has occurred so quickly.

What Defines a Modern Farmhouse?

“I would describe it as taking much of the architecture and appealing elements of an older farmhouse and combining it with modern styling and conveniences,” Schroetlin said. “In Colorado, we see a little more of a rustic or mountain flare on many of these newer modern farmhouses.”

What accounts for this design style’s rapid acceptance among home owners?

“I think some of the home and interior design programs featured on networks like Home & Garden TV (HGTV) and websites such as Houzz have had a big impact on this style. It has really caught on with today’s homeowners.  

“I believe many aspects of this style are timeless when done right, but it is also somewhat of a new style twist that jumps out at people when they drive down the street and see it. It is much different from most of the home styles that have been so popular over the last decade or so, and I think that many buyers have been ready for something new and are drawn to this.” 

Using Brick as a Part of this Hot Home Design

Michael Earley of Acme Brick in Denver has noticed an increase in the popularity of this home design style, and is seeing brick used for both exteriors and interiors.

“This style relies on muted, natural colors and natural construction elements, such as wood, brick and stone,” he said. “The natural beauty and strength of brick have been an important part of farmhouses for centuries, especially in the kitchens and for fireplaces. The modern outside amenities, such as poolside patios, outdoor kitchens and other entertainment areas, are also greatly enhanced by brick.”

Schroetlin agrees.  

“Brick interior accent walls and fireplace surrounds are very popular with the modern farmhouse style,” he said. “Much of the exteriors of these homes are wood or siding, but brick is also common as accents on the exterior. We have included brick paver patios and porches the construction of this style of home.”

What Makes This Style “Modern”?

This design may look and feel a little like the farmhouse one’s grandparents lived in, but this is definitely not grandma’s house! Many modern features make this style truly “modern.”

“Clean lines, larger rooms and more open concept floor plans are the primary differences between the original farmhouses and this style,” Schroetlin said. “Many of the older farmhouse plans have a more compartmentalized feel to them. However, these new homes have taller ceilings, wide open great rooms and open staircases. 

“Typically, they also feature other modern conveniences, such as home automation and energy efficient fixtures and appliances, as well as the obvious upgrades of new plumbing, electrical and HVAC systems. They also have better insulation to save on utilities, wider doorways and more modern kitchen layouts.

Schroetlin Liked This Style so Much that He Built One for His Family!

My wife and I personally like the modern farmhouse look, so we decided to build our own home in this style,” Schroetlin said. “I would describe our home as a modern Colorado farmhouse. It is a two-story home with about 4,200 finished square feet and some of that finish is in the basement.

Our home backs to a golf course with mature trees, so we designed the layout, windows and outdoor living areas to take advantage of that as much as we could. We’ve only been in the home for a few weeks, but we love it already!”


If you’re considering building a modern farmhouse, ask you architect about including brick construction. To chat with Mike Schroetlin, click here