Is the Modern Farmhouse Trend Dead?

Designers discuss the evolution of the shiplap and barn doors look.

pony wall fixer upper
Joanna Gaines via Instagram

If there’s one person to thank for the countrywide domination of the modern farmhouse trend, it’s Joanna Gaines. She’s taken the aesthetic to new heights on Fixer Upper, of course, but she’s also opening a coffee shop and a hotel—and that’s on top of her Hearth & Hand with Magnolia for Target line. True, these are all in Waco, Texas, but it seems the trend shows no signs of slowing down—or does it?

The embrace of dark colors and quirky design trends like Memphis, maximalism, and wallpapered ceilings may certainly signal a downturn. Even Wayfair has heralded its demise, going all in on modern farmhouse's edgier cousin, industrial farmhouse. But while the modern farmhouse trend may be on the ropes, it’s definitely not down for the count.

“It's a tricky question,” says New York designer Tyson Ness of Studio Ness. “I think that the aesthetic, in some form, is here to stay but requires a diligent eye to make sure that it works. Shiplap and reclaimed wood don't have a home everywhere or in every architectural style. I find that when I prompt my clients to address why they are drawn to that style, they come back to the same things: approachability, light and bright, and classic materiality.”

So how might one adapt the style for the current aesthetic climate? “I see it evolving to include a bit more inspiration from designs coming out from the U.K., Belgium, and France, with more plaster, moodier colors, and warm woods. Those elements make the style feel a bit more layered and cool—and way less cookie cutter.”

Designer Amy Kalikow agrees. “I think that textural elements of the farmhouse trend are being replaced with more modern interpretations. Shiplap walls, for example, were a way to add texture to an otherwise simple room. Now, fluted wood panels or more creative substitutes are taking their place.” So if the basic elements of modern farmhouse are morphing in ways that make it even slightly unrecognizable, does that mean the style is dead?

Jeffrey Dungan Farmhouse Kitchen
A farmhouse-inspired kitchen by Jeffrey Dungan.
William Abranowicz

“I would say, certainly not,” says Alabama architect Jeffrey Dungan. “The farmhouse is a vernacular of its own: The barn and the farm are as foundational and fundamental to our lives as food, and while our lives have moved on from our agrarian beginnings, there will always be something winsome and resonant in those buildings. Their shapes are pure and simple—this is part of the genius.”

So there you have it. The modern farmhouse look, thankfully, isn’t going anywhere.

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