Home Tour

Our Modern Farmhouse: Exterior

This is where we call home…currently. We’ve been known to move from time to time, but we have been here for over two years, and absolutely love it. So who knows, we might stay a while. In this post, which will be the first of several home tour articles, I want to show you around the exterior of our house and share some of the thinking behind what we did.

Every year we go to Isle of Palms, SC on vacation. It’s located right outside of Charleston. We’re always inspired by the beautiful white modern/costal farmhouses you’ll find there and on neighboring Sullivan’s Island. Our idea was to borrow a lot of those elements and use them on our new house here in Tennessee.

If you have ever built before, you know that finding a plan can be nerve racking. You want to get a plan that is perfect and meets all your needs, but it’s easier said than done. You almost always have to make a compromise somewhere.  At one point we considered hiring an architect, but ultimately decided against it since we had never went that route, and to be honest, we were a little intimidated by the process.

So we ended up finding a plan online called Mama Crovatt’s House. It was extremely close to what we were wanting and definitely had that farmhouse vibe. Of course we did make a tweak or two to the plan, like adding a garage. Ok…that’s more than a tweak, but it was necessary since the plan didn’t include one.

So, what makes a farm house modern? This was the question we asked ourself. I think people have varying opinions on this, but I believe a farmhouse has to have a few key characteristics to have that modern look. Not all of these characteristics are a must, but the house needs to have at least a few of them. For us it was important to find the right blend – not too “farmy” and not ultra modern. So here are a few things that we tried to include:

Clean Lines: If you choose the right plan, this takes care of itself. Farmhouse’s typically have simple lines. And you can take it a step further by avoiding ornate details, keeping things simple and using white as your exterior paint color. And nothing says “farmhouse” and “modern” like white. But we didn’t want to go too bright with the color. So we chose a white that had some creaminess to it. It’s called Cream Delight by Valspar.

Mixed Exterior Siding: We were originally going to do the whole house in board and batten, but after we saw how labor intensive it was, we decided to give our building crew and budget a break by taking a different approach. We decided to alternate from board and batten to lap siding on the different sections of the house.

Black Windows: They aren’t a must, but I think it definitely helps with the modern look. Especially on an all white house, you need something to pop. And it creates such a clean and crisp look. When we told our building supply sales rep, we were doing black windows he though we were crazy. It’s hard to believe that just two years ago, black windows were such a new idea – at least in our area. And actually, you still don’t see them being used often where we live. We ended up going with Plygem. They were the best combo of quality and affordability. As you will see in upcoming home tour articles, that we also have black windows on the interior. Doing this was very rare, and the price reflected it. So to save money, we went with unfinished wood on the inside and painted them black.

Standing Seam Metal Roof: We wanted so badly to do a galvanized metal roof on the whole house, but the budget did not allow it. So we opted for black architectural shingles on the house and black metal on the front porch, back porch and breezeway.

Industrial Lighting: We really wanted the lighting on our garage to make a statement. We went with oversized black gooseneck lights above each garage door, which we found on Houzz.

To add some contrast with all of the white siding, we incorporated some wood elements. On all of the porch ceilings we used pine tongue and groove planks. For the porch decking we were originally going with an engineered material. But when it arrived on site, we could see that it had too much of an artificial look. So we opted for plain ole pressure treated decking, which ended up being much cheaper. We finished with Cabot Gold, which gave it an almost interior hardwood look.

The front door and back porch door are mahogany with a clear coat of polyurethane.

The pool area is tucked away between the garage and the house, which gives us lots of privacy. To add more “modern”, we decided on a simple rectangular shape. It’s surrounded by 2′ x 2′ travertine tiles and then pavers for walking area and a place to put our out door dining area. The rest of the area surrounding the pool we sodded for some added greenery. Our pool guy thought we were crazy for doing this, but we love the look, and it’s a breeze to take care of as long as you have a bag mower.

The swing bed on the porch was a DIY project for Henry. He built it shortly after we moved in. It was made to fit a standard twin mattress and we ordered the cover from World Market. He had made one for our previous house, but unfortunately the new owners wanted us to leave it. But to be honest, I don’t think Henry cared too much. He was itching for a new project.

He’s also getting ready to build one for my mother. Although it might be a different design. He’s going to document the process and we’ll be releasing a tutorial here on the blog.

That’s it for the exterior tour. If you have any questions about what you’ve seen in this article, feel free to leave a comment below. I’ll be showing the inside in our next home tour post.


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  • Reply Meagan

    Beautiful home! We are in the middle of a build and are currently exploring our window options. I know you mentioned that you used plygem windows but would you mind sharing which series you ended up going with?

    September 1, 2018 at 7:07 pm
    • Reply Henry

      Hi Meagan,

      Thank you!

      They are MIRA PREMIUM SERIES double hung. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

      September 1, 2018 at 8:44 pm
  • Reply Shelley

    Your home is beautiful! Love that you are doing a blog and sharing all the details with all of us. I am sure this is going to be one of my favorite blogs 🙂 Keep up the amazing work!

    September 1, 2018 at 8:07 pm
    • Reply Brooke

      Hi Shelley. Thanks so much! Those are encouraging words and just what I needed to hear.

      September 1, 2018 at 8:43 pm
  • Reply Shannon

    LOVE your home!! have been following you on instagram for inspiration as we get ready to build. We are actually in Charleston : ) (James Island) Of course I love cruising the old village Mt. P and Sullivan’s Island for ideas as well!

    September 1, 2018 at 9:15 pm
    • Reply Brooke

      Hello Shannon! We are so glad that you have been following along with us! I know exactly where James Island is and love that area. So excited that you all will be building soon and can use our home for some inspiration. We hope to get several more articles up soon along with more parts to our home tour. This may be helpful also. Thanks so much for joining us!

      September 2, 2018 at 12:07 am
  • Reply Chelly

    Beautiful home. Building a modern farmhouse in AZ. What stain did you use for your pine t&g?

    September 2, 2018 at 10:29 am
    • Reply Henry

      Hi Chelly. That is awesome! I’m sure you are excited. We’ve not put anything on the t&g yet. So it is all natural. We were afraid to commit to a color and really liked the natural unfinished look on the ceilings.

      September 2, 2018 at 2:08 pm
  • Reply Kristy

    It’s a Gorgeous home 💛

    September 3, 2018 at 10:23 pm
    • Reply Henry

      Hi Kristy. Thanks! Glad you like it. 😊

      September 4, 2018 at 12:01 am
  • Reply Jennifer Baldwin

    Currently building a modern farmhouse in Louisiana! Love the colors y’all selected for exterior. Do you mind sharing what coloring roof, and siding you chose? I have struggled find the correct white and roof! We were in same boat on our roof- we were planning to do a standing seam roof for the entire but metal prices increased dramatically since we designed so doing a shingle/ standing seam combo roof to be more budget friendly

    September 4, 2018 at 4:36 pm
  • Reply Henry

    Hi Jennifer. Great to hear that you are building. It is an exciting process for sure. And I feel your pain on the metal roof. It totally changed our vision for the house, but we are very happy with the way it turned out. As for the colors, sorry about that. I thought we had included them in the article. I’ll add them. The exterior wall color is Valspar Cream Delight, and the roof is GAF Timberline Charcoal shingles.

    September 4, 2018 at 7:04 pm
  • Reply Charity

    I’m so excited to find your blog! I’m making my final changes in the Mama Crovatt’s floor plan. I’d love to see more of what the interior of your farmhouse looks like!

    September 17, 2018 at 2:17 pm
    • Reply Henry

      Hi Charity. I’m glad you found it too! That’s exciting that you are getting ready to build. We’re working on some interior home tour articles for the blog, but in the mean time, you can check our our Instagram account.

      September 17, 2018 at 4:11 pm
  • Reply Jonathan Cope

    Anyway they you might share your plans with someone and maybe the sq ft. WE just purchased a large track of land and in the process if clearing spot and drive way. Wife loves modern farm house and would love to see the plans.

    October 2, 2018 at 6:03 pm
    • Reply Henry

      Hi Jonathan. Thanks for stopping by. The plan is called Mama Crovatt’s House. There’s a link in the article above. 🙂

      October 3, 2018 at 1:22 pm
  • Reply Lisa

    Did you use a particular black for the windows or just the manufacturer’s color? I’m struggling with finding the right black. Some are too gray, others pull blue or green, and for some reason true black looks too severe and not rich enough.

    October 21, 2018 at 2:37 pm
    • Reply Brooke

      Hello Lisa! They are just the manufactured color black. Not sure if they even have a name for the color other than black. They are plygem windows.

      November 17, 2018 at 5:24 pm
  • Reply Norma Newton

    Hello. Just found your site and love all of your articles and info. Your home is lovely. I particularly love all of it’s clean lines. We are building on some acreage and are looking for something that is less upkeep than our now 1940’s built craftman’s house that is loaded with character and tons of maintenance. My question is about your rear porch. It seems a lot of plans we are looking at have, what I call, enclosed porches verses porches that are positioned more on the exterior of the house. I am concerned about porches that are blocked, therefore, must lose some of nature’s breezes, etc. Does your rear porch feel more stuffy than your front porch and do you regret it being tucked away? Thanks so much for all of your information that you share. You guys truly have a gift.

    November 25, 2018 at 1:07 pm
  • Reply Brooke

    Hi Norma! We are very excited you have found us and glad you like our content! We appreciate your kind words and encouragement. The plan we chose didn’t actually have a garage, so we found a garage plan. Henry, my husband actually planned the porch and pool area to be tucked away in order for us to have privacy. We love the fact that it is private, but yet open in the back, allowing for us to see the beautiful scenery. The breeze does flow and come in nicely through the back though! Im thinking that most plans do this for a privacy thing, in which most people want that are building in a neighborhood. Considering you will have some acreage, you may not need this and may want a more open porch.

    November 27, 2018 at 4:12 pm
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