One of the most iconic and long-lasting home styles to grace the housing market is none other than the farmhouse style house. With their clean lines, sprawling porches, and usually set on acres of land, farmhouses are a timeless choice, whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or are relocating to a new state. So what makes these homes so classic and worth adding to your list to check out?

We’ll cover everything you need to know about farmhouses to help you decide if this home is the right style for you. Let’s get started.

What exactly makes a home a farmhouse style?

Farmhouses are typically larger homes, initially intended for large households, that are minimalistic in style and feature lots of open spaces, a large kitchen, and outdoor spaces for days. These homes are usually found on a large tract of land or in the country, as the land was often used for farming. However, not all farmhouses these days are on working farms. And many farmhouses are found outside of the country in more suburban areas.

History of farmhouses

There’s no one “original style” of a farmhouse style house, as farmers often built homes to fit their own needs. Farmers constructed these houses with the materials available in their area and their own skillset. For example, New England farmhouses were typically built with timber, while Pennsylvania farmhouses took inspiration from German settlers incorporating more stone and brickwork.

However, traditional farmhouses date back to the early Colonial period, the 1600s, and persisted as pioneers ventured throughout the country. The very early traditional farmhouses consisted of a single floor and were rectangular in shape, which is common in today’s farmhouses.

farmhouse with wood columns and large front porch with attic space

Common characteristics of farmhouse style homes

While the original farmhouse style homes vary depending on the region and building techniques, each share a few common features. Regardless of where you’re looking at farmhouses, here are some of the well-known characteristics of the style.

Exterior features

One of the most prominent features of a farmhouse is the porch. You can find any variation of a porch on a farmhouse’s exterior, be it a screened-in or covered porch or a large wrap-around porch. The porch served as an area for farmers to ditch their muddy boots before entering the home or as a place to cool off during hot summer days.

Farmhouses are typically one-to-two stories tall and have simple square or rectangular floor plans. Depending on the age of the home, you may find a basement crawl space or cellar area. Some homes may feature an attic space which was commonly used for storage. However, some may be converted into a living area.

The majority of farmhouses have wood siding, specifically clapboard siding, which was designed to keep out wind and water. However, some modern farmhouse styles may have more stone and masonry details. They also have pitched roofs, often with dormer windows.

large country kitchen in a farmhouse with white walls and exposed wood

Interior design

Farmhouse interiors are often simplistic with minimal details, but have many of the home features you know and may love. The kitchen in a farmhouse is one of the most notable areas of the home as it’s often spacious with lots of storage and large appliances.

Kitchens typically have an island, a large pantry, lots of wood or open cabinets, and enough room for a dining table. In some older farmhouses, you may find a hearth room, also called a keeping room, which includes a fireplace and pantry. You’ll also find lots of exposed beams, which are usually as detailed as traditional farmhouses go.

Traditional farmhouse floor plans

Farmhouse floor plans are nearly identical, but not always. You’ll find formal front rooms for entertaining guests, with the kitchen and more casual living areas located in the back of the home. If there was a second floor in the home, that’s where the majority of bedrooms tended to be located. Staircases also were located near the kitchen rather than at the front of the home, although some modern farmhouse plans may differ.

farmhouse with wrap-around porch and dormer windows

7 styles of farmhouses

Many versatile home styles, like the farmhouse, come in many variations with different architectural details. Here are some of the common styles of farmhouses:

Saltbox

The saltbox house is an early variation of the farmhouse, most notably identified by its steep slanted roofs. These homes were built during the 17th and 18th centuries and are an integral home style of the Colonial period. You can find saltbox homes throughout New England in coastal cities like Plymouth, MA.

Cracker

The cracker style farmhouse is the smallest and simplest of the variations. It’s a single-story home that was built quickly when settlers needed shelter. The siding is usually made out of cedar wood with a metal roof. You’ll also find lots of symmetrical windows to catch the cross-breeze and a deep-set covered porch.

Pennsylvania Dutch

You’ll find the Pennsylvania Dutch style farmhouse is a little different than the rest, thanks to the German immigrants that used their masonry skills to build these homes. Expect to see bricks and stone masonry details in addition to the wood siding.

Classical Revival

Classical Revival farmhouses are different in the way that they’re laid out. The middle of the home is typically the entrance and main living area, with side “wings” extending off to each side – think The White House.

Greek Revival

The main feature that signifies a Greek Revival farmhouse is the Greek columns at the front of the home supporting the porch overhang. They’re typically moderate to large in size in square footage. 

victorian farmhouse with blue exterior and manicured lawn

Victorian

One of the more dreamy home styles out there is the Victorian style house. And when combined with a farmhouse, it’s the perfect blend of the two styles. You’ll find a full front porch, often with columns and ornate brackets, steep gabled roofs, and white or colored exteriors. If you’re lucky, the home may even have a turret.

Modern farmhouse

When you’re looking for a farmhouse style house, you’ll most likely come across modern farmhouses. Modern farmhouses often refer to the home’s interior design, blending the farmhouse style with reclaimed wood, metals, and clean lines. When it comes to the modern farmhouse’s exterior, you’ll often find white-painted wood siding, a black or metal roof, lots of windows, and the iconic covered front porch.

Where to find farmhouses in your area

Just because farmhouses have the word “farm” included in the name, that doesn’t mean you can only find these houses in rural areas. While many farmhouses are on large pieces of land, there are many suburban areas where you can find modern farmhouses. So if a farmhouse style house is right for you, Redfin can help you find one in your city.

searching to buy a home in raleigh north carolina

1. Go to Redfin.com and type into the Search Bar either the city’s name or the zip code, for example, Raleigh, NC, where you’d like to begin looking for a house. Press enter. 

raleigh homes for sale filters

2. Near the top of the next page, on the right side, you will see “All filters.” Click on that and scroll to the “Keywords” box near the bottom of the page.

home features for homes for sale in raleigh
searching for farmhouses

3. Type the word “farmhouse” into the Keywords box and press Apply Filters. That’s all. Homes within the city name or zip code you entered will populate the page, and you’ll be able to begin your search.

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