Exploring the History of the Farmhouse


Windows and Doors Provide Function and Style

Farmhouse style was borne from necessity. It reflected the lives of rural Americans where function was more important than style. Yet, the looks created in those original farmhouses of mismatched fabrics and rows of shiplap are now sought after in homes across the country. Today’s Farmhouse style, made even more popular by the HGTV show Fixer Upper, takes from its roots but has transformed with whimsical details and rustic accents. Farmhouse windows and doors play a critical role in capturing this charming style.

The roots of Farmhouse

The roots of Farmhouse architecture began in the fields of Scandinavia and Germany. From Europe, it made its way to the rural farm lands of the US in the 1700s. For the next few hundred years, the most important qualities for a farmhouse to have were that it be sturdy and built to last. It wasn’t until the 1930s that many US farmhouses received electricity and running water. Windows and doors played a more functional role, letting in light and air.

The original interiors often had low ceilings and small doorways. The kitchen was and remains the heart of the house. It was typically much more spacious and provided workspace but rarely had many cabinets. You can see that same basic principle in modern Farmhouse kitchens – large, open spaces with a center island. Many of these kitchens employ open shelving to keep the room from looking cluttered. And as before, there is the love of natural light flooding into the room. A large, wood frame window is almost always found above the Farmhouse sink.

Traditional elements included windows that were taller than they were wide. Front doors sat on the grand porch often with sidelites. Dutch doors were also popular as a way to keep air moving. They created a perfect barrier as well, keeping children in and animals out.

Farmhouse windows and doors evolve in the modern era

A big part of every home are its windows and doors. And while original farmhouses looked at these elements as purely functional, the 21st century Farmhouse can appreciate windows and doors as much more. There is still the desire to have natural light. Windows are now bigger. You might find narrow windows to the sides of a center one. Double-hung windows are used most often in farmhouses. Grille patterns are quite frequently seen in Farmhouse windows. The top down or cottage grille and Colonial grille are the most common.

For upper areas of the home, which could include a converted attic space, awning windows are popular. They may also include the Colonial grille to match other windows. The push out feature of the awning lets fresh air in as well.

Another window design for farmhouses is adding a transom above the double-hung. This extends the windows and allows for more light to flow into the space.

Doors are a major part of any modern farmhouse. And they aren’t too far from the original concepts. Dutch doors are still a Farmhouse standard. They have great value as a functional piece. New Dutch doors incorporate more glass. The ones used on farmhouses tend to have a longer top than bottom. Additional accents now make the Dutch door a stunning entrance. Pops of color, especially in light or dark blues, create a one-of-a-kind Dutch door.

Going inside the farmhouse, barn doors are a must. Barn doors of course originated in barns. In the 21st century, barn doors combine function and style. They can create separation between rooms, be a great solution for a tight space and hide shelves, closets or storage areas.

In Farmhouse design, barn doors remain mostly wood. You’ll find reclaimed wood, often different pieces from various places (possibly even an actual barn). Depending on the space, you can use one door that slides over a single covering or two doors that meet in the middle and slide opposite one another for larger spaces.

Cross rails or crossbars are a hallmark of the Farmhouse barn door. Incorporating glass keeps light flowing. That’s another more modern element of the Farmhouse barn door.

Farmhouse style cherishes comfort and function

Farmhouse is essentially about comfort and function; that hasn’t changed since the first ones were built. Farmhouse windows and doors extend these attributes from the interior and exterior. You can see more Farmhouse inspired windows and doors by visiting our Farmhouse Possibilities page.