The Real Story on Farmhouse Decor

December 1, 2020

The nature of my business takes me into people’s homes on a daily basis, not just up here in the foothills but also down the hill in the thick of the suburbs. In addition, I enjoy looking at sites and magazines for the current trends in “farmhouse décor.” So, on a regular basis, I am stumped by the suburban trend of signs that label each room (or actually tell you it’s a FARMHOUSE) or order you to GATHER or do LAUNDRY. Is this so visitors to the home know where they are? Or what you want them to do? Perhaps to make them ponder the mystery of how you have Farm Fresh Eggs for Sale but no chickens in your back yard? Does Mercantile mean your dishes are for sale? Are the presence of a washer and dryer not enough to indicate you’ve found the laundry room? And don’t even get me started on the ubiquitous Coffee Bar.

 

We live on a small farm in a 100 year-old house. Ergo, by very definition, our decor would be called Farmhouse. You could also call it Modern Farmhouse, Industrial Farmhouse, Eclectic, and, my personal favorite, Early American Jed Clampett, but I digress… Early on, we started out as many young couples do, without two nickels to rub together to put towards any furnishings and design elements. Parents and other family members’ homes and basements were ransacked for useable furniture, mismatched dishes, and any sofa at all that didn’t look like it belonged in a college dorm room. Of course, now we’re old and those items are called Treasured Heirlooms and Antiques, and now mismatched china and flatware are considered charming. We had no idea all those years ago we would be such trendsetters.

 

Using photos for reference, let’s analyze one of my favorite “Farmhouse” rooms when it comes to design: the entryway. I’ve included here a “designed” entryway and – for some pretty serious contrast – our actual entryway.

Design Features: Lovely composition, charming family photos, requisite affirmation sign, lovely farmhouse-y bench, coatless coathooks.

Things that pop into my head:

  1. Wow, that’s a lot of white.
  2. Where are the poopy boots?
  3. There is not any room on the lovely bench to actually put one’s butt down to put on or remove said poopy boots.
  4. The floor is suspiciously clean. Already I don’t trust these people.
  5. These people do not have indoor pets, as seen by the distinct lack of furry dust bunnies and the fact that the cute little throw has not been dragged around the house.
  6. These people and I have similar taste in coat hooks. But they apparently have no coats.
  7. A lack of giant gnomes. These people have no sense of whimsy.

 

Real Life Features:

  1. Multiple pairs of poopy boots. Weather conditions determine which pair gets worn on any given day and always good to have spares for farm visitors who did not bring their own hose-down-able footwear.
  2. Well-used trays to hold the poopy boots. This gives the illusion that I am in control of the muck situation and that it has been contained. Also promotes a sense of trust as the words “suspiciously clean” have never been used here.
  3. Both a bench for sitting down to put on one’s boots (again, that reference to my age comes into play here) and an old cast iron Cricket for taking off the poopy boots without popping a vein or getting a hernia.
  4. Rugs that are washable, and yet, never seem to actually make it into the washer.
  5. We do have indoor pets, as seen by the abundance of furry dust bunnies and the fact that our old cat Murray will drag the laundry from the bedroom into the entryway and create an art installation with it. All underwear was removed from the scene before photos were taken, but trust me, it was there.
  6. You can’t actually see the charming coat hooks because they are covered up with a plethora of coats. See Feature #1 for an explanation.
  7. An abundance of giant gnomes. I’ve got whimsy out the wazoo, lemme tellya.

 

On a final note, you can likely tell I’m not normally a big fan of signs around the house. Most tend to fall into the categories of Obvious, Obscure, or downright Bossy. (Seriously, I’ll gather when I’m good and ready.) But I have a few friends who apparently know me a little too well and who have gifted me a few signs: “Please don’t feed the dust bunnies,” “What happens in the barn stays in the barn,” and – my personal favorite near the bath tub:

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