Farmhouse architecture is one of the most unique designs we have. There is so much history to it and on top of the interesting history it is a true record of how people from different cultures brought their skills to America and used them to build our country. It is also a testament to the ingenuity and imagination that Americans have to add and take away details to create something that is uniquely theirs.
The History of the Farmhouse Architecture
Farmhouse architecture doesn’t actually pertain to a specific style like Victorian or Cape Cod styles do. The term “farmhouse” is used to describe homes that were built on agricultural lands as shelters for the people that were working the land. These houses were built out of necessity and by the people that would actually live in them. Because most of these homeowners could not afford much, the homes were designed without the help of an architect and out of whatever material was easily available.
Evolution of Farmhouse Architecture
When the railroad system grew beyond the cities and across the country, the availability of supplies to the farmlands increased. This meant that farmhouses no longer had to be built with the materials that were in the area, but now could be built with supplies that arrived on train. The availability of supplies meant that immigrant homeowners could again use the building skills of their homeland, whether that was mason work or ornate carpentry.
It also meant that wealthier homeowners were able to add appealing features of the popular architecture style of the time to their farmhouse. Adding these features created new categories of architecture design, such as Greek Revival farmhouses or Victorian farmhouses.
Consistent Elements of Farmhouse Architecture
Even though there is no real specific style guide for a farmhouse, there were always 3 elements that were seen in the majority of them. Primarily, they were found on farms. Next, they usually had a large porch that was used as a mudroom, as well as a place to sit when the house was too hot to be in during the summer.
Finally the front of the house is where guests were entertained, with the kitchen in the back of the main floor, and the bedrooms upstairs. Many house styles still follow this floor plan, as it brings the formal areas of the house to the front, so guests don’t have to go through the family’s living areas.