Farmhouse is a term used more often to describe function. The design of a farmhouse – also called ‘connected farms’ or ‘folk houses’ – was initially influenced by geography and a particular agricultural pursuit. The style evolved from the characteristics of the place, people, climate and materials available in the particular region it was located.
The earliest homes that we can call ‘true’ farmhouses were those built by early colonial families and owners who would likely have built the homes themselves. The commonality was this: The farmhouse was unpretentious, straightforward and functional.
The home itself was often of a certain Colonial vernacular (cape-like, saltbox, colonial, etc.); beginning as a residential structure then added upon with multiple utilitarian additions to the rear of the home. Farmhouse architecture is perhaps most recognizable by its core design elements: porches were a perfect place for muddy boots to be kept outside; from the porch, an additional entry at the gable end of the house was also characteristic so as not to access the house through the two formal front rooms for entertaining, and finally the large farmhouse kitchen was housed in the back, a space that allowed for harvested crops to be canned, dried, cooked and stored.
Stone and timber were predominant structural elements in regions where these materials were readily available. Classic forms and details from the Greek Revival, Georgian and Victorian architectural eras were also common styles of the home, and reflected in the additional structures that were often attached. These buildings today are some of the most beautiful and iconic combinations of structures seen.