Inspired Exterior: Barns of America

Fall is such a beautiful time of year, isn’t it?

For the last month I’ve been living in a cabin nestled in the Appalachian Mountains of Maryland, working on a design for a new TV show on Animal Planet.

The rolling hills and two lane highways were a canvas of the most exquisite autumn-splashed countryside. Between the picturesque barns, corn fields, roaming dairy cows and vibrant falling leaves, I found myself hanging out the window with a camera while driving…just trying to capture all the beauty!

Barns and farmhouses are quintessential early American architecture. There’s an unspeakable charm juxtaposed to the relentless, hard-working and resilient way of life that has defined our country.

When designing the exterior of your home, I always talk about giving your house a “character.” Whether it’s nostalgia or an attraction to simple beauty, the farmhouse style strikes a chord with so many of us. To bring the farmhouse style to life, consider incorporating these elements into your home design:

Barn quilts are a type of “folk art” and are designed to add color and meaning to barns. More than 40 states in our country have barns adorned with quilts!

Exterior Inspiration Gathered: American Farmhouse

Also known as “folk” architecture, this style is known for its stark simplicity.


The general shape or size is most often vertical or box-like in a farmhouse and there is such true beauty in the lack of details here.


A simple gable, with a steep pitch perpetuates the stark vertical direction of this style.

Porch Living:

Outdoor space is just part of the culture and community. During my days designing for ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” the one thing I saw

over and over on the family interview documents was this: Of all the requests they could make, many families just wanted a front porch. I can’t help but think this speaks to the very history of our country; the idea of neighbors helping neighbors and our innate desire to be a part of a community.

Trim & Color:

This house is a total showstopper! The Victorian Farmhouse era started introducing more color and trim details. Wrap around porches became functional living space.


Fence lines not only dictate property lines, but with charm and grace, they really just draw you in to the home.

When it’s all said and done, creating the home you’ll love for years starts with finding a style of architecture that speaks to you and then making color selections and design decisions based off of that. Whether you find inspiration from the farmland of America like I did or not, I think we can all agree the landscape of our countryside is something to appreciate—especially during the fall season!