Modern farmhouse bathrooms - 8 ways to create a pared-back, elegant space to relax in
Discover modern farmhouse bathroom ideas dreamt up by top designers and architects, as well as insider tips for getting the look right
There are many routes to take when searching for modern farmhouse bathroom ideas, so it really depends what suits your home, taste and budget. From architect-designed spaces with a focus on natural materials to cottage-style bathrooms that radiate character, there’s sure to be a take on this timeless trend that appeals. ‘Clean lines and a minimalist approach are crucial to us when designing a modern farmhouse, ensuring that it's intentional every time something catches the eye,’ say Homestedt’s Anna and Tom Roberts, who run their studio from the Catskills. ‘These moments should be few but fantastic; this is how we create a peaceful but atmospheric space.’
Much of Homestedt’s work involves injecting life into older properties that have been stripped back and remodeled over the years. ‘If we get the chance to redesign an old farmhouse, we search for any signs of character and hold onto it for dear life,’ Anna continues. ‘When that includes original features such as wood floors, beams, clawfoot tubs and ceramic sinks, our job is to keep the rest of the space calm and leave room for the hero pieces.’ If you’re working on an older home that’s devoid of original features, then Anna recommends using carpentry, millwork, wallpaper and paint colors to create a link with the period when the house was built.
If your task is to make a traditional rustic bathroom feel more like a modern farmhouse, then look to paring things back with sleek fittings and sanitaryware and an understated tiling scheme, or elevating the space with materials, such as modern marble floors or minimalist built-ins and countertops made from stone, cement and wood. You could also look to strong or dark colors to modernize your space, or if in doubt, stick to a white, light and airy backdrop, and let rustic textures and natural patina shine.
8 MODERN FARMHOUSE BATHROOM IDEAS
1. ADD CAFÉ CURTAINS FOR CHARM AND PRIVACY
‘We relocated the main bathroom to capture the light and view from these large windows,’ says Ali Davin of Californian studio Jute Home, who redesigned this waterside home in Lake Tahoe.
‘The tub is the perfect location to relax and enjoy the view of the lake or falling snow during the winter months.’
Ali chose a utilitarian freestanding steel bathtub by Agape to sit beneath the large windows, and added café-style curtains to create privacy without blocking out the light or obstructing too much of the view. Horizontal paneling covers the wall - a look we see a lot in all rustic spaces like modern farmhouse living rooms and kitchens - while an elegant marbled mosaic floor picks up the bluish greys of the lake beyond the trees.
2. HIGHLIGHT TEXTURAL TIMBER WITH A DARK BACKDROP
We love how the details of the pleasingly solid-looking timber vanity unit shine against the dark-painted walls of this compact space. ‘This outhouse bathroom features a butcher’s block counter with finger joint details and an unlacquered brass faucet,’ says Steven Johanknecht of Commune Design, who designed the space as part of a full renovation of a remote forest cabin.
As well as providing a cocooning backdrop, the dark paint also offers a fresh take on traditional wood-paneled walls. A white ceiling prevents the small bathroom from feeling claustrophobic, and makes a feature of the beams overhead.
3. CHOOSE AN ANTIQUE BATHTUB FOR UNDERSTATED GLAMOUR
‘Old-world elegance meets upstate chic,’ is how Anthony D’Argenzio, of design studio Zio & Sons, describes his unique design approach. He chose an antique bathtub for the bathroom this Hudson Valley rental, which is part of his real estate project, This Old Hudson.
‘The bathtub was resurfaced and resealed, and we added pine boards to the walls, which were whitewashed and sealed with a water-based sealant to protect them against moisture,’ explains Anthony, who selected hexagonal marble tiles for the floor and framed the bath with elegant white shower curtains.
4. TRY A MODERN TAKE ON TRADITIONAL PRINTED WALLPAPER
‘Located in a historic district, this Italianate Revival home was filled with beautiful craftsman details,’ says architect Annie Mennes of Hudson Valley firm Garrison Foundry, who overhauled the substantial cedar-clad home.
‘For this bathroom, we added horizontal wainscoting painted in Benjamin Moore’s ‘Hale Navy’, and a simple vanity with a walnut fascia and countertop in charcoal soapstone.’
Like we see in a lot of modern farmhouse kitchens, on the wall is a modern riff on a traditional wallpaper: Flavor Paper’s ‘Brooklyn Toile’, the design of which was dreamt up by Beastie Boys’ Mike D. 'The owners of this house used to live in Brooklyn and wanted a little reminder of their former home,’ explains Annie.
5. BATHE OUTDOORS IN A SCULPTURAL STONE TUB
What better way to connect with nature – and make the most of rural surroundings – than with an outdoor bath? Naturally, this relies on a deck or terrace with the right amount of privacy; once that hurdle has been overcome, you can take your lead from the beautiful set up at Carmel Valley Ranch.
Located in the foothills of the Santa Lucia Mountains on the Monterey Peninsula, the founders of this Californian getaway describe the offering as ‘luxury living meets the call of the wild.’ Their treetop studios feature a partially covered outdoor deck with a sculptural stone tub that overlooks rolling fields.
6. SOFTEN YOUR BATHROOM WITH TEXTILES AND VINTAGE FINDS
‘We didn’t change any fixtures or fittings in this space,’ says Côte de Folk’s Sophie Rowell, who redesigned this home in the English countryside. ‘I just added key elements to make the bathroom less sterile and more in keeping with the rest of the house,’ she explains.
Sophie sourced a vintage cabinet, which she had restored and re-glazed, added antique linen curtains and had a bathmat made from French sack cloth. ‘The linen curtain hides the toilet behind,’ adds Sophie. ‘I always feel bathrooms should have the same consideration as any other room, despite their function.’
7. TRY WALL-TO-WALL COLOR IN HERITAGE SHADES
‘Use a distinctive color, and go all in to make it a statement,’ say husband-and-wife design duo Anna and Tom Roberts, founders of Homestedt. After years in the city, the pair made the upstate New York their home, and run their multi-disciplinary studio from the Catskills.
Modern farmhouse wall decor is often centered around simplicity. ‘In this bathroom, we used Farrow & Ball’s ‘Hay’ on the tongue-and-groove walls,’ continues Anna, who added the paneling as a nod to farmhouse style. ‘The built-in cubbies blend in to create calm, and I usually recommend using the same color on the ceiling as the walls, as it can actually make the room feel bigger.’
8. FRAME VIEWS WITH A BASIN BY A FLOOR-TO-CEILING WINDOW
An inspired idea that makes the most of the woodland views outside, the powder room of this home in The Hamptons looks as good today as it did in the 1990s, when the house was designed and built. ‘
The sink features a Corian countertop and a stainless-steel basin, set against a modern Shingle-style window,’ says architect Brendan Coburn, founder of The Brooklyn Studio, who designed the house – which belonged to his mother and father – in collaboration with his parents.
‘The window looks out onto a heavily wooded area, and allows natural light to fill the room,’ says Brendan of this simple, yet hugely effective, design.
Tessa Pearson is an interiors and architecture journalist, formerly Homes Director at ELLE Decoration and Editor of ELLE Decoration Country. When she's not covering design and decorative trends for Livingetc, Tessa contributes to publications such as The Observer and Table Magazine, and has recently written a book on forest architecture. Based in Sussex, Tessa has a keen interest in rural and coastal life, and spends as much time as possible by the sea.
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