Forget the days of perfectly white shiplap walls. They sailed years ago when dusting became less of a priority compared to caring for the family, land, and stock. As farmers, we aren’t home much; maybe to sleep, catch up on the news, or change clothes, so a change in the weather may not justify you decorating for fall, but what you [accidentally] drag in the house may say otherwise.
The term “farmhouse” is being used in a more broader term than ever. Known for its white siding, wrap-around porch and simplicity, it seems as though we have all been sitting on a retail goldmine in the interior/exterior decorating world.
We weren’t aware that dirty boots piled up with oil-stained Wranglers, and smelly shirts were a sign of a well-put-together home. We weren’t aware that recently born animals brought in from the cold laying by the fireplace still covered in less-than-pleasant afterbirth were the style. We weren’t aware that hay and grain strew out among the house gave us charm. All we know is our way of life.
Long days on the farm or ranch rarely allow for much thought of decoration in a home. At times they barely allow for a quick meal, laundry, and relaxation between visits from local neighbors asking for help in the hay field tomorrow, harvest, and checking the cows.
How did the farmhouse become so popular you ask? Country-style decor has been around longer than I have, but the most recent styles have shifted more toward the idea of “farm life.” While farm life isn’t always as glamorous as it looks compared to today’s modern farmhouse decor, should we take it as a compliment that farmers are no longer seen as the stereotypical hillbilly anymore?
A farmhouse can be described in many ways, but these set us apart:
Warm and approachable: Homes are meant to be a place of gathering, and let’s face it, there’s no place more welcoming than the smell at Grandma’s after she’s just pulled that fresh-baked pie out of the oven after a long day in the field.
Versatility: If this term doesn’t describe farming, we may be in the wrong business. Farmers are known for making something work out of nothing. We’re the real fixer-uppers.
Modern: Hold onto your hats, this one will swing you for a loop. We farmers can be known to stay set in our ways, but that doesn’t mean we won’t jump out of that comfort zone every once in a blue moon. With rising technology, today’s agriculture systems are more advanced than ever. Read as: We’ll gladly give Amazon’s Alexa a go or check crops with a drone.
Eclectic: One hasn’t seen diverse until they have stepped into a true farmhouse. Farmers are multi-faceted, and we aren’t one to turn anyone in need away. Our taste in culture may vary, but our hearts have one common beat.
While Hobby Lobby may not always have all their ducks in a row when it comes to properly labeling those retail cuts of beef on a metal cow sign, farm life is at least being depicted positively.
Our way of life is slowly but surely inching its way into the lives of our urban and suburban friends, we just need to continue the momentum. Know that it’s okay if your home doesn’t look like it’s from a magazine. Fridges full of cattle vaccines are fine, syringes by the sink will get moved, dirt on the floor means you’ve done great work today. White walls will become smudged, dust becomes a collectible, but the influence you have on lives everyday will become greater. Have pride in your farmhouse — no one can buy the authenticity you’ve created.
Callie Taylor is a twenty-something West Virginia native content creator and digital strategist changing the face of brands in the agriculture and food space.