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So how did we take a 1970’s tri-level and transform it into our Modern Farmhouse exterior dreamhouse?  

Grab a cup of coffee and I’ll tell you.

Tour Out modern farmhouse

If you’ve dreamed of transforming your home exterior into a Modern Farmhouse but you think there is no way to get your house there.  

Or you are looking to buy a new house and there are no Modern Farmhouses on the market. I have a solution for you!

I’m going to give you the formula so that you can take a tired old ranch and give it the Modern farmhouse elements you love!

It’s really not that hard as long as you stay inside this formula.  

Read on to find out how!


Why on earth did we buy it?

Two years ago my husband, two girls and I stood on top of the hill on a little farm outside of town.  

I had always dreamed of having a small farm. Somewhere to try my hand at gardening, let our dogs run and play, and let our hair down a bit and enjoy the peace and quiet.

Neal and I have owned several homes over our 23 years of marriage.  

Over the last several years though we have been very intentional about the houses we have chosen.  

When we walked around this little farm and then inside the house, we both agreed it had that something special.  

It had the makings of a home.

But the problem was – this thing was ugly and it didn’t look like any of the Modern Farmhouse exteriors I’d been swooning over on Pinterest.  Can any of you guys relate?

Most people think I’m crazy when we buy the houses we do.  

And like the last house we bought, this one had been on the market for a long time!  

People just couldn’t get past the 1970’s tri-level exterior.  

But ugly never scares me off. Lol

 To me, there is nothing more gratifying than taking something ugly and making it beautiful.

Guys, there are some really great houses out there if you have the vision to see what they can be.  

And the best part you can get a great deal because nobody else will want them.

This house has great bones.

 It was built by a builder for his own home.

So I knew I was working with a good solid house.  

We just had to fix the ugly.

Here’s a picture of the back of the house.  

Not nearly as bad as the front. Lol!



Modern Farmhouse Exterior Transformation
Modern Farmhouse Exterior Transformation

And … it had a lake.  

I was a goner.  

Plus I love a challenge and I knew I could do it.

You may be saying,,,  but Christy – didn’t you have a huge renovation budget?  

Anybody could do this with the money.  Great question.  

I wish!

On our last house, check it out here.  

We went way over our budget.  

We just knew we could make it amazing and so we did.  

But it was a lot of work and I was tired.  

So I didn’t want a house that needed that much work this time.  

And we didn’t have the money.

Modern Farmhouse Exterior

This house had just under 7 acres with it so the acreage took the renovation money.  

We decided the land was more important to us this time and I would do it again.  

I love it here!!

Because we spent all our money on land we didn’t have much money to fix the outside of this house.  

The inside while solid needed a new kitchen and bathrooms and the kitchen had to be fixed first.

So all of this to say,  make your self some priorities.  

Take the budget you have, make a list of what you want to fix and how much each will cost, and fix them as you can.  

We redid our kitchen and floors first.  

That’s how much money we had at the time and we felt that’s what we needed to live in the house comfortably.  

As we got more money saved up, we would fix something else.  

We’ve been here two years this month and I am still living with a 1970’s master bath.  

It’s really ugly but it all works.  

When we have the money to fix it and it comes up on my list of priorities it will get renovated.

Some people fix up their homes before they move in.  

The Metcalfe’s never have.  

We have always lived through our renovations.

It saves us a huge amount of money that we can use to renovate more things.  

And while it’s not always easy we have figured out how to make it work each time.


Modern Farmhouse Exterior

So what is this formula that I’m talking about?

There are key changes that you can make to your house to give it the Modern Farmhouse exterior look.

  1. White painted brick
  2. Black roof
  3. wood accents
  4. Black accents
  5. Clean Lines

Here are a couple of great examples.

Modern Farmhouse Style

So what is this formula that I’m talking about?

There are key changes that you can make to your house to give it the Modern Farmhouse exterior look.

  1. White painted brick
  2. Black roof
  3. wood accents
  4. Black accents
  5. Clean Lines

Here are a couple of great examples.

Modern Farmhouse Style

Start with Siding or Brick

Modern Farmhouse Style

1. Start with the siding or brick.  If you have wood siding or ugly brick, paint it white or a dark charcoal grey.  Nothing transforms a house more than changing up the base color with a crisp clean coat of paint.

Our brick was well.. ugly.  I’m not even sure what to call it.  It was a creamy white with tan grout.  I’m sure in its day it was very cool but now it just looks dirty.


I went back and forth about whether to paint it white or dark grey.  

Our last house was grey and I could see how great the bright white would stand out on top of our hill.  In the end, we went with white and I love it.

The color we used is Swiss Coffee from Sherwin Williams exterior paints.  I wanted to make sure we used a good quality paint so we didn’t have to worry about it coming off.

Add A Black Roof

2. Black Roof.  Our house needed a new roof as it had the original one still on.  

We went with a metal roof because we love the look but you don’t have to.  

Black shingles can give you just as much Modern Farmhouse style.  

Or you might be lucky enough that your house already has a new black roof.  Many people go with black because it stays looking new a lot longer than grey or tan.

Modern Farmhouse Exterior

Add Wood Accents

3.  Add in some wood accents.   You may want to add a wood door, a pergola as we did, natural wood corbels in the pitch of the roof, decking, etc.

The sky is the limit.  

Just make sure that it has simple, clean lines.  

If the pieces have too much detail, it will skew to a different style and you won’t have the Modern Farmhouse look you are going for.

Modern farmhouse exterior
Modern farmhouse exterior

We added our wood accents with a deck and pergola on the front of our house and a new deck on the back.  

We chose a Sherwin Williams WoodScapes Exterior Acrylic Solid Color House Stain in Cedar, for the main deck color and outlined the top of the deck and the pergola in Black Adler.

I used a wood slat effect around the bottom of the front deck to give it a more modern look.  

The clean lines of the pergola also contribute to the modern look I’m going for.  

I love the mix of modern and farmhouse together!

Add Black Accents

4. Black Accents – With so much white from the painted brick and the wood of the deck and pergola I wanted to use black accents to tie it all together.

We have our black metal roof, and we decided to go with black gutters and they look amazing!  This house had nowhere near enough gutters and it was taking a toll on the porches.

I also added black gooseneck light fixtures on both porches and then again on each side of the garage doors.  They add just the right amount of black.


Modern Farmhouse Exterior
Modern farmhouse exterior

Maintain Clean Simply Lines

5.  Clean and simple lines – The former owner of this house had replaced almost all of the windows in this house.  

They are just simple single hung with no crossbars. Works great for our Modern Farmhouse style.

When we decided to remove the Juliet balcony from the front of the house, we had to also remove the doors in the girl’s rooms.  

They had warped and rotted anyway so we changed out the doors for large sliding windows instead.  

Taking off that balcony made so much difference in the look of the front of the house!

You will have to forgive some of these pictures.  

The yard looks terrible I know but I had to show you guys how good the new porch looks.  

Now that its spring the landscaping and porch railing is next on the list.  

The exterior will be finished.  

I can hardly wait!!


Modern Farmhouse Exterior

The big planter box across the front will hold some tall grasses and will give us a little bit of privacy from the road.  

I can’t wait to get them planted!  

I’ve also put together the plan for my front porch summer design here.  

Be sure to check it out!  I’ll do an updated post once all my flowers are planted and everything is finished.  

If we ever get any warm weather here in Kentucky.

So the front door.  

It looks so bad.

I wanted a wood stained door so bad when we first moved in.  But we let the door get weather before we got the stain on it and it warped.  

We have sanded and puttied and it just doesn’t look good.  So…I’m going to have to paint it.  

I pray that it looks ok painted.  I don’t want to have to buy another front door.  

Not cheap.

 Learn a lesson from me.  If you put a wood front door on your house make sure you stain and poly it immediately.

Modern farmhouse exterior

You may wonder why I left the big bay window on the front of the house.  

At first, I really wanted to replace it with a flat picture window.  

But after living with it for a few months I loved the large window sill so much.

 It’s the perfect perch for my plant babies (and the cat).  

So we decided that with the porch you can even tell it’s there and we saved money.



Modern Farmhouse Exterior

Isn’t it crazy how color and a few accents can make such a big difference?  

I have to say this house was as much about what we took away as what we added to make it better.  

That can be the case lots of times.

Remember you can give your house the Modern Farmhouse elements to get the look you want and you can do it with a limited budget and over time.  

Hey, we are still not where I want to be but we will get there and I’d love for you to join me for the ride.

Just a little reminder:

Steps to Modern Farmhouse Exterior Style

  1. White painted brick
  2. Black roof
  3. wood accents
  4. Black accents
  5. Clean Lines

If you get stuck and need some please reach out to me!  I’d love to help!

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Modern Farmhouse Exterior