I was recently hired by new clients to redesign their tired primary bathroom. They relocated to a rural property south of Des Moines from Alabama and are beginning the process of personalizing the house, which is dated (probably to the 90s) and a little grandma. When we sat down to discuss the design direction, they said they wanted to create a modern farmhouse. While the term “modern farmhouse” is overused these days and has lost its way (in my opinion), this popular style made perfect sense to me for this particular client, given the location and style of the home.
The primary bathroom is their top priority because they suspect a leak in the shower, and we’ll likely tackle the decor of the primary bedroom at the same time. The clients showed me a few inspirational images from magazines but said they trusted me to come up with a design they liked. They did have some interesting criteria, which will test my creative juices.
Criteria #1: No White Anywhere
No white trim, no white tile, no white countertops. White typically factors strongly into modern farmhouse design, so forgoing white in the design will be challenging.
Criteria #2: Pet-friendly Materials and Finishes
The clients have dogs, and they live in the country, which is notoriously dusty and dirty, especially when you live on a gravel road or driveway as they do. Their anti-white trim stance ties very strongly into their desire for finishes that can withstand the wear and tear of pets. They wanted to minimize the appearance of dog hair as well, which is something I always consider because I live with a very furry white labrador.
Criteria #3: Incorporate a Comfortable Soaking Tub
Both clients are on their feet all day for long shifts, and they wanted a large tub where they could soak and relax. They were open to a built-in tub but preferred the look of a freestanding tub.
Criteria #4: A Large Shower
Like most homeowners who have endured cramped coffin-like shower for years, my clients asked me to design a large shower with bench and integrated storage, preferably appropriate for aging in place.
Criteria #5: Masculine Style
For the overall feeling of the bathroom, they wanted a more masculine design with forms and finishes that did not read feminine or precious.
Criteria #6: A Double Vanity with Two Sinks
Given the layout of their bathroom, integrating two sinks into their layout along with all of their other wish list items was definitely a challenge.
I find projects like this to be the most exciting. As Barney would have said, “Challenge accepted!” Thankfully, they did not reference Joanna Gaines or Fixer Upper at any time during our consultation! I did ask if they had any objections to shiplap, and they did not.
Gathering Inspiration for Their Masculine Modern Farmhouse Bathroom Remodel
My first step is always to draft plans of the existing conditions, and my second step is to gather inspiration images. I knew research would be especially important in this case because no white! I can’t think of any past project in which white didn’t figure heavily into the equation.
From my measuring, I know that a freestanding tub will fit with room to spare, but I couldn’t help looking for images of built-in tubs. I could definitely see planking the side of the tub with wood.
I love how the wood planks feel both modern and rustic at the same time. I also think a vintage rug would be a fabulous addition.
My gut feeling is to do some kind of paneling whether it’s shiplap or a board and batten wainscot, painted in a neutral earthy tone. The room has two huge windows, so I’m not worried about it feeling dark. I also think incorporating some reclaimed wood might be a good idea. Thankfully, we have no shortage of old barnwood here in Iowa.
I know this room below is white, but I like the texture of the paneled ceiling. Maybe it’s a little too much shiplap though? A combination of board and batten and shiplap could be interesting.
My clients mentioned wood plank tile in the shower. At first, I wasn’t quite sure about it, but then I spotted this design by Juxtaposed Interiors and am now open to it. I worry about wood plank tile being trendy or looking fake, two things I try to avoid whenever possible (ditto the shiplap and reclaimed wood).
I love the overall feeling of this space below, though I know it’s too white and too feminine to appeal to my clients. But, there are aspects of it worth considering for this project, like the farmhouse sinks, wall-mount faucets, and soft gray tiled walls.
It’s definitely worth checking out the rest of Cuppett Architects’ portfolio. I am totally obsessed.
It was surprisingly hard to find good images of modern farmhouse bathrooms. I don’t use any images on my blog that can’t be credited to the original designer, so I find the number of images on Pinterest without proper credit to be really frustrating. Designers, watermark your images! I plan to go back and mark all of my photos.