Cristal's Blog


September 7, 2022

Back to Articles

Modern Farmhouse style architecture has become extremely popular. In many ways, this popularity grew in response to the minimalist trend of the 1990s and early 2000s. Today's homeowners are embracing tradition and comfort, surrounding themselves with things that make them feel good, but with a modern twist.

A large red Modern Farmhouse in Santa Barbara, embraced by trees and with a sunset in the background.

The images of my Stunning San Ysidro-Style Farmhouse listing found throughout this blog post illustrate why this style has become so chic. And while every home has subtle variations that make it unique, there are a few key features that genuinely qualify a design as “Modern Farmhouse.” Here are the top 12:

  • Gables and Pitches
    Perhaps the most recognizable characteristic is a gable roof creating a triangular wall on either end, reminiscent of a house you might have drawn in kindergarten. I’m referring to a relatively steep 12:12 pitch roof creating a 45-degree angle emphasizing the height of the house.
  • Lap, Board and Batten
    The style features two main exterior sidings: lap, and board and batten. The clapboard or horizontal siding is made from wood, vinyl, or fiber cement. Meantime, the board and batten effect, with its vertical boards overlaying narrow strips, called battens, is also commonly seen in a Modern Farmhouse. Board-and-batten siding comes in various kinds of wood or vinyl, creating a timeless look, plus it's easy to maintain.
  • All one color
    Most modern farmhouses you see today have highly textured, solid exteriors. Such highly texturized finishes allow light and shadows to play on the sides of the home, creating contrast and distinction. Think red, white, gray, black—as long as it’s just one color.

    Backyard of a Modern Farmhouse in Santa Barbara, with mature trees and blue sky

  • Unique Exterior Dimensions
    The Modern Farmhouse moves away from the simple rectangles of the past. Instead, this style focuses on spreading everything out to form unique exterior dimensions, creating a kind of pieced-together, almost modular look. In addition, this type of layout supports an abundance of natural light inside, as each space can have multiple windows around it.
  • Victorian Roots
    Here’s an interesting fact: Modern Farmhouse architecture isn’t strictly farmhouse. Look closely, and you'll notice the inspiration comes from Victorian architecture, particularly Stick and Folk Victorian. The stripped-down decorative detailing emphasizes the open floor plan found inside.
  • Double Hung Windows
    Double-hung windows do the trick for that perfect balance between too modern and too traditional. The look points back to old American farmhouses. All the updated choices available today allow for personal creativity and taste.

    Casually sophisticated living rooms in a modern Santa Barbara farmhouse, with comfortable furniture andfire in the  fireplace

  • Modern Farmhouse Décor
    Home décor is where you can add your own unique style. While nothing is a hard and fast rule here, make sure your interior is cohesive with the exterior.
  • Clean, Straight, Simple, and Minimal
    Of course, a clean and straightforward approach is the key to Modern. Think warm minimalism focusing on comfort and practicality.
  • Neutral Zone
    The style calls for a neutral look inside. White is the most popular, but other colors such as yellows and blues are also good choices. Just make sure the hues are warm and calming, and avoid bright or shocking palettes. But, again, contrast is essential.
  • Wall Paneling
    Different types of wall paneling can also be used to add texture inside. Break up the sterile feel with shiplap elements that can carry into the ceiling. And by all means, avoid covering every house surface.

    A modern farmhouse kitchen in Santa Barbara

  • Modern Farmhouse Kitchens
    One of the main things to remember when it comes to the unique characteristics of a farmhouse kitchen is that size matters—think big, bright, and open—an oversized island with a free-standing range hood and open shelving captures the kitchen's relaxed and friendly aesthetic. Finish the look with a few industrial barstools and sizeable wrought iron pendants. A farmhouse sink is a requirement, preferably in porcelain, stainless steel, or copper.
  • Furniture
    When furnishing a Modern Farmhouse, go big. Think significant, functional, and comfy. A major must-have is an overstuffed couch you can't help but sink into. Curate a mix of different pieces and include your vintage and antique finds. Create a sense of cohesion with an added personal touch.
  • Down to Details
    What would a Modern Farmhouse be without a barn door somewhere? Besides, they’re stylish and offer privacy without taking up space. Some of the shared spaces to place barn doors are the dining room, study, or from the primary bedroom to the bathroom. Overall, Modern Farmhouse decor is simple but not bare. Focus on the mix and decorate with the little details you love, but use a discerning eye to keep it uncluttered. Balance is key.

The bottom line is a true Modern Farmhouse is cozy, bright, and welcoming. And Modern Farmhouse architecture emphasizes an open floor plan and a big kitchen. These homes are warm, relaxed, and welcoming without being stuffy or formal. If you're planning to make a move to a Modern Farmhouse in any of the upscale Santa Barbara communities, please give me a call at (805) 886-9378 or email me at I have the knowledge and contact to sell your property, no matter what architectural style. Allow me to present you with a complimentary consultation.

More resources:

Back to Articles

Client Reviews

“It was an emotional experience selling our mother’s home in Montecito that we all loved so much but Cristal made the process easier on our whole family by guiding us through the transaction every step of the way. She knows the market so well and everything she recommended was on point including the asking price, painting, and staging the home, which looked beautiful and helped the buyer envision her new home. We sold it the first day it hit the market with an offer above asking! Cristal did an incredible job communicating with us and the buyer to ensure that the transaction would run smoothly. We highly recommend using Cristal, she was a pleasure to work with! ”

- J & A

“Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

- M.F.

“Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch