Designing a New Farmhouse to Look Old

Here over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing photos of our home and how we designed our home for Thistle Hill Ranch. I'll be sharing how we came up with the design for the elevation, landscaping, and interior design.

I get asked a lot on Instagram these two questions...

Where we got the plans for the farmhouse and if we can share them?

And how many sqft is the home?

Our home was custom designed with an architect almost 3 years ago. The farmhouse is 3900 sqft.

Because it was custom designed, we can't share the blueprints. But, I will give you a tour of each and every room, so you can get a feel for the layout of our farmhouse.

Designing this farmhouse from scratch was so exciting and terrifying at the same time.

When deciding on the design for our farmhouse, I researched a classic farmhouse design. I tried to find elevations that fit the era of the property's history.

I had a story in mind for our home.

Since our home was going to be NEW, I was terrified it would look too new on all this land. The plan was for it to look natural, not like it was plopped in the middle of a pasture.

I wanted it to look as if it had been the original farmhouse from the 1850's.

The farmhouse needed to have a classic style, an old fashioned feel, with a modern farmhouse twist.

The story of our farmhouse would read like this...

The family traveled from the East coast and wanted to bring some of that beautiful architecture to their new home in the West.

They used the stone from the property to build the middle section of the home, with its large fireplace in the living room to heat the home in the winters.

Then, as the family grew, so did the home.

They added on to either side of the house and added siding instead of stone. The numerous windows and french doors in the home were to allow for cool breezes, and the tall ceilings were for lots of air flow in those hot Texas summers.

The crisp white color helped keep the home cool during those hot summer days, and the long front porch was perfect for iced tea and long talks.

This was a house I found for sale on the East coast, it was the original inspiration house, that I pinned on Pinterest . This home is 3800 sqft, and was built in 1710, and was EXACTLY what I was looking for!

This was stone house inspiration #2 found on Pinterest.

The elevation design for our farmhouse was inspired by this stone house in Tennessee.

I called the architect of this home below, to inquire about the plans, but it too was custom designed. Therefore, it was one of a kind like ours was to be.

This stone home was 10K sqft.

But, I adored the elevation! I wanted siding and a few less french doors and less square feet.

So, we used the inspirations from both homes and designed our own.

We were really happy with the final elevation and interior design...Now it was time to build!

Designing It & Getting It Is Sometimes Two Different Things!

Another consideration was my front porch design.

I wanted a raised front porch that took a few steps to get up to it.

If you aren't familiar with Texas, then you may not know that we don't have basements here. That's because of the high clay content in our soil. Not too convenient during tornado season, but it is what it is.

Unfortunately, that means that there aren't the raised porches like you see in the north or in other parts of the south, unless you do a pier and beam home. Here, we do concrete slabs...translation, your first floor is flat!

Ummm, this wasn't going to work...I needed that raised porch for the house to look right.

The entire elevation would look strange without that raised porch.

You should have seen my husband's face, the architect's face, the engineer's face...and finally the concrete guy's face...I'm pretty sure their faces read..."Is she crazy?"...and "her poor husband!"

Have we met?

I ALWAYS figure out Plan B!

But, it turned to be very serendipitous...

The spot where we were putting the house, was raised! Hallelujah!

They did some creative form boards for the concrete and I got the raised porch!!!

I also wanted huge solid stone steps, instead of concrete or wood steps like these.

The stone steps took 3 months to locate and almost didn't happen...

Apparently these kind of steps can be found easily on the East coast....of course it is!!!

(eye rolling involved)

That was my inspiration for the design after all!...more eye rolling!

HOLY WOW! I was getting so frustrated!

Everyone was getting tired of using sod pallets to get up onto the porch...UGH!

I've never been happier to get the phone call that the perfect stone had been found for my steps!

And even more elated to see those stone steps drive up the long driveway!

Each slab is 8 feet long, 5" thick of solid Oklahoma stone.

I ended up using the same stone for the fireplace to carry the same look throughout the home.

I designed the landscaping for the farmhouse to be simple and symmetrical. I wanted it to have almost a colonial feel. If you look at landscaping in Colonial Williamsburg, it's very symmetrical and artistic. It has an English flare.

The front of the farmhouse would be lined with white rose bushes in the back row and boxwood hedges in front. I added river rock to flank either side of the front steps to help with drainage and add some texture. Grey gravel was used for the walkway instead of harsh concrete. The river rock with a few moss boulders, was also carried into the landscape on each end of the house with Juniper trees used as an anchor for each corner.

I cant wait to see how the landscaping fills out this year!

I also designed a circle conversation area, that has electrical and plumbing ready for when I make up my mind on a fountain design. But for now it has two benches and is a great overflow spot for parties while watching the sunsets.

Front porch rocking & sunset watching was finally a reality!

The Attention to the Rear is JUST as Important!

We added stone to the patio fireplace to match the house, and decided to add stone to the chimneys and to the dormers, to continue the story of the center of the home being stone.

Landscape Design came next!

I wanted it to be very symmetrical and to be a very natural flow around the pool.

The pool was designed to look like a reflecting pool when not in use.

This is the inspiration for the pool design. Pinterest

The dark bottom finish on the pool helped with this design.

Then, I added a slate stone coping edge to coordinate with the stone on the house.

Notice the blue going into the dark really looks so refreshing.

And when the sun goes down in the summer, it's just warm enough,

that it's still comfortable at night.

Our first full summer in the home is this year...we can't wait!

For the patio area, I wanted a dark grey gravel patio extension.

This would be stone edged and lined with boxwoods. This area would be fabulous for entertaining off of the back porch.

Another hunt was one had dark grey gravel!

Finally, a friend of a friend, knew a gravel guy who got grey stone out of Oklahoma.


I don't give up easily...can you tell, LOL!

Against the windows on either side of the patio, I added white rose bushes for a little color and white roses are always a good thing! The dog run has 2 gates for easier entrance from the driveway and to the pool bath.

This is last years view...Spring is already showing promise!

We're considering adding pavers like we did on the front porch.

But for now, we really enjoy the patio and extended living area.

As you can see in the photo below, even in the afternoon sun, the gravel patio is in the shade. It really is nice in the hot Texas summer.

The compliment to end all compliments, on the house, was from one of the painters, who said,

"The house looks like an old house that's always been here!"


I guess my story worked...Here's to a happy ending on our forever home here at Thistle Hill Ranch.

I can't wait to chat with you next week!

I'll be sharing the inspiration behind the design for the interior of the farmhouse.

Thank you so much for stopping by the ranch!