3 Gorgeous Farmhouse Kitchens That Put Function First

Design envy: Here, three kitchens pay homage to the bygone era with lots of reclaimed wood and barn-evoking features

These farmhouse-style kitchens are as functional as they are beautiful 

The Farmhouse design style works well in kitchens, which, more than anything needs to be functional. The style celebrates a time when things had to work well; when frivolity wasn’t feasible and when simple times called for simple solutions. Here, three kitchens pay homage to the bygone era with lots of reclaimed wood and barn-evoking features while ushering in a modern sense of function, purpose and, of course, style.

Barn to Beautiful Designer: Joan Heaton of Joan Heaton Architects 

Location: Middlebury, Vermont 

Size: 238 square feet (22 square meters); 14 by 17 feet.

Homeowners’ request: Convert an old barn into a home, using what was once an old bay in the barn as the new location for a kitchen.

Farmhouse style: Alder cabinets coordinate with rustic salvaged-pine walls and timbers; new concrete flooring lends an industrial look; and countertops in local slate tie the two together. A repurposed industrial cart with a maple butcher block top serves as an island. “During the construction, the cart was used to haul lumber around the barn,” says architect Joan Heaton. 

Other special features: Open layout; cathedral ceilings; gooseneck lighting; views of the Adirondack Mountains.

Photo by Joan Heaton Architects - Look for farmhouse kitchen design inspiration

“Uh-oh” moment: “The ‘uh-oh’ moment came when we needed to fit store-bought cabinets of specific sizes into the historic barn structure,” Heaton says. “The walls and timbers of the barn were crooked and out of square. We solved the problem by pulling the cabinets off the walls and using an extra-deep, custom-made slate countertop to cover the gap. The resulting deep counters give an upscale feel.” 

Also on the team: Andrew Furtsch of Bald Hill Builders (Vermont); Chris Hill of Engineering Ventures (structural engineer); Susan Teare (photography) Countertop slate: Heathermore, Sheldon Slate; cabinet wood: Curtis Lumber; plumbing fixtures: Close to Home; windows: Marvin via Windows & Doors by Brownell.

Basic to Blissful Designers: Ellinor Ellefson and Laura Alice Hargiss of Elle Interiors 

Location: Gilbert, Arizona 

Size: 450 square feet (42 square meters); 30 by 15 feet. 

Homeowners’ requests: Update a basic tract home kitchen with industrial farmhouse style and more function for them and their three school-age kids; remove a wall to expand the space to accommodate a large island. 

Farmhouse style: Painted, distressed and glazed cabinets made to resemble an old farmhouse; wood-veneer island made to look like barn wood; door to pantry custom-made of reclaimed barn wood.


Related: The Space-Saving Magic of the Barn Door

Designer secret: “Don’t be afraid to change an existing footprint,” designer Ellinor Ellefson says. “Too often we as designers see people remodeling, and spending tons of money on kitchen remodels, without addressing the footprint.” 

Also on the team: Marcel Custom Cabinets (cabinets and barn door); Beau MacDonnell (photography) Countertop: Metropolis dark honed quartz, Arizona Tile; main backsplash tile: Canvas Vena, honed and filled travertine in subway size, Pera Tile; metal mosaic backsplash: antique copper 3-D Versailles, Unique Building Concepts; hood: Vent-A-Hood via AJ Madison; lighting: Currey & Co.; stools: Moe’s Home Collection; table: Restoration Hardware; hardwood flooring: Antico collection, Provenza; cabinet paint: Bone China, Dunn-Edwards; wall paint: Exclusive Ivory, Dunn-Edwards.

Simple and Timeless Designer: Barbara Westbrook of Westbrook Interiors 

Location: Atlanta 

Homeowners’ request: Completely gut and renovate an existing kitchen. 

Farmhouse style: “Slightly provincial in feel, this kitchen has all the upscale amenities that a chef would covet,” designer Barbara Westbrook says. “Simple warm-white walls, tile and marble countertops provide an ideal environment for a rustic oak island table, where food preparation, family meals, and even homework take place.” 

Other special features: The sink faucet is actually a tub filler. “It has a great hand spray and looked great in the space,” Westbrook says. With limited wall space for cabinetry, she created open shelving to store and display a collection of simple white pottery, while a large pantry with antique doors to the left of the refrigerator stores anything not ideal for display.

Related: Why Farmhouse Sinks Are So Popular Today 


Bar stools: Bungalow Classic; island: custom; antique chandelier: South of Market; ivory crocks: Ainsworth-Noah; white dinnerware: client’s own; wall paint: Glass of Milk, Sherwin-Williams; cabinet paint: Ocean Floor, Sherwin-Williams; countertop: Calacatta Borghini, Walker Zanger; backsplash: Gramercy Park, 2 by 6 inches, Walker Zanger; sink faucet: Easton exposed tub filler, Waterworks.