The beauty of a home is what it says about you. Why you like it, what it means and how that all reflects your values, lifestyle and culture.
Since meg and I are even now embarking on the journey of designing, building and living in our very own “modern farmhouse”. I thought it would be fun to collect a few plans that have at least inspired our thoughts, and impressed our eyes. I hope you enjoy these, I’m always browsing around the internet plan rooms looking for fun new designs and something with the proper rural charm that meg and I enjoy.
This home is the most contemporary design I’ve selected. I really like the play on verticality with the vertical cladding that runs from the peak of the roof to the foundation. It gives the home a sense of grounded-ness that I like, as if the building were growing out of the ground.
Breaking that verticality are two elements which are a lot of fun but could detract from the country charm that we like. These are the monolithic entry awning that expresses itself as an L covering the entry. Not sure what material they are expecting a simple country boy to use there. Also the white slats on the side of the home. I wish the slats had a little more purpose. They just kind of appear there.
All in all it’s a beautiful home that has inspired the shape and form that meg and I want to use. But we might “play” with the materials a little more.
The cottage, I had to include a home like this, it just wasn’t right not to. The truth is, a big front porch, a simple roofline and that “sit and chat for a while” charm is what we all remember about the farmhouses we love. So this one made the list more for what it represents than any specific design feature.
I hope to take the feel of the home above and blend it with the style of the first house we looked at. That to me is the true “modern farmhouse”.
So note the big porch, and the quaint feel, and let’s keep moving.
Nicohlas Lee (below and cover photo)
The home in the cover photo, and the one above are almost the same design. The one above is the jumbo sized version of the cover photo. I wanted to show that simple doesn’t always mean small. Think about a castle, since meg and I want 3-4 bedrooms many people kinda laugh when we say it will be simple. The truth is simple has nothing to do with size, it has everything to do with function and composition.
The long low profile of the house above inspires the prairie, much like Frank Lloyd Wrights prairie homes. Horizontals can be fun, and even awe inspiring. I like the way this home starts to open up and welcome people in, the full length porch begs for someone to sit on it, and a rocking chair would just look great right there.
I want a little more verticality, meg and I are working off of a two story idea at the moment, so we want to see the home rise above the plains a little more than this one does. But this inspired our heart for the farm, for the comings and goings on the porch and the early mornings or late nights sitting looking across the land.
I like how this plan orients each room to a porch access. Privacy isn’t a big deal when you live in the country, but independence can be. I also like the central hub that is the kitchen and living space. Everything moves off of that, and our home will be the same.
I’ll be back to share more as we continue to work through the design. I hope to share the Pinterest boards that we are building and the mood boards as we work through them. Stay tuned for more as we unveil our process and our home.
Thanks for reading.
Share some of your favorite home design links in the comments section.
From the Farm
No related photos.
I haven’t met anyone yet that doesn’t love the thrill of the chase, the joy of finding that perfect home, or that first pass of the bulldozer for your new homes building pad. But very often, sometimes long before that moment, we lose sight of some very important pieces to this puzzle.
There are three things that are key in my mind to a successful and productive home selection process if you don’t know these three things, and have them written down you inevitably fall short of your expectations in the final product.
Home buying or home building either one requires focus, and it requires a set goal. Most people see that goal as a number of bedrooms, or a neighborhood they want to live in, but I say that it should be more than that, it should be more detailed and more intentional, thus the three things.
So here are the three things that Meg and I are considering as we make plans to build our home, and how I believe that they will help you in just about any purchase you ever make.
1) TIMEFRAME: This is a huge factor in any purchase, but especially in the search for a home. Whether buying or building your timeframe tells you everything about what you can and cannot do. It sets the field, and it defines the level of compromise you will be willing to make with the other two elements I’m going to share. You must define your timeframe and then depending on how long you have, set some intermediate goals within that overall space. This will give you benchmark points that help you to know if you are on or off of schedule overall before you get to the very end.
A schedule, which is ultimately the vehicle we use to define a timeframe and set goals/benchmarks along it, is a simple thing to create. If you are purchasing a home it might look like a set of dates with a number of homes that you want to look at by each of those dates. You could then include some time for closing, and final details, as well as move in. If building the schedule becomes even that much more important because you are in complete control of the timeline, and your decisions with your designer or homebuilder are key to how quickly they can move your design process and subsequent construction along. For those building I would set a timeframe in number of months. If it’s July of 2014, and you want to be in your home by July of 2015 then you’ve got 12 months. Make sure that your designer/homebuilder agree to the schedule and work with you on it. You can then set goals with the team you’ve hired so that you have goals for each month of the process. I promise this sounds like a lot of work, and this is not nearly as much fun as picking out bathroom fixtures or going shopping for furniture. But it’s worth it and it’s part of the recipe that will take you from we like this home to we love this home!
2) BUDGET: You knew I would go there… Budget is probably the number one hardest piece of the puzzle for those building or buying a home. There are so many little things that come up in the day to day process of finding a home or designing one. Then you catch yourself stuck in that moment where you’re out of money, but that fixture is exactly what we want, so it goes on the credit card, or pulled out of savings. It’s very easy to spend thousands more than planed especially when building a home, because all the pieces aren’t right there and easily identified.
One of the ways to define your budget is to determine an ultimate “not to exceed” amount. This is your bottom line, if you spend more than this you’re losing money on the deal. Then once that initial budget amount is reached pull back 10-15%, this is your contingency. You have 15% of your total budget dedicated to the unforeseen expenses. Then go through the remainder of your budget with your team, realtors, designers, architect, home builder, whom ever. Detail the rest of that money into the design, you can show a spreadsheet or just a general list of items and costs, depending on how involved your process is. For home buyers the list of items and costs will usually work great, if you’re building I recommend a full breakdown and cost estimate from your designer/builder. This will ultimately lead to you picking and choosing where you want you’re money to go. Unless your Mr. Trump, or related to him in some way, you probably won’t have the money to get everything you want exactly as you want it. Thus the compromise comment in the budgeting paragraph. Staying focused on your budget and making those hard decisions of where to spend the money will be easier with the next and final piece of the puzzle.
3) DEAL BREAKERS: Yep, just like a mate, your home buying/building experience has deal breakers. Even the most laid back and easy going shopper wants something specific. SO write it down. The first thing you should do, especially if you have a wife, husband, or significant other working through this process with you is to write down and discuss your deal breakers.
It can be white countertops, or 4 bedrooms, it can be a neighborhood, or certain kitchen appliances. But you will have deal breakers, and they will be important to the process. So every one involved should take a moment, a day, a week, to write down your deal breakers. This isn’t a dream list, this isn’t a Pinterest Board, this is your I can’t live without this in my life list. It’s the big stuff, it should be simple, straight forward and clearly defined. These are the things that you spend your money on, these are your priorities. Before you go looking at houses, before you run off to hire John Doe Custom Homes, you need to know that if it doesn’t have these 5-8 things you don’t want it… No matter how good the deal is.
To help you out in this, think of the things you love about where you live now, those are probably deal breakers, they are a part of your culture now, a part of your family process. Next think of the things you really wish you had, these are probably deal breakers as well. Now all of this must be considered within reason, you need to discuss these with a good friend who will; “put you in your place”, as Meg likes to say. Don’t be silly, and don’t be stupid. A hummer, or a private lake isn’t usually a legitimate deal breaker. So start there and see where you end, if your list is longer than a page, you’re probably asking too much, and you need a real honest review session. If it’s two items you might not be digging deep enough. I can’t tell you a magic number there isn’t one, but you’ll know it when you reach it because in that list will be a home, it will be all you know you want and need.
Are there other ways you have organized your process for a home?
From The Farm
It’s me, Meg’s crazy husband. You’ve heard of me and heard from me in the past. In-fact I was on here quite a lot at the beginning. I’ve been away working a 9-5, as you probably know. But it’s more than that, I’ve been growing, thinking and hopefully getting better at what it is I do. Architecture, design, and general creativity. When Meg approached me about writing again for Bringing Design Home I was thrilled. This is honestly one of the things I miss the most in the day to day of a 9-5. Something about sharing thoughts, hopes, dreams, and connecting to others is lost in that daily grind. You do what you need to do, what you have to do, you work hard and you focus. Beyond the surface, beyond the basic information that I’m married, have a little boy, and another on the way, and that I’m a hard working country boy, that’s all most of your co-workers ever really care to know. They aren’t looking for some deeper connection, because ultimately its just a job, its just getting things done to get home and enjoy the people that really know you.
That’s where this blog comes in. For Meg and I just the surface level info isn’t enough. We care, silly I know, but we do. We want to share, we want to connect, and we hope some day down the line, someone will come up to us and say; “Hey! “I know you, you write that funky family design blog. I just want you to know that I learned a great deal from that last post, thanks!”, or something like that. Those are the great moments for us, the ones where we actually feel like we could change the world just by being here, being honest, and having some fun along the way.
So here I am saying hi again, and looking to “share” once more. I’m hoping to focus on design and architecture most specifically. I hope to give some thoughts and pointers that might make building, buying, and remodeling your homes easier or at least more fun. I also hope to shed some light on that mysterious title “Architect” and what it is we really do. Why we are needed for certain things and why sometimes you don’t really need to consult us.
So watch for my future posts, and let me know if it gets long winded or too technical.
Thanks for listening…
From The Farm
It’s that time of year again boys. The day when we are expected to woo and wow our ladies, with our amazing romanticism and sensitivity…
But the reality is that the wooing and wowing should go on all year around. For Meg and I it’s more about the moments you live everyday than one big event in the year. Don’t get me wrong I’m still planning a V-day moment to match all the others, it just might not be the moment we talk about 2 or 3 years from now. So today I’m going to share a few moments that Meg and I still talk about today. Hopefully they wow and woo your inspiration.
1. Seize the Day: Spontaneity is such a powerful element in Meg and I’s relationship. The willingness to take a moment, to grab it and run with it is something that has made our life a never-ending adventure. One night we had to go to a big awards ceremony for Meg’s work. She actually ended up accepting one of the top awards of the night. But the best part of the evening was when the event was over we decided on a whim to run home pack a bag and come back to the hotel that hosted the event. We stayed a night and just enjoyed the moment, drank deep of the celebration, and took full advantage of the evening.
2. Getting Lucky: So we all know those days when you just need a little boost, a little push to keep going. That’s how I picture flowers at the door just because. On those days when I’m feeling extra happy, I finished a big report or I got a promotion, or heck just a day when all hell didn’t break loose at 8:15am. Those days I like to invite Meg into the celebration that I’m feeling by bringing home flowers or candy, something she loves but doesn’t always have.
3. Mister Home Maker: OK every guy has one of these stories, at least every married guy. But it works… what am I talking about, I’m talking about doing the dishes, folding the laundry, those stories. The phrase “it’s the thought that counts” was coined around these stories. When I do the dishes, Meg doesn’t always find the pots and pans until the next week. I tend to organize the flat ware a little differently. But Meg loves it just the same, the idea that I acknowledge what she does so many times to keep our house clean and our little guy happy, and that I step into that place and take that moment to give her the break means a lot!
4. Open letter: Something we guys don’t often think about when it comes to romance is sharing our hearts. Sometimes we get so caught up in doing something for our ladies that we forget to just invite them into our lives. One of the ways I do this is through little letters. I’ll leave the letters on the bathroom mirror, on her pillow, or on the bar where she’ll find it when she gets up. These notes tell her how much she means to me, or what I’ve been battling through that week and how she’s helped me without even knowing it. These letters connect Meg to me during those busy weeks when long walks aren’t an option and long talks are hard to come by.
5. The Warm Up: In Oklahoma it can get cold, this winter was particularly chilly. So when it’s minus 9 degrees outside and she’s trying to get ready to go to a meeting, or meet a friend, I’ll slip out the door and start the car, clean off the windshield and make sure the heater is turned up nice and hot. It’s not a big deal but in that moment Meg knows I’m thinking about her.
6. A Good Book: This is one that we’ve just started, but I really enjoy it. Pick a good book, one that she’s wanted to read. I started with ‘Anthem’ by Ayn Rand, a great classic with lots of great discussion points. I would read a chapter each night aloud to Meg and then we would talk about what we liked, or didn’t about the story. This is much better and more involved than sharing a favorite TV show.
So this week as you plan your Valentines moment, remember that its the other 364 days that bring the spice to that moment!
Look for Meg’s top 6 post later this week, and feel free to share your ideas for daily romance in the comments.
Ok, it’s hot, here in Oklahoma and right when we were getting excited about the 70 and 80 degree weather! This is no longer the case, the hot dry wind of reality has started to blow. It caught me napping, I hope it didn’t catch you, but just in case here are a few pointers, learned the hard way, on how to beat the July heat, and help your garden out a little too.
I lost our entire batch of squash plants because I didn’t keep the watering as it needed. I’ll be replanting some myself. The pests look to be bad this year, so below I’ve attached a few links to some organic and natural pest fighting tools.
Enjoy, and keep those green thumbs growing!
From the Farm
A cool wet spring has given our garden here in Oklahoma a great start. I’ve barely watered yet… I say yet, because I have this gut feeling that mother nature is going to switch on the oven soon. That being said, it’s time to talk gardening again. Most plants have been planted very late this year due to the cool and almost fall type weather this spring so let’s keep the watering and the soil comments on the list. Keep in mind that very soon you will need to add a mid afternoon watering time to give your plants a little relief.
Good luck and keep up the green thumb practices. Don’t forget to check back with your planting schedule if you’re using Traditional Seed Company’s Online Garden Planner. These plans can be very helpful in organizing your next steps towards a great summer garden.
Also, don’t think that it’s too late to plant… As I mention above many warm weather plants can just now go it. Tomatoes, Okra, melons, and squash can all be planted now for great crops mid-summer.
From The Farm
It’s spring! Spring is finally here in Oklahoma. After a beautiful Easter weekend I can’t help but get excited about gardening. The sun is out and at least for the last couple of days we’ve seen some rain. Overall a great start to the growing season. If you planted any cool weather, or early season produce, you might be harvesting a few things. Any veggies that you wintered are hopefully showing an early harvest like our carrots in February! Regardless, it’s time to start stretching your green thumbs and getting ready for a great veggie season. You might look back over my post about the awesome new garden layout and scheduling tools from Territorial Seed Company and while you’re at looking into ordering some Heirloom Seeds!
If you’re laying out your garden look closely at your sun angles and shade ratios, keep in mind the prevailing winds in your area, and watch closely for an update from me on garden layouts coming a little later this month.
Now that I’ve got your head spinning with ideas of pretty blooms and juicy produce let’s look at the garden checklist for April.
That’s a lot, but it’s worth it when you are serving up home grown entree’s that blow the neighbors minds. Keep your garden plan close at hand through this season. April, May, and June can be hectic as it is, but you don’t want to miss a prime planting time due to other distractions. If you haven’t already I would start looking into a compost bin, as we move toward harvest and cleaning out those garden plots. All the old grass and leaves can be placed in a compost bin and the soil used to boost the plants later in the season.
Happy planting and growing, and keep those green thumbs working!
From The Farm
Feel free to share any great garden advice of your own by leaving a comment. Thanks!
There is nothing quite so luxurious as smoking a pipe. It’s a James Bond; “shaken not stirred,” type statement. I know who I am and what I’m about, that I can state it casually. To me pipes are about an image, enjoyment, relaxation and fun. That’s why I smoke one, and that’s why I would recommend it to any man or woman that wants to try something new, something from a bygone age.
I started dreaming of smoking a pipe in the second year of our marriage. I would watch old Humphrey Bogart movies and Cary Grant films and the desire to know that time, to have Sean Connery’s accent, Cary Grants humor and Bogart’s sex appeal. But I settled for a pipe, and it was one of the greatest choices I’ve made.
The basic startup items for a novice pipe smoker are…
- Accessories to help with that first experience
I recommend buying a second hand pipe, or if you have a pipe smoker you know possibly borrowing or buying one from them. There are many advantages to buying used vs. new pipes as a beginner.
- First, used pipes are already broken in, or tempered. A new pipe will need to be cared for more specifically and your flavor and quality of smoke can be affected if not done properly.
- Secondly second hand pipes are cheaper, money isn’t the only consideration but it is one nonetheless, why spend $50 – $300 on a new pipe when you can pick up a used one for $10-$30 and determine if pipe smoking is right for you.
My first pipe was a second hand pipe from an antique shop; I still smoke it and love it today. Here are a few links to great places to purchase new and second hand pipes…
THINGS TO LOOK FOR IN A PIPE
A few things to know when buying second hand pipes, these may seem obvious but need to be watched when picking out a good used pipe. None of the new pipes should have these defects and if they do, send it back immediately.
- Cracks or large chips in the stem or bowl
- Used or baked on tobacco in the bowl, this means that pipe was probably not well cared for and it may just need cleaning. But I find it nasty and unprofessional to sell a used pipe without cleaning it.
- Broken or cracked stem, heavy bite marks or disfiguration of the stem
- Finally, you should be able to pull the stem and bowl apart and look inside for cleanliness, a filter, and any cracks or broken edges
Not all pipes will have filters, neither of my two favorite pipes do. Other things to look for in a pipe are.
- The fit, how it fits in your hand and how comfortable you feel with it in the smoking position
- Style, this is completely up to you, I tend to like Dublin and Billiard shaped pipes see the image below from the Pipe Rack for shapes and styles
- Draw, the pipe should have a good draw; which means a good flow of air when puffed
Again, pipes are a statement of who you are and what you like. So picking one is like picking a good hat or that perfect pair of boots it takes time and thought. But when you find it, it’s yours and only yours and you’ll tell stories about your first pipe and how you found it. Now that I’ve got you searching the Internet for pipes and defining your style, let’s talk tobacco.
TOBACCO TYPES AND QUALITIES
The second key ingredient to a good smoke is your tobacco. This is one of those areas where a little trial and error comes in. Each person likes different flavors and different types of tobacco. From very rich dark flavors to light and fruity flavors tobacco is much to the taste and like of the smoker, so here are some basic types and descriptions for your reference in picking a tobacco, or tobacco blend. Keep in mind most tobacco you find in the shops is a blend of two or more of these tobaccos with possible additional flavors added.
- Virginia: one of the basic tobacco types used in most blends, it ranges from a light yellow color to medium brown. The lighter colors tend to have a spicy flavor while the darker colors tend to have a deeper more complex taste.
- Burley: the opposite of a Virginia in its oils and sugar ratio, being high oil low sugar. Burleys tend to have a nutty flavor.
- Carolina: similar to a Virginia but not as rich, a more diluted tobacco.
- Maryland: A mild tobacco, used often in blends.
- Orientals/Turkish: A broad group of tobacco’s used to “spice up” a blend, and are often quite fragrant.
This is a simple list there are others and some non-tobacco elements that are used as well. A great way to learn about tobaccos and to start to develop a personal preference is to try them out, spend time in your local tobacco shop talking to the owner and other pipe enthusiasts, you’ll learn a lot and possibly make a few friends in the process.
Smoking a pipe as I said before is making a statement, it’s about taking time to think and to listen and so don’t expect to smoke your first pipe in 10 minutes. Grab a beer or a manly cocktail, and settle down in your favorite chair, it’s time to enjoy your pipe.
Step 1. Filling the bowl of the pipe. This is the hardest part, but has the most affect on the rest of your smoking experience. Fill the bowl loosely with tobacco and press or pack it lightly with the tamper. The tobacco should compress half way down the bowl. Fill again to the top and pack with the tamper once again, more firmly this time. Now the bowl of your pipe is about ¾ full of tobacco. Finally top of the pipe with a last layer of tobacco and pack it with the tamper, there should only be a small space between the top of the bowl and the tobacco.
Step 2. Testing the pack. Put the pipe to your mouth and draw through it as if smoking. Don’t light the pipe yet. If the air is flowing freely through the tobacco and pipe then your pack is ready to light. If the air is not flowing freely and it’s difficult to draw on the pipe then empty your pipe and re-pack using less pressure with each tamping this time.
Step 3. To light your pipe, use a wooden match or pipe lighter. I like matches, they have a style that I enjoy, more old fashioned. But a lighter works just as well. If using a match let it burn for a second after striking to let the sulphur burn away. Then gently draw on the pipe while moving the match in a circular motion over the surface of the tobacco. You want an even and complete lighting of the top layer of tobacco. Some will tell you to let this first lighting go out, they call this the false light. When breaking in a pipe I follow this rule, but on my older pipes I often get a good light and just let it smolder for a moment, then start puffing.
Step 4. Smoking your pipe is leisurely, and slow. Slow steady puffs, this is not a race it’s a casual stroll with friends. A good comment to make here is that tobacco smoke similar to cigar smoke is not to be inhaled like a cigarette. These tobaccos are stronger and blended more for flavor and enjoyment, so bring the smoke into your mouth taste it, like wine rolling it on your tongue and then release it into the air.
Smoking your pipe should take 30-45 minutes at least, and enjoying it should add even a little more time. So don’t hurry the worst thing a beginner pipe smoker does is smoke 3 bowl full’s of tobacco in an hour and wonder why your head is hurting and your tongue is burning. Slow and steady is the proper and most enjoyable way to smoke a pipe.
WHAT I WISH SOMEONE HAD TOLD ME
- The pipe is going to go out, especially as your getting started and learning the feel of packing and lighting. You’ll get halfway through a bowl and realize your just sucking air, not a problem follow step 3 and keep going.
- The pipe get’s too hot for your hand, let it go out, and give it a second relight and keep smoking.
- If the pipe starts getting wet, or gurgling, you start to get tobacco juice in your mouth or any combination of these means that there is too much moisture in the stem of the pipe. Take a pipe cleaner and run it into the stem and let is draw out the moisture for a second or two. Try and keep your mouth dry while smoking to keep this from happening.
- When finished smoking, let the pipe cool before cleaning. Never “knock” a pipe out into your hand or on a hard surface. This can lead to stress fractures in the pipe bowl and stem, which will affect the draw and eventually may crack the pipe completely, rendering it unusable.
I hope this helps those who might be interested in smoking a pipe to get started, and for others maybe it was just a fun read. I’m by no means an expert in pipes or tobacco’s and smoking is something I enjoy but it’s not for everyone. So here are a list of links that helped me get started and which informed this post and it’s images.
- The pipe Rack
- Just for Him
- Tobacco Exchange (local to OKC)
- Pipes by Jake
- The Art of Manliness
- Pipes and Cigars.com
Let me know your smoking stories and any advice that you would like to add for the new smoker in the comments below.
From the Farm
Pipe Image via The Pipe Rack
Are you seeing little green things poking through the ground? I’ve got spinach and carrots and crazy enough garlic coming up! You usually plant garlic in the fall, but if you are more of a tomato’s and peppers kinda person you’ve got a little time yet before planting season begins. Most veggies, in Oklahoma, will go in around the end of March, first of April. Check your local planting guides to find out proper planting times for your area. Now let’s get down to it!
It’s snowing and I’m excited, not for the normal reasons, like a day off (didn’t get one), or snow angels, or snow ice cream. No, the reason I’m excited is that snow equals moisture and moisture equals growing, and due to some very awesome people at Territorial Seed Company my garden is three steps ahead and no going back.
Garden planning is one of the hardest things for me to do. I love gardening but I’m the type of person who moves in the moment. When the sun comes out I don’t need a jacket anymore, I’m ready to play in the dirt (a.k.a. garden). The problem with this is that I’m always working to catch up (so it seems) and even as I present my Garden Checklist for the month I’m wondering how I’m going to get it all done!? Then I stumbled upon this wonderful digitized and computerized garden planning tool from Territorial Seed Company. I order seeds from them occasionally, and I love looking through their catalog, but what’s won me over is this little jewel.
It’s a simple subscription style online garden planning software that allows you to layout your garden, draftsman style. With actual dimensions, specific pathways, and an overall look you can see our raised bed layout (below) as it looks after the drawing and planting schedule was complete.
Then you add plants! They have a full range of basic plant types and blanks for you to create your own from the seed packet information you have on hand (or look up specific plants online). You can work in standard row gardening formats or as I’ve chosen to do this year try out the Square Foot Gardening Method.
Within each square you can see the number of seeds that need to be planted for that specific plant and how much space it might take up. As you can see (below), some of my zucchini squash and butternut squash didn’t fit the square foot so it’s been planted in rows shown by the pink cloud under the image. When you plant in the row format the number of plants/seeds is shown by the number of vegetable icons present in each row. As you can see with my squash rows they are intermingled with tomatoes, cucumbers and beans. I’ve dedicated approximately 2 squash plants per row.