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WSJ and Houseplans.com

WSJ and Houseplans.com
This farmhouse design by Nicholas Lee is full of style.
The one story California farmhouse/ranch house rides again! Only this time with modern amenities along with the easy indoor-outdoor flow. An article by Katy McLaughlin in The Wall Street Journal 

calls some of our modern farmhouse designs, like Plan 888-16, shown at the top of this post and here, "California Wine Country's new must-have homes." Here's what she writes about this home:

"Nicole Avril, 46, and her husband, Dan Gelfand, 49, fell for the look after Ms. Avril stayed at a rental property built in the style. Ms. Avril liked the 'simplicity, functionality and informality.'

The couple decided to build their own house, which they would use on weekends and as a vacation rental property. They bought a 4-acre lot in Kenwood, a town in Sonoma County, and spent $856,000 building a 2,100-square-foot, two-bedroom, 2½-bathroom house, as well as a two-bedroom guesthouse. They also planted 25 fruit trees and 2 acres of Zinfandel grapes.

'I didn’t want Ye Olde Farmhouse,' said Ms. Avril, a project director for the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department. She and Mr. Gelfand, a middle-school math teacher, hired Nick Lee, an Alameda, Calif.-based architect, to customize a floor plan he created for Houseplans.com, an online seller of home designs.

Mr. Lee added 20 feet of glass doors, created four small bedrooms instead of two large ones, and separated guest quarters from the main house by a courtyard.

'It’s crazy. I’ve done 44 houses in this style in Sonoma and the wine country,' some of which are still in the planning and construction phases, said Mr. Lee, who worked as chief architect for Houseplans.com from 2008 to 2015 and created several modern farmhouse designs for the company. A design he created in 2014 became 'among our five top-selling designs for the past two years' nationwide, said Houseplans general manager Arend Spaeth. Today, modern farmhouse style makes up the bulk of his private practice, Mr. Lee said."

That very successful 2014 design is actually Plan 888-13, with 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths, 

shown here. It has sold 48 times since the first of the year. It adapts the barn idea for modern living, with a spacious lanai wrapping two sides and a loft above the kitchen and overlooking the great room.


I can see why the modern farmhouse esthetic is becoming so popular in rural areas with a temperate climate: they combine contemporary open layouts with a sense of history and a strong connection to an agricultural landscape. In these houses you feel part of the setting and not separated from it.

Bravo Nick!

To see all of Nick's farmhouse designs click here. To browse other farmhouse plans click here.

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