Farmhouse Revival

Book review: Farmhouse Revival

There's a lot of recycling, upcycling and makin' do and mendin' if you want an authentic farmhouse interior. Farmhouse Revival by Steve Gross and Susan Daley looks at 20 beautiful farmhouses in Northeast America, and should inspire those who want an antidote to minimalism

By Noah Dugall
Farmhouse Revival looks at fine examples of the American farmhouse

If the US countryside inspires you, along with the pioneering settler spirit, Farmhouse Revival will send you into a reverie. Architectural photographers Steve Gross and Susan Daley have captured the heart and soul of 20 fine farmhouses in the American Northeast. They include Ferney in Upstate New York's Schoharie County, the kitchen of which is pictured above. Published by Abrams & Chronicle Books, £27.99

Manhattan penthouses aren't everyone's cup of tea. Many of us would prefer the warmth and cosiness of an American farmhouse...with a big range cooker, Shaker furniture and handmade quilts on the feather beds... It's the US interior style equivalent to English country house, perhaps, and as with the latter, the former isn't as easy to achieve as it looks.

So Farmhouse Revival, with its large format luscious photographsis a great book if you want to really study the US farmhouse vernacular.

And as the photographers and authors note, there is no one set architectural style when it comes to the great American farmhouse. It might be a simple one-room lodge or a large elegant plantation or manor house. Houses might be made from wood, brick or stone, they can be plain and austere, or pretty and homely.


Shaker influences are apparent in the landing and staircase of the Ferney farmhouse in Schoharie County
Cloudland Farm in Cape Cod is 200 years old
Formal sitting room in Cloudland Farm
Wooden entrance area in Cloudland Farm, Cape Cod

And it's interesting to note they were seldom designed by architects, rather they were built by carpenters in local styles. As many have fallen into disrepair across the country, so people have come to value them and want to restore them before they disappear.

The houses in this book have all been very lovingly cared for or restored and because they tend not to be full of new furniture and gadgets, they are a great example of what can be done with antiques, bric a brac, heirlooms and natural, sustainable materials, principally local woods and stones.

Block-printed wallpaper hangs on the walls of the living room in Stillmeadow Farm in Southbury, Connecticut
The huge hearth in the parlour at Stillmeadow Farm, Connecticut
The Karps' Farmhouse in Schoharie County, New York. The kitchen has a 19th century table with turned legs
Early maps of the US are on the walls on the second floor or Karps' Farmhouse
Wistaria Lodge in Upstate New York is an example of Greek Revival architecture
Wistaria Lodge dining room
Wistaria Lodge has a rustic kitchen. The potbellied stove isn't working at present...
Farmhouse kitchen at M.H. Merchant Stone House in Cornwallville, New York

Just saddle up my horse and call me Johnboy....

Farmhouse Revival (first published 2013) is available from Abrams & Chronicle Books at £27.99