House Design

5 design tips to steal from this surprising modern farmhouse in Connecticut

A new-build, farmhouse-style home was in need of some extra character – it got just that, and a few surprises along the way

A modern farmhouse-style, open-plan kitchen and dining area with bamboo bar stools and white sofa
(Image credit: Curated Nest/Kyle J Caldwell)

When paring back your aesthetic in pursuit of a modern farmhouse look, it’s all too easy to forget that warmth and comfortability is what makes the countryside staple so desirable. 

‘Our clients moved to a new-build, modern farmhouse in Old Greenwich, Connecticut,’ explained Lina Galvao, interior designer at Curated Nest. ‘It was lovely, but lacked the character they were looking for.’ 

With the home feeling perhaps a little too modern, Galvao’s job was to inject the new family home with the little surprises and sense of longevity that make a farmhouse-style property so endearing, as well as being essential aspects of the world's best homes

‘The client’s must-haves were a space with eclectic and funky character, but still with a farmhouse feel. Functionally, they wanted kid-friendly finishes and furniture that would last.’

Having successfully created a welcoming space beloved by a family of four and their two Newfoundland dogs, Galvao gave us a tour of the farmhouse, and revealed how she turned a new-build into a home for the ages.

1. Subvert the modern farmhouse norm with quirky details 

A modern farmhouse-style kitchen with grey island, marble backsplash and bamboo bar stools

(Image credit: Curated Nest/Kyle J Caldwell)

‘Though the modern farmhouse look is all the rage right now, we wanted to amp this design up with some eclectic and unexpected details,’ said Galvao. While the modern approach to a farmhouse style typically means stripping back fussy details in favor of monochrome color schemes and contemporary simplicity, Galvao wanted to ensure the client’s personality shone through. 

For example, the kitchen ideas feature an island paired with a trio of tiki-style bamboo bar stools that completely break from the clean, marble-backed aesthetic. Elsewhere, the sofa’s scatter cushions feature loosely painted illustrations of rabbits, and an oversized banana tree adds even more fun to the scheme. 

2. Bring comfort to a dining table with a banquette 

A modern farmhouse-style dining area with pale grey leather banquette, navy chairs and oak oval table

(Image credit: Curated Nest/Kyle J Caldwell)

Dining doesn’t always have to be a formal matter – especially in an open-plan kitchen area, and certainly not with children around. ‘The dining area features a custom ostrich leather banquette,’ explains Galvao. ‘It’s super wipeable with kids, super comfy, and unexpected.’ This pale grey dining sofa from Gabby adds a touch of fun to the dining room ideas and a sense of familial closeness. Its modern style is offset with traditional farmhouse chairs and a custom oak oval table from Kravet, which provides a solid centerpiece. 

3. Keep open-plan layouts feeling airy with lighter colors 

A modern farmhouse-style, open-plan kitchen and dining area with bamboo bar stools and white sofa

(Image credit: Curated Nest/Kyle J Caldwell)

When it comes to living room color schemes, rethinking the modern farmhouse style was all about ‘getting away from the trendy, expected black and oak look’ for Galvao. 

‘The colors in the family room – black, cream, and blue, with natural wood accents – proved to be more vibrant than in your typical farmhouse, but didn't assault the senses,’ she explained. This works particularly well in the home’s open-plan setting, where a ‘light and airy’ feeling is emphasized throughout the ground floor space with the repeated use of pale greys, whites and light woods. 

4. Boost a neutral scheme with blue

A modern farmhouse-style living room with a white sofa, and open-plan access to the kitchen

(Image credit: Curated Nest/Kyle J Caldwell)

While Galvao has largely stuck to a neutral color scheme for the living room ideas and beyond, one color in particular helps add personality and quirky modernity to the space. In the family living room, Galvao’s details in punchy Prussian Blue begin in the watercolor-style illustrated cushions, a tasselled woven pillow and the armchair throw. ‘The blue was carried through in the navy dining chairs, the kitchen pendants, and all custom pillows, all with quirky patterns,’ said Galvao. The repeated use of this trendy color pulls the open-plan space together and adds interest to the scheme. 

5. Travel the natural world

A modern farmhouse-style living room with white sofa, rattan armchair and banana indoor tree

(Image credit: Curated Nest/Kyle J Caldwell)

Among the unexpected elements of the design is Galvao’s use of not just natural materials, but in design styles from around the world. Alongside the American-style beams, the living room hosts a large rattan swivel chair from California-based, Southeast Asian-inspired and produced design company Selamat; the Made Goods chandelier in the dining room is made with coconuts; the living room side tables channel Middle Eastern design, and the eclectic use of olive trees, banana trees and driftwood point to multiple corners of the globe. 

Interior Design / Curated Nest

Photography / Kyle J Caldwell

Ailis Brennan

I started out at British GQ, where a month of work experience turned into 18 months of working on all sorts of projects, writing about everything from motorsport to interiors, and helping to put together the GQ Food & Drink Awards. I then spent three years at the Evening Standard on the GO London team, covering restaurants and bars, and getting to eat and drink a veritable smorgasbord of wonderful things around the city. I left the paper in 2020 and went freelance, writing about food, drink and homes for publications including Conde Nast Traveller, Luxury London and Departures. A little less than a year later, I started at Homes & Gardens as a Digital Writer, allowing me to fully indulge my love of good interior design.