The farmhouse style is popular in Bakersfield with the advent of DIY “fixer upper” television shows like Chip and Joanna Gaines. Michelle Hardt, owner of Hardt Construction Services along with her husband Tim, recently answered questions for Bakersfield Life Magazine about this local trend.

What are the top elements to incorporate into a farmhouse remodel?

Creating the farmhouse style in a kitchen or bath is all about a welcoming attitude “look.” It should be modest, yet functional. Freestanding furniture is one feature, along with freestanding-looking cabinets/islands/peninsulas, as opposed to the traditional built-in look.

Include a warm palette of brick, stone and wood with soft, welcoming tones. Use humble hardware. No flashy stuff here; functional cup pulls and knobs will give a historic feel. The apron front sink is a must in every farmhouse kitchen or bath. Weathered-looking materials such as wood, metal and ceramics can even be achieved by distressing new materials with a little ingenuity. Open or floating shelves look classic and beautiful while being very functional. And finally, repurposing some of our grandparents’ vintage heirlooms, pictures, furniture, mirrors, etc., can be done very cost-effectively. Plus, they make great conversation pieces when guests visit.

Farmhouse-style coffee bars are a popular trend heading into 2019. How can people create one?

Coffee bars have been very popular in 2018. I like them because they add a focal point and can easily update a kitchen. Plus, they help get rid of counter clutter.

To create one, convert a cabinet. Remove old doors and paint the cabinet in an accent color. Then consider adding electrical.

Another idea is to repurpose an old piece of furniture. Add a solid surface top. Install some floating shelves on the wall behind the new coffee bar to hold cups.

What are the most popular farmhouse trends you are seeing in Bakersfield when people remodel?

I’m seeing light and bright colors all around. A lot of kitchens feature the farmhouse sink with a tall commercial-style faucet that pulls out. Center islands and peninsulas are de rigueur. Plus, many kitchens sport floating shelves with exposed hand-hammered exhaust hoods. These add lots of character and charm and creatively use different materials such as distressed woods, metals and family heirlooms.

What are some DIY decorating tips for homeowners on a limited budget?

Keep it simple. Clear out the clutter and add a vintage table. In the kitchen area, change up the cabinets with paint or new hardware. Consider switching outdated fluorescent lights to newer vintage-looking lighting.

What colors work best?

There are a bazillion different paint colors out there so I recommend starting with a neutral palette. You can then accent with pops of color. One example is a pale warm-green wall with cream trim and a dark walnut floor. Another is muted gray walls with sharp white trim and light-colored flooring. Always mix in new and old materials to give the final touches. 

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