New houses are being built to seem like they've been there forever but with some modern twists. "We have people who call every week requesting white siding or white-painted brick with a steel front door and a few earthy accents to keep it warm," says Benjamin Lavine of Stone Acorn Builders in Houston, a Southern Living Custom Builder member. Today's most in-demand details include board-and-batten cladding, shingles, steel windows and doors (or wooden ones painted in deep Charleston green, warm dark gray, or charcoal black), standing-seam metal roofing, painted and heavily mortared brick, and gas lanterns.
"The things my clients seek now really are the traditional must-haves that many Southerners have been drawn to for centuries: authentic details such as great hardware and exterior lighting or properly designed and operable shutters —especially louvered ones," says architect Brandon Ingram, who notes that new twists add a relaxed feel. "I'm seeing a trend toward playful touches like window boxes, doors in exciting paint colors , and whimsical accents like chinoiserie and treillage detailing. Also, Southerners continue to see the magic that a beautifully designed and proportioned front porch can provide."
WATCH: Before and After: Farmhouse Renovation
If you want to give your home the farmhouse touch, start with paint. "White can be too stark, so an off-white like Sherwin-Williams Alabaster (SW 7008) is a good alternative," says Randy Schiltz, president of t-Olive Properties, a Southern Living Custom Builder member. Be sure to add warm accents like containers and a bold front door to make your farmhouse update stand out.