Building a modern farmhouse is the perfect opportunity to incorporate a contemporary and uncluttered design in a rustic and nostalgic fashion. This beautiful home, located in Houston, TX, was built by Sarah Lavine-Kass and Benjamin Lavine, the sister-brother team behind Stone Acorn Builders. In this home build they combined design elements, selected mixed colors and finishes, incorporated new building products, and took advantage of natural light.

Modern Design Elements Blend with Warm Colors and Materials

Creating a comfy-chic aesthetic while still conveying a sense of history was a priority for Lavine-Kass.

“The clean trim lines, light fixtures, and hardware are the most contemporary elements in the home. Also, in the past we have always stained our Marvin windows, but in this home, we achieved a more minimal and modern look by applying a clear coat to the window sashes and frames and surrounding them with white trim. Mixing those modern elements with salvaged brick, salvaged wood, and other warm colors helped us balance the “new-old element.”

Hardware Diversity

Blending design elements to achieve a balance between modern, clean lines and more traditional styling is also evident in the selection of hardware colors and finishes.

“French brass and satin bronze are all the rage and we did use some of these colorways in the house, but we also used matte black, polished nickel, chrome, and white and black enamel,” Lavine-Kass says. “If the thread is carried throughout and transitioned at the right places you can get all of those finishes in. The trick is making it feel organic and not disjointed.”


The paint color variation is as pronounced as the other elements in this home, and Lavine-Kass gives all the credit to her team.

“The designers were the stars of the paint colors. Meg Lonergan’s dusty pink dining room choice looked sophisticated and transitioned well to the greens she used in the kitchen area and played well with Lindsey Herod’s peacock blue in the library across the hall.”

Harnessing the Light

There’s no better way to pull together the contrasts and highlight the complements between the various finishes and rich colors than with natural light. And taking advantage of the natural light was a priority to Kass-Lavine and her team from the very beginning stages of this project.

“We wanted to bring as much light in as possible, as well as some appreciation of outside—even though we are on an in-fill lot in town,” she says. “The eight-foot-tall Marvin window units in the dining room bring in gorgeous light and showcase the 11-foot architectural ceilings. We also used a Marvin corner window in the second-floor family room. The view of the treetops and the eastern sky through that window is one of the best in the house.”

Form, Function, and the “Wow” factor

Another advantage of the modern farmhouse design is the freedom to deviate from conventional building materials and include newer products that may feature a distinctive form or enhanced function.

“We chose James Hardie siding, but instead of using our go-to Artisan Lap Siding, we opted to use the new V-groove, which gave us great tailored lines for the home’s exterior. Also, to mitigate water run-off, we decided to use Belgard permeable pavers for the driveway, sidewalk, and walkways. Another new product for us was the Marvin multi-slide door that opens the family room to the outdoor summer kitchen. The multi-slide was a big hit during the open house—and so smooth to operate.”

Managing Costs

During a four-day period in 2017, Hurricane Harvey dropped a year’s worth of rain on the Houston area. Many neighborhoods were devastated.

“This home went up in a neighborhood hit hard by Harvey,” Kass-Lavine says. “It’s in a tenuous place with pricing as the area is recovering.”

It was important to keep costs down while building in a neighborhood that was just getting its feet under it again. Thoughtful selections of window and door products based on function and finishes were required. Stone Acorn installed Marvin Ultimate products in impactful spaces like the family rooms but chose Marvin Elevate windows throughout the rest of the house.

“The Marvin cladding options are great, and it’s very helpful that we can mix and match the product lines given that the colors work well together as well as the divided light patterns. We love Marvin Ultimate products, but the Elevate collection helped us achieve the look we wanted while providing some important savings given the uncertainty of this market.”