The Urban Farmhouse of Your Dreams

The Faux Martha, a graphic designer-turned-blogger, built her Minneapolis home with classic, neutral materials to look fresh for years. Tour her urban farmhouse and snag a few good ideas to take home.

She may be The Faux Martha online, but there's nothing fake about Melissa Coleman.

The graphic designer-turned-blogger calls herself a purist in the kitchen. She focuses on making and sharing simple, everyday recipes jazzed up with seasonal fare for her readers on her blog. That back-to-basics philosophy spills over to other parts of her life, especially the 1,800-square-foot "city farmhouse" she and her husband built in Minneapolis. Judging from her flawless shares on social media, it seems Melissa has the work-life balance thing figured out. Read on to see how Melissa made #thefauxhouse come to life.

The wide-open front porch welcomes neighbors to stop by.

Touch of Color

Honed marble on the island handles pastry recipes; honed black granite on the perimeter counters gives the look of soapstone without the price tag. The vintage green pendant is the home's thesis statement, telling the story of another time while keeping the shape simple. Dark stain on the island warms the blonde floors.

Step Statement

A matte black iron rail strikes a high-contrast note against white walls. The blonde wood treads unite the first and second floors. A soft, neutral rug breaks up the hardwood floors for a cozier feel.

Get the Look: How to Paint a Wool Rug

Mix Master

Here and throughout the house, the lack of window treatments, baseboards, and crown moldings reflect the streamlined aesthetic designed by builders Brownsmith Restoration to make this farmhouse modern. In the living room, the blend of high and low, old and new, includes traditional chartreuse armchairs from Craigslist, the sleek Atwood Sofa by Gus Modern, and a rustic buffalo check pouf from Target.

Wall Color Decorator's White (CC-20), Benjamin Moore

Be Consistent

Melissa wanted an open floor plan but needed a little separation for her hardworking kitchen. The solution? A floating partition that divides the spaces but lets light pass above and around. Shiplap covers the dining room side, storage the other. The simple shape and matte black finish of the dining room light ties it to the stair rail, kitchen counters, and other black accents throughout the open downstairs.

Melissa also paints. Her "Two Weeks Without Internet" (shown hanging on the wall) sells for $25 on her site. Download, print, and frame.

Shiplap Walls

Work Space

Melissa made the desk by laying butcher block over IKEA storage components. Sliding glass doors separate Melissa's home office from the kitchen, so she can be closed off yet still near the action. She applied green chalkboard paint on the walls and, though she doesn't write on them, rubbed on a layer of chalk.

Wall Color NCF Green, Chalkboard Paint, Rust-Oleum

Key Color

This bedroom balances neutrals and pastels with pops of black. A buffalo-check throw at the foot of the bed gives a cozy vibe while metallic gold accents bring the room warmth. 

Pattern Play

Bold geometric patterns including buffalo check, herringbone, and stripes set against a white background define the look. Different patterns, each in a neutral shade, mix easily. The blue-and-white striped light fixture adds a fun pop of color.

Learn How to Mix Patterns

Inspiring Imagination

While the rest of the house sticks to natural and pastel tones, the playroom brings in color with a geometric rug, a tasseled garland, and a pouf for reading. A pile of bright pillows makes a canvas tent the perfect play fort.

Fun Playroom Ideas

Made of Gold

Classic materials—black tile, gold fixtures, stone, and wood—can be mixed together in endless ways. The glass sconce shades add modern flair. A Persian-style rug warms up the tile floor.

DIY Gold Bathroom Hardware


  1. loved it....wonder where to find rug in office??? I want one!!!

  2. This is true to the look of rural farmhouses where I grew up. The farmhouse look which has been propagated through magazines has been a romantic fantasy and this is closer to real for me with the open staircase and very simple lines. I love it.

  3. The exterior says farmhouse, not so much the interior. It's a well done modern home, but not what I'd expect for a farmhouse feel at all.

  4. Love it!

  5. Not a fan of the white walls. Looks so sterile, but to each his own.

  6. Not my taste and nothing about this screams farmhouse. But to each his own.

  7. I love this! So clean looking. Just beautiful.

  8. I find it cute and whimsical, but it's not something I'd want to live with. =I'm not a fan of white walls, that much. However, I thought the blend of patterns and woods was intriguing. I also liked the fact you dotted in colors. It has a clean, right-at-home feeling that appealed to me, yet, there were modernistic pieces of furniture that didn't grab me. Overall, I love it for you and loved touring the decor.

  9. Simple beauty, well coordinated!

  10. Especially like the office space furnishings, door access, and the chalk wall paint effect! Nice!

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