‘Farmhouse Facelift’ Reveals the Biggest Farmhouse Decor Fail of All

Jerome Powell

With farmhouse style being all the rage, Hulu has hopped on the bandwagon with a new show, “Farmhouse Facelift,” featuring brother-sister renovators Carolyn Wilbrink and Billy Pearson.

In this series, Wilbrink, a designer, and Pearson, a carpenter, fix up old country houses in Canada, giving them modern comforts while keeping their classic charm. And in the premiere episode, “Make It Ours,” married couple Kristine and John need a whole lot of help making their 1885 colonial farmhouse feel like home.

As they explain, their farmhouse has been in the family for five generations, and while the property is certainly special to the couple, they don’t necessarily want to be living like their grandma (or great-great-great-grandma) did.

Here’s how Wilbrink and Pearson turn this run-down house into a home any country lover or city slicker alike would envy—a transformation packed with plenty of tips you might be inspired to try in your own home.

New-looking floors are a huge farmhouse fail

Before: There’s an odd line running down this dining room floor where the wood changes.


As soon as Wilbrink and Pearson walk into this home, they notice the floors need replacing. The problem? New floors often look new—and in a farmhouse, that just won’t do.

To keep this home’s antiquated look, they decide on a flooring that has a lot of imperfections.

After: These boards are imperfect, but now they look intentional.


“Skip dress flooring is basically a rough finish,” Pearson says. “It’s been planed, but very minimal, so you still have saw marks.”

Made from joists, trusses, and wall studs, this flooring features plenty of distress marks and age.

The flooring will be truly unique, says Wilbrink. “It’s going to be perfectly imperfect.”

In the end, this flooring gives the home a classic feel and looks like it could have been there the whole time.

A bold color can quickly update an old kitchen

Before: With dated features, this felt like Grandma’s kitchen.


The biggest problem with this house is that it feels old.

“This still feels like, when I come in here, it’s my mother-in-law’s kitchen,” Kristine explains.

Wilbrink solves this problem by replacing the old cabinets with new ones in a more modern color—denim blue. The kitchen still has that traditional farmhouse charm, but now it looks fresh, bold, and uniquely Kristine’s.

After: New cabinets really spruce up this old farm kitchen.


“I love mixing old with new, and with these new cabinets being loaded in, this kitchen will no longer be Kristine’s mother-in-law’s,” Wilbrink says.

“But it still honors the history of their family home,” Pearson adds.

Wallpaper can look old and new all at once

Before: Without any color, this bathroom looked old and not necessarily classic.


Wilbrink continues the old-meets-new theme in the bathroom when she decides to add wallpaper.

Wallpaper was once thought to be very dated, but this material has become trendy in recent years, and many patterns look fresh and modern. 

After: This wallpaper gives the bathroom a classic feel.


“It just brings back the traditional feel of wallpaper.” Wilbrink says. “But we’re going to give it a modern touch.”

Wilbrink chooses a pattern that evokes a classic farmhouse feel, but the crisp white and dark blue style presents a contemporary aesthetic as well. It’s classic-looking, but the colors make it feel new.

Recycle that old cabinet

Before: This cabinet is a bit too dark for the bathroom.


To finish this bathroom, Wilbrink and Pearson find an antique cabinet that Pearson can turn into a vanity. However, when it’s delivered to the farmhouse, they realize that the piece is a bit darker than they remembered. Unfortunately, it may be too dark.

“I really need a softer finish so it’ll work better with the wallpaper,” Wilbrink says.

After: After a whitewash, this vanity is the perfect color.


Wilbrink decides to strip the cabinet down to its natural finish, then whitewash it. Her plan works perfectly, because once they’re ready to install the cabinet-turned-vanity, it looks perfect with the wallpaper.

Porcelain floors make a mudroom easy to clean

Before: The mudroom floor used to be concrete with black mats.


Wilbrink and Pearson want to make the mudroom a warm, welcoming place. But as it stands, it just feels like an extension of the cold, dull garage. John even complains about the mudroom, saying that he’d find his boots frozen on cold days.

One way they make this room feel more homey is by changing up the floor.

“I didn’t go with brick because it’s porous,” Wilbrink explains. “I needed to use a porcelain, which would make it more functional and easier to clean.”

After: This porcelain flooring is unique and lovely.


Then, to make this flooring look unique, Wilbrink comes up with a plan to add a diamond-shaped pattern in the tile, using a different color.

“It’ll add a bit more interest to the floor,” she says.

To finish this flooring, Pearson adds heated coils under the tile so John will never put on frozen boots again. This new flooring is a game changer for the mudroom, turning the space from practically unusable to a beautiful part of this farmhouse.

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