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Some new Parade Homes have the feel of living out in the country rather than on a suburban cul-de-sac. In the past few years, we’ve gazed at plenty of sliding barn doors, farmhouse sinks and walls clad in rustic reclaimed barnwood.

Farmhouse-style features in new construction are still strong, but this fall, keep an eye out for a modern spin, said Katy Baar, style editor for the Builders Association of the Twin Cities, which presents the twice-yearly Parade of Homes tour.

“HGTV shows like ‘Fixer-Upper’ have elevated the look of shiplap and barn doors,” she said. “Now we’re seeing a modern play on a popular trend.”

Look for these contemporary farmhouse accents, as well as other interior design trends, on the Parade of Homes, which continues through Oct. 2.

New-fashioned farmhouse

• Stainless-steel farmhouse sink in place of traditional white porcelain.

• Windows trimmed in black casings against white woodwork and walls.

• Sleek tin accent wall instead of distressed barnwood.

• Charcoal gray or black shiplap paneling rather than plain white.

• A “modern farmhouse” Dream Home in Edina juxtaposes metal stair railings and concrete vanities with rough-sawn wood beams and batten-board finishes.

Hot in the kitchen

• Today’s kitchens often sit in the center of an open floor plan. Owners of upper-bracket homes are requesting separate prep and cleanup areas, called a “kitchen within a kitchen,” to keep messes and small appliances out of sight.

Homes without that extra space typically include a big walk-in pantry. “It’s bringing back that segmented room without compromising the open concept,” said Baar.

• Bold-patterned mosaic backsplashes make an arty statement against a neutral white backdrop. “High-end Dream Homes tend to go more cutting-edge with backsplashes,” said Baar.

• While gray and white kitchens are still the rage, some consumers are going back to rich darker-stained cabinets.

• For counter and island tops, slabs of quartz, soapstone, marble, recycled glass and butcher block have become popular alternatives to the familiar granite.

• Edison bulbs inside glass pendants illuminate islands with a golden glow. “It’s a modernized look from the past,” said Baar.

• Appliances include double-wall ovens, oversized refrigerators, microwave ovens concealed in pullout drawers and cooktops with storage below — all in stainless steel, of course.

Bonus and flex rooms

• A lofted area at the top of a staircase to do homework, watch movies, serve as a kids’ play zone or just a place to unwind before bedtime. “It can change as the kids grow,” said Baar.

• Wine cellars in a lower level can serve as simple storage or can be large enough to include a wine-tasting room.

• Sport courts and indoor putting greens for year-round practice and play.

Lynn Underwood • 612-673-7619


Parade of Homes

What: More than 420 Twin Cities and western Wisconsin model homes, ranging from $189,950 to $2.6 million, are open for inspection.

When: Noon to 6 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays through Oct. 2.

Events: Cooking demos, Villa Living 101 and building seminars.

Admission: Free except for a $5 donation to tour four high-end Artisan Dream Homes in Prior Lake, Edina and Grant.

Guidebooks: Holiday Station stores or go to