Rustic log barn has wooden roof and is in disrepair. Field behind barn rolls across the distance to the mountains of Paradise Valley, Wyoming. Adobe Stock

The surge in popularity for the farmhouse trend has led to a surprising problem: theft. In places like Kentucky, criminals have descended on old barns in search of weathered wood planks, says’s Clare Trapasso. At least 13 Kentucky counties have reported such thefts, with some counties now seeing 20 or more barns burglarized a year.

Battered, old wood planks may seem like an unlikely candidate for a gold rush, but they became popular about a decade ago for use on ceilings or as box beams (to camouflage wiring, plumbing, or other unsightly systems), say design experts. Today, the weathered beams have also become a popular material for accent walls thanks to its gray hue.

"That washed tone just suggests resort living, mountain living, relaxed living," says Marc Thee, co-founder of high-end interior design firm Marc-Michaels, in Winter Park, FL. "The irregularity of it is part of its beauty."

Barn wood is also one of the most rustic and easiest of the reclaimed woods to work with. It's a more sustainable option than cutting down trees growing today. And the wood is often 150 to 200 years old, much older than what's being used today. Older wood is often stronger and more resistant to pests. Plus, there's a vast supply of it in rural America.

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