A farmhouse is at once elegant but simple—often with a form-follows-function attitude. A farmhouse balances a country way of life with a more urban lifestyle and can serve as the gateway between the two. Generally the property was used and/or is still used for agricultural purposes and typically includes a field. It borrows its planning strategies, forms, massing, proportion, scale, and materials from the vernacular connected farm buildings of New England. (See Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn by Thomas C. Hubka.) While a farmhouse includes some of the same aspects of casual living as camps and cottages, it can also include more formality and symmetry—a clarity of form, meant to be viewed from a long way off upon approach, like at the end of a long driveway or across a field. Common characteristics include a large sheltering roof, a formal entry, ample natural materials like wood and stone, painted and natural wood finishes, and the use of local materials that have been proven to withstand harsh New England winters. Farmhouses are often said to have an honesty of materials—because farmers were generally frugal, they often used building materials available in their immediate environment, such as stones from the field or locally hewn timbers.