Focus |Living Room
Resurrected and reconfigured, a barn turned living room
makes human inhabitants feel like they are
on vacation while still at home.
Visitors before me had urged the owners of this farmhouse to expand their living quarters simply by attaching a gigantic wing to its side. Although a sound, albeit predictable, solution, I imagined a more interesting alternative when I learned that a barn once stood here: rebuild the onetime prominent structure to provide the spacious living room that this family so desired.
In New England, barns are commonly attached directly to their farmhouses by way of some sort of connector spaces: these farmsteads became my historical models. And of course, countless barns, garages and other service buildings across America have been adapted as dwellings: these conversions became my practical influences.
Here, I found that a one story porch on the back of the house offered the perfect spot from which to extend a link from old to new by way of a low-slung glassed-in hallway.
For some, it would be unheard of to consider a room that would be tenuously attached to and essentially separate from the main house when, these days, the contiguous spaces of open floor plans seem all but mandatory. Yet my clients bucked the trend in order to occupy a remote space unlike any of their original clustered rooms of meager dimensions and low ceilings: a lofty sun-filled room with robust fireplace and wraparound view of well-tended grounds.
I believe I made good on my promise that occupying the new living room would be like being on vacation at home. And by pointing out how to connect the stand-alone structure to the main house, I won my argument to hold this repeat barn raising.