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Thursday, April 7, 2011

the Barn Room transformation

This post is a long one, really long...... months in the making, so you might want to grab a glass bottle of wine or a cup pot of coffee depending on the time of day you are reading this! 
I last showed you the status of the barn room which is to be our great/tv room here and here.   There is a lot of progress to report. 
In looking back over my other renovation posts I realized that they were lacking one very crucial element to give you the full renovation "experience"........ SOUND
So, please try to imagine ALL of these sounds ALL going on at once ALL day EVERY day Monday through Friday starting at 6:50 AM to 3 pm produced by 3-4 carpenters, 2 masons,  and the occasional 2 electricians and 2 AC/Heating guys for months on end!!!!
The renovation symphony:
Can you hear it?!
 Welcome to our world...

The fireplace construction begins.  That's daylight above the fireplace and it was winter in New Hampshire, so each and every night the hole would have to be closed up with boards and insulated pads, and a small heater was placed inside the fireplace to keep the mortar from freezing.

A normal workday!  The two masons working on the fireplace and two of the four carpenters working on the wood beam wraps that will cover the engineered beams that we had to put in for structural support.  The shiny boards on the right cover up the doorway and steps to the kitchen.

Fireplace in progress.

The "beams" being constructed.

The beams going up.

The new beams up, and the original barn door before being moved to its permanent location as wall art on the adjacent wall.

Directly above the barn room is the master closet which is connected to the master bath and bedroom.  For noise abatement a layer of insulation and a thick, rubber-like sound-proofing material was added to the ceiling before the installation of the finish ceiling boards.

The (white-washed) ceiling boards going up.

The final choice for the fireplace opening arch.  I wanted a subtle arch that was similar to the original arch on the living room fireplace.

The fireplace will have a natural stucco finish.

The painted ship-lap wall boards arrived.  All boards used on the project have been painted (and stained) off-site, enabling the trades to carry on their work and we didn't have to deal with the fumes. (to be more specific, the barn room wall board have been primed and the first coat has been painted off-site, after the nailed installation in the barn room the holes will be filled and the final coat of paint will be applied in the room.)
The wall boards are painted with Benjamin Moore's Sea Haze- a medium gray with green undertones.
When I was choosing a wall color for this room (all the other rooms in the barn have stained boards) I tried really hard not to look at names (I'm easily swayed sometimes;), I knew this color was the right choice after reading the name "Sea Haze" as it is the next color down on the color wheel from "Gray Owl" which is the color of the walls in the kitchen which adjoins the barn room! 

The first wall boards being installed!  This was a very big day getting to cover up the green insulation that we had looked at for months.  (The two shiny strips next to the boards going in are the heating/ac ducting to the loft.)

 I love how all the different woods look together:  walls, ceiling, beams.

This is the original iron railing system that the barn door was attached to.  The bottom two show what they look like after Dan used a wire brush to get off all the rust and then oiled them.

You haven't forgotten the SOUNDS have you?!!

Board being installed that will hold the railing for the barn door which is being moved to this location.

The above board being primed and painted to match the walls.  The small doorway to the left is the half bath.  The large doorway with the glass transom goes up to the kitchen.  The doorway on the right will have the iron gates and goes to the barn mud room which takes your down to the garage.  Got that?!!

How many men does it take to move an antique barn door... answer:  7- one is behind the door!  The door weighs approximately 700 pounds.

Of course, nothing is ever easy, so the door had to be moved once again, about 6 feet off the wall, so that one of the carpenters could climb a ladder and chamfer a board that was making the installation impossible.   Installation almost complete.  While the door does roll on the rail, it will remain stationary.

The fireplace getting taller.

This photo shows the transition of the chimney flue from inside the barn to the exterior chimney where it will then follow the exterior wall of the barn.  The chimney has insulation (an extra measure not often used) preventing the structure from freezing and cracking during our extremely cold winters.

As I've mentioned in a previous post-  the hearthstone is a large piece of granite that was removed from the foundation during Phase I of the renovation.  The old beam that we are using for the mantel also came from the original barn structure.  I designed it to wrap around the fireplace instead of being straight across.  My carpenter did a wonderful job in getting this old, twisted beam to be level.  Mitering the corners of a twisted beam and making it level as it wraps the chimney was a daunting task, but he did it!    In this photo we are working on the angle of the chimney.  For scale, the carpenter standing on the mantel (he's actually standing on the fireplace concrete block construction behind the mantel) is 6' 1"!  A pair of sconces, yet to be found, will flank the chimney (I'm hoping to find them in Brimfield in May!)

Test boards placed to the correct angle to let me visualize it over one weekend to ensure it was right.  You can ask Dan about the BIG honking round speaker hole.......;)

Doorway leads to the half bath (the only bathroom on the first floor.)  The walls and ceiling in the half bath are wrapped in the stained barn wood.  (for those of you who inquired about the stain formula, I've added it to "my paint colors" on the sidebar.)  See the small sliding door leaning against the large barn door?? (note the hardware on top)  Several of its boards had been "borrowed" to make some repairs on the large barn door.  It just kept getting moved around the project, until one day while out antiquing Dan saw a similar door and came up with the great idea to use it as the half bath door!  Before this we were going to use an old door from the farmhouse, which now just seems so wrong- as this idea is perfect!

Old door being  modified to fit the half bath door opening.

The old door installed in the half bath.  This one does roll to close!

The frame work for the chimney going up.

Here you can see how the mantel beam wraps around the chimney.

The exterior chimney is being constructed at the same time...  note the french door on the right side of the photo for reference.

Getting close to the top!  These are the master closet windows on the second floor of the barn!

The second coat of stucco going on!!!  There will be three coats total and it dries to a light beige-gray color. Also note the trim has been installed around the french doors.

Did I mention the dust?!! 
The plywood that closed the kitchen off from the barn room has been removed to work on the stairs, and a plastic divide (a "why-bother" as I refer to it;) has been put up.  This is the view from the kitchen into the barn room.

A close up of the above view. Are you still hearing all the SOUNDS?!

Barn to kitchen stairs.

I told you it was a long one!!!   If you're still here, you can take your earplugs out now!...... thanks for reading, and thanks for visiting our world!


  1. Soooo Exciting and My fav is the fireplace and of course the barn door. We did a restoration on a home built in 1890 and I know the noise, dust, dirt, time delays, decisions made, decisions changed, budget blown to he**...Love the photos and thanx for sharing...remember to enter my giveaway at The Cranky Queen...Tif

  2. I LOVE your house! Thank you for sharing. I can't imagine the chaos. We have been remodeling our little house (just finished the kitchen) and the mess is driving me nuts! I can't wait to see the finished room.

  3. As I'm reading, I hear the lovely sounds of a trencher right outside! The other day I was down the block and could hear the guys sawing. I'm sure the neighbors love least you don't have any! So, yes, I "hear" you! HA! Progress is great. It's going to be now we expect nothing less. :)

  4. I am in beautiful, and every detail perfect! You are living our dream...sigh.

  5. Wow, that looks sooooo good! I can not wait to see the end results! I am so jealous about those barn doors. My hubby and I went through our house looking for a place that we could instal one, but there just wasn't a place. So, I am living vicariously through you!

  6. Oh my goodness...what an undertaking! This was a really exciting post for me to read- I loved seeing the transformation in progress. You have the gift of vision!

  7. I so enjoy sharing your journey! Your home is wonderful, I cannot wait to see more rooms and this all finished! You will so enjoy this room and when all is said and done you can smile as you look back at the photo journal from your blog. I hope your little fur baby is not too upset with all the goings on, our pug gets very anxious if someone even comes to the door!

  8. I know you both must be excited! I was just by seeing such progression. Congratulations on what is turning out to be a beautiful room!

  9. There are no words...ok..maybe one...PERFECTION!
    Lori L

  10. The magnitude of this endeavor is overwhelming me even just looking at the screen.

    It is stunning. I am rendered speechless.

  11. AMAZING! I love this room, you have great vision and taste. I love it all. The wood planks, the sliding barn doors, the fireplace....argh. I wish I could have that room...!

  12. Just lovely!

    The barn door and "mini me" bath door are such nice choices.

  13. This is so fun to read about---the sound isn't nearly as loud as you are experiencing! :-) What is so impressive to me, besides the beauty of the area, is how you have visualized the implemented such a beautiful room(s). Thanks for sharing.

  14. So fascinating I completely forgot about the cup of coffee sitting next to my computer!

  15. Unbelievably gorgeous! I am so excited to see this finished out. Such detail and amazing character! Yeah for you all!

  16. I am really starting to think we are not sisters! I had an atrium door put in on Wednesday and with my fiasco with my washing machine I am totally emotionally exhausted!! How are you and Dan doing this? Of course, when they put in the door they broke mortar around the tile floor and now that means someone else has to come and fixed that AND I am STILL without a washer after seven days!!!

  17. Looking amazing. Love the colors! The beams, the ceiling and wall boards all look really beautiful together. The barn doors on rails are cool too. I've always loved those. Can't wait to see the TV.

  18. In love! I simply can't wait to see your post when it's all finished. What great ideas using the old barn doors.

    Much luck to you at Brimfield!! I'm going on the Tuesday it opens which also happens to be my birthday.. I am as giddy as a child in a toy store.


  19. What a lucky lady you are! I am drooling over this entire project. Of course I have been since I saw your kitchen!!!!

  20. ...oh it is just so much fun coming to your house...the barn room is going to be beyond wonderful...of all the work and detail...i am most intrigued with the original barn door becoming an art appropriate...i keep thinking of the original farmer coming in and out of that door with his livestock on cold new hampshire days...or during the hot months of summer...what different sounds he listened to than you...did the farmer's wife visit him with hot coffee and biscuits and maple syrup... did little children run through it on an early morning before chores to see a new born calf... and what were his thoughts the last time he closed that door... surely never dreaming it would hang proudly on the walls of his barn...loved and saved by strangers who would one day call his barn home...what a truly great legacy you are preserving...and creating for someone else far into the future...cannot wait to see this room dressed for its debut...thank you for inviting us in...

  21. It looks like things are really moving along. The barn door is fabulous.. can't wait to see the finished fireplace.

  22. Thank you all for your great comments!!

    laney- that was absolutely beautiful- thank you! It brought tears to my eyes. While I have thought of the men who built and installed the barn door originally (even mentioning it to my men who were moving it, but they weren't 'feeling' the love;) I had never thought of it the way you described.... just magical! Thank you for making me "see" it differently today!

  23. Have mercy. This is SO much fun watching your house & barn be transformed. I love that room. Love it. The beams, the fireplace, the steps up to the kitchen, the BARN DOOR!!! How exciting this must be for you to see it all come together!

  24. I am so thrilled to see the progress. I am sure the sound were annoying but I can imagine just how good all of the wood smelled. I have a thing for smell of wood. You have some amazing vision. I am on pins & needles for more updates!

  25. I enjoyed this so much ! Noise and all :)
    Love the colors, love the mantle and the shape and the doors and beams and everything.
    It is wonderful. Besos, C

  26. Looking so wonderful! Will you be hosting a Grand Barn Opening party? How does your dog cope with all of the noise? Love your home -- many thanks for such great photos!

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

  27. I love how it is looking! I was totally imagining the noises and the dust floating around...I'm sure you're going to breathe a huge sigh of relief when it is all done. I can't wait for the reveal...

    Love the fireplace
    Love the barn doors
    Love that you are using original barn wood.

    So cool!


  28. hi joanie,

    i adore the barn doors, but who wouldn't. i love the colors you are using too. but most of all i'm so jealous of all the sounds. that's right. i love the sound of renovations. i love the mess, the noise, the workers, the excitement. i'm always sad when it is over. reading this makes me want to rip off the back of the house or the roof just to hear those sounds again.


  29. Oh, the symphony of construction. But you forgot the SMELL of cut lumber, that particular fragrance of newness, anticipation, and excitement. If I could bottle that smell, I would! Your space is going to be gorgeous.

  30. Amazing journey! Thank you for sharing! Your home is already fabulous and already filled with history! the last photo, of the stairs leading into the looks like white sploches of paint or plaster on your new (painted) wall boards???
    Florida hugs,

  31. Joan, Dan, and Ella: Thank you for sharing your world with all of us!!! Wow, I am speechless (and you know that does not happen) Cindy

  32. Y'all are right about the smells... I did forget that!!:)

    Becca- good eye! the white spots are the 600 nail holes being filled! The wall boards will get their final coat of paint once the nail holes have been filled and sanded!

    Martha & Teacats- Thank you for asking about Ella! She is s trooper and is unaffected (thank goodness) by all the noise, people and commotion. She actually LOVES visiting all the workermen who are so sweet to her and always stop and talk to her and give her sugar! The excavator man (who is scheduled to resume the building of the stone wall terrace soon) even brings her cookies!

  33. I LOVE your post! Keep showing us EVERY detail! Enthralling. It looks wonderful!

  34. ...thank you joan...houses do speak to us...even across the miles between georgia and far away new hampshire...and this house house is blessed to have a wonderful new voice...cannot wait to hear what else it has to tell...

  35. It is so much fun to be taken on the quiet side ride of your renovations! ! I love the idea of using the smaller door on the bathroom! True inspiration. That room will be just as lovely as every other one you have created. We had some small renovations done last summer & I was so glad to get my house back. I can't imagine what ALL of this has been like for you & for a long time....but worth it!!

  36. Boy I sure can hear all the noise! We did a reno in 1996 on our home and I loved it all! I guess I'm weird but I liked all the activity and the progress! I love all your colors you are chosing throughout your project, this room is fabulous! The fireplace is just awesome and the people doing the work are to be commended! Outstanding workmanship going on here...really a wonderful project and they are doing a fabulous job on it! I'd be sitting there every morning with my coffee just dreaming away about what's going to happen next!

  37. Everything is fabulous. I love it all. I can't wait to see it all furnished and decorated. Hugs, Marty

  38. Just fabulous, Joanie! Everything that you are doing is just sooooo good!
    Love you.

  39. It is truly spectacular. Amazing work!

  40. I am really enjoying this renovation of your barn room and I love how you have re-purposed the old barn doors - such character and a real talking point of the room. The fireplace is going to be amazing and I look forward to the next post! ;-)

  41. WOW! Laney's post brought tears to my eyes too! She must have a beautiful spirit to think of those things. Thank you for reminding us, Laney! You and Dan need to watch the old movie 'All That Heaven Allows'. Rock Hudson's character lives in a mill house he restored and has a barn door like yours. It covers his windows and slides opens looking onto a meadow. The mill house is fabulous!

    Poor sweet Ella. Vince and Roxi would be woofing like crazy with all that noise and visitors.

  42. All I can say is WOW. Oh, and I LOVE your colors!!!

  43. Where did you find the hinges for the doors, I have been looking for a smaller version.

  44. Oh Joan, I began to read this today at work - but couldn't finish it ... so now that I'm home, I could really go through and read everything, and soak up those photos. You weren't kidding! You have been busy! :)
    Are you guys going to Brimfield in May? Scott and I never really talked about it ... but perhaps we can go together? I'd LOVE to hit the fields with you!
    I'm still struggling with coffee table ideas - the sofa is in Buffalo, but the shipper hasn't called about delivery. ERUGH!
    Anyway - would LOVE to know what you plan on doing for coffee table(s) in this space ... LOVE LOVE LOVE the way it's coming together! Magazine quality - for sure!

  45. This is soooo seeing the process unfold before our very eyes! Is there anything more exciting? I think not! Cannot wait to see more....

  46. I actually mixed a cocktail before reading. :) you must be so thrilled with the progress...gratification before your eyes every day! Thanks for sharing, Joan!

  47. I love the whole thing. But I have to admit that I am in serious lust with that barn door!! I love that you have kept it and are incorporating it into the room. Just absolutely love it!

    I got a giggle about the speaker hole, because funny enough I have those in my living room thanks to my husband :)

  48. Lori- I found them in the other room;)- they are original to the doors. Have you tried googling 'barn door hardware'?

  49. This is so exciting to be able to watch this happening! Thank you so much for sharing this and taking us along! Using the barn door is GENIUS! It will be exquisite!!!! I can't wait to see it all done! XO, Pinky

  50. I was thinking about you the other day and funny thing, I was thinking about all the noise you must be enduring! I have a question about the beams. Are they clad in barn wood or stained to look like it? And I love the barn wood on the walls of the half bath! I would like to do the same when we renovate the kitchen and add a half bath. Like others, I can't wait to see more of the details of this room. I know it will be exquisite.

  51. This is soooo wonderfully fabulous!! I love it all.

    Received my maple syrup today....thank you again!

  52. hi Jane! how sweet that you were thinking about me and the noise!
    The beams are stained, as are the boards on the half bath walls. The stain formula (and application technique) can be found in "my paint colors" on the sidebar!

  53. Well for me the post just wasn't long enough! I love every detail you show of the progress, that is what I crave as a designer, seeing every aspect from the ground up. Your vision is extraordinary.

    Being on many projects, and also living with some as well, I know that noise oh too well. The workers practically become part of your family. After awhile I stopped getting embarrased when they catch you in the early mornings hair unkept, no makeup and in comfy pj's. Love, love the progress, thank you for
    sharing your wonderful adventure and wisdom in this stunning project of yours.

  54. I love the play-by-play that you deliver on your blog. It's great to read the details and at times problems associated with the build.
    This room is incredible and is worthy of the label 'Grand Room'.
    ps. I want those doors !!

  55. Chamfer. Well, I've learned a new word today! The place looks amazing. Gives me lots to dream about. : )

  56. Stephanie- your words are so true, they are indeed family! We are so grateful to have such talented craftsmen on the job who share our vision and offer great ideas in the building process. They are really a fun and funny group. And, you described it so perfectly about how you eventually stop getting embarrased about the early morning "viewings"!! I think the first time they saw me with makeup, no baseball hat and real clothes they thought I was a visitor!!

  57. I love seeing that you've updated- this is so fun to watch! You must be getting giddy with how close it is to being completed!

  58. I absolutely love the play by play and all the attention to detail. Thank you so much for sharing. I sit here waiting patiently for each post that follows. No pressure : )
    Carin from Pennsylvania

  59. Oh Joan I can't wait to see it finished. It's going to be stunning - just like the rest of your house. I think your barn room is about as big as my entire house! What fun you're going to have decorating it.

    TDM x

  60. Hi Joan thank you once again for sharing this is one fabulous reno YES I get the noise its happened many times here and lets not forget the dust isn't it FUN The after shots are amazing.
    Kind Regards

  61. I adore your house and this new addition is perfection. Thank you for sharing your paint color choices in your side bar they have given me inspiration for my own home.

  62. I cannot begin to tell you how much I love this space...the beams are amazing as is the wood on the ceiling, floors and wall, but the piece de resistance...the antique barn door. You must be thrilled!! Hope you have a wonderful weekend ~

  63. Joan, this is so exciting watching the progress. We get to do it without all the noise and dust. It is going to be so worth it all in the end.

  64. what a fun post, love the transformations unfolding!

    all your choices are sheer perfection, cannot wait to see what you do with furnishings.

  65. I'm without words...which if you knew me you'd be surprised! This is amazing!! I wish we lived next door so we could share ideas. (or really that I could just steal all of yours)
    Can't wait for the next post.
    Happy Spring!

  66. I am consistently and utterly impressed with the work you're doing on your home. It's just beautiful. Maybe someday you might consider sharing the names of all of these great contractors? They're very hard to find and it looks like your team is doing a great job.

  67. I am not quite sure where to's all so wonderful, beautiful, amazing and exciting (and quiet from this side of the screen)! The barn door for the half bath could not be more perfect and I had to laugh when I saw the speaker hole. Reminds me to ask Jeff about sound system in the kitchen...

    Your craftsman are doing a superb job and I can't wait to see what happens next!

  68. I’m in love with your barn! And I know how you feel about the noise and the dust, OMG the dust! After a year + of renovation I still can’t hear properly and the dust, give it a year you’ll get it cleaned up. Look the ceiling treatment you did really pops and your fireplace, love it! The whole renovation is really coming out well you must be so thrilled.

  69. lovely, simply lovely. even with the "symphony of sounds" and the many "orchestra members" presence at early hours of the day you have managed to create yet another visual appreciate that you are a patron of the arts Joan.

  70. Joan, I have enjoyed every word and every picture of the post. You have given a second life to that farmhouse, and mainly to the barn, a beautiful second oportunity.
    By the way, I must confess that I follow the reading of your posts always with tne "floor plan" next; otherwise I loose the north, the south... ;)

  71. Bonjour Joan,
    I just reading your last long post about the great barn's works! At last you'll done a really special gorgeous farmhouse with an amazing barn...located in a very jolie place!
    Bon travail et bon week-end!

  72. This is just incredible! I loved scrolling thorough watch it come alive like one of those little flip books..the construction crew looked like little men moving all about and and things were going up before my very eyes. Love the sheer scale of the beautiful, then that antique barn door...droolworthy! Love the fireplace and how you are taking "it all the way up"...fabulous! And loved the "renovation symphony" metaphor....maybe I will use that with my hubby next time I am complaining over at our construction site, that its too loud...he will look at me like I am an alien but it will be a welcomed statement after all my! Great post..that I thoroughly enjoyed (and you gave me permission to have a glass of wine AND coffee..major bonus points for that)

  73. I love both of the barn doors but my favorite is the little bathroom one. My dad has and old one like it in white that I have had my eye on for awhile, he just doesn't know it yet.

  74. This post sent chills up my spine! It so reminded me of our two year long addition/reno! I know what you are going thru and I remember the sounds! But, that room is going to be fantastic. I love all the wood. I did hortizonal wood planking in our kitchen, media room and master bath and love it. Also, the use of the barn door is wonderful. Great job!

  75. JAW DROPPING as I marvel at your patience! I think it's going to be sensational, I am loving the barn doors, so much.

  76. How perfectly gorgeous! You must be so excited...b/c I'm so excited for you : )


  77. Oh my! I'm just totally in love with this space. That fireplace is amazing, and the barn door... I'm having to pick myself up off of the floor. I am so excited about this and can't wait to see it finished.

  78. Oh...what a history and soul that barn door has! And the bathroom door is perfection...barnlike perfection.

    Imagine the quiet when this is all over, You'll only hear the humming of cicadas.

  79. What a great project! I am loving the barn doors. I am going to revisit this post in a couple of hours with a glass of wine!! My husband has to see this!

  80. Simply fantastic! A dream coming true for someone else and I love it! Thanks for inviting us to come and watch this fantastic transformation take place!

  81. I cant believe how far you have come from what it once looked liked! You must be so happy that you are in the home stretch of this project. I cant WAIT to see how it all comes out when you put your final touches on it!!

  82. Wow, wow, wow...I am in awe! Hopped over from FJI...I'm practically speechless! Laurel@chippingwithcharm

  83. Just beautiful....I didn't want the post to end :(

    Glad to hear Ella is not at all bothered.

    I love it all but those stairs leading to the kitchen...<3 them !!!

    All the best,

  84. Could you tell me the specifics of the insulation that I see in these pictures? We are looking for a sprayable insulation to seal up our drafty house! Thank you!! Your house is gorgeous!

    1. Thank you! The insulation is called "closed cell foam". The great part about the spray foam is that is seals all the cracks. There is approximately 10" of foam in the ceiling of the barn giving it an R factor of 40+ and approximately 8" in all the walls giving them a R factor of 20+. We have been very pleased with the product and how toasty the barn stays in our cold winters. good luck!

  85. This is stunning! I am a Houston native living in Denver now. While we were out of town this past summer, a supply line to a toilet ruptured and ran for a week until a neighbor found it. Needless to say, our home had to mostly be gutted and we are starting the reno process. Is the stucco the gentlemen are putting on your fireplace plain stucco? If it was tinted would you mind sharing the color, it's simply gorgeous! I have also wanted marble countertops...which is the way I ultimately found your blog via your marble article (which I loved and will use to help plead my case to my hubby, who is a little resistant) the bottom of the marble article I saw the picture of the fireplace and I was instantly in love! Thank you for for sharing!!


Welcome! Thank you for leaving a comment; you have no idea how much your comments inspire me to keep writing- I appreciate each and every one. Comments are moderated by me prior to publishing on the blog, so if you don't see your comment post immediately it will be posted as soon as I receive it and read it. joan


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