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Friday, January 28, 2011

Phase II: the barn room

To recap,  we are currently working on Phase II:  turning the original attached barn into living space.

The barn attaches to the house via the kitchen, as seen in this first photo.  The bottom floor of the barn was converted into a three-car garage during Phase I.   (click to view post)
The main floor of the barn will have a barn room which will be our "great room", a mud room which provides access to/from the garage, a small storage room, and stairs to the loft- which sits above the mud and storage rooms.
The barn itself dictated the size of each room via its original design.  By "listening"to the structure we have been able to keep a lot of "real estate" per square foot which is always a good thing.  When we first imagined a barn room in the space we briefly (very briefly)  thought about using the entire barn  (all 27' x 38' with a 32' ceiling) as the barn room, but it was just too, too big for the size and scale of the rest of the farmhouse.  Scale and proportion are extremely important to me and it wouldn't "feel" right to walk in to such a huge room from the relatively small scale of the main house.  For scale reference the barn room is 23' x 27' and has 12' 4" ceilings. For design reference I want the barn room to have more of a European-barn than a rustic-barn feel.  To me that means rustic in materials, yet with beautiful furniture, fabrics and art.
I realize it is difficult to "see" how everything connects and comes together, so please ask for clarification if needed. 
(In this post I will focus on the barn room and show you the mud, storage and loft rooms in a different post.)

Kitchen doorway into the barn.  The board on the floor covers up the five steps down into the barn room.
(Antique transom added during Phase I.)

When we purchased the property the barn was an actual livestock barn. 
Sadly, we don't have many photos of the interior of the barn as we were so focused on house photos.   This is how the space that is to be the barn room  looked when we found the property.


Northwest corner of the future barn room.

This is the same northwest corner (as above) of the room after it was framed for new windows in Phase I.  The entire room was framed to provide a squared room when finished.

 This view shows the stairs into the kitchen (notice the brick fireplace on the far back wall for reference.)  The opening to the right of the steps is the half bath which is accessed from the barn room. This space was added on to the barn in Phase I.   It is the only bathroom on the first floor of the farmhouse.  Just to the left of the steps is the framework for one of the new french doors.

 this french door!
French doors being installed. (click to read post)
 Interior view of above photo.

Phase II
This is the east wall and faces the back meadow. 
There will be a gravel patio off of the french doors.  Same view as above with soy-based blown-in insulation on the walls. The 4-foot Craigslist find chandelier was temporarily hung in the room so that I could see the scale.  Between the two french doors (where Ella is sitting on the chair) will be a large fireplace.  The addition of this fireplace will give the farmhouse a total of 4 fireplaces and 5 rooms with a fireplace! (the kitchen/dining room share a fireplace)  The fireplace finish will be stucco and incorporate an antique beam as a mantle, and a large slab of granite as the raised hearthstone- both from the property, removed from the barn during Phase I of the renovation.

This is the south wall. 
This view is similar to the 4th photo showing: the entrance into the kitchen (under the added transom), the half bath door to the right of that opening, and the new french door.
All of the walls in the barn will be covered in random width (8"/10"/12") ship lap pine.  In the barn room the boards will be hung vertically with the smooth side out.  The walls will be painted gray.  The engineered structural beams in the room will be wrapped in old barn wood and the ceiling boards will have a white-washed finish.

This is the west wall of the barn room. 
The original barn door (encased in plastic in this photo to protect from the insulation installation) will be hung using its original rolling-rail hardware, and moved to the wall in the photo above- immediately to the right of the half bath door.   The wall that the door is currently resting on in this photo will be enclosed.  The open area under the ladder will become a doorway that takes you to the barn mud room,  the storage room and the stairs into the loft.
A pair of antique iron doors from Argentina, found locally, (solid on the bottom open on the top) will be used in the doorway to "visually" divide the barn room from the mud room. (The small storage room sits behind the barn door is in this photo.  The area you are looking into behind the barn door on the second level is the loft.  And, for reference... the master closet sits directly above the barn room ceiling- the two small, square windows above the french doors as viewed from the exterior.)
I will hang a much-loved collection of approximately 50 antique herbariums on this wall.

This is the north wall (as seen in the 2nd and 3rd photos above.) 
Between the two windows will hang the (gulp...........) "man-sized" TV.  A 65-inch plasma with mega sound system .  It is the TV watching room after all, but it is still a bit difficult to wrap one's decorating mind around this animal!  ( I cannot tell you how happy I am to have those two windows there, or no telling how large the TV would be otherwise!!)  Under the TV will sit a rather large antique French commode that we found at the Scott show in Atlanta.  I'm hoping that its beauty will distract you from the behemoth TV..... ok, I'm praying!
(Dan just issued a request that all you husbands out there, like Carol's husband;),  reading in bloggy-land chime in with your thoughts on the size of the TV.  He says he needs backup!)  

update on the chimney:

The stone mason starting the footing of the chimney.  (note: This is approximately 12 feet below the threshold of the french doors in the photo below... in other words-  he had a long way to go!)

Scaffolding for the chimney.

...more scaffolding!

Making a "tent" so the mason can work through the winter!

Carry on men! 
With the heater going inside the tent it's a good 70 degrees- they work in t-shirts!

Inside the tent today.... this started to happen- reciprocating saw cutting out the opening into the barn room.

Which looked like this on the inside (saw blade coming through the barn room wall.)

which became this...

and turned into this....
oh wait... I changed my mind- I don't think I want a fireplace there after all!!!!

and,  just to be clear.... so you do not think that this is project is easy on any front.....
for my European friends minus 23 is equal to...... oh, I don't know- it's COLD!!!
(Dan just said it is minus 30C!)

Luckily, those temperatures only lasted a couple of days.   Currently it's a balmy 22 degrees!


  1. A balmy 22 degrees lol! 50 antique herbariums will make such a statement wow cannot wait to see this space when complete. Do you have any inspiration photos of the fireplace or is it just percolating in that pretty head of yours? It is all so amazing what a beautiful room it will be. And I think Mister Dan is entitled to this one little thing so far he only seems to have Big Blue. Oops he does have you. (honestly I understand your point of view Joan all of our tvs are hidden too).

  2. Absolutely fascinating! I love the tent for the masons. That will be some fireplace! I am amazed at what you accomplish! I could barely help the tile guy lay out our master shower tile this morning!

  3. Joan, this is going to look fabulous. Thanks for sharing the progress with us. So exciting.

  4. I think I was able to keep all of that straight. Based on my calculations, if your studs are 16 inches on center, you've got about 9-1/2 feet for the fireplace. I would suggest putting a wood burning stove between the square windows on the north side so you can get at least a respectible 72-inch television between the French doors. Now that you've cut that big hole in the wall, it could be recessed with maybe that big barn door to conceal it when there's no game on. I'm just sayin'.

    It's all looking good. Carry on!

  5. hi joan,

    it's a good thing i love you.

    this is going to be unreal when finished.
    the details are amazing.

    tell dan that larry doesn't watch tv - except for football. it's true.


  6. there you go again Steve..... always causin' trouble!!

  7. Wow, this is an exciting reno. I've never seen that tent before. In my parts when it's cold all construction comes to a halt. I really enjoy your blog

  8. What a job! It's amazing how much attention to detail, such as hanging the chandelier in the midst of construction, pays off later. It's amazing to me how an inch or two can affect the whole room if not placed properly.

    Anxious to see what you do with this room.

  9. It's hard to wrap my brain around how much planning and preparation has gone into this project of yours ... and the results are totally spectacular! I love the fact that you considered the proportions and scale of your space, because so many folks neglect to do that. I am drooling.

  10. I was just teasing. Actually the TV issue is something that I argue with myself about. I can't imagine having another person in the house with a strong opinion about it.

    Personally, I'd rather see the TV itself than some box built over a fireplace to conceal it. I think the box ends up looking more ridiculous. If the TV is put on a wall that's a darker value than white to minimize its importance, there are other contrasts that can be put in a room that draw the eye away from it. That's my position.

  11. What an amazing project. I love that you are taking us through your homes transformation. I can't wait to see how it all turns out. By far the best design element in your home, however, is Cutie Ella. And sorry, Dan, I'm on team tv-too-big, but it sounds like you have a great plan to make it look gorgeous nonetheless!

  12. Love this addition!... our addition was actually another 1800's house - Looking forward to seeing how it all comes together for you - that chandelier is awesome -

  13. Oh wow, this is going to be SO COOL! I have never seen an attached barn around here (central Iowa.) Although one of our neighbors built a machine shed (all metal morton building) and attached it to their house. lol. Not exactly the same thing.

  14. Just became a follower and spent a LOT of time going back and reading all your previous posts!
    Can I just say oh my goodness! I love your home and love seeing the progress captured in photos.
    You are doing something that I would love to do when the kids are out of the nest!

  15. This looks like so much fun, I love construction! Your posts are absolutely amazing...thanks for taking us on the journey ;)

  16. I can't wait to see it finished! It will look amazing, just like the rest of the house. How great that you're blogging about this! What a wonderful memory and keepsake to show how much you've accomplished!

  17. You have come so far! I think this room might be my favorite ever, even over your amazing kitchen! There is just something about old barn rooms, especially with huge barn doors like you have (so jealous!) that makes me swoon!! I cant wait to see more progress photos, I love these posts!

    PS- I think I mentioned this before, but my dad is a General Contractor so my love of building houses started very young. I think your house tops my list of best house makeovers ever!

  18. SO EXCITING JOAN!!!!!!!!!!!
    My heart rate is up just looking at it - I'm just that excited! It's all coming together so beautifully - of course it is with you two and your amazing vision!
    Our TV is something my mom bought me back in college..awhile ago now. So I feel your pain but I think Mike would vote for Dan's plasma - especially when the Green Bay Packers are playing!

  19. I just adore being along for the ride! You give fabulous explanations and great tidbits... so exciting to watch the transformation. Thanks for sharing. :)

  20. From my air conditioned room, in a 95º Buenos Aires, it all looks so nice and cool and refreshing. I love watching your projects go from the "ground up" ..

  21. The attention to detail is awesome! I love the french doors and that chandelier. Cannot wait to see more progress and, of course, the finished product.

    Hope it warms up soon :)

  22. What fun (except for the cold) to be involved in such a massive renovation. Pure bliss.

    You have great vision for this house and barn.

  23. My husband and I recently remodeled our family room and had many discussions on the man TV thing. My sweet hubby had agreed to so many beautiful dream items that I wanted during the remodel, that I felt it only fair to go with the 54" flat screen TV on the wall. And you know what? After all the dreading, I actually like it and totally enjoy watching movies and even an occassional game. The sound system is wonderful during a movie. I put a large gorgeous antique buffet under the TV and I put in an order for a custom built shelf to go over the TV. The shelf matches the top of my kitchen cabinets which shows from the next room. My hubby built the shelf and had it stained by our kitchen remodeling contractors and surprised me with it for Christmas! It was worth giving in on the TV thing, plus you have to have a TV somewhere.

  24. ...this is absolutely amazing...not to mention absolutely beautiful...

  25. Joan,
    I know this is about your love of a house, but can I love it too???!!! I also am a construction everything about it. As for your husband needing a TV that size,you know what they say...Seriously, tell him anything over 50 inches will blind people and mess with your decor!

  26. This is amazing. I just loved the kitchen post. I am also in love with Ella! However, I must say I am siding with Dan on this one. I think the room can handle the large size TV and knowing you, it will be decorated so beautifully no one will care what size the TV is. :)

  27. How exciting! Ella has already staked claim to the perfect spot to be both warmed by the fire and watch TV.

  28. Hi Joan, Dan, and Ella: First, love the picture with Ella! Again, I so enjoy your attention to detail. Mike said to tell Dan that he is in his corner with the TV. (We have an ongoing debate about that same issue, although I did win on not having a large TV at our weekend home...yeah!) Cindy

  29. Joan,
    AMAZING! I can't even imagine how much preparation has gone in to this. It is just incredible! I love all the progress you are showing us and the details.
    And -20! Holy cow...but the snow sure is beautiful.
    I really like all the pictures on your header, too.

  30. My husband and I have been in discussion about the size of the TV all day and here is the results.

    My husband (being practical) did calculations relating the size of the room compared to the size of the TV. After a long explanation, he pronounced that a 65" TV is not too big so he is in support of Dan.

    However, I perfectly understand the design issue of having a very big TV hanging on the wall. I like the idea of a wall color that is not too stark as suggested by An Urban Cottage and with the large antique French commode sitting below it, I believe it will offset the TV. I also would be in a quandary about it and the only good thing I can say of the flat screen TVs are that at least it is no longer necessary to have a large cupboard for the TV anymore.

    My husband had one additional suggestion regarding my objection to having a big black screen hanging on the wall. He thought that it could be used as a digital picture frame with a set of favorite pictures when it wasn't being used as a TV and you were having guests over. He is in photography so that may be why he came up with that solution.

  31. I have been drooling over all the BEAUTIFUL pics of your home:)


  32. I love following this transformation. You are doing an amazing job. Love the chandelier and trusting that you will make the right decision when it comes to the size of the TV. Men???

  33. so smart to be taking before photos! Don't want to tell you how nice it is here but our windows are open and I can hear the ocean waves.
    Mary Ann

  34. A very interesting post... can't wait to see the finished room. My brother-in-law just won the big tv discussion, but once it was up above a big stone fireplace, it looks a lot smaller than it did in the box. His wife feels much better now.

    I thought it was cold here in the south, but the temperatures on your television are much lower... and I couldn't help but notice that several of your workers have on short sleeves! Those guys must be TOUGH!

  35. I need no clarification. I totally get and LOVE your vision. Just adore watching your construction vicariously - so wish I had a project. I also had to give in on the boy toy. And even worse - we have one in our bedroom as well! I managed to hide it on a wall behind an armoire so at least you don't see it when you walk in - and it's on a gigantic arm so my husband can watch in bed if he likes - you don't have to let your husband see this comment - heaven forbid he should want the same!

  36. quintessence.... boy toy...too funny! actually I'm okay with the big tv;) When we did Phase I Dan proclaimed he wanted a tv above the fireplace in the master I had electric and cable run to the spot. ( He's so good about all my designs and I do like to incorporate his wants when possible...) so after we moved in and were talking about the tv in the bedroom he stated that "it would just be 'wrong' to have a tv above the fp in this beautiful room".... GOOD man! So, it now resides in an antique commode behind closed doors!! So... the boy toy tv in the barn room is the least I can do;)

  37. Fantastic progress! It's wonderful already....turning a bit green here ;)
    I agree on the tv and hubby are a good team...k

  38. Love your home! And I can't wait to see the finished barn Room(and TV)! The chandeleer is gorgeous...more details on it please?
    Take care!

  39. This is going to be glorious! BTW, on Blue's post about his stag dinner, you said you would sit in the corner just to listen in. I voted to sit with you because I knew while we were listening to the men, I'd get to listen to you tell me more about lunch with Bunny, this amazing love you have for your house, and I would absolutely force you to tell me wonderful Ella stories. Cheers!

  40. I'm enjoying wtching this journey of yours so much. The room is going to be your favorite hang out for sure! The 65" Plasma is going to be wonderful...and I love the chandelier...I can see this room has got a great future! Lovin it! Liz

  41. hi Becca- the story about the chandelier is 3 posts down!

    home b4 dark- it's a date;)

  42. I adore watching the going to be amazing!! Happy weekend ~

  43. WOW!! Amazing and that all this is going on during a winter like this. I'm going back three posts to read about the chandelier!

  44. What a great post.The chandeliar just looks the perfect proportion for the room just love it
    Kind Regards

  45. With your attention to detail, I'm sure that TV will be accomodated beautifully. By the way, I must say that you have found some talented craftsmen (love the guy at the top of the scaffold!). If I lived closer I would be begging for names. Gorgeous home!

  46. [ ] TV in barn room
    [X] No TV in barn room

    Will reconsider only, repeat only, if you confirm that you saw a screaming monster like that hanging in Bunny Williams' barn room.

  47. Trust me everyone, if Joanie decided to hang the HUGE TV from the ceiling it would look great! She's that good!! I know for a fact!!!!

  48. Love what you're doing so far except...sorry Dan...for the huge TV! Rick doesn't watch except for five minutes here and there and I use TV to put me to sleep. So a big TV like that would be a waste on us. Can't wait to see more, Rick tented his stone building too but against rain.

  49. amazing! just incredible. the space has that certain feel to it, even through pics on the internet. i bet you are so excited about. can't wait to see the finished product! (am envious of your large fireplace going on - our house has one, which we can't use, and fixing it is a project way on down the list).

  50. Thank you for sharing this wonderful dream of a renovation with all of us. I dream of being able to do this someday. Can't wait to see each post. Just loving it all! Jan, Birmingham AL

  51. What a project! I enjoyed the insiders' view!

  52. We have a project going on here too which I am so excited about and will be sharing soon! What a glorious addition to your home. I cannot wait to see it take shape and how warm it will be when it is all complete.

  53. wow! this is EXCITING! it's going to look so stunning! what a find with the chandelier - the scale of it is perfect! your home is truly what I've always imagined my dream home to be xo

  54. Your photos remind me so much of when we were building our home. Your room is going to be just fabulous! I LOOOVE that chandelier! Gorgeous! I am loving this journey with you!!! XO, Pinky

  55. Ok, so - can we rent It's Complicated when I come visit and watch it on that GIANT television!? I'd love to see those rooms FULL SIZE! LOL!
    Seriously though, I can't wait to see this finished Joan. To think that this used to be refuge for cows and pigs. Not anymore! It's going to be so beautiful.
    Ok - so, speaking of pigs/cows ... I hurt my ankle. I think it's because I'm so fat. LOL! I don't know SERIOUSLY what I did. I woke up and it was like someone had driven a spike through my ankle. The pain extends from my ankle to just about my knee.
    It's left me almost unable to anything ... so, in case you're wondering where I went. LOL!
    Talk soon!

    Ooo, and yes - @my blog: LOVE LOVE LOVE that round table. Why can't I find one? WHY!?!?!?


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 and read it. joan