For the love of barn
‘New Found Farm’ written on the stone at the front door gives its visitors just a quick glimpse at the warm welcome that the rest of the house has in store for them. The house is a gorgeous wooden love nest for its owners – a couple that designed and built the home over a long period of time. Although built in the style of a barn, there’s a lot more to it than that. Take a look at these photos and see for yourself!
The idea of building a traditional barn/home came to the couple simply because they like barns. Mendleson had some familiarity with their construction, having worked at a post-and-beam company when first out of college. The couple consulted coffee-table books and took drives in the country, in order to figure out what features they’d most like. They settled on an English barn (a barn with sliding doors on the eave side rather than the gable end) with weathered shingles, a cupola, black window sashes, and a catwalk. (They saw the latter feature in a barn in Union.) “The design was always about what’s appropriate to a barn,” Mendleson says. She and her husband heat with a woodstove and in-floor radiant heat, because you wouldn’t see heating registers in a barn, but you might see a woodstove. The wiring for the lights is in exposed metal-case conduits, since a barn wouldn’t have electricity hidden in the walls. The office and guest room are set up in spaces that suggest horse stalls. Barn doors serve as shutters for large glass doors on either end of the living room. Ladders made of hemlock and ash (hand-hewn by Fortune’s father) lead from the first floor to the second, from the second to the catwalk, and from the catwalk to the cupola’s interior. The stools that are drawn up to the kitchen’s bar countertop look like tractor seats. Everywhere, wood abounds: pine on the floors, reclaimed barn board for interior walls, and whitewashed pine for exterior walls. The door hardware, fashioned by blacksmith Joel Wentworth of Union and his apprentice, is based on a design from the neighboring family home. Because barns don’t traditionally have a plethora of windows, the majority of the light comes from the glass doors behind the barn doors. When the barn doors are closed, a transom window above the front entrance provides natural light and prevents the space from becoming too dark. Outside, a ramp, as if for farm equipment, leads to the barn door, which is sized to be big enough for a wagon full of hay.
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