Barn Style

A mod­ern take on Amer­ica’s most clas­sic struc­ture.

Timber Home Living - - Contents -

A mod­ern take on Amer­ica’s most clas­sic home style.

Asym­bol of hard work and long-last­ing tra­di­tions, the barn has long been a steady sta­ple in the great Amer­i­can land­scape. But take a look around on­line or on pop­u­lar TV shows (think hit pro­grams like Fixer Up­per and Barn Hunters), and you’ll quickly

no­tice that what was once a style used only for hous­ing live­stock is now the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind homes, recre­ational re­treats and even “barn­do­mini­ums.” (Yes, that’s a barn-style con­do­minium.) “The shape of a barn is so clas­sic and fa­mil­iar that it’s only nat­u­ral we are drawn to them,” says Paul Baker, Gen­eral Man­ager at Coun­try Car­pen­ters, Inc. in He­bron, Con­necti­cut. “Plus, in­side, the wide open spa­ces paired with the rough-sawn tim­bers is re­ally warm and invit­ing.”

Barn struc­tures can blend in with any ge­o­graph­i­cal re­gion, and, in size, they range from minis­cule to mon­strous. So, what ties them all to­gether? Start with th­ese five es­sen­tial el­e­ments:


A Barn-Style Aes­thetic. The ex­te­rior of a build­ing in­stantly makes you rec­og­nize the style, and barn struc­tures are no dif­fer­ent. “Barns tend to in­clude char­ac­ter­is­tics like ex­posed tim­ber frames, large slid­ing doors and farm­house-style light­ing,” says Chris Skin­ner, Vice Pres­i­dent of The Barn Yard & Great Coun­try Garages in Elling­ton, Con­necti­cut. As for the struc­ture it­self, most are rec­tan­gu­lar in shape with a pitched roof, although gam­brel roofs are also some­what com­mon. Cupo­las or weath­er­vanes of­ten adorn the roofline of a barn or barn home. “Th­ese kinds of ac­cents should be built to match the scale of the barn,” Baker adds.

2 Tim­ber Con­struc­tion. While not an es­sen­tial el­e­ment of barn de­sign, tim­ber-frame or post-and-beam con­struc­tion is a pop­u­lar choice for many of to­day’s barns. Af­ter all, the first thing you no­tice when you walk into a barn is the heavy beam work over­head. “There’s some­thing about see­ing those tim­bers and mor­tise-and-tenon join­ery; it re­minds us of where they came from,” says Baker. “That frame also cre­ates the open floor plan that is so pop­u­lar th­ese days.”

3 Barn Win­dows & Doors. Many barn com­pa­nies of­fer au­then­tic-style win­dow op­tions, in­clud­ing de­signs with smaller glass panes in­cor­po­rated into one larger sash. In barn­style homes, th­ese smaller win­dows are pop­u­lar for ground-level bed­rooms or bath­rooms since they’re large enough to let in light, yet small enough to keep pri­vate rooms from be­ing on full dis­play to the out­side.

“Doors are also a ma­jor fo­cal point in th­ese homes,” says Skin­ner, “whether the own­ers opt for au­then­tic slid­ing doors or a split-slider door with hand-forged hinges and hard­ware.”

4 A “Great Room.” A great room is a space that al­most al­ways fea­tures cathe­dral ceil­ings for an im­pres­sive look, and whose func­tion is to com­bine liv­ing spa­ces into one cen­tral lo­ca­tion of the house. Th­ese types of spa­ces fit seam­lessly within a barn-style struc­ture. "It's no se­cret that open floor plans are very pop­u­lar, and tim­bered ceil­ings of­fer that open feel­ing," says Skin­ner. "Hardly ever do we par­ti­tion off in­te­rior walls in our barns. Peo­ple want a space where ev­ery­thing flows to­gether."

5 Cus­tom­ized In­te­ri­oer. De­pend­ing on the size, a barn can be used as a pool house, garage, wood­work­ing shop, yoga stu­dio — you name it. An­other pop­u­lar op­tion: the party barn, cre­ated as an in­side-meets-out­side recre­ational space.

Of course, a barn also can func­tion as a liv­ing space as long as its in­su­lated and built to code.

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