Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Bringing Up The Barn


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I remember looking for a house with my parents when I was a teenager – one of my favorites was a converted 19th century dairy barn. The center of the first floor had a two-story volume, with a balcony all around it that led to the bedrooms around the perimeter of the second floor. Everything had been painted white. The whole house had the feeling of a rustic gallery. It was super cool and supremely impractical for our family, but it’s stuck with me. Thus, I felt like seeking out some converted barns to share with you today.

Converting a barn can help preserve not only the building but also the feel of the agrarian landscape. These are treasures that all too often are left to rot and fall apart. Here are som wonderful examples of barns-turned-homes for people:

This one is from Colonial Barn Restoration Inc.

The way they converted the large barn door into an entryway with side lites and a transom is especially clever.

Original rustic beams, wood siding and doors keep the feeling of the old barn alive.

Another great thing about barns is that they have tons of space for things like basketball and racquetball courts.

This barn by Kissling Architecture in Fredericksburg, Texas has been converted into a gorgeous ranch house. It’s remarkable how the massing has such modern lines:

The original stone adds so much patina and history, both inside and out:

The way simple, vernacular lines of buildings like barns, built for form over function, compare to the clean lines and simplicity of modern architecture is quite striking. This is especially apparent in this rustic-meets-modern project by Aldridge & Tanno Architects:


Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Around the Web This Week: From Fab Offices to Sparkle


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1. First of all, I’m happy to announce that Design Public has finally jumped on the Pinterest bandwagon. Be sure and follow Design Public on Pinterest! Who do you like to follow on Pinterest? I haven’t had a lot of time to delve into it, as I know it will be a huge time sucker, but right now I’m loving checking out Tobi Fairley’s pins.

2. Speaking of pins, a great place to find pin-worthy images of places that are available for you to rent is Airnb. We love the images of their new offices that we spied over at Office Snapshots:

The spaces are incredibly dynamic and diverse; one great pairing is this super-sleek white meeting area that uses Panton Chairs by Vitra. I love the contrast between the space above and the space below, which has some vintage granny chic happening. A way cool granny; one who hung out at The Factory back in the day but who also likes to get comfortable with a cat in her lap:

This is just a teaser; be sure to check out the full post for all of the surprising and beautiful spaces within their offices.

3. I loved getting a peek in Jamie Wyeth’s studio in Preservation magazine this month. I’ve admired the island it’s on from the shores of Tenant’s Harbor, Maine, many times, from the wonderful East Wind Inn, which has the most out-of-control, delicious coconut cream pie on the planet. By the way, when you become a member of The National Trust for Historic Preservation, you receive this beautiful and informative magazine.

That island to the left is Wyeth’s, the view is from the East Wind Inn’s porch. Wyeth gave the owner some wonderful work to decorate the beautiful dining room.

4. We’re keeping our eyes open for new ways to decorate for the holidays, and freshome has a great feature this week: 10 Ways to Bring Sparkle Into Your Holiday Home. One of my favorite things about the holidays is sparkle!

5. I’d like to give a shoutout to Brittany at Curvy Girl Guide for including the ever-squnchy, super-comfy, and always cute Fatboy in her fabulous Gift Guide for Kids! Also, I really wish they would make those Metallic Mocs for tots in adult sizes. They are the coolest! Here’s a peek at her picks, head on over to Curvy Girl guide to grab the links and order her recommendations.

What have you been checking out on the web this week? Spotted any great holiday decorating ideas or outstanding gift guides? Please share with us in the comments section!


Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Modern Real Estate: Preservation Alert


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Thanks to Maya of VisuaLingual for tipping me off to this fantastic house that is a total steal. I grew up very close to this house, and my good pal Jennifer Jowaisas lived right down the street. I had never seen it before. It was the personal home of modern early modern architect Ray Roush, and it’s in Anderson Township, Ohio (a Cincinnati burb, about 10-15 minutes from downtown). Roush served as a mentor to Michael Graves, who later wrote the forward to a book about Roush and his colleague, Carl Strauss.

This house seems to have gone into foreclosure and is on the market for $135,000. The original realtor, Susan Rissover, would love to see it preserved so much that even though it is no longer her listing, she is making people aware of it on her website. It is a wonderful modern preservation opportunity. While Susan took these pictures in 2007, she went back to check out the property a few months ago and discovered that it had been vandalized, which makes us both sick to our stomachs. While it wasn’t anything that sounded terribly expensive to fix, original fixtures were stolen or damaged. To learn more, check out Oh, and P.S. Susan lists the pros and cons of the house, and from spending a lot of time in the area as a kid, I can tell you there are big scary snakes on all around Five Mile Road. I don’t know if any of them were poisonous, but they are big, and they made me avoid going outside at Jennifer’s house as much as possible.


Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

Farewell to Bannerman Castle


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I have cut the amount of newsletters I receive down to practically nothing, but there are a few that are a treat to receive. They include high style from Balustrade and Bitters, the always entertaining and infrequent letters from Blu Dot, and the interesting updates from The National Trust for Historic Preservation. Sadly, this month they reported the loss of most of the Bannerman Castle Ruins. The castle has a “scenic ruin” designation from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and now all but one wall and part of another are standing.

The silver lining of the story is that the talented photographer John Midgley shot a fantastic spread for Esquire with the castle, combined with a moody sky, providing a sublime and surreal backdrop. You can see the whole shoot here, and here’s a teaser in memory of the lost tower and walls:

SIDE NOTE: I just bought my first issue of Esquire this month, because Tina Fey was on the cover, and I loved it. Now it’s crossed my path again with this…I’m starting to think I should subscribe. I’m curious – ladies, do any of you subscribe to Esquire?

Another question: Besides Hearst Castle, where are other  castles in the U.S.? It seems so bizarre to me – all I can think of is Lex Luthor’s castle on Smallville. Yes, I’m a geek. I’m in my thirties and I watch Smallville religiously.

O.K. One last question: Do you have some favorite ruins in the U.S.? Our civilization is so young we aren’t packed with the poetic ones like they are in other countries. Ruins can be so beautiful; most of the ones I can think of are industrial ruins; old brick factories overtaken by plants, dilapidated barns, even Alcatraz has beauty. I always loved the Barboursville ruins outside of Charlottesville Virginia. At one point it was the most lavish mansion in the regioin, a Palladian design by Thomas Jefferson. Sadly, the house was destroyed, but the ruins are a landmark as-is (I love the verticality of the fireplaces and the front columns):

Castle photographs by John Midgley for Esquire

Barboursville header from The 1804 Inn at Barboursville.


Thursday, August 13th, 2009

Quote of the Week


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The funniest thing I read all week, well at first it was a guy saying he had ten cigarettes and coffee before this dance class, but then even funnier and so perfectly put was Douglas Coupland (you know, the artist who wrote Generation X) calling the current tear down house replacements in his neighborhood “Carmela Soprano meets Arts and Crafts.” That describes almost every new house in my historic neighborhood to a T.

Check out the full slideshow of Coupland’s home: The man has got an eye for primary colors and shapes like none I have ever seen. The pictures are much more clear and there are a few bonus ones online that were not in the print edition.

To learn more about spandex Sweaty Sunday dance class, click here.

To see great photos of Coupland’s interiors, click here.

photos by Martin Tessler for The New York Times.