Amy Aidinis Hirsch: Barn Again

April 17, 2012

A while back, I saw a piece in Veranda about an incredible farmhouse in Wyoming. The work of designer Barbara Barry and architect Peter Block, this home showcases the best of the farmhouse style.

American Farmhouse. Photo by David Meredith

It certainly meets the designer’s vision for “a pure and simple country home.â€Â Every line of the exterior is perfectly suited to the farmhouse look, including the appearance of an attached barn. Inside the home, Barry worked with natural light and a palette taken from the great outdoors to create a comfortable atmosphere. Traditional elements throughout the interior are consistent with the farmhouse concept but are well balanced by modern touches. It’s just that combination of the old and the new that appeals to me.

Sunroom. Photo by David Meredith

Kitchen. Photo by David Meredith

Fireplace in kitchen. Photo by David Meredith

Dining room. Photo by David Meredith

In fact, the Veranda article motivated me to look for other great examples of homes and design elements inspired by barns. One of my favorite reference sites for barn-themed design is Heritage Restorations. With so many wonderful old and restored homes and farms in New England, I find a lot of ideas to fall in love with. This style is at once welcoming and luxurious.

Modern farmhouse style marries old architectural details with new design elements. You see an adherence to traditional external lines and forms, but with a contemporary spin. Inside, small, separate rooms typically found in old farmhouses give way to the open, connected floor plans preferred by today’s families.

A converted barn in Greenwich with conservatory. Photo courtesy of Heritage Restorations

Converted barn. Photo courtesy of Amy Aidinis Hirsch

Converted barn. Photo courtesy of David Kleinberg

Along the same theme, converted barns offer many of the same attractions as modern farmhouses. Converting a windowless old barn into a home appreciated by modern inhabitants is no small job. It requires extensive renovation and improvements, but the end result can be a stunning blend of rustic and contemporary design. It’s hard to imagine a type of home better suited to New England’s lovely hills and woods dotted with mossy stone walls.

Fearrington barn. Photo courtesy of Amy Aidinis Hirsch

Not quite ready to renovate an old farmhouse, build a new one or take on the task of converting an old barn? You don’t have to start from scratch in order to use farmhouse or barn elements in your home. Repurposing parts from barns is an ideal way to bring a rustic touch to almost any room in the house. I particularly love the look of barn doors (or horse stall doors) used in creative ways. They can replace traditional doors or hang as sliding doors. They make gorgeous pantry doors for storage or display, and even stand on their own for simply decorative purposes. Add modern hardware and/or color, and you’ve got me nearly swooning with joy.

Designed by Darryl Carter. Photo by Simon Upton for Elle Decor

Modern barn. Photo by Simon Upton for Elle Decor

Barn door. Courtesy of Amy Aidinis Hirsch

Barn door. Photo courtesy of Amy Aidinis Hirsch

Modern barn. Photo courtesy of House Beautiful

Repurposed barn doors from Architectural Digest

Hardware. Photo courtesy of Amy Aidinis Hirsch

–Amy Aidinis Hirsch

Amy Aidinis Hirsch is an interior designer based in Greenwich, Connecticut. She writes the blog bSpoke. “Keeping an idea book of materials, references, photos and sources isn’t at all a new concept among designers,†she writes. “Taking that inspiration and sharing it with a wider audience was the logical next step and is how bSpoke came into existence.â€