Although in one sense, a barn is the quintessential, traditional all American dwelling, conjuring images of Old MacDonald and all that. On the other, it’s thoroughly modern, with its wide open interior space, large expanses of façade and clean overall silhouette, primed for loft-like living.
Whether re-inventing original farm out buildings or building from scratch in the early American barn vernacular, modern barn architecture is very appealing. Modern barn homes work in crisp white, natural grays, traditional red, or with the more current black exterior.
Modern barn architecture works in a variety of environments too. Left in unruly meadows or set amidst groomed suburban landscaping, or even as in an example below, in the desert, it’s a shape that’s simultaneous fresh and comforting. Here are 20 examples of residential modern barn architecture in varying degrees of shiny-ness.
Windows are always good. My first apartment in New York was a grim little one bedroom on a charming, brownstone-lined block, with windows that looked onto an air shaft. Being on the first floor, I had to stick my head out and look way up, in hopes of ascertaining the weather. I remember hanging out an investment banker friend’s apartment to watch the marathon, a sleek highrise with windows all around, and realizing that windows make all the difference.
I’ve since lived in much better places, all with much-improved window situations, though I still suffer from window envy. We have a great bow window with an architecturally appealing city street view in our living room but tour bedrooms are underground. The window situation is kinda dismal down there.
In three of the places that I’ve (c0)-owned, we put in new windows during renovations. I always start out thinking that it’s a boring use of a lot of money, but I guess I’ve since learned a lot about windows. Good windows certainly muffle noise and keep out chill (we had FROST on our windowsill INSIDE when we first moved to Boston). We recently upgraded the living room and family room windows; being able to open the windows, especially in the city, is huge. (Thanks honey for your insistence.)
Door or no door? There’s no question that a walk in shower is the way to go (nobody wants to climb over a tub), but do you do just a simple, frameless glass partition, or do you add a door?
I was just having this conversation with someone (though I don’t remember who), and she pointed out that it’s a lot less expensive if you skip the door, not just in terms of the glass, but the hardware and installation. There’s also the whole hassle of shower door seals.
A shower without a door is good for a smaller space. We used one when we renovated our master bath down in DC, and also in the guest bedroom on the Cape. You also need to consider the shape. We did a door in the master because it’s square. And of course, if you don’t like a breeze on your naked body.
The other option is to do a tile wall or half wall. Not sure how the pricing works out. I guess it’s a decent option for more modest folks, but it definitely closes in the space, whereas glass keeps everything light and open.
Here are 15 walk in showers with frameless glass partitions sans doors.
Since the layout of home is very open, there are no actual walls to our kitchen. However, as I’ve mentioned, the walls of our kitchen banquette area are covered with artwork. And there’s plenty of art opposite the kitchen island too, on the walls surrounding the staircase and going down the stairs. Since I spend more time than I’d like at the kitchen sink, I hung one of my favorites, a painting by my friend Lee Essex Doyle, directly across from it, so at least I have a good view.
The Florida condo has a little self-contained kitchen. So far, there is no artwork in the kitchen. On the other hand, the walls are still covered in terrible nautical-themed wallpaper. (I think I finally found someone to take it down and paint this spring.) Note to self: Add art to the kitchen in Delray Beach. Here are 32 gorgeous kitchens, all with fine art and photography, for inspiration.
Teepees, wigwams, play tents (whatever you want to call them) have been trending for a rather long time. However last week, the Wall Street Journal proclaimed them a trend: Teepees: The New Urban Hideaway. I’m not sure why a newspaper would be so slow to catch onto this (it’s not like there’s a three-month lead time). No matter, they’re still going strong. We had a refrigerator box playhouse for a while; admittedly not nearly as chic. But that was a dozen years ago.
The teepee is great because it looks good not only in a kids room, but in adult spaces too. As you can see from these 30 rooms with teepees, they work well in white Scandinavian interiors, minimalist black and white living rooms, nurseries with traditional childrens bedroom furniture, and of course colorful playrooms. You can even erect one outdoors.
I was obsessed with building forts as a kid, always enclosing my bunk beds with blankets, and wishing I had a way to hang a sheet from the ceiling. My kids, too, used to love taking all the blankets they could gather and draping them over chairs and ottomans to create fun enclosures. There’s definitely something satisfying, and practical too, about a kid constructing a hideaway on his own. That said, it’s also nice to have a ready-made private quiet space. Wonder if my boys are too big for one now?
When I first started putting together my most recent post for the Lamps Plus blog, “7 Hallway Lighting Ideas,” I didn’t realize how helpful it was going to be. I’m a big fan of statement lighting, even before everyone had to have it. (I used a trio of pendants in a guest room on the Cape, two frosted and one clear; the electrician thought my order was wrong.)
A stylist once told me that lighting is like jewelry for the home. So, why has it not occurred to me to add interesting lighting to our dreary downstairs hallway? True, the ceiling may be too low for pendant lights, but anything would be an improvement. Must investigate.
In the meantime here are 28 hallways with lights in multiples. There’s an array of styles, from classic schoolhouse pendants and traditional lanterns to industrial cage lights, and others. I actually love all those red cords of the bare bulbs in the home featured in Dwell. And I love how the succession of glossy black drum shades in the offices of fashion label By Malene Birger looks so sophisticated. Also love the copper pendants in the Jean Louis Denoit-designed hallway. So many great examples here.
I used to have a kilim in my dining room, back in the mid 1990s in a rent stabilized apartment on the Upper East Side of New York. My then boyfriend and I got it on a trip to San Francisco, and had it shipped back. It was perfect with our Mission-style cherry pedestal table by Charles Shakleton, and covered half the living/dining room. When we moved on, his brother used it, and later I took it back and moved it with me to D.C., where it graced the floor of my bedroom for a year. I think it may have gone to a friend after that. Maybe Sabrina? If so, she actually lives in L.A. now; I wonder if it travelled back there? Although my (very cute but vicious) cocker spaniel chewed a hole in one corner, the rug held up well. The geometric pattern was playful and young, but the colors lent a note of seriousness.
I’m not really a Southwestern or Persian rug person these days, but even so, I absolutely admire the way these work in the decor. An all white space is instantly warmed up with the rich red tones. Frank Lloyd Wright used them a lot in his interiors. The almost colorless (probably pricey antique) ones in Ellen DeGeneres’ and Portia de Rossi’s kitchen are an interesting choice too; almost like a more refined sisal. I also love how Anne Maxwell of Tilton Fenwick matched the kitchen cabinetry in her Brooklyn loft to the muted blue/gray stripe on the kilim. The juxtaposition of the wicker baskets and kilim with the clean lines of the cabinets and tiles is perfection. These rugs really do work with every style.
For outdoor inspiration, in case you are contemplating making a purchase after seeing yesterday’s post, Get the Look: 18 Modern Patio Chairs, here are 20 outdoor spaces with a range of patio furniture. Most of the patios and decks have a modern sensibility, but some are charmingly rustic.
We’re heading out for the summer on Friday, the day after my son graduates from the Montessori school where he spent nine years of his little life. I cannot believe I am going to have a junior high school kid. Yikes. But first, summer . . . I don’t think I ever pulled together an outdoor shower roundup for you, despite my intentions. One of the highlights of our Cape house, as I know I’ve mentioned, is the bathtub. We also have a decent outdoor shower on a deck off said bathroom, overlooking the woods. I’ll add a photo to this post once we get out there. My in-laws outdoor shower is lovelier, with wisteria overhead and an ocean-view. Sigh. For now I’ll scroll through these to get in the mood.
I still have not gotten around to really thinking about what sort of statement light fixture I want for the living room. When we did renovations a couple of years ago, I had the electrician wire it up for something shiny or sparkly in the smack middle of the space (recessed lights and two vintage lamps light it now). The idea was I’d search and save up for a spectacular light fixture. I have long had my eye on vintage Italian crystal floral ball chandeliers like the one in the first photo below. Usually, especially these days, my taste runs towards the more minimal and contemporary, but I can’t get my mind off these feminine lovelies. I’m sure originals are way out of reach price-wise, but I have definitely seen versions of less expensive crystal ball lights. I’ll pull together a roundup of those tomorrow.