Readers of novels often find themselves imagining the thoughts and feelings of the author. The place where a good book was written may even be deemed magical by literary aficionados.
While not the exact setting where she wrote her books, this property was once part of an estate belonging to author Edith Wharton. It comprises three structures in a U-shaped arrangement: a barn, ice house and carriage house. When he set about renovating the barn to create the house pictured, architect Stephan Green was interested in retaining a significant amount of the original character.
"The southern and western sides of the building had been exposed to weathering, while the eastern and northern sides were relatively well preserved. Homeowners Annette and Michael Miller agreed to keep the country-style look of the sound faces, but wanted to modernise areas that needed refurbishment. As part of this process, we added more glazing, which was scarce not surprising in a barn," says Green.
Large windows were installed around the kitchen area, which is situated within the open-plan interior space. A clerestory window on the west face allows natural light into the building, while a large area of glazing gives a view from the kitchen to the garden. As well as reducing the need for reconstruction, the extra glazing has the benefit of making the house appear more contemporary on this side.
To help merge the old with the new, the shape of the new windows reflects the shape of the original barn doors on the northern face of the building, which were also converted into windows and doors.
"These large, arched openings look out over a cobbled courtyard area enclosed by a low shingle wall, which we recreated after looking at old photos," says Green.
One of the openings contains a door made from the old barn door, while the other has a more modern glass door, which opens in front of the dining table.
"Inside, the remaining barn doors are mounted to create a frame around this door, providing a reference to the building's history," says Green.