This stunning home designed by Skene Catling De Le Peña was once a barn for a dairy farm. Now renovated into a 5-bedroom house with a small pool, the home re-used as much material from the original building as possible. Originally, the owner's plan included tearing down much of the lean-to sheds to create a house with well-proportioned rooms, better circulation and more new construction. But as the design formed, the owner changed his vision and wished for a secluded retreat that would mold in with the original layout of the barn. Upon completion, the room layout and sizes may not be ideal, however the architects were able to preserve a sense of the old barn.
On the outside, the home appears similar to a barn — with an entrance designed to deter any would-be callers despite the warm glow that seems to exude through the horizontal slats. Upon entering, any guest would be astounded to find the transition from exterior to interior. Inside, the rooms have a light, airy quality filled with inviting, beautiful furniture.
Local materials were utilized as much as possible for the renovation. Estate timber was felled on site, then planked and dried in storage barns in the farmyard. The slats were separated by spacers as they dried, and this look actually inspired the final horizontality of the exterior. In between each slat, glass was layered in a similar fashion as the wood. The separation between the slats increases as you reach the ground to “reinforce a sense of weight and rustification.”
The laminated float glass between the wooden slats produces a filtered light throughout the house and contributes a significant amount of daylight into the interior. As the sun rises in the morning, “low light floods the east with the glass acting as a prism that projects watery green lozenges over floors and walls.” At midday, clear white light streams in, brightening the rooms and penetrating a two-way mirror bridge. And at night, warm lights glow from within and the fireplace can be seen through the floor of the landing.
Renovations have amazing charm and character that is impossible to replicate in the construction of a brand new building. Little quirks, faults and cracks are beautiful in older buildings because you appreciate them for their age and the experiences they hold. This secluded home is a perfect example of this rather sentimental notion — the rooms may have uncommon sizes and shapes, but the interior is absolutely beautiful.