House Tour: An Old Barn In Pennsylvania Gets A Refreshing Renovation


Today we are excited to share this reader submitted home that has so many inspiring design ideas and a fantastic story to go along with it! Archer & Buchanan Architecture and builder Michael Rhiel Construction were responsible for this spectacular barn house conversion located in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Homeowners Adam, Laura and their son Keating are the lucky inhabitants of this unique dwelling. Below are all the details, as described by Adam!

“The barn was finished in 1830 (we have a keystone actually on the north wall that’s dated, plus a ton of original mason signatures in the white wash throughout the home).  The original family who commissioned the barns construction was the Brinton family, which from my understanding is a family which traces its roots back to the late 1600’s.”

From a history perspective we wanted to honor and cherish the history of the barn while bringing it into the 21st century. The previous owners purchased it as an operational barn in the 1970’s and after their own conversion lived here until I purchased in November 2016.

They are such a warm and visionary family we also wanted to respect what they accomplished over the 40+ years they lived here. So the footprint is very close to what they designed. Again it was more about opening everything up, exposing as much of the barn as possible while at the same time building a home that would last for years to come.

Our decision to take this journey started with Keating. We were living in Rittenhouse Center City, Philadelphia, and decided that although we loved living in Philadelphia we needed more space (we had a three story brick 3 bedroom 2 bath but it started getting tight the larger the little man got!). So we decided to start looking before the holidays 2016.

We pulled up to this barn and immediately knew we were buying it. Mind you we can barely change a light bulb! We’ve honestly never renovated anything prior to this project. Perhaps that’s why we took on a frame off restoration / renovation of an 1830 bank barn! The barn was a find we really had no plans whatsoever to buy and convert a barn. It was a whim!

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So the day before my offer I met with Peter Archer of Archer Buchanan, and Laura and I knew we had our architect. Brilliant firm and team. Peter brought Michael Rhile Construction to the table and once again Brilliant firm and team. From the minute we saw it to offer accepted and design team / construction team in place honestly two weeks. Demo started in February 2017 and move in was complete February 2018.

It was extremely collaborative. From jump, the overall layout of the home was agreed upon. And Laura and I are easy decision makers. I think that is something super important to mention. For instance, we had to choose 79 individual lights for the barn. I suggested Laura take that task on and we had all 79 selected in two days. Bathroom fixtures same thing. So we didn’t cause a lot of delays fretting over decisions. We felt the barn was such a beautiful experience in its own right that there really weren’t a lot of bad choices.

We had the pitfalls one would expect, like having to reinforce areas of the home with steal beams wrapped in period wood. We discovered amazing history, such as beautiful preserved signatures of the original masons craved into the white wash dated 1830.  We lived in Philadelphia PA.  Cape May NJ. An Air B&B in West Chester PA. My moms sofa. Oh and a Holiday Inn Express when we couldn’t install the appliances because the paint was too wet…  at least Keating liked their waffles!

What we took away from this project is that we truly love one another as a family!  We survived something amazing and difficult and fulfilling and frustrating and overwhelming and everything in between. We met some amazing artisans. The people that worked on this project are artists. And friends now.

We all created a living breathing work of art. As I mentioned. There are fewer and fewer of these grand stone bank barns left. I like to think that Laura, Keating and I (along with our team) saved something so worth saving, and something that can be enjoyed for many years to come!

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Oh and the art, Hunt Slonem. My wife and I started collecting Hunt’s works shortly before our son was born. We met him and just fell in love with his work, personality and contributions to interior design. If you notice from the pictures, art is a huge influence on our lives so we designed a lot of the home around art. Right down to the colors we picked and the furniture we either had made or restored.

For instance, our coffee table is an old letter press type I spent six months shopping for on eBay. Then I met an amazing master woodworker who helped me design the table. We thought it would match up with the 19th century newsprint wallpaper. Some of the artisans that influenced that design: Hunt Slonem, Harry Dunn Gallery and Ilene Pearlman. We definitely lean towards the whimsical!

Above: Featured in this kitchen are Big Chill’s retro-styled and professional-grade appliances. “Awesome, awesome company  and people love the look,” states Adam. “Fun colors which liven up the house!”

Above: The countertops in the kitchen are Caesarstone Rugged Concrete 4033.

Above: The flooring is Heart Pine, Reclaimed Wood Flooring, sourced from the Goodwin Company. “I can’t say enough good things about this family and their product,” states Adam. “These are dredged pine logs from swamps and rivers. Average age of the wood I am told 150-300 years.   It’s stunning. Better than photos can do justice to. People are blown away by the floors.”

What We Love: This family-friendly barn house renovation offers warm and inviting design throughout its interiors. The exposed beams and structural supports are a nod to the home’s past, adding character and timelessness. We love the bright pops of color in the kitchen and the whimsical touches that makes this home playful and just plain fabulous! So many unique touches throughout!! Thank you Adam, Laura and Keating for sharing your fantastic home with us, we found it a pleasure to tour.

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Readers, what do you think of this barn conversion? We would really love to read your thoughts in the Comments and we are sure the homeowners would also appreciate the feedback! Thank you and we hope you enjoy the rest of this home tour!

Above: The exquisite tile in the master bathroom was sourced from Moroccan Mosaic & Tile House | Mosaic & Cement Tiles. “Again great team, product and service,” states Adam. “We love our master bath and the tile is a big reason for it!”

Above: The fireplace was sourced from Malm. “One of the last companies making new mid-century modern fireplaces left,” states Adam. “Great company!”

If you have a home that you have recently had built or remodeled, we would love to feature it! Please contact us at [email protected]

Photos: Austin Eterno Photography

Gallery for House Tour: An Old Barn In Pennsylvania Gets A Refreshing Renovation

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