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Modern Midwest Barn House

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In designing this barn house, Alchemy Architects have taken their clues from the typical 19th century barn and updated them to 21st century living standards. The outer shell of the barn is very intriguing. One feels the urge to go and peep through the wooden planks and figure out what hides inside. The outer shell is made of wooden planks that overlap vertically at the level of the second floor. This shell is interrupted here and there by door and window openings. It is not compact, as there is random-looking spacing between the wooden planks that filter the light. The access is done via a wooden ramp, which leads to a big sliding door made of horizontally placed wooden planks. This mix of horizontal and vertical positioning of the planks gives the place a poetically shabby look. By sliding the door open you get to a porch that symbolizes the essence of the barn: double height, light and air going through the planks and lantern lights hanging from the ceiling. But as soon as you see what is behind the wooden shell you know you will not find cows in there! The inner shell is accessible from the porch through big glass doors that lead to the living room and the open plan kitchen. Part of the living room area has double height volume, heated up by a design wood burning stove with tall visible chimney. Above the open kitchen, the second floor is closed with ash strips to form a sleeping loft. In order to access this sleeping loft, you first go through a mezzanine paneled in black steel and which serves as library/ home office/reading corner. The layout of the inside is inspired from that of a hayloft, and provides under and over living spaces. The other bedrooms are placed in the semi-underground lower floor, whose is difficult to guess from the outside.

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The inside volumes are treated differently and in different materials. The living room keeps the same double volume height as the porch, while above the kitchen the roof is closed first half way to form a mezzanine, then completely to enclose a big lofty bedroom.

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The stairs leading under and over are covered in industrial looking dark steel, like the one used for the exterior paneling of the mezzanine.

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On the inside the mezzanine half walls are lined by bookshelves, looking like a miniature library.

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The kitchen and dining area are generous, with lots of storage and working surface. The wooden furniture looks rustic and modern at the same time. This whole floor benefits from a lot of natural light brought in through the full length line of windows.

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This beautiful wooden porch takes you right into the atmosphere of the 19th century barn!

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