Renovation of a 3,300-square-foot barn and pool house in Millbrook, NY.





The Millbrook Barn project consisted of the complete renovation of a dilapidated barn and chicken coop, located behind a small farm house in Millbrook, New York. As the smaller main house could not accommodate space for the children to play, the family wanted to update their unused space to create an expansive indoor playroom and gathering space. The strategy for this project was to renovate the barn and pool house using sustainable and reclaimed materials, to produce an intersection of modern and antique design

In contrast to the all-white main house, we selected a deep charcoal grey for the new barn’s exterior. A subtle, sophisticated tension between traditional, rustic elements and more contemporary details prevails throughout, from wood-paneled walls and barn doors, to clean-lined square windows inspired by artist Donald Judd’s minimalist compound in Marfa, Texas. In our design, we wanted to create an authentic experience of the space, without having to fake farmhouse details. A number of kitchen and bathroom surfaces are made of prefabricated concrete, including the shower enclosures, fireplace, kitchen cabinets and three-inch-thick countertops. The floors throughout are made from engineered wood, with a driftwood-like finish that matches the weathered look of the salvaged cedar ceiling timbers.

The lower, western wing of the L-shaped structure (originally the chicken coop) provides ample room for family feasts in the airy, open kitchen, living and dining area. Rounding out the architectural program is an upstairs bedroom loft which accommodates an overflow of guests, and features an inviting window seat and daybed. The loft overlooks the pool and sits above an attached pool house with boys’ and girls’ changing and shower rooms below. Solar panels, lined discretely along one slope of the standing-seam metal roof, power the pool’s heater. The interior decoration reflects the same chic but humble sensibility that characterizes the overall architectural design. In the playroom, paper globe lanterns hang above slouchy, brightly-hued chairs by Italian designer Paola Lenti; in the living and dining area, they enliven a suite of simple wicker and linen-covered chairs, some from the family’s existing home. Accessories in the space include raw silk rugs, boldly patterned kilims and rugged lighting features, which contribute to an overall rustic, yet elegant feel throughout.