Renovating a house without traditional walls is a challenge for any interior designer. But for Todd Raymond, the beams of a 300-year-old barn served as expert guides when he updated a Hudson Valley home for a pair of New York City lawyers looking for work. a weekend getaway. Rather than conventional walls, “the beams helped create ‘corners’ in each space,” says Raymond. And that’s the coolest part: the beams don’t usually touch the rest of the building. “They’re set up 100 feet from the walls,” he said.
The barn was originally a Dutch structure that was first rebuilt in Vermont before being moved to Millerton, NY, between 2003 and 2004, where it was given new life by the architect and professor of Harvard Graduate School of Design Preston Scott Cohen. The lower level rooms, from the dining room and living room to the living room and kitchen, blend into one another on polished concrete floors adorned with sheepskin rugs. Raymond removed the old, offensive yellow maple from these beams and painted them sleek black.
This is the land that customers first fell in love with, says Raymond. But the barn did not disappoint. “When you’re in the space and realize how majestic it is and how beautiful the beams are, the last thing you want to do is cover them up,” says the owner, who requested anonymity. “We are a family of two and a dog. We entertain a lot. We have many guests. We are very comfortable living in this space, it is very natural.
The overall aesthetic of the house is uniformly simple on the first floor and includes an array of signature pieces, such as a James de Wulf concrete table, a vintage Paul Kingma cocktail table and a Hans Wegner lounge chair. Most of these pieces are black, like almost all the furniture on the ground floor. Raymond says the hue, while potentially unconventional, works well “as a neutral color and a way to tie elements of a project together. support and a backdrop to all the beams, allowing the beautiful honey brown tones of the wood to stand out.
The open-concept structure also allowed Raymond to add a few surprises along the way, like a living room adjacent to the dining room and living room. Anchored by a bean-shaped julep sofa, the space offers an alternative to hosting guests in the living room. “It’s a great place to have a coffee or a cocktail in the morning,” he says.
Many of the house’s most special touches required extremely delicate installation. Raymond bought a black Workstead light fixture and then had his team build scaffolding to hang it from a 40-foot ceiling. “We chose it for its simplicity,” he says. “The drama is fully effective here with the 40ft drop juxtaposing the very sleek and minimal fixtures. The dining table is concrete with a pie-shaped cutout.
An industrial-grade fireplace dominates the living room and serves two purposes. “It’s an architectural element that adds a touch of brutalist drama,” says Raymond. “I think the smooth concrete plays into the simple geometry of the whole house.”
Work on the three-bedroom space, purchased shortly before Covid hit, has slowed during the pandemic. Health issues and shipping delays further prolonged construction. “The barn itself was already there, and we had done the renovations, but we didn’t have a lot of furniture,” explains the owner. “There were supply chain issues that we dealt with. It was such a haven for us during the pandemic, we were lucky to be there. It wasn’t bad at all. »
The pleasures of being late make it worth it. The bedroom windows are so large that you’ll feel like you’re sleeping in a “treehouse,” says Raymond. He is particularly proud of the breezeway, the entry point to the house which also offers a glimpse into the property. “When you walk through the front door, it’s the [first] room you’re in,” he says. “It’s long and narrow so we put an informal dining table at the end so we could see from there.”
The couple are famous for their entertainment and the initial reactions from guests entering the barn for the first time have been invaluable. “When people see it for the first time, there is a shock and an inspiration because it looks like a cathedral,” explains the owner. “We certainly haven’t had any complaints.”
If you prefer to hang out outside, the fire pit, set on a bed of pebbles surrounded by black Adirondack chairs, offers truly breathtaking sunsets. “Every time we sit around the fire pit we think, ‘Wow, this is an amazing part of the world,'” the owner says. “What Todd has done, which is very beautiful, is he’s taken this really big living space and made it look like the spaces aren’t all together.”
In the end, it’s all about perspective. “Lying on those concrete floors and looking 30 feet through the beams is magical.”