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Ecofriendly Getaway in the Catskills
A salvaged barn frame and modern materials create a cozy and comfortable weekend home for a New York couple
By Vanessa Brunner
The frame of this home may be from a 19th-century barn, but it's filled with a very modern-day interior. New York architect Kimberly Peck designed this house of contrasts as a weekend getaway for a New York City couple. It's located in the Catskills, so the cold and harsh climate of the surrounding mountains had a profound effect on the home's design.
Working with a timber frame from a 19th-century barn that was restored and raised on the site, Peck wrapped the frame in structural insulation panels (SIPs) to create an energy-efficient home. A poured concrete foundation, radiant heating and fiberglass windows all keep this modern barn cozy in the chilly Catskills winters.
Who lives here: A New York City couple, during weekend getaways
Location: Bovina, New York
Size: 1,945 square feet; one bedroom; two bathrooms
The homeowner and Peck already knew how to work together — as a former interior designer, the client was one of Peck's first bosses when Peck graduated from school. The two kept in touch and remained friends. Although the client ended up switching career paths and becoming a nutritionist, she still has an amazing style that she wanted to exercise in this new house.
The open dining area connects the kitchen and living rooms, and French doors open onto a deck with a clear view of the Catskills. The three sets of doors provide a panoramic view from the dining room, but well-insulated fiberglass windows keep the home cozy and protected from the mountains' harsh winds.
Reclaimed barn posts, beams and framing from Heritage Barns warm up the main floor. Most of the wood came from an old hops barn in upstate New York.
Although Peck took control of the design when it came to technical construction and detailing, the client did a great deal of work on the interior. "This project was truly a collaboration," Peck says. She provided an initial layout plan and suggestions, but the final midcentury-style pieces were chosen by the client.
The client is a nutritionist, so having a good space to cook in was important to her. A double-sided island with stainless steel cabinetry on both sides provides the storage and prep space she wanted. Glossy white Ikea cabinetry creates extra food storage, while white subway tiles stay in line with the simple country feel.
Although simple, the floor on the first level is a source of pride for Peck. The poured concrete foundation of the house was polished to become the finished floor. A hydronic radiant heat system lies underneath.
The client's husband did quite a bit of work on the house, including much of the finish work, such as building this bathroom vanity from reclaimed oak. The bathroom wall tiles are porcelain cut and the floors are simple polished concrete.
During construction, Peck made sure the joints between the exterior's SIPs and around the window and door openings were as airtight as possible. The house also uses an air exchanger, which brings fresh air into the home without losing heat and circulates warm air from upstairs to the first floor.
The structure's exterior siding is made of a simple black corrugated steel that wraps around the SIPs. The SIPs themselves wrap around the original barn frame to create an extremely well-insulated home. The roof is standing seam galvanized steel, while the simple deck is made of pressure-treated Southern yellow pine. Paths of slate boulders and stones found on the property lead up to the house.