Tuesday, May 1, 2012

There's Just Something About A Barn...

Little did I know that my love for barns, covered bridges and all things forgotten would lead to my loving and searching out houses that have been transformed from barns! Or should I say….barns that have been lovingly transformed into homes and havens! 
I fell in love with this beautiful barn/home when I saw it on Rachael Halverson's blog which you can see here. To my delight…I found out that it is right here in my own home town!
 Designed by one of my favorites, Dungan-Nequette ,just makes me want to find it all the more! Wonder if it will ever have a "FOR SALE" sign in the yard? 
Wishful thinking I'm sure!!! 
Oh well, while searching Pinterest and other design sources my heart stopped at the article I read in Elle Decor magazine! What an amazing transformation this couple performed on such a lovely piece of property in New Jersey…..
Just take a look…..

Ode to the Past

A couple transform four derelict barns in the middle of New Jersey into a lush and romantic haven richly layered with artifacts and artistry…

Four ramshackle barns in the middle of New Jersey horse country.That's all Andrea Filippone and William Welch could see on the windswept, 35-acre plot when they first drove up in 1993. But instead of desolation row, the husband and wife saw the ideal canvas. "The place was pretty much abandoned, but we saw what could be," says Filippone. "In a way, it made it easier that only the bones were there."

The couple, who met as students at Harvard University's School of Design, have spent the past 18 years turning the property into a grand, sprawling estate. By linking the barns, they have created an 11,000-square-foot live-and-work space that serves as the base for their company, Tendenze Design, and as a showcase for their style, which revolves around ambitious architectural salvage. In 2000, after five years of construction, they finally moved in. But things are never done. "We tend to keep changing every year," says Filippone

So imposing are the couple's own home and gardens that magazines and luxury brands looking for a historic setting with aristocratic undertones (Ralph Lauren, Vogue) often book photo shoots there. In June, Filippone will host "Earthly Delights," an event for rare-plant enthusiasts and garden-antiques dealers that will be open to the public.

It isn't hard to imagine what editors and stylists see: In addition to the vast formal greenery, the couple have strenuously preserved the charm of the original structures. Despite the mammoth chore of joining the barns into a graceful home, Welch and Filippone kept as many of the beams and structural elements as possible. In their effort to make the place habitable year-round, for example, they resisted the usual barn renovation tactic of covering up the beams with insulation and slapping drywall over everything; instead, they lifted the roof and put the insulation between the existing beams and the new shingles. "It was a big job, but it leaves the most beautiful part intact and gives an enduring sense of history," says Filippone.

In fact, far from seeming like four barns jerry-rigged into a single dwelling, the home looks as though it could be a manor house handed down through the generations. The main barn stands as an illustration of their approach: As big as a banquet hall, it is dominated by a huge plaster-cast mantel that was once in a Manhattan brownstone designed by McKim, Mead & White. Filippone and her father, a surgeon who shares her love for beautiful old things, spent a year chipping the paint by hand from the plaster. "Everything flowed from that mantel," says Filippone, "the furnishings, the layout, the feeling."
When it comes to furnishings, Filippone and Welch aren't much for color or pattern, for themselves or for clients. "Our projects tend to be more about structure, shape, and craftsmanship," she explains. In their own home, the walls are shades of taupe and green and the upholstery is mainly mohair, linen, and leather. "To make the architectural elements really stand out, the background has to be muted," she says.

The property is also the perfect expression of Filippone's boundless landscape-design ambitions. "William mostly concentrates on the architecture part of the practice these days, while I've found myself more and more involved with things outside," she explains

(If this doesn't make your heart long for a barn…or barns…that you could transform then I don't know what will!)

(In my very humble opinion….there's a design quality found on the East Coast that we just don't see down in the South…I'm not saying that we don't have beautiful, gorgeous designs ourselves because we do! But my heart has always had a special place for the East Coast!)

(In fact, when I opened my shop in 2000 my husband and I took a trip up the East Coast to buy for the grand opening! I'm longing to go back!!!)

In the end, says Filippone, the biggest compliment "is that people say this place looks like it's been here forever. That's what makes me smile. That's what we're going for."
( she is a woman after my own heart!)
I hope you will make the time to read this entire article for yourself…it is definitely worth it! You can find it here.

I know I enjoyed seeing this "More Than Fabulous Article" on the barns restored by such a talented duo and their business called Tendenze Design and I intend to find even more treasures that have been transformed at one time or another!
And just in case this didn't convince you that barns ARE ALL THAT!! Take a look at some more of their wonderful work!

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. You should come to Vermont! The landscape is dotted with barns, and although a few of our covered bridges are a little worse-for-wear after last summer's terrible flooding, all should be rebuilt soon. Beautiful photos and a great story - thanks for sharing!

  2. Wow! Some post, Carolyn!
    I love barns too, and Angela believes that a barn is the ONLY option for a home and a wedding.
    Great images. His makes you really rethink housing!
    Happy Wednesday.

  3. My friend has a barn that she turned into an office and workshop, but kept the intergrity of the exterior...it's gorgeous!

  4. Hi Carolyn - What an amazing and talented couple!! I love each and every image. Not one thing I would change. I love the beams, stonework, gardens, furniture, everything. My favorite is the garden shed!!! I'm bookmarking this post. Thank you!
    Tone on Tone

  5. Hi! Incredible pictures! and such talented couple! It´s very nice to meet you!
    I follow!


  6. geeez
    i left a comment and it didn't take.

    so here goes again-

    it is better that being awake during a beautiful dream.
    that's not exactly what i said...it was much more clever,
    but now i can't remember.
    thank you for your comment
    and sweet concern xoxox