Barn Again
Designer Eric Cohler let the informal nature of the living hall—the 760-square-foot central portion of the barn's nearly 2,000-square-foot first floor—guide his family-friendly design. "Since there are exposed beams and posts—you can even see where the animal stalls were—I wanted it to be comfortable and keep its rustic feel. But that doesn't mean I went country!" He allowed the hall's three bays, with their varying ceiling heights, to dictate the way he divided the space: The area to the left of the entry, with its 7-foot ceilings, is a media area; the center, with its massive Rumford fireplace and 14-foot ceilings, has seating and a card table; and the area to the right of the entry, with 16-foot ceilings, offers lots of informal seating.

Cohler used bisque-colored Madagascar grass cloth on the walls for its sophisticated informality, and sheer citrus curtains on the double-height windows. For the media area, furnishings include an overstuffed sofa and chairs in browns and creams, a 5-foot-long green ribbed-cotton bench, and a pickled-wood coffee table. All of the upholstered pieces use indoor/outdoor fabrics that are stain-resistant and child- and pet-friendly. The piece de resistance in this space will be a media cabinet designed by Cohler and his associate Matthew Hartzog and built by master carpenter Norm Abram. The seven-foot unit, based on a mid-nineteenth century New England design, will house a 50-inch plasma TV.

In the central fireplace area, Cohler's plan called for a rhubarb-colored chair and brown leather ottoman, an antique chair, and a glass table on a chrome pedestal with four cherry chairs with striped seat cushions.

For the area to the right of the entry, the seating arrangement includes a tobacco-brown wicker sofa with overstuffed cream-colored cushions flanked by two lacquer-topped side tables; two brown-and-white-striped club chairs, a green armchair, and a yellow-brown side chair. Here, too, all of the fabrics are stain-resistant so "the kids can drink cocoa and eat peanut butter without parents worrying if they spill or drop anything," says Cohler.

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