farmhouse whole house remodel living room with kite staircase, built-in bookshelves
Photo: Eric Roth
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Amassed Goods with Good Taste

Smith, whose firm is known for tender revivals of rickety old houses, well remembers when she first took measure of Jane and her house, which appears to be two structures wedged together. The unloved half included a front door that opened opposite a washer and dryer in a corner of the pine-paneled kitchen, which was not only missing a range but also starving for natural light. As for the bath-turned-closet jutting into the kitchen, Smith says, "I never looked inside." But, she continues, "if you went into the living room, it was clear right away that Jane had a good eye. The things she collects are beautiful, and the space she had dealt with was cozy. I had been driving past the house for years on the way home from work, wondering who lived there. I'd see the glowing windows—it was such an appealing room."

If the front room displayed tasteful still lifes of hardbound books and Simon Pearce lamps, the home's psychic energy lay hidden in the barn, where Jane was quietly amassing salvaged stuff, mostly household goods with their own histories: light fixtures in need of rewiring, worn hardware, quirky old tools, random faucets, even 19th-century transferware tile.

Shown: The design team carved out open shelves for books and collectibles in the former dead space over the kite-turn staircase in the living room. The original window moved upstairs to make room for this larger one.
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