clock menu more-arrow no yes

Outdoors & Outbuildings | 2021 Modern Barnhouse

Tour the property, get a closer look at the exterior building materials, and take a peek inside the remodeled outbuilding/workshop

Fall 2021, Idea House, Modern Barnhouse, St. Paul, MN, exterior rear view with patio Chad Holder

Dairy farm roots

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021 Chad Holder

The St. Croix River Valley property that Amy fell in love with and purchased in 2017 was originally home to a late 1800’s dairy farm. With an eye toward conserving both the site’s old growth trees and historic farmstead buildings, Amy nestled her new-construction home among the classic red barn, a quaint milk house and (not shown here) a workshop.

New life for old outbuildings

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021 Chad Holder

The rustic red barn is now used for storage and will eventually be restored. The quaint green milk house where the former dairy farmer cooled his milk until it could be taken to market is slated to get a new metal roof and siding to match the main house. In its new life, it will serve as a garden shed.

Archetypal barn-shape building

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021 Chad Holder

The modern Idea House feels at home surrounded by the site’s similarly shaped historic outbuildings. A study in gray and black, the house has a classic standing-seam, galvanized-metal roof that is good for 50-plus years of service and factory-stained vertical cedar siding.

Siding: Real Cedar; Exterior stain: Cabot; Windows and French doors: Sierra Pacific Windows; Roof: Bridger Steel; Pavers, steps: Polycor; Landscape: Likes Landscape

Inviting the light

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021 Chad Holder

Walls of windows and solar-powered operating skylights bring light flooding into the home and enable natural convective cooling in summertime.

Windows: Sierra Pacific Windows; Skylights: VELUX

Gray and black cedar siding

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021 Chad Holder

Plans for Shou Sugi Ban charred wood for the horizontal accents had to be abandoned due to supply shortages during the pandemic; instead, Amy and a cadre of loyal friends painstakingly stained cedar boards with flat black stain to achieved a similar, far-less expensive look.

Siding: Real Cedar; Exterior stain: Cabot

Keeping it simple

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021 Chad Holder

The sleek garage door mimics the look of the black decorative cedar panels that abut the windows.

Garage Door: Clopay, courtesy of BlackHawk Garage Door

Reaching for the sky

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021 Chad Holder

The chimney structure braces one entire gable end with help from a beefy cross beam. Two window-lined, flat-roofed one-story wings extend from the front and back of the house.

Windows: Sierra Pacific Windows

Outdoor gathering spaces

Fall 2021, Idea House, Modern Barnhouse, St. Paul, MN, exterior rear view with patio Chad Holder

Sheltered behind the house, the dining room wing reaches into the landscape. A manmade stream and pump-powered waterfall divide two seating areas: a rustic in-ground firepit surrounded by Adirondack chairs near the edge of the woods and, closer to the house across a small bridge, an outdoor kitchen with dining and lounging area.

A river runs through it

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021 Chad Holder

What looks (and sounds) like a natural spring-fed waterfall cascades down the hillside at the edge of the woods and then levels out into a stream that traverses the full length of the house. But it’s actually a man-made water feature powered by a pump that pushes the water back up the hill to return again and again. Constructed of glacier rock from the St. Croix River Valley and surrounded by native flora, the stream is a magnet for a wide range of wildlife.

Outdoor oasis

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021 Amy Matthews

Just steps from the dining room and adjacent to the gurgling waterfall and stream, Amy placed comfy conversation seating around a sleek fire bowl to create a welcoming space for guests or for simply unwinding after a long day.

Fire bowl and outdoor kitchen: Kindred Outdoors + Surrounds; Pavers: Polycor

Perfect patio match

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021 Amy Matthews

Oversize limestone pavers in subtle shades of gray create a stunning patio that’s accessible from the dining room. Sourced from the same Indiana quarry that has provided the natural stone for landmark buildings like the Empire State Building, the patio blends seamlessly with the cedar siding treated in a Driftwood Gray bleaching stain.

Pavers: Polycor; Siding: Real Cedar; Exterior stain: Cabot; Fire bowl and outdoor kitchen: Kindred Outdoors + Surrounds

Fiery focal point

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021 Amy Matthews

A modern linear fire bowl made of glass-fiber reinforced concrete delivers 65,000 BTUs of heat to warm guests on even the chilliest evenings. It’s powered by a propane tank cleverly hidden in the side table between the two chairs.

Fire Bowl: Kindred Outdoors + Surrounds; Pavers: Polycor

DIY outdoor kitchen

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021 Amy Matthews

The handsome outdoor kitchen was a DIY project made easy thanks to glass-fiber reinforced concrete cabinets that can be assembled in just hours. They can be ordered with cut-outs for custom features such as drop-in grills or drawers. Amy dressed the kitchen in a cement block-style stone that complements the fire bowl and gray cement floors inside the house and topped it with a weather-worthy quartz counter.

Outdoor kitchen: Kindred Outdoors + Surrounds; Vertical stone: Cultured Stone; Countertop: Caesarstone

Storage essential

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021 Chad Holder

Throughout the build, a moving-and-storage bin stood sentry ready to accept arriving products and materials. By move-in day, it was stuffed to the brim with the furnishings and accessories that make this house a “home”.

Onsite storage: PODS

DIY workshop

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021 Chad Holder

Amy and a group of good friends and family members tore the existing outbuilding down to its concrete foundation and rebuilt this workshop in the image of the barnhouse using materials they reclaimed, including the corrugated tin siding (seen here) under the gable. Solar power-operated skylights and custom fold-out carriage-house doors capture the light at every time of day.

Siding: Real Cedar; Exterior stain: Cabot; Metal roof: Bridger Steel; Skylights: VELUX; Carriage house doors: RealCraft

Corrugated roof redux

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021 Chad Holder

Sorting the salvaged corrugated metal roof panels allowed Amy to create a character-rich rusted gable wall v. a cleaner galvanized look for the ceiling. A modern ceiling fan, operable skylight, and swing-open carriage doors keep the air flowing.

Ceiling fan: House of Antique Hardware; Skylight: VELUX; Carriage-house doors: RealCraft

Workable workshop space

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021 Chad Holder

Team Amy salvaged the vintage workshop table from the existing outbuilding. Farmhouse-style pendants illuminate the workspaces. Vintage-style push-button light switches add to the charm. The walls are economical plywood that’s the same color as the oak floors and cabinets in the main house. A deep utility sink and a built-in filtered-and-chilled water dispenser contribute to the functionality of the space.

Lighting: Circa Lighting; Light switches: House of Antique Hardware; Sink, faucet and water dispenser: Elkay

Gorgeous guest quarters

Modern Barnhouse, Idea House 2021 Chad Holder

Tucked behind the sliding barndoor in the workshop is a modest guest quarters for visiting family and friends. A full-size kitchen outfitted with an undercounter fridge, icemaker, a five-in-one wall oven, and warming drawer also make it ideal for staging food and drink for events at the workshop.

Barn doors: Baird Brothers Fine Hardwoods; Lighting: Circa Lighting; Sink, faucet: Elkay; Appliances: Monogram


To see more of the TOH 2021 Modern Barnhouse, click here!