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2021 - Modern Barnhouse Idea House

Welcome to our latest Idea House, the Modern Barnhouse near St. Paul, Minnesota! We’re thrilled to be working with licensed contractor, activist, and television personality Amy Matthews as she embarks on building her dream home: a Scandinavian-style barnhouse on a verdant farmstead in the St. Croix River Valley. This 3,700 square-foot home will feature innovative SIP construction for a tighter envelope and speedier build; modern, minimalist aesthetic; rich, neutral palette of natural materials (cedar, cement, stone, and metal) accented with walls of glass that invite the outdoors inside; and the renovation of an outbuilding workshop that will become a training facility for women in the trades and survivors of domestic violence. Progress and expansion are underway, and you can follow the action, 24/7, below.

Modern Barnhouse rendering

Warming Up Cement Floors with Hydronic Heat | 2021 Modern Barnhouse

In Minnesota, winter comfort is a high priority. The main level of our Modern Barnhouse will be heated with a hydronic radiant slab on grade. Read on to learn how it’s installed.

Bringing the Outside In | 2021 Modern Barnhouse

At the 2021 Modern Barnhouse, the design is starting to come to life. One of the key elements of this Scandinavian-inspired home is the windows, which will highlight the unique beauty of the property. See how Sierra Pacific Windows helped frame the entire end walls with windows to help bring the natural light directly into the space.

Amy Matthews at the Modern Barnhouse

2021 Modern Barnhouse Build: Introducing the Modern Barnhouse | Ep. 1

Owner/Designer Amy Matthews, Architect Colin Oglesbay, and Builder Chad Maack tour the property for the latest Idea House, and share their vision about the design and build of Amy’s stunning 2021 Modern Barnhouse.

Starting With a Solid Foundation | 2021 Modern Barnhouse

Work has begun at our 2021 Idea House in Minnesota. Follow along as remodeler and designer (and homeowner) Amy Matthews breaks ground, and the house begins to take shape.

Innovations in Metal Roofing Panels | TOH 2021 Modern Barnhouse

With the ability to be snap-locked or mechanically-seamed, a brand new product from Bridger Steel offers a quicker and easier installation than traditional double-seamed panels.

Take a Look Inside the 2021 Idea House: The Rustic Modern Barnhouse

Dramatic clean lines, natural materials, and large expanses of glass define the first This Old House Idea House of 2021.

Jeff Mears

Vice President of Field Operations, Hartman Homes

Chad Maack

Vice President of Operations, Hartman Homes

Aaron McCauley-Aburto

Lead Designer D/O Architecture

Colin Oglesbay

Principal, D/O Architecture

Amy Matthews


Sierra Pacific Windows