Blue Bell Barn
Blue Bell, Pennsylvania
Having lived for 25 years in the farmhouse on their property, our clients sought to convert an adjacent, early 19th-century bank barn into their primary residence, while preserving as much of the existing features as possible. Though an intensive renovation, our design strategy allowed the historic structures to lead the way, with most of the interior framing left in place to provide a rigorous tripartite plan.
To achieve the client’s vision, portions of the structure were selectively removed and reinforced to incorporate a new upper floor on the two outer bays. By replacing the wood siding with glass, stone walls were able to be preserved. In addition, insulation added on the exterior allows the historic barn finishes to remain on the interior.
As a result of this approach, the ramp to the hayloft became the formal entry on the middle floor, giving access to the stair hall and living room. Excavating the lower level floor provided adequate ceiling heights for a guest and family room. The inserted upper floor now accommodates the primary suite, a bedroom, and office. Bridges connect the two sides of the second floor. Outside, the paddock has been transformed into an intimate garden with an exterior fireplace, terraces, and a hot tub. A porch at the second floor links the garden below with a stair. Finally, views now extend to the stream, meadows, and woodlands.
Landscape completed in association with Victoria Steiger.
- "VMA Renovates Historic Barn Into Family Home." Refurb Projects Magazine, October 2021.
- "Voith & Mactavish Architects Renovates Historic Barn" by Naser Nader Ibrahim. Amazing Architecture, August 2021.
- "Farm Refresh: A Masterful Barn Conversion in Blue Bell" by Jane Jennings. Philadelphia Magazine, May 2015.
Architecture, Historical Preservation, Landscape