Cozy Barn Designed for Making Music, Entertaining Guests
This barn by Kelly and Co. Design is no ordinary barn. Professional soundproofing and a stage make this a perfect place for musical performances, while a kitchen/bar and sleep quarters stand at the ready for overnight guests.
Live Performance Space in Revamped Barn
Kelly & Co. Design totally revamped this barn at Maple Hill Farm to provide a space for guests, family and friends to pick up an instrument and jam the night away. This photo shows its musical assemblage, where drums, guitars and a sound system adorn the renovated walls and floors. A Jerry Garcia print hangs center stage in tribute.
Paul Johnson Photography
What did your client want?
My client has a passion for music and wanted to create a space where his band could practice in a way where NO sound could be heard outside of the barn. So we hired Grammy Award-winning sound engineers to soundproof the entire barn by baffling it with acoustic tiles. The acoustic tiles are hideously unattractive so we decided to line them with brown linen and then add rustic reclaimed barn board over them while leaving breathing space between the panels so the sound would absorb. The client often has famous bands play in the space and we decided to create a bar and lounge area, as well as a viewing area in the loft where guests who may have had a little too much fun could sleep for the evening in tucked-away Murphy beds. The client’s wife said she “didn’t want to hear a peep” of music, which was a high priority given that the band often practices into the wee hours of the morning. The clients entertain often and they have a music foundation as well, SpreadMusicNow.org, and they love sharing the space with family and friends.
How did you make this space rustic yet modern?
It was important to preserve the character of the barn while adding modern touches. Keeping the rustic barn wood was a priority and using rustic touches like large lanterns and the zinc bar makes the space feel older than it is. The furniture is a combination of old and new. Leather and suede elements and calf hair prevail, as well as Swiss Army blankets and vintage grain-sack pillows. All are textures and fabrics you expect to have around a farm, but the vibe is also decidedly modern with steel elements and a modern bar for entertaining. We at Kelly and Co Design tried to accomplish the modern and vintage touches in a way that felt authentic.
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How did you incorporate a kitchen, sleeping area, stage and living space?
We knew this was going to be a place for lounging, so it had to accommodate lots of people who were going to hang around for a while. This being the case, we decided to add a kitchen — a necessity for a hangout — and a sleeping area for people who wanted to stay overnight. There is a great bathroom (with a urinal that the client insisted on), and even though the barn is about 1500 square feet, once you open the doors and have a party going it feels much bigger. The barn is situated on 13 glorious rolling acres with a pond and trails and it’s like you’ve settled into a fantasy B&B — just add a cocktail and the band and you’re all set!
What was your biggest obstacle?
There are always compromises when there are differing opinions, and this project was no exception. I would say the biggest challenge was the zinc bar. The client wanted a wood bar and we thought since wood was already the main feature we didn’t want to add more. We took an age-old classic look and used zinc for the bar for its beautiful patina, and added rivets for interest. It’s chunky and it’s the real thing — and it took some time to convince the client to agree. When it finally was completed via a local craftsman, the client was smitten. There were tremendous challenges in baffling the sound. None of the light fixtures have glass in them and all of the windows are double-paned to minimize vibrations. It’s so much fun to stand outside the barn when music is cranking inside and not be able to hear anything. Long live rock and roll!
What inspired this design?
We love designs by Roman and Williams and Common Design and the look of Ace Hotels. Our inspiration was to make the space feel like a small hotel, with a common lounge area by the fire, a kitchen/bar, a groovy music scene and a place where you could spend the night. I think we created a micro version of this. The color palette and layout were inspired by the barn itself: warm wood, stone, leather (like saddles) and steel. It’s timeless and wonderful.
What tied the design together?
There is a lot of color in the barn, but it’s subtle, the warm cognac of the leather and the ticking fabric. This evokes a vintage feel, but we liked knowing that the horses were sharing the space as well. We didn’t want to feel like the space was incongruous with the stables next door, so we echoed aspects of the stables throughout the barn.
What are you proudest of?
I think the entire space is wonderful. Since we were involved in every detail, I would have to say the entire package. Sitting by a wonderful fire and listening to great music is one of the greatest joys in life, wouldn’t you say?
How did you find the car fender to hang above the fireplace mantel?
I was antiquing in Hudson, New York, and I saw the front end of this truck there. It’s the actual front end of a rare 1955 Divco Milk Truck. How cute is that? I could picture this little truck trundling up and down the streets delivering milk and I had to have it for the space. The lights work, too. At night it’s just the little truck up there with its lights on.
What “hidden gems” are in your design?
There are all sorts of hidden gems in this space — I love details! The bar has this fun, great lighting system with 140 colors to choose from. The bathroom has great lighting, and even though you are in a barn, you still want to feel good in the bathroom. Great care was taken to make the lighting feel warm and moody, and there are all sorts of options to change it up. There is a giant TV concealed in the ceiling that can drop down for watching movies or for adding ambiance during performances. The barn has struck a real chord (pun intended) with people because everybody wants a barn. It’s an American icon and this one is no exception.