These 10 Refreshed Barns Bring Modern Living to the Countryside

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By Sarah Chappell / Published by Dwell
When you imagine a barn, what comes to mind? It's most likely a red, wooden building with a gambrel roof—but today, they've come a long way from simply being an expected element of farm living.

In fact, the form, function, and appearance of many barns have been reimagined for modern living, transcending their purely functional capacity and becoming comfortable, appealing structures for modern dwellers. Take a look at this roundup of 10 examples that will make you yearn for a country life. 

Cover photo by Brian W. Ferry

These 10 Refreshed Barns Bring Modern Living to the Countryside - Photo 1 of 10 - Elise and Arnold Goodman's home in Pine Plains, New York, boasts an astounding 48 windows.

Elise and Arnold Goodman's home in Pine Plains, New York, boasts an astounding 48 windows.

These 10 Refreshed Barns Bring Modern Living to the Countryside - Photo 2 of 10 - While the house is a private sanctuary, the barn acts as a gathering place, especially in summer. On its lower level, a studio apartment recalls the main house with its Intus Windows that are oriented in a way that maximizes solar gain.

While the house is a private sanctuary, the barn acts as a gathering place, especially in summer. On its lower level, a studio apartment recalls the main house with its Intus Windows that are oriented in a way that maximizes solar gain.

These 10 Refreshed Barns Bring Modern Living to the Countryside - Photo 3 of 10 - From red painted cedar siding to no-fuss structural elements, Northworks’ solution reaches a happy medium between the classic barn look and a weekend retreat.

From red painted cedar siding to no-fuss structural elements, Northworks’ solution reaches a happy medium between the classic barn look and a weekend retreat.

These 10 Refreshed Barns Bring Modern Living to the Countryside - Photo 4 of 10 - A circular tower echoes the former gas storage cylinder that once occupied its place. It houses a private study.

A circular tower echoes the former gas storage cylinder that once occupied its place. It houses a private study.


These 10 Refreshed Barns Bring Modern Living to the Countryside - Photo 5 of 10 - The Troop barn was slated for demolition in the Annapolis Valley, but it was relocated to Shobac for restoration. The post-and-beam structure boasts a 35-foot cathedral ceiling.  

The Troop barn was slated for demolition in the Annapolis Valley, but it was relocated to Shobac for restoration. The post-and-beam structure boasts a 35-foot cathedral ceiling.  

These 10 Refreshed Barns Bring Modern Living to the Countryside - Photo 6 of 10 - Tucked away in a corner of Norfolk County, England, this pair of barns—one new, one renovated—sit low in the vast countryside.

Tucked away in a corner of Norfolk County, England, this pair of barns—one new, one renovated—sit low in the vast countryside.

These 10 Refreshed Barns Bring Modern Living to the Countryside - Photo 7 of 10 - On the edge of a nature reserve a few miles from the Suffolk coast, the MVRDV-designed Balancing Barn cantilevers over the surrounding meadow.

On the edge of a nature reserve a few miles from the Suffolk coast, the MVRDV-designed Balancing Barn cantilevers over the surrounding meadow.

These 10 Refreshed Barns Bring Modern Living to the Countryside - Photo 8 of 10 - At just $167 per square foot, this high-design, low-cost barn in rural Wisconsin is an American idyll.

At just $167 per square foot, this high-design, low-cost barn in rural Wisconsin is an American idyll.

These 10 Refreshed Barns Bring Modern Living to the Countryside - Photo 9 of 10 - Tasked with expanding a 150-year-old barn with a previous addition built in 1973 by architect Charles Gwathmey, Stamberg Aferiat introduced a modern twist while respecting the original structure.

Tasked with expanding a 150-year-old barn with a previous addition built in 1973 by architect Charles Gwathmey, Stamberg Aferiat introduced a modern twist while respecting the original structure.


These 10 Refreshed Barns Bring Modern Living to the Countryside - Photo 10 of 10 - Inspired by hilltop views and traditional New England farm and barn structures, Marvin Architect's Challenge-winner Michael Waters of LDa Architecture & Interiors set out to strike the perfect balance between time-tested tradition and sophisticated, clean lines.

Inspired by hilltop views and traditional New England farm and barn structures, Marvin Architect's Challenge-winner Michael Waters of LDa Architecture & Interiors set out to strike the perfect balance between time-tested tradition and sophisticated, clean lines.