Before & After: A Couple Turn a Bare-Bones Barn Into an Off-Grid Cabin

Barlis Wedlick Architects blend old and new to create a solar-powered getaway for friends, family—and the homeowners themselves, when the power goes out.

When Katya Potkin and Bart Stein bought their 20-plus-acre property in Ancramdale, a small hamlet about two hours north of New York City, there wasn’t a lot going on with the barn. "When we moved in, it was wide open—nothing in it except for some dead mice," recalls Katya. There was a rumor that it had been used as a pottery studio a few owners back, but only the empty structure remained. "It was very bare bones," says Katya. "It didn't have any insulation. It was basically wooden walls and a metal roof." They left it alone while they settled into the nearby main house.

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Melissa Dalton
Dwell Contributor
Melissa Dalton is a freelance writer in Portland, Oregon, who has been writing for Dwell since 2017. Read more of her work about design and architecture at


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