Collection by Caroline Wallis

A Family Salvages an 1880s Barn to Create Their Nearly-Net Zero Escape


With the help of Chicago-based architecture and planning firm Northworks, a family of four brought its vision of a sustainable and hardy modern barn to fruition. The newly constructed 4,500-square-foot weekend home, located in southwest Wisconsin, stands next to the footprint of a dilapidated barn that came with the property. The barn was disassembled by Northworks and the resulting materials were used to create custom furniture and details such as the home's limestone hearth and retaining wall near its pool.

Part of the beauty of this modern barn comes with the territory: 200 acres of rolling meadows owned by the family for over 25 years. Even more stunning is the enormous glass facade used to update the traditional barn silhouette and classic interior styling, homages to the original structure. The home's materials—both new and salvaged—reflect the vernacular architecture of the region and are naturally designed to withstand weather and time. Additionally, open floor plans and floor-to-ceiling windows create a living experience very much connected to nature. One of the homeowners remarks, “This is a house built to enjoy the feeling and the views afforded by the Driftless region of Wisconsin.”

Don’t let its traditional silhouette fool you: this home features a grid-tied solar photovoltaic array just south of...
The design pairs durable steel construction on the outside with warmer timber frames on the interior.
Far from the dark, cavernous barns of the Midwest, tall ceilings and an open floor plan creates an airy interior.
The homeowners needed a kitchen that could hold the 20 or so friends and family members they usually host on holidays...
The aluminum pipe light fixture and white oak dining room table—made from the original barn’s horse stalls—were both...
Big Ass Fans keep the loft from getting too hot in summer; SIP insulation helps keep it warm in winter.
The old barn's foundation, re-stacked by a local stonemason, was reused as a rustic retaining wall for the pool area.
From red painted cedar siding to no-fuss structural elements, Northworks’ solution reaches a happy medium between the...